Friday, April 30, 2004

When you have a birthday....

When you're a kid, for the first few years every birthday is accompanied by shots (if you're a vaccinating parent, like we are). This one was no different for Nicholas. He received the final MMR in one arm and the final DTP in the other.

The nurses love to have my boys come in for shots. Jonathon was literally begging for some, trying to climb on the table after Nicholas was done. Yes, I know he just wanted the lollipop after, but come on, that's still weird.

Nicholas put on a show but dutifully followed the nurse and resigned himself to the injections. The stars and stripes bandages didn't hurt either. I've taught the kids that it will hurt, it's OK to cry, but rather than freak to say "ouch ouch ouch" repeatedly while getting it. It works and as soon as it's done they're all smiles for getting through without crying.

To top it off, they both got a lollipop. And a mini candycane. Yum, leftover Christmas candy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Already mired in controversy.

We've known about Togo for 3 days and we're already mired in controversy.

Here's the gyst. Obviously, we have been talking a lot to the folks currently at post about work, housing, schooling, etc to get a clearer picture of what's in store. Most of these people will be gone or walking out the door as we arrive, but for now, they are our eyes in Lome. We ask, they answer, we make our decisions.
There are 2 schooling options in Lome. The American International School and the British School.
AISL has combined classrooms. Not just combined, but currently there is a class that combines 3rd-8th grades. No typo. I'm serious. Our contact says that the facilities are subpar, the security is laughable, and the academics are not to standard. I guess you could say that there's something about the headmistress and the school in general that the Embassy folk don't like because a single person has their child attending (and after this summer, there are no U.S. Embassy children scheduled to attend there). There have been attempts to get AISL dissolved.
The British School is raved about, and that's where all the other children attend. Check it out on the British School of Lome website.
More details. A new Embassy compound is being built as we speak, in a different area of the city. Part of this is to build a more secure building. The other part is that the current location is almost entirely surrounded by the encroaching central market. The new digs should be opening around the time that we arrive.
The British School is right near the new compound. The American School is near the old compound.
We have been speaking with the housing office and there is a good possibility of a home right near the new Embassy, a few minutes from the British School and in a quiet safe neighborhood. It's said to be in the only neighborhood where the kids could safely ride their bikes around the streets. (Ian's minor issue... it has no pool. But then, very few of the houses have pools so it's not a real issue at all).
When we were bidding, switching the kids to a British School was a concern for me, but I've become convinced that before 6th grade, the systems are compatible and we can easily move back to the American System at the next post. The Director of Overseas School at the State Department tried to sell us hard on the post in Mauritius as a family post because while it has no American School to offer, there are several other options including a British School. We put it on our bid list in good faith.
So. Balancing school locations, considering where the Embassy is moving and where our potential housing is, and most importantly the curriculums available to us, we agreed to enroll the kids (we'll have 3 next fall and all 4 the following year enrolled), at BSL.
Now the controversy.
State won't pay to send our kids there. We -just- found this out, from the same person we were discussing school options with during our bidding process. The Director of Overseas Schools determined upon his visit last year that AISL was suitable and that no other options would be accommodated. AISL fees are at $5000 for K to 8th grade. BSL is E5800-8920 depending on grade. State will cover the cost of attending BSL up to the AISL fee, but after that it's out of pocket.
One child, not bad, definitely doable for an excellent education with plenty of afterschool options and in-class culture.
In the 2006-2007 school year, all four of our children will be attending school. We'd be paying close to $10,000 for them to attend.
Let me give you a comparison though. Here in Manila, there are hundreds of Embassy employees and kids to go with them. We have 3 major school options (British, Brent and ISM) with others available as well. To send Rebecca to ECLC costs over $14, 000. Katherine is more.
The issue as I see it, is that there are a handful of children in Lome associated with the Embassy. No one wants to go to AISL because there is a superior choice to be had. People are willing to pay out of pocket to go to BSL. AISL is floundering, and post updates we read from 2002 stated they didn't know if AISL would continue to exist into the 2002-2003 school year. Apparently it is muddling along but not with the enrollment of the Embassy children. This is not a matter of finances for State, so we can't understand why the refusal to add the British School as a viable alternative.
The balls are rolling. While the current folks at post have done what they can in their time, we hope to bring some new life to their argument.
Hopefully we can get the Director of Overseas Schools to change his mind.

