Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring break is around the corner!

There were few students at school on Sunday, mainly because we had exams that started on Monday. It is pretty normal for them to stay home the day before testing. I'm not sure why this happens, it just does. There was no rugby on Sunday evening but we went to the club for a roast anyway. The end of the season was basically over for the kids, but the teams had planned a 'fun night' of rugby on Tuesday. In the meantime, no one can deny a good Sunday Roast. 

Monday most of my students showed up for school. We started the day with two exams. Thank goodness I didn't have to monitor any exam. But I did have a classroom of crazy girls for three periods after the exam. They thought it was playtime, and really I wished we could have done a little less academics, but we were told to keep them on track with the lessons we would usually teach. Of course Stuart was home by noon because his school did the sensible thing and sent the students home after their exams. We had some parents try to come and get their kids, but my principal was not having it and would not release the children. 

While I was at school, toward the end of the day, I got a message that Stuart had sold our car. The transmission was about to go so we ditched it before that happened. We are now the owners of a 2014, F150, Stuart's dream car. We got it for under its value because it was Sean's and all he wanted to do was have us pay off his loan. Done! Jack was very excited about our new vehicle. 

After school we went to the club to meet up with Clare and Scott before we all headed on holiday. They had decided to do an all inclusive holiday in the Maldives. I couldn't wait to see their pictures. We had a lovely time. Stuart had a committee meeting, but had decided not to train that evening since he was not going to be playing on the Friday. 

Scott ended up driving the kids and myself home just before 7. The kids went straight to bed, after a shower of course, and then I waited for Stuart to come home. Once he was home he ordered some food and I slept on the sofa. 

When we got up Tuesday morning and it was pouring rain. Now usually this means no children would be at school. But since there were exams that could not be made up, all the students came to school, well, all except our grade 1 and 2 students. Since they don't take exams they don't come to school. It's a great time of year to be a grade 1 and 2 teacher, for sure. The exams we were giving were to be administered at 8:30. I was shocked not more of them tried to go home after the exams. The students whose parents came to pick them up on Tuesday were allowed to do so since the weather was bad. 

The English teachers were not in charge of monitoring exams any other day but Monday, so some of them spent the morning in my office. We laughed and talked. These times are the times we really get to know each other. 

Tuesday afternoon I was able to get all my work done and some student work marked since I didn't have to be with my students. Towards the end of the day I got the dreaded email saying 'thanks but no thanks' from Brighton College Al Ain. Although I was disappointed, I kind of knew I didn't have much of a shot. My U.K. experience had been too long ago and the fact that I really have only taught one year in the last 9 years wasn't terribly appealing either, I would guess. 

When I got home from school I continued to pack for my week away. The kids got home and were out playing with the neighbors, whom they brought in the house for a while. After the kids were in bed, Stuart and I went out on a date. We went to eat at PF Changs and then ran into some friends, Leanne and David. I hadn't seen Leanne since before Christmas. However, she is one of those friends that you catch up with quickly even though you haven't seen them in ages. It was nice, yet ever so brief, meeting up and we swore to get together soon after the break. 

Wednesday school was just as much fun as the day before. We had testing in the morning and we really should have sent the students home because they were nuts after testing. But once again we kept them in order to follow the policies, although many schools did not follow policies in the least. The leadership of a school ran by a local principal and one ran by a western principal, such as mine, is very different indeed. 

After the madness had ended at school, I went by the supermarket for coffee and frozen waffles, trying to prepare Stuart for the week ahead without me. He wouldn't ever have issues with feeding the kids, but I like to feel as if I contribute by purchasing some of their favourites. Before I got home I got a message from Stuart saying he got he dreaded email from Brighton College as well. I suppose neither of us was what they were looking for. It was a bit of a blow to our egos, but we know there is a different plan for us at this time. We also know the kind of time those teachers put into each day, and that would sort of defeat one of the reasons we came to the UAE, to spend more time with our kids. Everything works out the way it is supposed to. 

Wednesday evening we decided to have Kayleigh over again and go to the club for quiz night with Mandy and Cathy. We won a bottle of vodka for having the highest score on one of the rounds, but we didn't win the whole thing. It was a good laugh, however, and once again Stuart was the genius in the group. Although there were a few times I had the correct answers on some of the questions and I wasn't listened to. Maybe we would have won the dinner for 4 had my answers been used. I try not to be bitter. 

We were home just after 10 pm. I watched some television and then put laundry in the tumble dryer. As I suspected, I got up to a load of damp laundry. The dryer died again. Oh well, we tried to make it last. We will most likely be hanging laundry for a while. Since the house is going to be listed on Airbnb our cash flow is a bit in the negative world at this moment. Ugh! But you have to spend money to make money, I've been told. 

I had to leave school early on Thursday to have my foot checked. I was convinced it was infected from my surgery, but the doctor assured me I just needed compression socks for the flight. So I dug in my drawers and found some lovely compression socks. Stuart washed another load of laundry and I folded the first one I had hung on the airer that morning. 

Once the clothes were hung up to dry, I showered and got ready to leave. Stuart made nachos and the kids showered. We ate dinner at the dining room table, which seldom happens. It was nice. Once the kitchen was cleaned up and everyone had peed, me included, we got in the car and headed to the airport. 

