Summer Plans for the Rest of Us

The place we visited last summer is completely booked this year so S tried to find a similarly inexpensive vista for a 3 day retreat for those of us who won't be visiting Caz this summer. The conditions he had were too difficult for the local travel agent to work with (about $60 a day per person including meals, amusement and accommodations with air conditioning and a TV within a $20 per person round trip train fare radius of our home). He picked up a few pamphlets anyway and continued the search at home. He finally decided that he was expecting too much and raised the minimum.

We then searched the internet for camping, pools, amusement park and airconditioned in Japanese and kept getting the same place we visited last year. I added "Tokyo" to the search and we learned that the amusement park next door to the Tama Zoo, 20 minutes by train from here, has a "camping plan" with access to their waterpark, a passport for the amusement park rides, admittance to a hot springs bath, dinner, airconditioned lodges or trailers and pre-set tents. I called right away to ask about reservations but they were closed all week for maintenance. This afternoon I was able to reserve a lodge for 2 and a tent for 3 so it looks like we're in business. S appreciates the proximity, the kids are excited about the water slides and rides and I'm looking forward to the spa but it does seem a little decadent to stay overnight just 10 miles from home...


Pure Horror

The junior high school nurse called this morning. J slipped and broke her top left front tooth. I gave her the number of our dentist and arranged to meet them at the clinic right away. Classmates searched and found two pieces of tooth for the nurse to wrap in gauze and place in a small plastic case filled with water to bring to the dentist.

The dentist explained that the portion broken off was enamel but both front teeth were a little loose. The X-ray didn't show cracking and he couldn't evaluate possible nerve damage until the bruised gums firm up. He put a plastic splint on, anchoring the two loose middle teeth together and to the firm teeth on either side and recommended that any pressure to the teeth be avoided by cutting food into very small pieces and only using the back teeth until Friday, when he'll do more testing to see if a root canal may be necessary in addition to cementing the tooth back together or giving her a crown. He said that things look OK, but the worst case scenario is that the tooth may be lost. Aaaaaauugh!

J was well enough to return to school with the nurse and I went home to make a special lunch to take to her at school so she wouldn't have to worry about chomping into school lunch fare. She got half a cup of boiled broccoli (well chopped), teriyaki grilled tuna steak (chopped into 16 half inch cubes), rice topped half and half with a scrambled egg and some sauteed ground chicken flavored with soy sauce and sugar, a yogurt, almond-milk flavored Chinese jello cubes in fruit cocktail and a bottle of oolong tea. I even remembered to add a spoon.

I'm glad we were able to get her to our dentist quickly and hope that she doesn't have to lose the tooth. Oh my baby!!!


J's Summer Plans

I'll take J's passports and money to pay for her tickets to Grandma and Grandpa's this summer. S finally agreed to share her with them this summer and she is very excited about her trip. A few items from Lands End will soon arrive in her name at the Carriage House to supplement her wardrobe. ETA is Thursday evening, July 20. Departure is early Monday morning, August 28.


A Teenager

Today was the first day of J's first ever mid-term exams and also her thirteenth birthday. She got a text message from a classmate on my cell phone this morning and was out the door, off for school at 7:45.

I went out the door with the elementary school group to catch the bus for the hospital. The little girl in L's class who lives downstairs and usually goes to school together was still in dreamland and her sleepy eyed mom answered the door (with this morning's paper still stuck in the slot), slightly panicking to see the usual group of escorts. I felt better about the few times we've overslept knowing that other people do too. It was decided that the group would go on and the mom would take her daughter a little later.

I said goodbye to the kids near the school and caught my bus for the third to the last chemo in this regimen. I decided to go scarf/hat/wig-less as it's humid and warm now and my hair, though short, is thick enough to hide my scalp. The nurses commented and laughed when I told them it's this year's summer trend. "Kathy - the Summer Version." I did wear silver earrings and a spoon ring (very unique in Japan).

The blood work was fine so the onco. set me up with an IV hook-up (3 pokes today, he needs practice.) and I advanced to the chemo room for a nice nap. I slept soundly for the duration of the drip and was home by noon to take J out for lunch as there are no school lunches on exam days.

Some of J's friends came over for cake (13 individual portions of quadruple berry tiramisu made by N, L and me last night). The younger siblings went on a shopping expedition to find a gift so J could enjoy the time with her friends without interference. I gave her the most recent Harry Potter book in Japanese (the translated version only came out last month) but she is waiting until tomorrow afternoon, after the mid-terms are finished, to open it, when she won't have to concentrate on social studies or memorizing the English textbook word for word.


Flying Starts and Other Surprises

The kids excitedly prepared a card for S and gave it to him with a new summer shirt for Fathers' Day. Then we figured out that Fathers' Day isn't until next Sunday. Ooops.

We had a surprise visit from S's eldest brother this morning. He has three elder brothers and this was the first time the children and I have met this one. S has been avoiding him for more than 20 years (longer than I've known S) so he stayed in his room most of the time leaving the entertaining up to us after a gruff welcome of "Why are you here!?". The reply was a simple, non-confrontational "I was in Tokyo for a class reunion and wanted to see you all." Nine years ago, when another brother called from the station, S ran out the door to rent a car and take us all on a day trip to Mt. Fuji to avoid the brother who arrived just as we were packing the car. "Sorry, we're on our way out, we'll give you a ride back to the station." So staying home this time seems to be a big step for S.

This brother was a pleasant enough guest, bringing cake, showing pictures of his grandchildren on his cell phone, playing with the kids and staying for about an hour before catching the bus to Haneda Airport to fly home. He looks like S would look like if S were a politician; better nourished, shorter hair, sharp attitude. He seemed a little sad but not angry at S's reception and apologized to me for any discomfort his sudden visit may have caused saying that S's reaction to the visit was a product of the environment when they were growing up.

I did notice that the brother's hand motions were a little lethargic, much like S's. S says his hands and arms seem to be numb a lot but hasn't offered any medical reasons (MS? Diabetes?) in spite of consulting several local physicians. The other two brothers didn't seem to have any trouble when I last saw them so it isn't all four of them. Hmmm.

As S's health deteriorates, my memory is flailing. I rushed off to the local supermarket to get some evening bargains on Friday and managed to forget to bring home a whole bag of groceries. I only noticed that I had forgotten when I couldn't find the squid I'd bought for S's dinner and racked my brain to remember when I'd seen it last. One of those "Duh!" moments.

At least today I can't remember forgetting anything....I'm blaming the Father's Day fiasco on our Japanese calendar.