Thursday, December 9, 2010

Boxes, Birthdays, Bend-a-glows and Bathrooms

Day 12 to 21.  Good Grief.  We looked at the calendar EVERY MORNING in Ukraine and the days were slow as molasses.  We've been home three weeks now and it seems like only a few days have passed.

This is probably because I've barely had time to breathe.  Here is what's been happening, in no particular order.

Bill stayed with us the week of Thanksgiving.  Then he spent the second week in Houston, TX for some sort of meeting, returned home for the weekend and left on Sunday afternoon for Ukraine.  He went back to get Roman (boy #2) and is there right now-- patiently enduring the indescribable suffering of life in Kyiv. 

Actually, he's pretty miserable, so pray for him.  They hit trouble on the second day.  Our facilitators forgot that they needed a notarized, apostiled paper from me to get Roman's passport.  They finally decided to try to get it using the power of attorney that I sent a few months ago.  We should know if this will work by this afternoon.  If it doesn't work it will mean another delay for Bill and we'll have to decide whether to fly him home or have him wait it out over there. 

We've been debating this on line.  It's 5am here and about noon in Ukraine.  Bill is with Roman at some sort of office making the initial application for his passport.  We started texting when I woke up and Bill just sent me these pictures of Roman.

So amazing, that we live in an age in which I can get an instant photo, wireless at 5am.  I suppose it's no more amazing than skype, but the fact that he sent this from his PHONE and I got it instantly on my laptop, that I'm writing on in bed, still amazes me.

Anyway, all that is to say, Bill is gone and should be back Thursday, December 16th, if everything goes well.  ...yeah. 

In the meantime, I've been helping my neighbor move.  This is my-neighbor-that-I-love and I must say, I don't merely love her, I adore her.  However, she does have this one teeny-tiny little personality quirk....she's a hoarder.  Her entire life is packed away in boxes in her basement and attic: bags and bags of stuffed animals, toys, decorations, books, awards, tools and everything that anyone in her family has ever bought or touched.  As far as I know, she hasn't gotten rid of anything in thirty years.

The neighbor ladies have been taking turns going over there and helping her box up her life.  If I couldn't get over there in the afternoons, I snuck over after the kids went to sleep.  You may wonder why I haven't been writing.  It's because I've been boxing.  The idea of throwing anything away or sending it to Goodwill is out of the question.  So, her husband rented the largest model Ryder truck available and we set to packing.  A move that we all thought would take a few days has extended from the day before Thanksgiving to well into December and they're still only half done.  The first day they moved out the furniture.  Since then, he's been back for another three full loads of stuff and there is easily enough stuff left for two to three more Ryder truck loads.  ...They have two houses where they are going.  One to live in and one for storage.  It's all good. 

Luckily, Ruslan has been moderately easy, mostly because we hit a bottle neck.  No one in the medical community would TOUCH him until he was seen by a doctor.  Finally, on Tuesday, December 7th, Ruslan got a general physical (for a low, low price that my insurance is paying) and I got a piece of paper stating that my boy has CP.  Never mind that this fact is intuitively obvious to the casual observer.  It MUST be written on the piece of paper.

So, now that we have the glorious paper, I have a whole ton of appointments lined up starting tomorrow with PT, then the OT, a speech and hearing specialist, a guy to get him a walker, some sort of orthopedist, and, once I show it to the people at school, I will be able to get him officially recognized as special needs and on a public school bus....nervana.

Besides the move, Reilly and Sharon both had birthdays in Ukraine.  Reilly turned ten and Sharon turned seven.  We decided to just get them a cake and postpone the real celebrations until we got home.  Therefore, we had Reilly's birthday about a week after Thanksgiving and Sharon's a few days later.

We always get our kids three presents for Birthdays and three for Christmas.  Reilly is pretty easy to buy for.  She just says, "surprise me."  However, Sharon is very specific and gives me lists with long descriptions and in this case, two web sites.  I had to order her presents on line and wait while they were shipped here, thus explaining the two week delay.  Just my luck, one of her presents was "Bend-a-Glows.  These are actually glow-in-the-dark pieces of string covered in wax.  $19.99 for something like 600 of them, plus shipping and handling for a total of about $30. 

How annoying.  Nevertheless, she had been so good all through Ukraine that she certainly deserved a good birthday.  I whipped out the credit card and placed the order.  The next day,  I saw them at Wal-mart for $15 for the same box of Bend-a-Glows....of course.  Two weeks later, we'd put off the birthday as long as possible and the mail order box still hadn't come.  Bill was leaving that afternoon for Ukraine and it was do or die trying.  Sharon is wonderful.  She probably would have been fine if I told her they were on order, but I hated the idea of giving her only two presents, especially when I had been giving her less attention than normal and she has been so good about it.  So I ran to Wal-mart and got the $15 box, thus spending $45 total on a bunch of colored wax and string.  If anyone wants an extra box of Bend-a-Glows, just call me.  They arrived the next day.

The $45 thing bothered me UNTIL I was hit with another bill.  About a week after we got home, Ruslan clogged the toilet. He was in there for a few minutes longer than normal and just after he left, the toilet would not flush.  The bowl filled up to the rim and I spent a considerable amount of time with the plunger and a plumber's snake, trying to get the thing unclogged, but no luck.  I had to wait for Bill to come home from Houston.  This wouldn't have been such a big deal, but we live in a two story house and my boy had clogged the tiolet on the first floor.  I now need to carry him upstairs everytime he has to go potty.

I picked up a new wax ring and Bill took apart the toilet Saturday morning.  He lifted it off the base and found a whole ton of poop covered barrettes and hair combs that Ruslan had grabbed from the girls hair-stuff drawer and flushed down the toilet.  So, Bill cleaned it out (disgusting) and when he went to screw the toilet back on the base, he realized that the flange that holds the toilet to the floor was cracked.  We needed a new one.  

The plumber came Tuesday.  He changed the flange, replaced our toilet, flushed once, and then called me into the bathroom because our toilet was still clogged.  Apparently, Bill had not gotten all the barrettes out of there because it was not flushing.  He tried to unclog it with a roto-rooter, but no luck.  We need a new toilet. 

In the meantime, the kids have covered the bathroom in Bend-a-glows.  Since it has no windows, it's the only room in the house that gets completely dark.  I'm leaving them up because i figure they will shed some light on the plumber when the electricity goes out. 


  1. I read the whole blog I am caught up!!
    Glad you are finally again with you via email..happy the movies went a long way over there!