Millie fell asleep on the way and Jack just played his iPad. I got a little weepy telling this kids goodbye, and even more so as Stuart was driving off and they were waving out the window. The airport was manic, but for as busy as it was the lines moved right along. I got a call from Stuart as I was waiting to drop my bag. He said Jack wanted to make sure I was okay because 'Daddy, you always get us through the airport and I'm not sure Mama can do it on her own'. I love that kid! And as my mom pointed out, I love that he watches his dad take care of me and of him and his sister. That's so important he learns how to treat a women and children and his dad is showing him how. 

So after I eased his mind by telling him I traveled way before I met Daddy, he was fine and then wanted to move on to me buying him something while I was in Arizona. I will miss them for sure. 

Once I was all sorted with my luggage and through customs, I decided to sit at a bar, by myself, with no one to talk to, or worry about (at least in that moment), and have a glass of wine. It was delightful. I sat at the bar for over and hour, then decided I'd better get to the gate. I checked in, boarded the flight, and in no time we were up in the air and back down on the ground. I flew Qatar Airlines, so you always have to go through the Doha airport because that is the airline's hub. 

I did my best to get an upgrade once I was at the airport, but no dice. It seemed the business class was booked. However, I did get a row of three seats all to myself, and although not terribly comfortable to lay down, I did in fact sleep much more than I ever had on a flight. Of the 14 hour flight I probably slept 7 of it, and about 4 of that was lying down. It was the next best thing to business class. 

Once I arrived in Philadelphia, I quickly went through customs and was off to find my gate. For some reason, even though I had booked an aisle seat, I had been assigned a middle seat. Well, a 4 and a half hour flight was not going to be fun in a middle seat, especially considering my foot was really swollen and would have no hope of elevation. But I had to deal with it because the flight had

been overbooked. Prior to boarding I decided I needed a Philly steak sandwich. It seems the appropriate thing to do in Philly, even though technically it was 8 am. In my body it was 4 pm, so I justified it. 

Once I had sucked down the meat in the sandwich, we all boarded the plane. The flight was relatively uneventful. However, there was nothing to do. My phone was nearly dead and there was no in-flight entertainment. I did my best to sleep, but the seats weren't terribly comfortable. The lady that sat next to me, on my left, had her legs crossed for the first hour of the flight and continued to kick my left leg, the surgery leg. I thought I might have to hit it, but in the end I think my nudging of her foot to move it over was enough of a hint. 

I arrived in Arizona about a half an hour early. I decided to get a Starbucks and head straight to baggage claim. I got not to airport wifi and got onto FaceTime to call my mom. They were still driving to the airport, and since I was almost out I told them I would meet them on the curb. 

I got to the car and saw my dad, but apparently my mom had gone inside to look for me. I hugged my dad and .....dropped my coffee. Waaaaa! After I dealt with that disappointment, I hunted my mom down and we were off to their house. Before stopping in and getting my stuff settled, we went to get a SIM card for my phone. I had attempted to do this in Philly, but the gal there who dealt with me had too many questions for me about whether my phone was unlocked. Why it is that customer service has become about questioning what I want and assuming I don't know whether my phone is unlocked or not? This is where the age gap comes into play, I think. She was barely old enough to have a job, and I assume she thought I was too old to have a phone. In the end I told her I didn't need her to have my money. So, the T-mobile store in the QC got my business. 

Once my things were sorted at my mom and dad's we headed to my house. It was amazing all the things that had been done in the week my parents had been back in Arizona. My mom and dad are rock stars and must be very tired. They had worked very hard getting the house to the point it was. We just continued on once I was there. My dad went to pick Mitch up from the airport around 5:30 pm, and we took a break around 6:30 pm to have dinner. In the meantime my mom and I had both decided it would have been a good idea to have asked some of my friends to come over on Friday night as well as Saturday morning. So, thanks social media, I messaged my 'group' and Sue and Melinda were there, ready to work at 7 pm. It was the end of spring break for some of my teacher friends so I knew some were out of town and had other commitments. Sue and Melinda were worker bees. They just got to it and got things done. I love that my friends don't even ask what to do, they just do it. We couldn't have been ready for the garage sale that ensued the following morning had they not been there to help. Oh, and it wasn't all work. We did have some giggles and memories were made for sure. We worked until 9 pm and then called it a night. I knew I would need to be up at 5 am to get everything pulled out and the last bits of the garage sale items outside. I Skyped Stuart and the kids before retiring for the night. They were fine and the kids weren't terribly interested in talking to me, which was typical. 

When that alarm went off at 5 am I couldn't quite figure out where I was. I had a wonderful night's sleep, but it wasn't long enough. I headed to the house with my mom and dad, and shortly after that Ken showed up with 4 tables. He got right to it. I opened the garage door and he started setting up the tables and bringing things out for the sale. Again, another person in my life that just springs into action and gets stuff done. He was such a huge help all morning at the sale. I knew I would have very little time to see my friends while I was in Arizona so I had to let them know that coming over to help me was a way to get to see me. It wasn't a lot, and it definitely was cheap/free labor for me, but it was as good as I could do. 

We had a lot of crap to get rid of. The purging, although a lot of work, was a good thing. 

Melinda, Sue and Connie were there shortly after Ken. They started cleaning base boards and completing the list of things my mom had written down. The foreman (Marinell) had scheduled in time for each person to work with me in the garage sale so they could spend time with me. It was so awesome! Sally and Skip came by for a quick chat. Sally was moving herself so had to get back to her own packing. Skip stuck around until

The garage sale was over and helped pack up the crap that was left and needed to go to goodwill. Stuart Skyped me somewhere in the middle of everything, but I couldn't focus on what he was saying. The kids were in bed and he was heading to bed as well. 

