A Winter, er Spring Wonderland

I woke up this morning to the sound of what I thought was a street cleaning machine, you know, those things with the rotating brushes underneath, like a big hoover steam cleaner. Even in my drowsy state I thought it interesting that Kokshetau had those machines.  And I wanted to see it so I stumbled out of bed to the window, only to discover that it wasn’t a street cleaning machine, it was a snow plow.  Yes, the cold snap had brought with it the snow. And not just an early spring dusting of snow.  There are at least 4 inches on the ground and it is still falling.


In other news,

·        I have water. YES!!  I would like to tell you that I personally bested the water authority, but it turns out the whole thing was caused by my upstairs neighbor who had a “pipe problem”.  Anyway, the Pipe problem was dealt with yesterday afternoon in time to give me water for a hot shower (hallelujah!) before bedtime.

·        I’m still sick. Everyone Kazakh who talks to me tells me I need to go to the pharmacy and get some medicine.  I’m starting to get the feeling it is not acceptable to walk about sounding stuffy.  When I tell them I have medicine but I take it at night only, because it makes me sleepy, they shake their heads in wonder (or maybe disgust).

·        Allison and Andy Brookes arrived yesterday and today we shared a trip to the hospital.  Afterwards, we went out for the world’s longest lunch, I think perhaps setting a new world record. Except for france where they have the what, 10 hour workweek – they may beat us as I think the long lunches just roll right into dinner… But getting back on track, we left the hospital shortly after noon.  I’m writing this at 4:42pm and in between those two times, aside from 5 minutes drive on either end, we were sitting a pizza restaurant.  Having the misfortune to walk in about 30 seconds after a large group that ordered 15 pizzas.  Apparently the pizza oven is a one at a time job.  We ordered immediately, but didn’t get the food until almost 3:00.  Yes, you read that correctly. So we waited about 2.5 hours for the food. And the worst thing is the restaurant had no beer. So we were sober the whole time. Egads.  Oleg and I got into a long discussion about the nature of afghan people (he was there with the soviet army), I’m sure boring the pants off the other folks at the table, particularly poor Rada (the new translator). When our pizzas did come, they came one at a time, so with 5 individual pizzas, the time between the first pizza being delivered to our table and the last was probably about 45 minutes. But my thought is, what else do we have to do? 


And now to the main event: the visit today can be summed up by Annabelle’s very clear message “Ye gods, what does it take to get through to you.”

When I walked in Annabelle was already pretty fussy.  A caregiver walked in right after me and made motions that she thought it was time for a diaper change.  Okay, I’m down with that. But as I was setting my bag down the caregiver open up Annabelle’s sleeper, took a look at the diaper and said “it’s okay, she’s dry” (with hand gestures of course) and buttoned her back up.


for the first hour we went through the usual drills, but Annabelle was unhappy and crying the whole time.  I’d get her to smile for a millisecond and then her little Margaret eyes would well up again. Well, I couldn’t figure it out. I kept checking her diaper and it felt dry.  Then her bottle came and she was almost too unhappy to even take the bottle.  I was sure that I had gotten her sick from yesterday. After her bottle, I went to change her outfit and decided that I would change her diaper anyway, even though it was dry. Well, guess what people, it was not dry.  Poor little Annabelle had had a very wet bottom for quite some time.  It’s just that my basic physics had failed me. For I had been checking the front of her diaper.  But when a baby is lying on her back, well, the pee goes backwards.  Basic rule of gravity. Oh, poor little girl.  And she had terrible diaper rash too, making me wonder how long she had been lying in that diaper. 


Since the caregiver had made the same mistake, I realized that Saturdays at the hospital, it’s definitely the B team on duty.  And combine a B Team staff with the C Team mother and the poor girl was destined for a miserable day.


Anyway, the very minute I wiped her behind dry and changed her diaper she became the same sunny, happy Annabelle I’m used to. Except for what I think was a brief withering glance in my direction that so clearly said “Can I pick somebody else for my mother?”


She got hiccups after her bottle. You can see on the movie:  Day 11_files\Hiccups Video.MOV


Well, back to the couch and my Nyquil.