Odds and ends from inside my brain.
I realized this morning that yesterday was exactly three months since my surgery. I'm amazed and all sorts of paranoid about my skin, but mostly relieved that I have healed so well. We received the bills a few weeks ago. Embassy London had picked up the tab while I was in London, sent me the bills which I submitted to my insurance to be reimbursed, then I will turn over the funds to Embassy Lome', who in turn will pass them back to Embassy London. It's confusing and complicated with about a dozen steps where it could all go wrong, but here's hoping it will be a successful process. Anyone want to know what the grand total was for visits, surgery, hospital stay and follow-up? A mere $10,000. Tack on the flights ($2000), the hotel in Accra ($200) and the hotel in London ($2000). I certainly don't see anyone doing medevac for fun.
Ian is still gone, thankfully on a much cheaper trip than mine, and won't be home until sometime on Saturday. I should really ask him when he's supposed to return, huh? While he's been gone, the kids and I have stayed mellow. We played Jumanji and Simply Suspects, read The Day of the Dragon King (Magic Tree House) at bedtime, played too many games of Zuma on the XBox, had french toast for dinner, and started and completed a drawing project for school. The project was given out on Monday by the student council, and due today, Thursday. That isn't much time, but the girls stayed up late last night to finish them, and both pictures turned out great. When they get them back I'll try to remember to scan them. For me, I've been doing hours and hours of scrapping. I'm >< to being finished with our home leave trip from last summer; I don't want to see another beach picture for a long time. Next I'll do Hong Kong 2004 for something totally different. Again, if I remember I'll take pictures when they're done.
I don't want anyone to get the impression we prefer to have Ian gone. Far from it. Several times a day Nicholas says he wishes dad was back, and the other kids keep a daily tab of how many days left to go. We all miss him.
Yesterday quite a storm rolled through. Usually they come at night, but yesterday's started about 1:30 p.m., stayed heavy for a couple hours and dripped for hours after that. Great for the ground, great for the air. When I walked Katherine to a friend's house, the air was clean. No dust, no fish, no exhaust, no pee. Just cool and fresh and wonderful. Today, we're suffering the backlash of standing water and soggy ground. Within minutes of being outside this morning I had an assortment of new mosquito bites. I don't usually spend much time outside in the morning but today I was replacing light bulbs in the yard lamps. I could have waited, but then I get sidetracked.
Seeing as the main topic of the this week's Atupani newsletter is safety during the recent rise of violent crime in Lome', I replaced 4 bulbs out front, tried to replace the one over the front door (someone needs to show me how to take out a pop-in bulb), completed my weekly radio check, spoke with the gardener (more on that next) and locked the doors. We also still have the dog, which is a security measure in itself. I learned today that Labs (and Lab-a-likes) are lousy guard dogs. No kidding, Sable would love someone to death before intentionally hurting them. But in her defense, she is exactly what she needs to be... a dog. Even better, a dog that likes jumping on things. It's a nuisance and a pain for the family, but for strangers and locals and stranger locals, it's great because dogs are not just not well liked, but feared in general. Having a bundle of energy racing towards you and hopping like a bunny is a great deterrent for would-be trouble makers.
Of course that does leave the problem of differentiating between those we don't mind her irritating and those we do. Namely, us. That's where we've introduced the leash, and it really does work by both keeping her at arms length and limiting her range of jumping options. It also keeps us noticeably cleaner. With the rain comes mud, and muddy paws. Yuck.
So while I was with the dog, replacing lights and keeping her on the leash, I spoke with the guardener. This is no smal feat. I spoke to him in French, mangled I'm sure, but understandable. I asked him to purchase new flowers for by the front wall. It is currently scrawny bougainvilla and dirt, but he pointed out that previously there had been trees there and the ground is completely tied up with old roots. He's tried several times to plant things, but they get choked. He showed me a couple plants that will grow, but they are bushy, not little flowers, and we finally agreed to try more of those. Just about all our walls are covered in bushes or climbing plants so this one doesn't have to be different. We'll see what comes of it.
In other news: Katherine is in school (yes, that is news), grades 2 and up are doing assessments, P.E. is the bane of our existence, Jonathon can read and do addition and subtraction, Rebecca is learning multiplication, and life goes on.