We finished working around 2 pm and I took the long suffering ones to eat at Creek Side Taco Shack, just by our house. We were all a bit spent. I hated that more of my friends weren't able to come by the house, not necessarily to work but more to chat. However, I know everyone is busy and some were not well, so I totally understood. The one thing I can tell you is that the people who were able to come over helped me make some lasting memories. Oh, and halfway through the garage sale, I got an email saying someone wanted to rent the house the first two weeks in April. Thank the Lord! 

We were missing a few of the helpers, but we had to capture the moment with those who stayed to the bitter end. 

Once we finished eating lunch my mom and I headed to several different stores to spend my money. There were things we needed to buy to get the house properly staged for our first guests. My dad headed to Home Depot to get a combination lock for the front door. Once we all reconvened Mitch and I went down to the house so he could put the lock on the door. I wasn't going to work anymore on Saturday, but since Mitch was working on the lock I decided to pack up some more things for storage. We started putting all the things that would go into storage in the garage. We wouldn't need a huge storage unit, but we still needed one. 

We finished just before 8 pm and decided we needed some nourishment. We went to Red Robin for burgers. When we got into the restaurant it was a 35 minute wait. It baffles me that there are about 7 restaurant within a block of each other and there is always a wait on a Friday or Saturday evening. At any rate, when we were seated I wished I had a 'light sweater'. My mom had one, of course. It was so cold in the restaurant that Mitch and I became like children and put our arms in the sleeves of our shirt. My mom and dad wanted to move tables. I love when roles reverse and the kids embarrass the parents. It was a good evening of laughter and fun. 

So far, although it's been a lot of work, my trip home has been wonderful. What are the kids and Stuart doing? I'm not exactly sure, but Grandma's friends, Janie and Digby, will be with them until Monday and then Grandma arrives for a few days. Maybe Stuart will write a post while I am not there to account for their days. We shall see!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The last rugby tournament for the kids

I woke up at 5:30 am and had my last cup of coffee before my fasting had to begin.  I would go into the hospital at 1 pm and couldn’t eat 7 hours prior to that time.  I just laid around the house most of the day.  I had a horrible cold and suspected that the general anesthesia they had said I would have, would turn into a local anesthesia because of my cold. And, when I got to the hospital, my suspicions were confirmed.  So instead of being put out I could hear and feel most of what happened.  It was not nice at all. Although general anesthesia is not great for you, I prefer to be asleep.

Once the procedure was finished I was moved to a room in the hospital.  They brought me some food, at least I think that’s what it was.  My friend DeDe came to the hospital after school to collect me and take me home. Stuart took the kids to the club for rugby training so I needed someone to come get me. In the end, because I hadn't been put under for the procedure, I was able to leave the hospital much sooner than anticipated.  I had DeDe drop me off at the club for the regular Sunday Roast. It really didn’t make sense for me to go home and the rest of the family have a nice meal out.  Although, by the end of our time at the rugby club my leg was aching.

We were home around 7 pm and then the kids went straight to bed after their showers. I was in bed at 9 pm, but slept very restlessly. I was sweating out this crazy cold and was trying not to roll around too much as I had a cast on. The reason for the cast was to keep me from bending my foot too much as the cyst was on the bend of my ankle and the doctor said more cysts could form.

I was up and in pain at 5 am. I took some Tylenol and made the kids' lunches. They got ready on their own and then everyone was off for the day while I prepared for my interview and elevated my leg. The incision was burning most of the day. I binge watched Gilmore Girls and dozed for some of the day.

The kids got home and did Legos for the evening. I actually sat with them and observed. Neither of them will let me help. Millie has recently developed a love for her Lego sets. They were both in bed at a reasonable time and I attempted to take a shower with a garbage bag over my leg. I nearly fell in the shower, kind of forgetting the garbage bag would cause me to slip. I'm not always that bright!

Tuesday I was back at school trying to get caught up on the lessons I hadn't taught the previous two days, and also catching up on paperwork in the afternoon. I left directly after school to get to Brighton College for my interview. I waited in the lobby area for the interview to begin. While I was there another parent, who had also applied for a job at Brighton, asked me what I was doing. It then dawned on her why I was there and she said, 'Oh, do you have an interview?' And her daughter chimed in, asking me the same thing. Well, so much for not telling our kids about the interviews. After I got home from the interview I quietly told Jack I had the interview, but told him he mustn't say anything to anyone. This information escaped him because when Millie asked what we were talking about, Jack casually said, 'Mama's going to be a teacher at Brighton College next year.' Oh my! He had a little bit of a temper tantrum thrown his way about how he isn't to say things like that, and then I realised that I had done the same thing as a kid. Every time my parents would tell me my dad was going for an interview somewhere I would tell my friends we were moving. This is why I didn't want to tell the kids about this interview until it was all said and done. I can't expect them to be less of a blabber mouth than I was. Oh well, if they say something, they say something.

The interview went well, I thought. There was only one question I didn't know the answer to, but at least I was honest about it. When asked if I was familiar with the new British curriculum, I simply said, 'No.' This may not have been the answer they wanted, but it was an honest answer. They said I would hear something by Thursday. If I was considered for the position and got to the next step I would have to go to the school and teach a lesson as well as meet with the Head of the Junior School, the equivalent of a principal. I suppose time will tell.