Monday, April 26, 2004

You're saying to yourself "Boy this site is dull now!"

My apologies for how pathetic the site has become since before our trip to Hong Kong. Honestly, since then I have been knee-deep in websites, e-mail and reservation forms for our R&R trip to New Zealand.

Our plan is developing. We have our flights reserved on Singpore Air (still waiting for the new price list and hopefully it doesn't do anything to the flight schedule). I have made hotel reservations in Aukland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hanmer Springs, Sydney and Singapore. I have bought tickets on the InterIslander Ferry and the TranzCoastal train. I have put in my reservation request for the RV and rental car. I still need to set up reservations for a Maori dinner, caving, Hobbiton site tour, Hot air balloon ride, and night safari.

Everything is being printed and stored in a 3-ring binder filled with page protectors. This will double as a postcard and ticket stub holder as we fly through our journey.

All of this is for 7 people. Our family and my mom.

Ian says I have no spontenaity. I wonder why.

I'm really hoping all this legwork will result in a relatively stree-free seamless trip filled with wonderful memories for all of us. If nothing else, I know that next time... all-inclusive package, all the way.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

And the verdict is in....

Do you know the country to which this flag belongs?

Flag of Togo

Flags courtesy of ITA's
Flags of All Countries used with permission.

You don't think it's going to be THAT easy, do you?
Come on, try to figure it out!
I'll give you a hint, it's a French speaking country. And it's not in Europe.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A Night Out at the CCP

Last night we ventured out with Laura and Ryan to the CCP to see "Maksim" in concert. The music was wonderful, though loud. It's like attending a rock concert but with the Flight of the Bumblebees as the opening and an intermediate portion of classical solos including Chopin's Nocturne. Ian's favorite is Croatian Rhapsody. Mine is Claudine.

In case you're wondering of whom I speak, Maksim is a 28 year old Croatian classical pianist (with a twist). He's currently touring Asia and you can buy his CD off Amazon. Along with most of the pieces off the CD, we heard a new one he recorded last month in London, which will be on the Olympic CD for then next Games.

He has 2 CDs out, "The Piano Player" and "Gestures". We own the first, and will be purchasing the second. I highly recommend you check him out.

Maksim Mrvica

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Happy Birthday Nicholas!

He's 4 today!

And to prove how grown up he is, as we were getting out of the car for preschool, he put his blanket on his seat and said "I'm big now, I can leave my blanket here."


Monday, April 19, 2004

The House That Fried Chicken Built

On Saturday we tried out Max's for lunch.

You'll see these periodically in malls or as stand-alone stores (there's one in Malate by the fountain). I'd always thought it was a fast food joint and wondered about the silverware and table cloths. It's more a mid-grade chicken joint.
Have you ever wondered what happens to those parts of the chicken that don't make it into a bucket of stateside KFC? They end up here in the Philippines. OK, that's not entirely true, but as Ian commented, we'll be so happy to have a break from hand-hacked chicken parts. So often, the chicken that comes in a bucket or basket is barely recognizable, but for the stubborn feathers that cling to the deep-fried skin. The fries were specialty house fries and we finally figured it out that they are baked sweet potato chunks. The ketchup, banana ketchup of course.
I have noticed that I'm getting used to the particular flavor Philippine chicken carries. The ketchup wasn't half bad either. And the shrimp basket was actually pretty tasty. I haven't determined if this is a good thing suggesting I'm acclimating or a sign we've been here too long.
Max's is a big wedding reception spot with or without the ceremony. It's a hopping joint but not one we'll be frequenting I don't think, even with the tantalizing soup in clay pots. They have a very limited menu, though the pitcher of Pepsi was way cool.
And as much as we'd joked about it... No, we didn't lick the walls.

A call went out a couple weeks ago...

And call us crazy, but had it not been over the exact time we had our Hong Kong trip, there's a good chance Ian would have applied for TDY in Iraq. It was for 3 weeks, immediate departure.

Go ahead, call us crazy.

Can you guess what tomorrow is?

Our big boy will be turning 4!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Update on Mom

A couple weeks back I finally had something partially taken care of that has bothered me for years.

