Thursday, October 28, 2010
This weekend was ridiculous. While my body was getting worse our house fell apart around us.
It started with the water heater - lately it had become less and less reliable. This past week it got so bad I lost track of how many times I had to push the stupid button to try to trigger the water heater to kick in - I know I reached 28 and then hit it a few more times that day... On Friday a repair man came to replace the broken shower pole - he also let me know there was a leak in the shower and asked me not to bathe and he'd be back on Tuesday. I said - not happening.
Then on Saturday the regular heat stopped working - and it's been below freezing. It became as sporadic as the water heater.
Sunday the electricity started to freak out. Fuses blew and wouldn't reset. I spent a great deal of time before figuring out the washing machine was broken and affecting the electricity. If the machine was one, or if you turned it on, the fuse would blow. I had clothes in the machine half way through the cycle.
So - Monday started with - a broken water heater, a broken heating system, a leaking shower, faulty electricity and a broken washing machine - which was immediately followed by an emergency trip to the doctor and then the surgeon. Yes, it was overwhelming. No, I didn't explain all that to my doctor. And now - all household issues have been fixed. It took a few days but they're done. I'm just waiting for my body to get on the same page.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Tomorrow will start with blood work – they’re concerned that I do in fact seem to be catching everything - it's not just an abstract possibility it's happening - and it happens whether I'm on steroids or not.. I can’t keep up this ongoing cycle of antibiotics (I've had my 3rd round prescribed today in less than a month)… it’s killing my body (at least that’s how I feel at the moment). Tomorrow after the blood work I'll go back to the doctor and then back to the surgeon. I am so tired. Emotionally, mentally, physically. I am so tired right now.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6-cup loaf pan. (I don't have a 6-cup loaf pan, I have no idea what size it is, but it's not the same as my American bread loaf pan... just use a bread loaf and don't worry about it.)
Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the flour mixture until blended and the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in the two eggs. Fold in the banana and walnuts (if using) until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold and allow to cool completely on the rack.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Our water heater doesn't like working. Sometimes we have hot water, sometimes we don't. Quite often we have to restart the pilot light - sometimes a few times before it actually takes. I've figured out that you can decrease the number of attempts you need to get it to "take" if you have the water running. Once the heat turns on again if you keep the water running it doesn't usually go out - but once the water turns off you'll probably have to restart it. I've had it happen that the water was hot and running and then suddenly the pilot light died in the middle of the dishes so I had to restart it - twice before it took and would start to heat the water again. Fortunately that hasn't happened in the shower yet.
The "shower" here is a shower head on a long hose which attaches to the faucet. The shower head fits in a slot supported by a pole attached to the wall. The pole system for the showerhead is broken - the bracket pieces that attach to the wall are broken on the inside yet it balances the pole if you place it just right and will support the shower head. I've been asking to have it replaced for a while - it's been that way for months. I don't have the technical skills or the tools to drill in to the tile, etc...
Our shower is a rectangle smaller than your hall closet. I can stand in the middle, rotate at the waist, and with my hands below my waist I can touch all four sides with my elbows. Think about the size there.
So - this is how my mornings have been. Get up, maybe eat something, turn on the shower. Go to get in the shower and realize it's cold. Go to the kitchen and hit the pilot light - repeat get in shower, cold, kitchen pilot light up to three times before success is found.
Once in the shower try not to move - if you bump the shower hose it hits the pole and knocks it against the loose bracket - the nozzle, pole and bracket all come tumbling down - down on your head, back, legs, feet and most importantly right on top of the faucet. The force of the falling hardware turns the water off.
Now, the fun part - by the time everything has fallen down, been replaced and the water is turned back on the pilot light has gone out again.
You have to exit the tiny shower, warm steamy bathroom and pad through the hall and across the bare kitchen floor in an uninsulated (or archiacally insulated) building (it's been zero Celsius lately - quite cold in the flat!) and start the whole process over again - while soaking wet.