I went to the club with the kids for rugby and Clare called to see if I wanted her to pick me up and go to the mall for a 'mooch' around. Well, of course I did. She collected me at 6 pm and we roamed the mall. I bought a couple of things and then headed to the nutrition store. I had decided to do a 'pouch reset', which is essentially a cleanse for bariatric patients and it helps to reset your stomach and shrink it in case there has been any stretching since the surgery. I really did it to support another gal who had the surgery in November and found herself on a plateau. By Tuesday, I was over it and it was only Day 2 of 9. Ugh!  Once I was home I folded some laundry and took a shower. I was back downstairs for some television and then off to slumber.

I slept better on Tuesday night, thank goodness. I woke up refreshed and ready for my day. I spent the morning looking up the new British curriculum, clearly nothing related to my job, and in the afternoon I worked on practice exams for my students who will take their annual tests next week. It is a frustrating time of year for us.

I went for my follow-up right after school, where she took off the bandage and replaced it with a smaller one. There were no stitches, rather she had glued it together. It was a very long scar considering the size of the cyst. Fortunately, my leg modelling days are over.

I got home and decided to have Mandy and Cathy over for a catch up. It seems to be a weekly thing lately. We sat and discussed my interview and all of the upcoming things for Stuart and myself.  My mom called about that time to tell me the yard guy had mentioned to her that he has a friend who rents out his house on Airbnb, and had we ever considered that.  I hadn’t, but decided to look into it the following day.

Thursday I taught my three periods. I was supposed to practice the exams they would take next week but since our copier was broken, my copies were not ready. I only had 14 students there anyway so it was a bit of a wasted day. In the end, the copy girl brought the exams to me the last period I was teaching, so I passed them out and told the girls to take them home and practice.

As soon as school was out I headed home to finish packing for our weekend in Abu Dhabi. The kids' last tournament of the season would be on Saturday so we chose to make a weekend of it. Stuart had to play rugby in Al Ain on Friday so he would have to drive back Friday morning. The Rouvis joined us at the Yas Island Rotana, which we had never stayed in. We had connecting rooms with the kids.  The rooms were never properly booked with, so while they sorted that out for us we had free coffees.

Our ride to Abu Dhabi was windy and sandy. We arrived just after 5 pm, got into our rooms, and headed to Yas Mall for dinner at the Roller Coaster Cafe for Emerson's birthday.

Friday morning, we were up at 6 for breakfast with the Rouvis. Then they were off for their day of rugby. Stuart and Andrew headed back to Al Ain for their day of rugby. The kids and I went to the mall to see Rock Dog at the cinema and do some shopping. Jack bought some Pokemon cards, which by the way I hate.  I didn’t like them when I was younger and they make me even more crazy now.  How many times can a child ask if they can bring them to school, only to continually get the answer ‘no’.  He’s persistent.  I think he believes that one day I will crack.  Surely by now he knows that won’t happen. Millie chose more wisely.  She selected a new beach bag/towel combo.  She really likes ‘stuff’ more than toys, which is fine with me.  She especially likes anything that resembles a handbag.

After our shopping was complete and I had fussed at the kids about how self-centered they were in not wanting me to shop at all yet being able to make sure they were provided what they wanted to buy, we took a cab back to the hotel. What a horrible experience that was.  We went to where the cabs line up and got into the first one in line. Jack stepped in and politely said, “Yas Rotana, please”, Millie did the same and so did I.  Not one time did the cab driver acknowledge we had said anything.  I said, “Do you know where the Yas Rotana is?”, which was really a stupid question.  It was less than 2 miles in a circle around the outside of the mall. He should have known.  Needless to say I was not happy.  I got out of the cab and had the kids get out.  I told the taxi driver behind us that the original cab driver didn’t know where he was going.  He began to yell at the original driver and telling me he knew exactly where the Yas Rotana and we needed to get back in the original cab.

Back in the cab we went, and off to the hotel.  In the end he dropped us off at the service entrance, which in my opinion was his way of flipping us off.  When I slapped my money on the console of his car, I said, “If you don’t know where the Yas Rotana is from Yas Mall, then maybe you need a different job.  Also, don’t ever feel it’s okay to treat people the way you have treated me and my children.  Both of my children got into the cab and politely asked to go to the Yas Rotana, and you ignored them.  You also ignored me.  I know it is a smaller cab fare than if we wanted to go into town, but you don’t get to select your fares.”

When we got out of the car, Jack said, ‘Mama, it embarrasses me when you do that.’  I told him that I wasn’t trying to embarrass him, but I didn’t ever want him to think he can let people treat him poorly when he had done nothing to deserve it.  He then said, ‘I did say please after I let him know where we wanted to go.’ I said, ‘I know you did, and he should have been nicer to you.’  If my kids think that is as bad as I will embarrass them, they need to think again.  I assume I will do worse one day.

Once we trekked around the hotel to the front entrance, a very kind person working the door offered to take the bags that were in my hand.  I smiled and said thank you, but then also indicated I could take the bags myself.  Then all was well again.  We went to the room for a couple of hours.  The kids played and I watched Animal Planet. Because Rochelle and her kids were at the first day of the rugby tournament, all day, when they returned we all went to the pool for a cold beverage and a dip in the icy pool. The kids dipped and we had the cold beverage.  The weather was weird and windy, not ideal for the pool.

Just after 7 pm we headed to the rooms to get showered and ready for dinner.  Stuart and Andrew were on their way back to the hotel and were going to be there in time to meet us for dinner.  The kids were all exhausted, but sat at a different table and ate.  We made it a relatively quick dinner as our kids had to get up for their day of the tournament on Saturday, and the Rouvi kids were beyond tired.