Four moles were removed from my back and the sites stitched. Poor planning on my part had the procedure done the day Ian left for Bohol for 4 days, and the week before our trip to Hong Kong. The first day was a little hairy as my back was all bandaged up and sore. The lidocaine used for numbing causes me to get chilled and feel kind of off, and I wasn't supposed to pick up anything for a few days. This past Monday the stitches came out and 3 of the 4 are healing fine. One has been a slight problem since the beginning, with extended bleeding, and then reacting to the stitches. But all in all, I'm glad that part is done.
Now for the other half of my back.

Jonathon, all puffed up

It seems that the the reactions Jonathon has to mosquito and ant bites are getting more serious. I used to see large hot, red welts on his body where he'd be bitten or stung, but today after playing outside for a bit before going to preschool, portions of his face turned pick and swelled up, along with the bite spots on his arms. I took him directly to the clinic where it was determined that yes, he is extremely sensitive to bites and environmental irritants, like grass. He was given a dose of Benadryl, but when I picked him up after school the swelling hadn't gone down and there is a swollen part of his forehead, so I gave him a second dose. Now, after his nap, his face looks more normal, but the forehead swelling is still there. There is no obvious bite mark, and it's not pink.

Update: His face was actually all bitten up bu because of the swelling I couldn't tell. A couple days later and he looked normal again.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Weekend in Bohol

In the interest of the U.S. government, I spent last weekend in the province of Bohol. Bohol is a set of several islands in the central region of islands in the Philippines known as the Visayas. In the interest of the U.S. government, I got a massage on the beach, swam in the sea, went diving, and saw the tarsiers, the world's smallest primates. I did some work, too. (Pictures coming)

