Jillian R.

Here's how a man's brain works...or at least my man’s.

In this part of the world, bread always has to be refrigerated. I happened to leave mine ours out for a couple of days because there's no room in the fridge.

This morning, the following scenario happened;

Me: Honey (okay, I don't call Eric "honey", but let's just say I do, for dramatic effect), why don't you have some bread with your bacon, eggs are almost ready.

*continues scrambling eggs*

Eric: There’s mold on the bread, but it’s on the side so I picked it out *points at a corner of the bread, carefully placed on the side of his plate*. The centre’s still good

Me: Eww! Eric! Then you throw the whole piece out! Give it to me! *looks at the loaf of bread* Ohmygod! The entire loaf has mold on it!

Eric: *reluctantly hands over his piece of bread* but I already put butter on it, see?

Really? Baby, I love you, but if you’re reading this, butter? Really?
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Jillian R.
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to write this entry but here it is; I’ve been living amongst filth since moving to Muscat. Literally.

Here, take a look at these pictures;

(I can honestly say that I've NEVER thrown a whole plastic bag full of garbage on the ground like that in my ENTIRE life)

This is the alley beside our villa. This morning I found a pizza box and a bag of garbage there, among other things. I don’t get it, so someone ate a pizza in their car, and then dumped the box on the ground? (There’s also the question of why would someone eat a whole pizza in the car, couldn’t they eat in the restaurant, or go HOME?). It couldn’t be that they ate it at home, then WALK outside to dump it – this takes more energy to do than to just throw it in the house, right? Usually big pieces of garbage like these will be picked up by the local Municipality within a few days, if we’re lucky.

You still think I’m exaggerating about the trash, don’t you? Well that’s just the beginning of a series of pictures I took this morning.

If you look down the alley, you will see a variety of things on the ground. See those empty bottles? Those have been there for weeks. The “Municipality” just ignores it every day. There used to be broken pieces of glass on the ground too; I thought if I glued all the pieces together I could make a whole window. I was afraid Jester would hurt himself stepping on glass so I’ve hired someone to clean up the pieces. Of course, the guy just cleaned up the glass and nothing else. The bag lying on the bush is new; it’s only been there for two days.

Jester doesn’t really seem to mind the dirt very much. He’s such a good little boy.

This is the villa across the street. See the bottle and bag of garbage? That bottle has been there for quite a while. That villa has the only tree within our 10-villa radius, so when the ground gets too hot in the afternoons, I take Jester there. There’s usually a car parked there, so we have to squeeze around it. If you look closely at this picture, you will see a stream of water flowing down their street. A few villas down, someone was wasting gallons and gallons of water washing their car or hosing down their driveway. It happens every day. To think all they have to do is collect their A/C water and hose down their driveways with it, considering how much people use A/C’s here. At least that’s what I do. Ok, we don’t have a driveway, so I wash our deck with the recycled water. It makes me feel like I’m doing my (very small) part for Mother Nature.

These are the garbage cans for our villa. That office chair has been there since we moved in (February). By the looks of it, it will never be removed. Anyway, remember, I took these pictures in the morning, by evening; the area around them will be piled up with bags of garbage. Well actually, we’ll be lucky if there are any bags. I don’t know which tenant, although I have a strong suspicion that it is the douchey-looking-guy (pardon the language)-who-lives-downstairs-who-never-smiles-and-always-has-a-snarly-expression-on-his-face whose too lazy to lift the lid and throw his garbage. He always leaves a soda can or a paper cup or plate on top of the garbage cans. Once, one of the girls downstairs had a barbeque downstairs with her friends and the next day, we found chicken bones and paper cups, plates, cutlery strewn on the ground. We have a domestic worker who comes in every day to empty the trash, water the plants and clean around the compound; but really? Oily chicken bones? Rats or rodents apparently don’t bother them.