Because the kids had taken showers, once we were in the room they were in bed.  They watched Animal Planet for a bit and then dozed off to sleep.  Stuart and I were asleep shortly after they were.  He had a hard day playing rugby and I had a hard day wrangling kids around the mall!

We were up again at 6 am to get breakfast, check out of the hotel and head to the rugby pitches.  Sadly, the overcast day the first group had on Friday was not the same day we had on Saturday.  The sun was beating down on us.  Jack and Millie originally had their matches on pitch 17 and pitch 16, but the day before the organizers changed Jack’s pitch to the number 2 slot, which meant I wouldn’t be able to watch many of Jack’s games and his pitch was on the other side of the complex.  There was a lot of walking for sure.

Both kids did well, Millie decided she wanted to quit rugby, pretty much then and there.  I convinced her that if she continued to play this one last day she would get another medal and then next year we would find something else for her to do. She stuck it out, but didn’t perform very well.  Bless her!  She did touch the ball twice and had a pretty good run.  She actually ran forward.  It’s like herding cats at her age.

Jack’s team did well and actually played as a team.  There was a bit of an issue in the last match with the referee. Each team supplies a referee to work for other matches, not their own team.  This particular referee has always been a bit of a hot head and we have complained about him several times.  He actually shoved one of our parents because he was standing on the pitch.  The ref said he had warned the parents, but he hadn’t.  And regardless, he should not put his hands on anyone.  In conjunction with this incident he allowed the teams to form a ruck over an injured player, when play should have stopped. Stuart stopped the match at that point and complained that he needed to stop the play so that the injured player could be dealt with.  The referee basically told Stuart he would be ejected from the match.  Stuart asked to speak to the pitch marshall, telling him if this referee wasn’t replaced we would forfeit the match.  He explained that what this referee was doing was not safe for any of the players.  In the end, the guy was replaced and after the match, which we lost, the director of the tournament informed Stuart that this guy had three other complaints against him in the day and he would be brought up in front of the Rugby Federation Committee, most likely banned from any rugby competition from here forward.

It was a shame it had to happen, but I was so proud of Stuart for standing up for the kids playing.  It seems that our kids live in a very sheltered world, even Jack was surprised at some of the players’ behavior on other teams. Jack had some unbelievable tackles, one after another. Thus, one of the players came gunning for him.  He was so caught off guard because he doesn’t understand ‘dirty’ play.  He let it get in his head and didn’t play so great the next game.  I told him that some players didn’t play fairly and that was life, but instead of letting them get the best of him, he needed to make sure they next time that dirty player got the ball, he drilled him in fair competition. Jack is so aggressive on the pitch, but wants everyone to play fairly, which is not always going to happen, sadly.

After all was finished in regards to the tournament, we headed home.  I gave my phone to Millie to keep her awake.  Once we were home, we unpacked, started laundry, got showers, cleaned up the mess the cats had made involving getting into cabinets and eating all of their cat treats, and ordered KFC for everyone but me.  I showered while everyone else ate.  Millie then played upstairs while Jack watched some television on his iPad. I then went out to get Stuart’s dry cleaning and check out the new protein shop just up the road.  Millie was in slumber at 6:15 and Jack around 7 pm.  I didn’t take either of them upstairs.  Millie requested Stuart go up with her, and when Jack went up I was asleep on the sofa.  I woke up to an empty room at 8:45 pm and decided I would go to bed for good.  I was extremely wiped out from the sun, I guess.

All in all, it was a great week and a wonderful weekend away.  Just one more week of school and then the kids will have two weeks off, but Stuart and I will only have a week off work.  Stuart will be entertaining family friends as well as Grandma and Grandpa, while I go to Arizona to sort out our house for Airbnb.  My parents have done a great deal of the work already, which is beyond generous of them.  There will be some work, but I am hoping to have some fun as well.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A busy week and weekend!

Millie fought with me over her meds again Sunday morning, so naturally the wrestling match began. She finally took it with less fight in her than the previous night. Jack complained of his throat hurting and having a headache when he was eating breakfast. I have him Tylenol, half expecting to get a call from his school later n the day. 

I was in school for the morning and taught my three periods. Then it was off to the hospital to see a specialist about my cyst. When I got there he looked at my leg and then said he would make me an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon, since they now had one. So that appointment was set for Thursday. It kind of irritated me that I had to take time off work just to be told I would have to come back and see yet another doctor. 

I got home a bit before he kids did. Stuart went to pick Jack up from swim squad. When Jack got home he didn't want to go to rugby, which is a definite sign of illness for him. So I ended up taking him to the doctor just to be sure it wasn't the same bacterial infection Millie was getting over. 

Millie took her meds before I left, with no argument. Stuart was giving them to her. Really? She just wants a fight with me. I'm going to have to figure this thing out. She was sweet and cooperative with him, but that was not what I got from her. Hmmm. 

I took Jack to the new hospital behind our house. It was a nice facility but the doctor wouldn't listen to me when I said Millie was sick as well. They did, however, have a free, fancy coffee machine.

They did the same tests on Jack that were done on Millie the previous week. Once his tests were over, the medical director we had met when we first came into the clinic, insisted we wait for the Pediatrician and have some things in the cafe as her treat. So Jack got an egg salad sandwich and orange juice, while I had a caramel latte. It was fantastic. Jack had already had his nose swab, throat swab and blood test. 

We waited for about an hour for the test results. We then met with the Pediatrician who confirmed there was no bacterial infection. So just Tylenol and rest. I just get so freaked out by throat issues. It's about the only reason I take the kids to the doctor. 