The goal of the trip was provincial reporting, a way to get out of Manila and talk to people in the provinces about what's important to them and what they think of the upcoming elections on May 10. So, with the help of a provincial official, my incredibly gracious host, I met with the governor, a congressman, several mayors, business leaders, the bishop, and others. To get a sense of the rest of the populace, I talked to farmers, restaurant workers, dive shop owners, bar patrons... the backbone of Bohol!
I stayed in Tagbilaran City, called "Tag City"... but only by me, because I keep mangling "Tagbilaran." The MetroCentre Hotel is a pretty nice business hotel. I also got the chance to experience Bohol's one television station, on its cable TV network. The station showed lots of ads. In between them, words appeared in the corner: "STOP" "EJECT" "PLAY". A very high-tech operation. In the evenings, they showed recent movies like James Bond's "Die Another Day" and "Rush Hour 2." They were also run by the TapeMaster, you could tell from the FBI Copyright warnings before the movie. Copyright violations are alive and well in Bohol. The vast majority of my time while staying at this hotel was spent in meetings, which are too boring to post here.
While I was meeting with the mayor of Corella, he took me to his town, home of the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary. This is a tarsier. It is found only in Borneo, Sumatra, and some Philippine islands. They are tiny, endangered, they have huge eyes and hairless tails longer than their body, and their heads can turn over 180 degrees around. Yeah, it's pretty much a rat with opposable thumbs. Some tarsier keepers toss the animals to tourists for pictures, but I was content with petting one.
I saw several resorts in Panglao Island, the resort area of Bohol. I had dinner twice at the Alona Palm, on Alona Beach. The Alona Palm is a beautiful resort with spacious rooms, a nice pool and good food. I first had dinner there with a congressman and his family. The second time, I ate there because I was pretending I wasn't staying at the Alona Tropical Resort.
As you can see from the site, this place is so bad only Germans will go there. It had no hot water, no fresh water (try showering and brushing your teeth with salt water. Go ahead, try it.) The towels had large brown stains that I'm going to tell myself are water stains. There was a fan and lamp in the room, but their cords were wrapped up because the room had no power outlets. The walls were paper-thin, so I woke up every 45 minutes or so. However, I must say that I only got _any_ room on the beach because my host arranged it. I checked four different resorts (including the Alona Palm), and they were all booked. I had dinner at the Alona Palm that evening, pretending that I wasn't staying next door. Later, I went out in the water, which was so salty that you could float with no effort at all. The sky was almost bright with the stars and moon. After I got out of the water, the Massage Patrol pounced on me. For 350 pesos (about 7 dollars), I got a massage on the beach. All was good, except that it was also a head massage, with oil. So my hair was filled with salt, sand and oil. And, as I said, no fresh water in the shower.
As I then found out, there was also no shampoo. After a frustrating and futile attempt to use soap, I asked the "front desk" (a little desk next to the bar) for some shampoo. "None, sir." Shocking. Again, the Alona Palm was my saving grace. I went next door, prepared to beg and offer everything short of multiple-entry visas for a bottle of shampoo. Only 150 pesos was necessary -- apparently this happened a lot.
The next morning, which I was eager to see because my partying neighbors didn't allow me much sleep, I walked along the beach. The sand in Bohol is almost like flour, powdery and light. Near the end of the beach, I found Philippine Islands Divers. I went on my first dive a few months ago, at Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island, and I was eager to try it again. With the help of Rena, a Japanese dive instructor there, I spent about 30 minutes in the pool going over the exercises I'd learned before. Important ones, like how to get your regulator back so you don't drown in a foreign country and make my Embassy package up all your stuff and ship it back to the States. (However, if I did die, it would be in the line of duty. So there are pluses.)
I dove down into what they call "The Pit," about 20 meters down. The marine life there was unlike I'd seen anywhere. Huge schools of fish, 2-foot-wide starfish and seemingly endless forests of coral were all over the place. If you've never gone diving before, it's a great place to start.
I hastily checked out, and asked the hotel for transportation to Bohol Beach Club, on the other side of Panglao Island. Several friends from the Embassy were staying there, so I thought I would visit before I left for the airport.
I should have been more specific about "transportation." I was expecting a car, perhaps a tricycle. Nope, I got a motorbike. So, there I was, with two bags, trying to figure out how I'd get to the resort alive. The driver took one suitcase on his lap, and I slung the laptop back around my neck, then held on tight to the seat rail.
During my time in the Philippines, I have gone diving and learned how to fly a plane so small it's like a bicycle on wheels. But this 15-minute motorbike trip was by far the most frightening. This guy didn't know the meaning of "leisurely." Gravel, dirt roads or 115-degree turns, he went at top speed. I did survive, albeit with a burn on my leg from touching the exhaust pipe when I got on. A relatively small price to pay.
The Bohol Beach Club is one of the largest resorts there, with spacious rooms and a long stretch of beach. They've got lots of seating, and good food. Altogether a good place to stay, I noticed from my 2-or-so hours there. After having lunch, I headed to the airport (in a car, thankfully) and flew home.
I'll be returning on May 10 as an election observer, and I'm looking forward to it. I might even spring for the extra cost of renting a plane and fly myself there. But I won't be taking a motorbike.

Friday, April 2, 2004

Friday. 2 April 2004. A timeline (of more than just one day).

Wake-up time is arguable. Jonathon was crying a good part of the night and he joined me at some point so I was up and down, awake, asleep, repeat.

So, shall we say 6 a.m. when I actually got out of bed? OK, fair enough.