Our domestic worker has his faults too. I will have to have a word with him very soon; once we came home after he took out the trash. In our hands we had a juice bottle and a “Corn-in-a-Cup” cup which we kept in the car until we got home. He told us to leave the bottle and the cup on top of the bin. So we did, thinking he would bring them out with him when he left. A few minutes later, I found the juice bottle and the paper cup in the alley. The guy had left. What did I do? Well, I picked them up and threw them back in the bin.

See? I don’t get it, why? Why can’t he leave the bottle and the cup in the garbage can until the following day?

But then again…as we “normal” people say here, Why Ask Why?
Jillian R.
Only two months into using the Oman Oasis water company and I've already written two complaint emails - which they did respond to quite quickly. They must hate me.

Here is a copy of my latest complaint (verbatim):

I’m writing to express my regret that we have to cancel our order with Oman Oasis and would like our deposit back. Please look into this immediately and call me at xxxx xx37.

What happened was totally unacceptable as you are a WATER company – and water is a necessity out here in the dessert don’t you agree? We live in the Al Khuwair area and our delivery day is every Tuesday (time varies every week). On Tuesday, 31 May, there was no delivery. The next morning, (Wednesday, 1 June), I called 2449 4427 (Ext. 204) and was told that “there was a problem” (What problem?) and water will be delivered later that afternoon. It was never delivered.

I called the same number again the next day (Thursday, 2 June) but the phone line was either busy or when I did get through and hit “0” for Operator assistance, the line went silent, no busy tone, nothing. Just silence. Is this a trick to get callers to hang up? If so, it really is quite a genius plan!

Water was only delivered on Saturday, 4 June. Of course, without any explanation.

Yesterday (Tuesday 14 June), again there was no water. What is going on? How long do we have to wait each week before we get dehydrated and have to go out and lug bottles of water home only to have you deliver a few days later, and then we would have extra bottles sitting around. This, like I said is completely unacceptable and unreliable as a WATER company.

I shouldn’t have to write letters reminding your people to do their job(s) once in a while. Therefore, I will now be looking for a new water company. Good luck handling all the other incoming complaints.

p/s: Any chance I can get my few *baizas back for calling you so many times only to hear the mournful silence on the other end?

I will post their reply, if one ever came. Oh and in case you were curious, this was what happened last time.

*baiza - the "cent" equivalent of the Omani currency
Jillian R.

Here’s another reason why Muscat is not for the typical dog lover.

Today was an extremely hot and humid day. It was so hot that our air-conditioner started spewing warm air. Poor Jester has been having trouble doing his #2 all day because the ground burned his paws every time I take him out. And of course, there’s not even a patch of grass nearby that he could stand on. At about 6pm, it finally cooled down enough for me to take him out.

Jester was evidently very happy to be sniffing around. His happiness was short-lived. When we were a few houses down from our villa, two boys started barking, whistling and howling at us from about 10 feet away. The boys looked to be about 12-14 years old. I tugged on his leash and Jester obediently ignored them. However, as we turned the corner, a handful of pebbles flew our way, missing Jester by a few inches. If we walked just a little slower, the pebbles would have hit Jester’s hind leg(s).

I quickly looked at the boys’ direction and saw one of them fleeing into the nearest alley. I immediately shouted “HEY! DID YOU JUST THROW STONES AT US?” at the top of my lungs. As it was the time of day when housemaids gather among themselves for a chat, people cleaning cars and nannies pushing strollers along the street, everyone turned to look. Even a car turning the corner stopped to look. It was what I wanted; witnesses. The boy who remained peeked from the alley wall and said “No, not me, not me!” but I continued yelling “Then why did youR friend throw stones at ME? WHY? I’m going to call the police!” The boy was obviously petrified as he kept shaking his head and repeating “Not me! Not me!. Finally he said “Sorry!” and ran into the alley after his (cowardly) friend.

I was so enraged that I could feel my face heating up. I’ve heard (and read) about kids (and adults) throwing stones at cats and dogs here, but I never would’ve guessed that they would do it when the owner is right there! Also, what kind of cowardly boy runs away leaving his friend to be yelled at anyway?

