When toddlers attack

Friday, February 24, 2012

Puppies, unicorns and rainbows

Just got back from taking my mom to the oncologist -- she's cancer-free!  The spot in her lung is half the size of what it was and still shrinking, and is apparently just a result of the pneumonia. 

We're all very relieved.

Holy crap.  Now what do we do? 

Time to call the contractor!

Acabo de volver de llevar a mi madre a la oncóloga -- no tiene cáncer!  La mancha en su pulmón es la mitad del tamaño que era y está disminuyendo todavía.  La oncóloga dice que era resultado de la pulmonía.
Estamos muy aliviados.
Santa mierda, como decimos en inglés, y ahora qué?
Es hora de llamar al contratista!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The first 4Ds

Introducing -- well, I'm not sure whom I'm introducing, but my goodness, there are little people in there:

Here's Bicho One.  Looks grouchy. 

Here's Bicho Two.  Looks like it has half a nose, but Dr. Shivani assures me that's just an anomaly of the ultrasound.  I already knew that.  No, really.  I did.
I'm thinking "boy" and "girl."  Well, okay, actually, I'm thinking "toad" and "alien," but I know "boy" and "girl" are more likely what I'll get.  Or boy and boy.  Or girl and girl.  Either way, we'll be very happy.  As long as they don't keep looking like toad and alien.  Developmentally, Bicho Two is delightfully average at this stage of the game... Bicho One is a bruiser.

Our tickets are bought -- we're flying Singapore Air via Narita and Singapore, a whopping 49 hours of travel time on the outbound but I've always wanted to fly them.  Any itinerary from L.A. includes an apparently unavoidable 24-hour stopover in Singapore, which is fine, because I still remember the restaurants I visited on my last trip there and plan to spend the whole day eating.  Of course, if the babies come early, we'll want to get out of there as quickly as possible and won't feel like eating anything, but for now I'm imagining everything goes according to plan.

My mom has her appointment with the oncologist on Friday -- today she got a bit of cautiously good news from her internist, who had seen the scans, but he's not the specialist... fingers crossed.

Y de ahora en adelante, voy a intentar hacer traducciones en español, ya que parece que a mi marido le da demasiada pereza poner el dedo en el teclado.  Disculpad los errores.

Presentando... bueno, no sé a quien estoy presentando, pero jolín, hay personas pequeñas allí dentro.

Bicho Uno parece de mal carácter.

A Bicho Dos parece que le falta media naríz, pero la Dra. Shivani me asegura que solo era una anomalía del escaner. Lo cual ya sabía. No, lo digo en serio, ya lo sabía. Pero mirad los pómulos que tiene!

Estoy pensando "niño" y "niña." Bueno, la verdad es que estoy pensando "sapo" y "extraterrestre," pero sé que es más probable que voy a recibir "niño" y "niña." O dos niños. O dos niñas. Sean lo que sean, estaremos contentos... menos que sigan pareciendo sapo y extraterrestre.

En cuanto su desarrollo, Bicho Uno es un toro; Bicho Dos es perfectamente mediano.

Ya hemos comprado los billetes de avión -- volamos con Singapore Airlines por Narita y Singapore, total de 48 horas viajando a la ida, pero siempre he querido volar con ellos. Cualquier itenerario desde Los Ángeles incluye una escala inevitable en Singapore, lo cual está bien, porque todavía recuerdo los restaurantes que visité en mi último viaje y planeo pasar todo el día comiendo. Claro, si los peques deciden llegar pronto, querremos ir de allí lo más rápido posible y que no nos apetecerá comer nada. Pero por el momento estoy imaginando que todo va según el plan. Puedo soñar.

Mi madre tiene su cita con la oncóloga el viernes -- hoy recibió lo que puede ser una buena noticia de su internista, que había echado un vistazo a los escaners... pero él no es la especialista. Voy con los dedos cruzados.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Merhaba from Istanbul

At least, that's how the post was going to start.

Yes, I'm still alive.  2012 is the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese calendar.  I was born in the Year of the Dragon (we don't need to dwell on which one).  That means 2012 is supposed to be super lucky for me and mine... well, okay for me.  So far, it hasn't worked out that way, especially for my mom.

Here's what I was set to post the second week of January:

Istanbul is cold in January.  Not just cold; a damp, achy chill that seems to penetrate how ever many layers of clothing you've wrapped yourself in.  It's also rainy.

So, perhaps continuing the thread of parental torture I began in my last post, this is where we've brought my mother to celebrate her 80th birthday (which is actually this coming Friday and which we'll celebrate with my aunt in a hopefully warm Palm Springs when we pick Argos up from the doggy camp where he spent the past week).  Turkish airlines was offering a too-good-to-miss January fare from L.A. to Istanbul, so for the same price of one ticket to Johannesburg, all three of us are in the former capital of the Byzantine/Ottoman Empire.

Travelling with your elderly parent I imagine is a bit like travelling with children -- take it slow, limit yourself to a couple of sights each day, and pack plenty of patience.  We're staying in a little bed and breakfast right below the Blue Mosque in the old section of the city, Sultanahmet.  Over the past month, we've let her know she's going somewhere, somewhere cold, and to pack accordingly.  For some reason, she decided she was going to Montreal, which was fine with us, because if she packed warmly enough for Montreal, Istanbul wouldn't pose any problem.
I didn't finish. 

The one person on earth who can pin my mom's arm behind her back and make her beg for mercy in the drama department is my aunt.  When I told her of our Istanbul plans -- clinched by a 500 dollar round trip fare from LAX -- I tried to get her to join us, even offering to pay her fare.  "I'll think about it," she told me.  The next day, she sent me a cut-and-pasted travel advisory from that inspiration to thousands of timid American tourists, the U.S. State Department.  It warned of all the ills that could befall us in Turkey -- mostly in Turkish Kurdistan, which is like saying that you should avoid San Diego because someone might be pissed off in Denver.  Not only that, she said, but "you'll KILL your mother.  Are you INSANE?"

It's always fun until someone catches a communicable disease...
Istanbul was lovely.  Cold and damp, but lovely -- even though cabbies there try harder than their counterparts in many cities (Delhi excepted) to inflate the fare and refuse to take even an 80-year-old woman anywhere if it's not clear across the city -- and even though I left my wallet in the back of a cab and had to frantically call the U.S. to cancel my credit cards.  We brought my mom back fully intact and went to Palm Springs to confound my aunt's predictions.  That evening, Friday, as we were heading home with a very happy, stinky Argos, she developed a slight cough.  On Tuesday, she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia -- and my aunt wasn't speaking to me. 

She spent the week there.  That Friday, she had a CT scan which showed a mass on her lung which might have been due to the pneumonia -- or might be cancerous, a product of her supposedly early stage breast cancer last summer.  They won't know until a second scan later this month.  The news came just as we were about to sign the paperwork for the loan to add on to the house in preparation for the twins.

Now, all is on hold.  If my mom is sick, we can't subject her to life in a construction zone.  If she's not, we'll still be living in a construction zone when the twins arrive.  Either way, it appears the twins' first home stateside will be in an apartment somewhere.  But for now, my mother is in decent spirits, pretty much recovered, and back home... and all is strangely calm.    Aside from a nagging sense of filial guilt and that voice in my head that keeps squeaking -- in spite of a vigorous self-defense and my aunt's apology -- that maybe she was right.