6-7 a.m. Get all the kids ready for their various schools. That's right, the boys started in AmeriKids this Monday and are having a great time. The first day they hugged me and said goodbye. By Thursday they were waving from across the room. I was devastated. You know, it honestly made me wonder why I was a stay-at-home mom. Having the last baby leave the house has left me with a gaping hole. It's not bad enough knowing I'll never have another infant, right? My boys have to go and grow up. Someone might be wondering why I put both of them in instead of just Nicholas.
AmeriKids is a one room school with kids aged 2-5 on the Seafront Compound, adjacent to the CLO (they have a door between them) and next to the clinic. There's a maximum of 15 kids for the room and currently there are 10 children enrolled, with 1 teacher and 2 aides. The room is covered floor to ceiling with successes of past projects. There is a playground on the compound, as well as open fields, swimming pool and all the other rec center fun. Kids are always rotating through, in the past 3 weeks my boys and 3 other children are new arrivals. That's one reason why I wanted to start them now rather than at the beginning of the new school year. They will know the adults, room and procedures when the year starts with a group of new kids.
Jonathon loves this room as much as Nicholas. It's a playland and I just couldn't imagine dropping Nicholas off each day with new toys and friends, and dragging Jonathon away to the less fun place known as home with boring old mom. For everyone's sanity (and a support for Nicholas who is much more reserved than Jonathon), they are going together.
Plenty of people have said now's a great time to get a hobby, or jump into something I've always wanted to do, and I have. Scrapbooking. And why? I love photos. I love photos of my kids. I love looking at the photos of my kids and watching them grow over and over again. I enjoy organizing things and seeing my accomplishments. Photography and all it entails covers every aspect of what I love. If I can't have my kids home all the time and I can't bring home new additions, then this will have to fill the void.
I know what you're saying. Woman, get a therapist. You're too wrapped up in this and you need to find yourself and expand a bit. This isn't a bad thing, this is something you obviously desperately need. Get a job, volunteer, be involved, learn something new. We have a cello and my parents sent an instruction book. I have a long way to go with learning the piano. I have stacks of books to read.
I promise I will. It's been a week with the boys in preschool, four hours each day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's not forever and it's only been a week. I've been a full-time at-home mom for 8 years. Give me a little time to adjust.
The boys' adjustment? Last night Nicholas woke to go potty and broke into the ABC song while half-asleep. Jonathon is singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And I can already tell that my walls will never be the same as they insist I hang up the projects they come home with every day.
Thank goodness next week is spring break!
7-7:30 a.m. Drive the girls to school. It was Sports Day today so all morning the Elementary School kids were rotating around stations of physical activities. We stayed with the ECLC kids until it was time to take the boys to preschool. First stop was the Middle School gym for the kick-off. Let me say how impressed I was with the number of parents there and not just moms, there were plenty of dads. Parents were openly invited and encouraged to volunteer to help with games, be scorekeepers and participate fully. The Cintrons and Allegras were there. One parent for each boy, of course! It was great. Since there was only one of me and the boys were going to school I ended up missing quite a bit.
7:30-8:30 a.m. Philippine National Anthem, a raised hand with a promise to place nice, make friends and have fun, and the kids were off. The ECLC went to the Elementary School gym for relay races. Not just for the kids, oh no. Parents were jumping through hoola hoops, pushing kids on roller boards, passing pillows and being even funnier than the kids. If you've seen a room of 5 and 6 year olds you know how funny they are. Throw a few dozen parents into the mix who all have that killer competitive instinct (oh, you THINK you're going to collect dirty laundry faster than me, huh?) and it was pandemonium to make your sides split. Even this mom played some. I passed on the hoola hoop jumprope as I figured that would be too much for my shoulder, but I can pass a pillow with the best of them. The boys sat on the sidelines and watched, though I know they would have loved to ride around on the tricycles outfitted as ponies.
There is one thing ISM does not lack and that is supplies and equipment. If you enroll in the school, you'll soon see.
My plan was to drive the boys to preschool then return to ISM.
8:30-9 a.m. Drive the boys to Seafront in yucky traffic. Remember I said Jonathon was crying most of the night? He made up for it by falling asleep in the car. Dropped Nicholas off, had no time to get my bandages changed so decided to do it when I picked him up.
9-9:15 a.m. Drive Jonathon home to sleep since he's sick anyway. Preschool wouldn't have been good. The housekeeper is there so I can go back to ISM. I realized I had no film for the 38mm camera and I wanted to take photos of the field part of Sports Day since all the video tapes are filled so I can't use the videocamera, and Ian took the digital camera with him to Bohol.
The ABS light comes on in the car.
9:15-9:30 a.m. Buy film. There's an outdoor kiosk that would be convenient but it's FILM and it's OUTDOORS and it's 94 degrees. You know how the boxes say keep in a cool, dark place? That is not it. So I went in to Rustans. No one at the counter. Someone finally shows and I must get a slip for what I want, pay at the chechout then provide the receipt to the original counter in order to actually get the film. *sigh*