When we got home Jack had a shower and then ate. Millie and Stuart decided to have dinner at the club and arrived home just after 7, and after Jack was in bed. Millie kept going into Jack's room telling him she hoped he felt better in the morning. It was really sweet!

After both kids were in bed I took a shower, put a load of laundry in the washer, poured myself a glass of wine, and sat down to watch some Star Trek with Stuart. Another day closer to spring break and I was thrilled. 

When my alarm went off on Monday morning I couldn't quite sort out why. Then I remembered that I foolishly get up at o dark thirty to walk, oh and I had to go to work as well. 

Once I was at school, I hustled around to put the last minute touches on my stellar lesson that would be observed on Tuesday. I had an observation of a teacher period 2 and then was called into the principal's office. The entire senior leadership team was there. They wanted to know what they could do to lighten my load of having more on my plate than I needed. The simple fact that it was acknowledged was enough for me to feel valued. I explained that things had actually started to settle down this week and I felt as if I was in a routine. 

I had a professional development session with the teachers after school, then headed to get milk from the store. Once I was home I sorted out Millie's colouring box, helped Jack with his homework and had a snack. Brian, the guy who drives the kids to school, stopped by just after 4 pm to explain to me the invitation Millie had received at school. It seems that she had been invited to a private screening of the film 'Ballerina'. The little girl in her class who invited her is the granddaughter of one of Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE. She was also invited to their home before the movie, but I decided I would take her to the mall and meet them. I didn't feel comfortable letting my 5 year old go to someone's house I didn't know, even if the are royalty. Millie was very excited, and quite frankly, so was I. 

My observation on Tuesday morning went great. I am probably a better teacher now than I was when I was in the classroom several years ago. Being able to observe so many different ideas and see so many examples of good teaching has really taught me a lot. 

After school I bathed Millie and we set off for the cinema. When we arrived at the cinema, we were greeted with 'Are you with the Palace?'  Holy cow! This was a royal affair. We were ushered into the lounge area for the private cinema, where we sat on leather sofas, across from a snack bar. Within a few minutes, the children (there were 5) and their nannies (there were also 5, one for each child) came into the cinema. Each little girl had only invited one friend to the movie. Osha, Millie's little friend, was so glad to see her. The main nanny, Richie, asked if I was staying. Another family was there with their daughter and they said they would just be walking around the mall. So it would have seemed weird if I was the only parent staying in the movie. I told Richie I would also just be walking around the mall. 

When the movie was over, and the kids were full of slushies and popcorn, I picked Millie up. She seemed as if she had a wonderful time. Richie asked her if she would like to do something like this again, to which I responded 'Absolutely she would' and then realized she wasn't talking to be, but rather she was asking Millie. Of course Millie said she would like to do something like this again. It was a great evening. Millie fell asleep on the way home and I just plopped her into bed. Jack had rugby training and they were home just after I had her in bed. 

The meal after the movie.

Wednesday I just bragged at school about my daughter being friends with the princess. The locals were very impressed. It seems that Osha's father is the youngest of the four sons that Sheikh Zayed had with wife number 1, which makes her more royal, if that is a term. 

During the day, the hospital called to tell me they were sorry for my horrible experience when Millie was sick. It's sad, but sometimes the logical thing that should be done to eliminate these horrible experiences never come to the minds of those delivering information. 

Wednesday evening Cathy came over for a chat, which is always delightful. Stuart was at rugby, but came home while she was still there and had a bit of a catch up as well. 

Thursday school flew by.  I left as soon as I could to get to my appointment at the hospital. The doctor decided to remove the cyst on Sunday. I will go in the late afternoon and then have the following day off to rest. She said she could give me up to 5 days off, but I felt that was a bit excessive for a simple procedure. Once I left the hospital I headed home so we could go out to do our weekly shop. Instead, I discovered that Jack had forgotten his reading folder at school. I was not pleased. So, as part of his consequence for me going to the school to get it and inconveniencing me, he had to go grocery shopping, among a few other consequences. He was not a happy chappy. 

Cathy, Mandy and the girls came over for dinner. We ordered curry and had a nice laugh. The kids were in bed by about 8 pm, as we were going to the water park the following morning as an end of season celebration for the rugby teams. 

We were up and out the door at 7:15 am. Stuart had a match in Dubai, so wasn't going to be able to go to the water park. I was the designated collector of funds for the non-players attending. Those of us who drove our own cars ended up getting there about an hour before the bus. We stood outside until it opened and then the youth manager collected our money and told us to go ahead and go in. 

Slushie tongues!

Jack immediately hooked up with his little buddies and Millie's friend Ciara was there as well. Basically, I was there as a cash machine when they felt the need to buy something. Other than that, I really didn't see them much the entire day. At the end of the day, Jack's friend, Ben, asked him to come home with them and have a sleepover. Against my better judgement I said yes. I knew it would be brutal for Jack as he doesn't cope well with little sleep and the boys had a match Saturday morning.

But since Ben's mom may be my boss next year, as her school is the one where I will transfer, I decided to let him go. 

Millie and I stopped at the outlet mall to have a bite to eat and also to try and find a blazer for me. I had been informed on Thursday that I had received an interview with Brighton College, where the kids go to school. It is for a teaching position, but it would be a good move for me. Stuart also has an interview, but the date and time were not determined. I am sure he will hear something next week. It wouldn't be good for both of us to move there, so that's a bridge we will have to cross when we come to it. I did find a blazer and a dress to match. 

