Wednesday, March 10, 2010

They're not kidding

I've been looking around at daycare places near my home in lovely suburban Boston, and I am f-ing shocked.

Compared to Holland, these places look like rundown third-world orphanages. Even the better ones seem grubby and picked-over, poorly maintained and depressing. And then there is the pricetag...

I suppose that it isn't really much more expensive than in Holland, though the facilities are horrifically lacking in comparison. The major difference is that the governmental childcare reimbursement pays a huge portion of whatever a family's daycare costs are. Even with two incomes, we were reimbursed for about 75% of our costs - and that is immediately, not at the end of the year. The government actually pays the childcare center every month, and you just pay your own portion alongside that.

To send both boys to a preschool/daycare here for three days a week - HALF days, mind you - will cost more than my monthly salary in Holland. More than I made IN A MONTH.

I suppose the fact that salaries here are higher would compensate for it, but I don't have a job yet. Oops.

On the upside, grocery shopping is now taking me less than two hours a trip. So, I've got that going for me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coca-Cola, Wonderbra

So, we're living in America.

I can't stop shopping like I'm in Holland. My brother-in-law asked me today "Why don't you get more stuff at the supermarket, like five gallons of milk instead of one?"

The answer is that I can't pull the trigger. I buy one box of kleenex, one pack of toilet paper, one half-gallon of orange juice, a pound of coldcuts, etc., etc.

The result is that everyone is running around going "Where's the rest of the kleenex?" How can we be out of turkey?" "Who drank all the orange juice?"

I just can't get used to the idea that I am going to load it all into the SUV (well, I'M not going to load it...it gets sent underground via a conveyor belt to a drive-thru where they load your car while you sit behind the wheel) instead of carrying a bag in each hand, or loading the bakfiets with as much food as will fit beside two children.

Every time I go to the supermarket it takes me like 2 hours. I can't get used to it again. EVERYTHING I need, and tons of stuff I don't in one convenient location. Informative staff. Courteous cashiers. I walk around like a deer in the headlights with glazed-over eyes mindlessly filling a shopping cart big enough for my whole family to sit in.

I guess I just question the wisdom of buying jumbo-size crap. That's how we all get the jumbo-size asses.

Speaking of that - I have a friend (yes, you) fixing a couple of old-school English 3-speeds for me. I am so psyched. I can't wait. Now if ONLY I could get the bakfiets here...Well, I'm working on that.