Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Home today.

I need to find more days at home by myself. Today I'm finishing up the pillow covers I'm making for the library. I also have about 1000 of Ian's shirts to iron. I need to make a final decision what to do with the kids in music class tomorrow. And I have to NOT forget that a) we're going to Monica's this afternoon for French and b) today is Ash Wednesday.

I need to make a list.

Monday, February 27, 2006

We're off and running on another week.

After quite a pleasant weekend at home, we're into another week.

Encyclopedias for the library have been purchased through ebay and are on their way. It's a 2004 World Book set which will update our references about 10 years. I do wish the decision had been made months ago, several classes are currently assigned research projects, but I can only be thankful that it has been done.
The questionable PPD was read by another doctor, and a chest xray gave a clean bill of health to the teacher.
R&R plans are coming along. We have our flight reservations and three of the four hotel reservations we need.
This is as good a place to ask because otherwise I'll go by what's in the Lonely Planet guides... anyone have a hotel recommendation for a family of 6 in Riga, Latvia? Also, since we're traveling between countries we don't want to rent a car and nothing I've read encourages the use of the trains. The ecolines and eurolines buses seem to be a great way to travel through the Baltics. Anyone have any experience with them?
I'm starting to get excited :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Surrounded by Authors

First my cousin puts out his Ayurvedic cookbook, now Jeff has his book on Amazon preorder.

I feel like I should write something and get it published, just to keep up with the Joneses!

Kidding guys, I'm very proud of both of you. Congrats!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Gonna make you wait a bit longer

All the news that's boring to you, but day to day living here....

I do have a handwritten journal of my time in London and the surgery. Over the following week, I’ll type it up and tell you all about the fantastic medevac coordinators and the wonderful plastic surgeons who took care of me.
Last week, avian flu was confirmed in Nigeria (two countries away, but does Benin really count?). Post there is on authorized departure. Yesterday we had a flock of herons in our tree, something that’s never happened while we’ve lived here. Migratory birds are not high on our happy list at the moment. None were found floating in the pool this morning, so we count our blessings. Ian is duty officer and he received a phone call about a discovered dead bird yesterday morning. My first thought was “Birds die”. If there were a dozen birds laying about the yard, that would be a concern. But you know, even if there were, Togo doesn’t have the resources to test for bird flu. I’m not sure what the plan is should it need to.
Katherine has a cavity. Since it’s an obvious cavity and causing some minor pain, it’s something we need to deal with. I sure hope the clinic has a recommendation for someone local who can handle simple fillings. I can just imagine being told that she has to be medevaced for something so simple, and I’m not pleased with the prospect. Everyone cross your fingers that come Tuesday we’ll have a local gameplan.
On Thursday evening right after I returned home, Ian had a board meeting at the school. There’s some confusion over whether or not one of the teachers has tested positive for TB exposure. The current decision at school is to listen to the doctor’s diagnosis of “not positive for TB, but a rash that shows poor diet and weak blood”. Trust me, I’m looking up TB test sites to see if this is valid or pure quackery. I spoke with the school director and informed her of Katherine’s sensitivity to any TB exposure whatsoever, and suggested strongly that they call in another doctor to get a second opinion. We already know that treatment involves 6-9 months of daily INH, and while TB is a very slow developing disease, I don’t feel that waiting around for six months to retest is in anyone’s best interest. Well, certainly not my family's.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm home, I'm home, I'm home!

While London is a lovely city and I had a great time with my mom, I'm very very glad to be back home. I had planned on being away 5-6 days and ended up being gone for nearly 11 days. It makes things interesting when you've only packed enough underwear for the shorter stay.

Here's a quick note to say, before I carry my exhausted self over to the couch to spend some much needed time with my husband, if you have the choice get Medevacd to London. My care there was exceptional and while I have quite a bit of healing time in front of me, several months at least, I feel great and don't look too pathetic anymore.
I was medevacd for a basal cell carcinoma (scary term for non-malignant yet progressive skin cancer) that needed to be removed. Years of sun exposure have caught up with me, but with expert attention from two plastic surgeons the scar will hardly be visible and my health has been restored. I can't be thankful enough.
Take care all of you. And please use your SPF. And wear a hat.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Stay tuned...