Driving home Millie fell asleep, so I took her to her room, said hello to Stuart, and relaxed on the sofa. I went upstairs to bed just before 11 pm, but was wide awake at 3 am because I had a cold and couldn't hardly breath. I watched television and dozed for the remainder of the night. I worried about having the surgery on Sunday since I had the cold in full force on Saturday. So I messaged my surgeon and she said the anesthetiser would make that decision when I came to the hospital on Sunday. 

Stuart left for the club at 8 am and I followed shortly after. The club day matches started at 9 am and were over just after 11 am. Jack's team was beat both games and the boys who had gone to the water park, especially the three that had the sleepover, had a difficult time. There seemed to be a lot of bumping around and tears. Jack played well and scored 4 trys, but it was a rough morning. 

After we ate lunch at the club, we headed to Bounce to meet Jack's friend, Harry, his brother, Sam, and their mother, Helen. Because I had planned this a week ago, I really couldn't cancel it because Jack was worn out. He bucked up and kind of got his second wind. 

After we finished at Bounce, we decided to spend the afternoon at the club. The boys played soccer while Helen and I got better acquainted. It was nice. She seems normal and someone who is similar to me in her dealing with her children. 

We were home and kids ready for bed at 6 pm. They then called Grammie and Pop on Skype. I let them speak to them for about 20 minutes before I came in. I find the kids actually speak to them if I'm not in the room. When we hung up with Grammie and Pop, the kids were off to bed. 

It was a full weekend and I was pooped. I was still battling the cold. I wasn't going to school on Sunday, so that was a bit of a relief. I went to bed a bit earlier than normal, a bit anxious for the surgery. I'm sure all will be well. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The week of sick Millie!

On Sunday school was relatively non-productive. I tried to continue to get my classroom sorted and into some kind of routine, but my brain was divided and scattered. In the afternoon, I worked on learning centers but was interrupted by poorly behaved children and it seemed there was no one around to help. Ugh!

On the way home from school I decided to go to the grocery store. The weather was horrible, and naturally I was hoping for a downpour that would flood the streets and prevent us from going to school.  This double job thing is really getting to me.  We had rugby practice for Jack's team, but Millie's team canceled rugby.  Jack's team actually had about 8 players show up. They played in the drizzle for a while and then cut it short when the wind got to be too much.  Naturally, as we have made a habit on Sundays, we ate at the club. I met Sean's girlfriend from Thailand. She seems nice, but doesn't speak a great deal of English so I think she gets lost when we start talking to each other.  I'm sure she understands more than she is comfortable speaking.  Once dinner was over, it was home, baths and bed for everyone.

Monday morning I got up and walked on my own.  Lara wasn't feeling well, but since I am a part of a Fitbit challenge, I couldn't afford to not walk.  I got to school and worked on some computer based programs for all of the teachers.  We had a senior leadership meeting at 9 am, and at that time I was told I would be evaluated this term on my teaching.  Considering I am a cover teacher and I have a different evaluation tool than the teachers, I wasn't sure of the reason for this.  But I decided to suck it up and get on with it.  When things like this happen it makes it easier to look forward to my transfer at the end of this school year.  I spent the afternoon teaching, which I have come to prefer.  It seems to make the time go quicker.

Tuesday I went to school for a few hours.  Then I had a Head of Faculty meeting.  We usually meet at a school, but it seemed that everyone needed a bit of a break from the formality, so we met at our house.  We had an agenda, went over the minutes from last month, and actually talked about what the plan was for the remainder of the year.  We also might have had a small gripe session. 

When the kids got home they worked on their homework, and then we were off to the rugby club for training.  I was bent on beating everyone on the Fitbit contest this week.  I walked until my legs nearly fell off.  I really need to cut back on the competitive nature of things.  We decided to eat at the club again.  It's cheap and I am not a cook.  The kids got to play for a bit and then their food was ready.  

Wednesday we woke up to a not so well Millie. As good parents do, we drugged her up and sent her to school. I had meetings at school and attempted to get some much needed paperwork done. Just as I was going in to teach my afternoon classes, the nurse from Brighton called to tell me Millie had a 39.3 Celsius temperature (104 Fahrenheit). I immediately called my Arabic Vice Principal who does class coverage and told her I had to go. She wasn't very pleased, but I couldn't worry about it.  My baby was really sick. When I got to the school, Millie was in the clinic, lethargic and hot as a pistol. Her breath could have killed a small animal. Because her neck had hurt that morning, I just assumed we were dealing with strep throat. We have been down this road too many times with Jack. We got to the urgent care and they took her back to see the doctor.  The doctor did a strep culture and we were told they would call us when the result was back.  Clearly from her rank breath she had an infection, so why they didn't give her antibiotics immediately was beyond me.  

I took Millie home and then went to pick up Jack from school.  He was really excited about the following day as it was World Book Day.  He was going to be Harry Potter and Millie was going to be Little Red Riding Hood, that is if she was not bound to the house because of her infection.  Since I had not heard from the hospital, and it had been almost 2 hours, I decided to drop by and see what the results were.  When I got there the nurse at the desk informed me that the results were negative, which I knew couldn't be right.  I asked her if the doctor had prescribed something and she said no.  Then I was baffled.  I asked if I could speak to the doctor and the nurse informed me that the doctor was on a split shift and wouldn't be back for 2 hours.  Well, of course I couldn't wait.  So Jack and I left.  Once I was home I continued to nurse Millie, giving her pain reliever every two hours.  Jack went out to play with his friends for a while.  Millie had perked up once the tylenol had set in.  Jack took a shower, and the kids sat down to watch Moana while they ate dinner.