9:30-9:45 a.m. Drive to ISM. There was an accident on McKinley yesterday. Not just any old accident but one where the car was on it's side, full up on the side of the road, smashed into the wall. It was awful. The scene was all cleared up but I do wonder about the driver. The road has loads of signs that say to slow down around dangerous curves. It seems that person wasn't as careful. That or he was swerving away from someone driving directly towards him in his own lane. It's quite common here. But for that sort of impact he was going pretty fast.
9:45-10:45 a.m. Arrive at school 15 minutes late and the ECLC kids have finished in the gym, had their snack and are in the yard playing parachute, tossing balls into baskets, riding scooters and trikes around a course, playing balloon and beachball volleyball. The volleyball was my favorite field game. The net was right on the ground and there must have been at least 50 beachballs and balloons. The goal was to have your side clear of inflatables which is of course impossible. Meanwhile I received a text from the housekeeper saying that Jonathon was awake and was crying that he wanted to go to school. I told her I'd be home at 10:45.
Two more activities. "Princes and Princesses". What a great twist on tag. One person from each class was the witch and wore a purple shirt. The witch ran around tagging all the members of the royal family. Tagging turned them into frogs. Little people hopping all over. But the other royals would go around kissing them and set them free from the spell. If you're like me, you just said "They do what?" OK, kissing in this means putting your fingers tips from one hand all together, touching your friend's head then popping open your hand and making a kissing sound. Really cute.
And finally, the hula hoop dancing game. I feared the worst as I cannot hula hoop. Instead, the hoops were on the ground, parents and kids were boogeying all over and when the music stopped, we hopped inside the hoops. As the song went on, hoops were removed and more people had to squeeze into fewer hoops. At one point, Carlos ran off with our hoop but we chased him down.
What specific factors did I like about the morning with ECLC? Not one activity was designed for a winner (or a loser). No one counted the number of people in the relays. We just went until everyone had a turn, kid and parent alike. Some parents ran twice to give the rest of the kids a chance. Everyone was cheered on. On the field, the goal was working together or seeing how well you could do personally. With the trike course, no one was racing against anyone else. With volleyball kids, balls and parents were everywhere. No one got hurt, no one cared about winning. It was just fun. The big omission for the day was I hadn't packed extra clothes for the stinky kids to change in to. At this point I wasn't going to go home and come back again, so the girls were stuck being smelly.
Katherine's class was coming out as Rebecca's was going in, so I stayed for a bit with her as well as she did the parachute and tossed rings around cones. She had a good time, but by now it was 10:45 when I said I'd be home, so I made it by 11 a.m. and was 15 minutes late. Jonathon had been crying consisitently since he woke up. It was time to take a break.
11-11:30 a.m. Break time at home while I assure Jonathon that we will go to school for lunchtime.
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Traffic was miserable but we headed to Seafront anyway. As Jonathon was getting buckled, my watery-eyed, runny-nosed boy says his ear hurts. I was planning on going to the clinic while he was having his lunch at AmeriKids. Looked like he would be going to the clinic too.
12-12:15 p.m. Drop Jonathon off to let him eat while it's quiet time. I went next door to have my bandages changed and I warn them that I'll be bringing Jonathon in. Nancy the nurse asks if I can do it after lunch break. *sigh* One of my excision sites still hasn't stopped bleeding. It's been 2 days and the silly thing won't quit. I have to wonder if I didn't overdo it earlier when playing with the kids.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Can't find my keys to put my stash of ointment and bandages in the car. Return to the clinic, no keys. Look in the car, no keys. Ah, I remember the trunk is unlocked and there is an extra key stashed. At least I'm not envisioning walking home any more. I called up Laura to see if we could hang out at her place for about half an hour until I can take Jonathon in to the clinic and she says fine. Even though she feels lousy, she's still welcoming. What a great person, I really appreciated it. I checked in on the boys, and find my keys on Jonathon's lunch box. See me physically exhale.
Jonathon was laying down and looked ready to fall asleep again. Nicholas could not stay down and was excited to show me his project and tell me about the water play they did earlier. That's why we pack extra clothes, for days like this.
We bummed at Laura's for a bit and ate her out of peanut M&Ms, when it was time to go back to the clinic. She was kind enough to keep Nicholas while we were gone. Jonathon is a perfect patient and you know he's sick when he doesn't even remember to ask for a lollipop at the end. And guess what, all that crying last night was for the double ear infection he has.
Hello amoxicillan and thank you preschool!
2-2:15 p.m. Drive home. The ABS light went off. My back itches. The girls got home at 3 and we're having a movie and cartoon rest of the day.
I don't even know what to have for dinner and now it's 5 p.m. I do know one thing though.
I refuse to do any more driving today.