So, if you or someone you know is moving to Muscat and is planning to bring your/their dog, this is best avoided if possible. Although the vets and dog trainers (run by expats) are excellent here, the local perception and attitude towards canines are just heartbreaking. Jester was adopted here, and it’s true that I would never have gotten the chance to care for this sweet little boy who only wanted love and attention if not for us moving here. However, if I’m planning to move here, I would never bring my dog and subject him/her to the brutal treatment of dogs here; not being allowed at any of the beaches and parks, stared and barked at (by kids and adults) daily, yelled at randomly by mean/scared individuals and of course, having pebbles thrown at him/her.

What would you do?
Jillian R.

If Jester could be a video game character, he would be in an action-packed one called "Jester: A Fight for Freedom"

His powers would include the following:

1.       Road Runner Attack: After a pee-pee or a doo-doo he will aim his hind legs at you (attempting to cover waste), no matter where you try to position yourself to avoid them; and kick dirt at you

2.       Double Meat Club Pounce: Uses his front paws (meat clubs) and pounces on his toys, our feet, us…

3.       Nibble Attack: This only happens when we have no choice but to muzzle him. With his limited jaw movement, he tries to nibble at us

4.       Scoop Attack: This only happens if he has his cone on. Without the ability to bite/nibble at us easily, he scoops conefulls of dirt and flings it at us; for revenge, of course

5.       Innocent Bystander Attack: Steps on our faces, stomach, or any other body part while we’re watching TV or sleeping

6.       Cold Nose Attack: Pokes us with his cold, wet nose, and follows us around the room with it. This attack is also used to wake us up in the morning, followed by yanking the covers away
(Variation: Cold Nose on Your Junk Attack; self explanatory)

7.       Tangled Up in Leash Attack: This only happens when he’s on a leash, he walks around the leash-holder (a.k.a US), wrapping the leash around our legs. “Fall mommy! Fall!

8.       [Classic] Kick-You-In-The-Face Attack: Self explanatory. Happens when we’re laying down on the bed/couch

9.       Prison Break Attack: Chews on walls around the apartment. He will slowly but surely escape in time.

10.   Jackal Glare: After a punishment or while wearing the muzzle, he will sit nearby (us) and stare at us with a downward glare. Making sure we know that he is upset

11.   Racist-Little-B**tard Battle Cry: Whenever he sees a dark skinned person AND if that person shows any signs of fear of dogs, he will first bark and try to lunge at them, when we tug on the leash and he doesn’t get to “eat” them, he cries pitifully

12.   Open-Mouth-Ramming Attack: Runs at us with his mouth open. Pokes us with sharp teeth

13.   Quick Draw Attack: A variation of No.12, “draws” his jaws and aims at enemies (a.k.a us)

14.   Round House Swipe: Stares at something (or someone; a.k.a us) fragile (e.g. expensive sunglasses, headphones, glass…) for a few seconds, then swings his meat clubs at it, attempting to break it

15.   Sabotage: A variation of No.14, however in “Sabotage”, he finds our favorite things (HE KNOWS!) while we’re not looking and destroys them. This usually happens when he feels ignored

16.   Brave Heart: He lays on his back, with one or both meat clubs up in the air for “FREEDOM”!

17.   Cold Shoulder Defense: A variation of the “Jackal Glare” (No. 10), but in this version, he comes and sits near you (usually huffs to MAKE SURE you know he’s there) then turns away from you with hatred. Happens after a punishment or while wearing the muzzle

18.   Jester Grab Attack: Grabs random things (whatever he can reach) and runs very confidently into the other room with us running after him

19.   Crazy-Puppy-Time Whirlwind Attack: He runs around the room at top speed, being everywhere at once and attacks using all the above powers simultaneously

And finally, if all else fails;

20.   Cuteness Defense: A very powerful defense mechanism which involves cute puppy eyes, ears down, and often achieves forgiveness within a few seconds

Disclaimer: No humans were meat clubbed during the creation of this post.

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