I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 260 - Kazakhstan Part 27

Every Sunday, this blog will describe our life-changing trip to Kazakhstan in 2005 to adopt our two youngest children. While some of our friends and family have seen a few of the pictures, we've never put it all together in an organized format. One of the reasons is that I hesitate to subject others to a 21st century version of the endless slideshow of vacation photos harking to some relative's visit and a lost evening of my childhood. Still, the story must be told before details are lost since this is my children's unique birthright. When we get to the end of the story, I'll edit the posts together into an extended and separate blog page and then have it printed by one of the blog-to-book(let) services for my kids. For people with less interest, these posts will be easy to identify and avoid. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Terry spent the rest of the day recuperating. For a devout TV watcher, the absence of English language television may have been worse than gastric distress. There was a TV in the parlor-like living room and one in the bedroom. Neither brought in many channels. Of the available, fuzzy stations, none of them were in English. As far as I can tell, the official Kazakh station was in Kazakh and some Russian, the ones from the other side of the border were Russian, and then there was something unidentified from Belarus.

The Russian stations had many variety and musical shows. The music was largely western but had a sense of being a click or two away from current. The male performers often dressed somewhat like the Czech brothers from that old Saturday Night Live skits. A lot of tight polyester. Really. With bright colors and disco ball backdrops, there was the sense of being transported to the 1970's.

One constant was the presence of music by Madonna. Apparently, this transcends all borders. And Elvis. They like Elvis.

With a squeal of recognition, we tuned in to what would become one of our two favorite Russian language shows. A sassy young woman down on her luck is hired by a stuffy entertainment industry producer to care for his three children. There's a funny and sniping butler and a jealous business associate. Yes, it's "the nanny who's known as Fran" -- only without Fran.

In Russian, the show is called "My Fair Nanny" and the plot lines roughly follow the American version with a certain Russian twist. The Fran character is now Victoria and has become Ukrainian instead of Jewish. If she has any annoying accent, I couldn't really tell. The Russian butler is small, dark and sneaky but more animated than the haughty and pretentious Niles. The producer lives in a smallish apartment in Moscow meant to represent opulence, reflecting that even the wealthy in Russian live modestly by American standards. The Russian kids are, well, kids, and interchangeable with their American counterparts.

Since this isn't King Lear, it was an easy show to follow with no knowledge of the language. In every episode, the Nanny gets caught in a trap of her own making while trying to hide something from her boss, gets caught with or without the butler's help, faces repercussions when the boss find out, but it all works out with her still managing to put something over on him at the end of the episode.

The format is mindlessly entertaining in any language and particularly sparkling when the alternative is endless panel discussions with stubby men in uniform and no explanatory pictures or text.

Terry began to feel a little better. We were very mindful of the mantra of not delaying the visitation schedule for fear of throwing everything out of whack. Could he look well enough by tomorrow to be able to get past the watchful eyes of the childrens' home people? With the great life lessons learned from "The Nanny," it seemed like a bit of subterfuge was a reasonable plan. If only we had a butler to help ...

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