Vitals: Nothing…Neither Oleg nor Nadya called on Friday, so we have no idea whether they got the paper and the court date for Roman. I called Friday about 4pm, but no one has called back. And so we wait....
Non Vitals: So Bill woke up Saturday morning with visions of sausage links dancing in his head. We found breakfast sausage at the Ashan and he and the kids had been craving it for three days. He cooked it about half way and then woke me up so I could make French toast. Bill doesn’t make French toast. He cooks bacon, sausage, Zatarains Red Beans and Rice, and fried egg sandwiches. All other cooking is outside the scope of his interest. Therefore, it is my job to make the French toast.
I have to say before I go into this, that I am not a complete whiner. My first summer in Ukraine (back in 1988) included caviar (not actually tasty) warm beer and dried fish. I spent a summer in Turkey where I traveled on hot buses surrounded by Turks who didn’t use deodorant and had clearly never heard of dental floss. I spent two weeks in Africa where actually, the food wasn’t too bad but still, there are some unique smells in these places that you just can’t produce in America. Not only that, my dad is a veterinarian. My first job was cleaning dog cages in his small-animal clinic the year of the first Parvo outbreak. I spent every morning for a whole summer up to my elbows in bloody dog diarrhea and vomit. I have five kids. I have eaten dried leftover hot dogs, day old baby liver and Oreo cookies dipped in ketchup and shoved into my mouth with chubby, slimy toddler hands. I have eaten kidney, sheep brain, cow tongue (complete with tastebuds) fried blood and Aunt Rachael’s meatloaf.*
However, nothing prepared me for the smell of that Ukrainian sausage. OH MY GOODNESS. I can’t tell you what it smelled like in polite company, but it was AWFUL. I am certain they wasted NO body parts in the making of that sausage. I walked into our kitchen and walked right back out again. Bill followed me waving his spatula and gesturing frantically --hoping to make sure I didn’t comment in front of the kids. He needn’t have bothered. He took one look at my face and then opened the apartment door and the balcony window to get a cross breeze and air out the kitchen.
I hid in the bathroom. He came after me a few minutes later with another plea for French toast, so I went back into the kitchen. I have to admit, it did smell better, but still not good. I closed the door so the smell wouldn’t waft into the living room where the kids were, which may sound stupid but we couldn’t leave the door and windows open since it was frigid outside. Bill asked me again about the toast, but we only have one pan, so I had to wait. I sat at the bar watching him and wondering how many different body parts were sizzling on my stove top. Then Bill, who up until this point in our marriage has appeared to be a fairly rational human being, cut off the end of one of the links and tasted it. “It’s not bad,” he said, chewing thoughtfully. “It tastes like bratwurst.” Well then, that’s the last time I’ll ever eat bratwurst. He offered me a taste. I couldn’t do it. If this had been some peasant woman gleefully handing me sizzling, mixed organ pieces, I would have eaten it for the sake of the gospel, but this was my husband. Nothing Doing.
Bill served up the sausage. I made French toast. We aired out the kitchen one more time and called the kids. The good news is: they ate it. The bad news is: they are going to want us to buy more. Bill insisted that once you get past the smell it’s not so bad. All I can say is that next Saturday, they can eat that sausage with fried egg sandwiches. I’m staying in bed.
We had the kids do half a day’s worth of school because we are getting Ruslan on Monday so, of course, that day will be shot. Then we went out to the center of the city to look at a war memorial (that huge statue that we saw from the other side of the river) and a monastery that advertised some caves—catacombs-- that we never did find. We found the monastery, but all the signs for the “caves” just took us to other little chapels. It appears as though people took it as a pilgrimage. They walked a certain path, easily two miles, to all these different chapels and lit candels at each one.
The kids wanted me to tell you that at one point, right when we were in the center of the city, by a McDonalds, I sent Paul to time out. This happens often, so much so that I don’t even have to explain a reason anymore since “generally annoying” has enough meaning to keep him quiet. So, anyway, I sent Paul to stand next to a light pole in the middle of a paved eating area with umbrellas and some tables. The light pole looked like one of those Victorian, cast iron lights, about 12 feet tall with three decorative ball lights on the top and it was bolted to the stone sidewalk. Just as the rest of us prepared for five minutes of peace, Paul leaned against the light pole. We all stood with our mouths open as the entire light pole started to lean from Paul’s weight. It turns out those bolts were decorative also. I felt like a cartoon character, frozen mid stream with my arms outstretched. I think it got to about a 70 degree angle before I finally got out the sound, “AHHH!” --about the same time the rest of the family started screaming, attracting the attention of the whole square. Paul’s eyes lit up and he grabbed the pole and slowly pulled it back into a standing position. I told him to go stand next to a cement pole, and STOP LEANING!
We finally got home around 6:00. That was Saturday. Today is Sunday and it’s about 2:00 as I write this. We have been goofing off all morning. I keep thinking we will go check out a church somewhere, but by the time Sunday comes, we are all wiped out. We’ll probably stay in the apartment until about 5:00, when everyone else goes home and then head out to do some grocery shopping. Sunday evening is the ONLY time that the stores are not PACKED, so we’ve been doing our shopping now.
Wish us luck!!
*Name has been changed to ensure family harmony. But to quote my cousin, “That was the most awful meatloaf I have ever put into my mouth.” We all still remember it.