I mentioned this morning ritual to a friend recently and she said something about with such a difficult morning the rest of the day doesn't stand a chance - getting off on the wrongest foot possible, stuff like that... and I realized she may have a bit of a point - when I'm feeling overwhelmed just trying to get in the shower my outlook probably isn't so cheery for the rest of the day.
Fortunately - hopefully - after many repeated requests both the shower and the hot water heater are scheduled to be repaired next week - it's not till Friday, but I'm just thankful there's finally a date on the calendar!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
BUT - I was no where near as bad as this guy I encountered in the shop. He was tall and gaunt, tight-lipped and grimacing and looked miserable. He was so stiff and tight and intense looking - he was a black hole of gloom in doom the midst of Tesco's overly bright fluorescents and shiny displays... I took a quick look down at the sole object he was trying to purchase and then my empathy just skyrocketed.
He was holding a single roll of toilet paper. Not the Charmin-y softness (Charmin TP doesn't exist here), not even the cottony Kleenex (Kleenex TP does exist here). This poor guy had the roll from hell - it was made from that dark brown rough hand-towel paper you used to find in school bathrooms back in the 70s. You can still find dark-brown rough hand-towel paper in school bathrooms, but it's not nearly as rough as what existed back in the day. For some reason there's a company that distribute TP here that believes that paper should be revived and used not on your hands but elsewhere. That poor man could have bought a 4-pack and purchase something not intended to remove the top 3 layers of skin. Instead I looked at him and knew his discomfort was not to be abated, only transformed.
"No, just the augmenting."
That didn't make any sense whatsoever. So she wrote it out... Augmentin. The name of the new antibiotic was Augmentin. I wasn't to augment anything - I was to stop my old stuff and take Augmentin instead.
Friday, October 8, 2010
The stupid ransom I had to pay for our passports - that took up most of the rent... to put it in perspective - most everyone I know pays less in rent than what I just paid to get back our passports!
Trip to the hospital for the kid - not covered by insurance at this point (even if it had been, we didn't have our passports so it wouldn't have been accepted)
I got another respiratory infection. I've been told to stay home for 10 days - that means no pay for 3 days then half rate... which puts me at less than what I was making before! Every single stupid cold I get goes straight in to my lungs and then asthma kicks in to overdrive and I'm wheezing and gasping and coughing and hating life.
And now the school has given 24 hours notice of funds due for a multi-day retreat - in the past it's been a discounted price but this year it's the full cost - and the full cost is inflated from the past few years... urgh.
SATs. Even though she may stay here for college she's still got to take the tests.
And now I have to get the Kid another new insurance policy as the one we've had for her isn't right for the new visa laws. You have to prepay for the full year.
I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to make ends meet till the end of the month - and today's only the 8th. I've been home for 3 days now and instead of getting better my stupid cold is entrenched in my upper respiratory track - and am feeling rather frustrated with the progress of October. I have my next class on Tuesday and my book and guide are sitting in my desk at work - I'm home and have plenty of time to prepare, but no materials to do it with.
The Kid's starting to feel better, finally, at least. And despite the notice on the door our rent won't be going up.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
In case you didn't pick up on it - the taxi drivers here are meat-head idiots... and people are really in to LARP.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The trip to the hospital was easy - since she's a child they didn't require anything from her... no ID, no address, nothing. I think it cost a bit more than my check-up did but that's probably due to her having to be seen in pediatrics. They were fast and efficient in the foreigner's department, and then we got lost in the pediatric wing. We asked a nurse for the area and she didn't speak English but really went out of her way to be helpful - she pantomimed, asking us if we wanted the sleeping children (she put her hands together and layed her head down on them as if they were a pillow and closed her eyes) or if we wanted the doktora. I answered the doktora and she walked us up the stairs to the correct department and waved us goodbye.
Even the doctor was quite sweet and helpful. I understood pastilky and we all said you suck on it like candy, yet she wanted to be perfect and so got online to translate - the translation is lozenge, by the way. The Kid was satisfied with the care and thought the doctor was really nice and quite earnest in her desire to be as helpful as possible.
All in all, for being quite miserable and sick, it was a good experience and I'm grateful she had one when she's feeling so awful.