July 2, 2012


Well, it's been a while hasn't it?  Sorry, I've been busy buttering my stale marshmallows with Nocilla for the past month and a half.  This in preparation for my next OB appointment where the matrona is just itching to send me packing on my next guilt trip for excessive weight gains.  Aah, the poor woman has no idea what's coming.  None.

No longer able to run, I decided to swap my running shoes for my PTA ones.  It's the last week of school and the kids are performing in one last event, a dance festival and there are costumes to be made.  The moms in Charlie's class voted to purchase the 5 year old class's in bulk.  Funny how I alway seem to miss out on the vote but seeing that my sewing kit came courtesy of the Holiday Inn complimentary toiletries kit, I'm not complaining.  Come Friday night there will be 20 little mariachis serranading the pueblo down in the plaza.

Lola's group?  Well let's just say it makes good fodder for the blog.  The mothers decided that homemade was the way to go [gasp].  I pooped a chocolate drowned marshmallow and awaited the details.  The dance was to be tribal in nature, set to music from the Lion King.  Can they go naked?  was my first thought. No sewing required there and I'm cool with a bunch of naked 4 year olds.  This is afterall, Europe.  Aren't half the beaches nudist anyway?  Turns out naked was not an option.  I know, I was shocked too.  Instead, a plan was hatched to have the mothers convene at the multi-purpose room of the biblioteca where we would workshop the costumes until they were done.  We'd split the cost of the materials:

Raffia in 3-4 colors
And face paint

The costume was my kind of sewing too - none.  It was just a matter of cutting the raffia in strips and then tying it to the elastic to make arm bands, leg bands, and a skirt.  Idiot proof and cheap - definitely my kind of project.  It would also be a good opportunity for me to make nice with the non running ladies of the pueblo.  So I said, 'Sure, sign me up!' except in Spanish and made a date for myself at the library.

The multi-purpose room was large and thank God, air conditioned.  The month of June has been particularly unforgiving with a 'cool' day being in the 90's.  Add to it the pregnancy and the word uncomfortable doesn't even come close.  So walking in to that oasis of cool was a welcome relief.  We were about 20 moms by the time the party got going and I was kickin' back and enjoying the belly rubs while turning a deaf ear to the, "You're not still running, I hope. You know all that bouncing around isn't good for the baby..." comments.  After a half an hour or so I was getting antsy though.  Tick-tock ladies, my house is being destroyed as we speak so chop-chop time to get started I thought.  But again, this is Spain - erh, no - this is Andalucia, the land of no time, no schedules, no worries.  If it can take Joe an hour and a half to go get bread I sure as shit ain't gonna rush the making of the Vera Wang tribal collection.  Come Friday night the kids would be shimmying and shaking to Hakuna Matata, not my favorite song but definitely fitting for the end of the school year grand finale.  

Well, surprise - surprise, I was not the only impatient one of the group though I was the only quiet one about it.  I guess the pueblo moms haven't 'figured out the therapeutic benefit that is blogging, poor things.  Within the first half hour of the 'sewing' I was counting scissors to make sure no one was gonna get any wise ideas on the way out to the parking lot.  What had started out as a fun female bonding project was rapidly disintegrating into a free for all.

"Your raffia is longer than mine!" <eerie silence & a killer glare for added effect>
"But it looks like you helped yourself to an extra 5 strands of red!" <weak response but followed up with a haughty snort>
"Well, if you'd put the cigarettes down long enough to pick up a pair of scissors you'd have all the time to cut what you need so back off!" <touché>

Yes?  I'm actually hearing this?   Grown women fighting over who has more raffia and who has an extra centimeter of elastic.  Seriously?  A battle built by two mothers turned into vinegar laced pandemonium and there was no end in sight.  I noticed too that it seemed to have a certain ebb and flow which curiously was synched with the air conditioning settings.  Just as the room air would cut off, so too would the catfight, fading from earsplitting to a garbled aside meant just loud enough to be heard but not acknowleged.  Up until now I had been impressed at how supportive women were of one another here.  I expected much more of the backbiting and MommyWars that were so common back home but was surprised not to find any here.  Spanish women have little tolerance for critiquing your neighbor's cottage cheese thighs or her messy house but get in the way of making her kid a costume for the end of the year festival and you better be sleepin' with one eye open.

And perhaps the funniest thing about a Spanish catfight though is as intimidating as it is to be caught in the middle of one, it's even more intimidating to observe the bipolarness of it all.  One minute I'm eyeballing a quick exit before I get strangled by a maniac with too much raffia and the next I'm watching the same two main instigators laugh it up with the women they were on the verge of wrestling to the death for an extra thumbsworth of elastic.  And then, quicker than my brain could register a potential cease-fire, they were back at it again, going straight for the jugular.

Unscathed and white knuckling my raffia, I ducked out a side door and made a beeline for home, unable to drown out the lyrics that would mock us all come Friday night...

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase!
Hakuna Matata, ain't no passing craze!
It means no worries for the rest of your days!
It's our problem free philosophy,
Hakuna Matata!

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