Haven't heard from us much lately, because Michele has been away for the past week and a half. She returns Thursday evening, though, so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Happy Birthday, KATHERINE!

Katherine is 10 today. She's TEN! Double digits... One - oh...


Saturday, February 4, 2006

It's been a heck of a couple weeks.

There's a lot going on here. Nothing earth-shattering, which is a relief, but our little family has been through a rough time and next week will be something new for all of us again.

The school: Two weeks ago was the worst week we'd had all school year. This week was considerably better. After a couple meetings and some creative thinking, the French teacher is trying to teach our children useful FSL information. The issues with the music teacher have been resolved. He was fired. Currently there is no music program. There are still other issues to be resolved, but we're not sure where to go with them. Perhaps we should let the rest of the year pass and start fresh in the fall.
Work in the library continues. We've moved the table in the junior room and placed a carpet on the floor with cushions adjacent to the low book shelves. It has become an inviting, slightly more comfortable place that welcomes children. They take off their shoes, curl on a cushion and instinctively stay quiet. New fans have been purchased by the school, so the temperature in the junior room is finally pleasant as well.
I've started volunteering in Rebecca and Nicholas's literacy time each morning. Suddenly I'm not home much anymore.
Health: Last week we had our house and yard sprayed. Sable managed to ingest enough to get poisoned. The vet came by right away and gave her an injection, then returned in the evening to explain her meds. Thankfully she is doing much much better.
I came down with a cold on Monday. By Thursday my voice was entirely gone. I hope to be completely better by this Monday, but I think some medication will play a greater role in how I feel than actual germ eradication. Thankfully Nicholas only had a day of feeling under the weather.
Katherine's neck is all better from her fall on the monkey bars. There is a low set of bars suitable for climbing not swinging, and while Katherine was walking over them her footing slipped and her arms flailed landing her neck directly on a bar. The RMO was in town and checked her over but pronounced her OK. At that same visit, I had a second opinion about a questionable spot on my skin. He concurred that it was something that warranted concern and a medevac has been scheduled.
Next week: I won't be in town. Monday I head to Accra, Ghana to catch a flight to London and see a specialist. A true blessing, my mom will meet me there. Not that London is a big scary place, but we all know that sometimes you really want Mom. My family will be here, Ian will work shortened hours to accommodate the school schedule and I'll be back next Saturday.
Take care all.

You know, I don't even have this card...

But this sort of news story bugs the heck out of me anyway. We're not big credit card users in the first place (not anymore I should say), since the debit card came about.

I realize that having a credit card is a risky proposition. There's the chance you'll go crazy with unnecessary spending. There's a chance you'll only pay the minimum and take up 10 years of your life to eliminate the debt. What gets me though are the good credit card users and how much the companies despise them. The Barclaycard in the U.K. has decided that if a member pays his or her entire bill several months in a row, the company will shorten their payment time. The rational? It says it "never guarantees customers a fixed payment date each month" and they "clearly ... are not making as much money out of customers that pay their bill in full as (they) are out of those that borrow."
I didn't realize the credit card companies were hurting so. In fact, every other news story I hear about credit cards involve just how high a debt balance (into the billions of dollars) we all collectively carry.
Their suggestion? "A simple way to avoid the risk of any late payment charge was, Mr Barber said: "to set a direct debit payment up on the account.
"It is universally good advice to set up a direct debit for at least the minimum amount.
"That way you can make sure you are not going to be hit with any late payment charges, and obviously if you want to pay more on top of that direct debit it is very easy to do so." "
No late payment charges, but plenty of interest will grow. Just what the credit card companies want, and good money-minded customers avoid.
I'm thinking it's finally time to call in those 3 card cancellations we've been planning for the past month.