Once the kids were ready for bed, and in fact Millie was in bed, Cathy and Mandy came over for a cup of tea.  As we discussed Millie's illness, they insisted I call the hospital and have the doctor call me.  I could have simply gone to another hospital, but I wanted this hospital to make things right.  This is the hospital that is really good with children, usually.  They also have the most western doctors I have encountered at a care facility.  When I called, the nurse left the doctor an email and said I should hear from her soon.  In fact, it was less than an hour when I heard from her.  Stuart was at rugby, so when he got home I headed to the hospital to pick up Millie's antibiotics.  Visiting this hospital three times in one day was not my idea of fun, but it had to happen.  I did, however, write a formal complaint about my experience that day.  Once I was home I had to wake Millie up and give her the antibiotics.  This could have gone either way.  Fortunately, she was sleepy enough to just swallow without thinking.  I was wiped out from all the fun, so I took a shower.  As I was drying my left leg, I discovered a cyst on my left ankle. It then started making my foot feel numb.  Lovely! I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up in a bit of a state and decided it was time to head to bed. 

When Millie woke up Thursday morning we decided to have Kayleigh come over and stay with her. Kayleigh didn't have to be at the university for that day, so it worked out perfectly.  I got up to walk, even though I could have easily hit the snooze button. School was productive as I got a lot done in the afternoon. Once 9:45 amreaches me on a Thursday, I am virtually done with school, or at least with teaching.  Usually my Thursday afternoons are very productive.  When I left school,  I got home and Millie was feeling better. She didn't get to participate in World Book Day, which initially made her sad, but she got over it when she discovered Kayleigh was staying home with her. Jack, on the other hand, was a huge hit at school on World Book Day.  His costume was very impressive, according to him.

Once Stuart was home, he talked me into going to the cyst checked out. Had it not been causing numbness I probably would have let it go.  Instead I headed to Oasis, the hospital that had not impressed me the previous day.  My file is there and I know if I have to have a procedure done, those are the people I trust to so it correctly.  We had invited Gemma, Fechin and their kids over for dinner, so I needed to get to the hospital and back before they arrived.  Stuart was making pork belly and I was making nothing, in true fashion.  I ended up having an ultra sound on my ankle where they found a couple of cysts.  I was informed that the doctor would look at the film and they would give me a call when they knew the next steps.  Naturally, I had my foot already amputated before I got home.

I got home about 45 minutes before Gemma and Fechin arrived.  Millie was still feeling okay, but she started to droop again just as they arrived.  We ate and had a good laugh, sharing stories of school and family.  We decided to take the conversation out to the garden after sitting in the kitchen for an hour or so while I cleaned up the dishes.  Millie came in to the kitchen and I felt her head.  She was burning up.  She had already had three doses of the antibiotic since picking it up the previous night.  But she seemed to be declining.  Gemma decided it was time for them to go so we could deal with what was happening with Millie.  Just after they left, Millie got really upset and wouldn't take tylenol.  She leaned over the sick and said, "I'm going to throw up!"  She was not quiet about this fact.  As her sausage came rolling back up out of her belly, she proclaimed, "I'm going to die!"  She kept repeating this statement while I tried to calm her down.  I really believe she convinced herself that she was going to die.  It broke my heart to hear her say this.  Then, upon reflection, I realized that little girls can pour on WAY more drama than little boys.  Jack was the kid that would throw up, and then ask for a sandwich.  Whereas, Millie is the kid that thinks this may be her last breath.  It was a crazy few minutes.  I decided to take her back to the hospital.  It was about 9:30 pm when we arrived and she was like a rag doll.  She hadn't had any tylenol for several hours so she was roasting.  They immediately gave her a suppository, which was not something she was expecting nor did she want, as you would guess.  Then after speaking to the doctor, she decided to rule out influence by doing a nose swab, which initially made Millie laugh.  That laughter quickly turned into tears and it wasn't quite so funny.  Following the nose swab, I had to bribe her with a new toy to get her to pee in a cup.  Then I took her to the blood lab, where they drew blood to check for the bacterial infection that the strep test might have missed.  They put her through the wringer.  It was not a nice time!  While we were waiting for the results, I received a phone call about my cyst results.  As I was talking on the phone, I could hear the nurse speaking to me out at the front desk.  Because it was the same hospital and I had been there earlier in the day about my cyst, the nurse calling me back was also the nurse working emergency for the evening.  I told her I was in the hospital and I would come out and talk with her.  She kind of got a kick out of it.  She let me know I would have an appointment on Sunday at noon to see a surgeon.  Our wait for the test results was two hours.  The tests came back showing a bacterial infection, as was suspected.  Why did it have to be such an ordeal?  I was by far her favorite parent at this point.  Once we were finished at the lab we told we could go.  We got home just before midnight and we went to bed.

Friday Stuart and Jack were up and out to Dubai for Jack's match. We had planned to go as a family and putz around afterward, but it wasn't wise with Millie being ill. So I stayed home with her. She woke up around 7:30 am and was pretty chipper. I immediately gave her fever meds and her antibiotic. We just sat around all morning.  When Stuart and Jack got home, just after noon, we all watched the film Sing, which was adorable. What ever will I do when my kids get too old to watch these films? I'm going to have to borrow some children to go with to the cinema. Jack had taken a shower when he got home from his rugby match, and was all clean for his disco party at Eleanor's. I took him to the party just before 4 pm, but prior to that I purchased our Legoland tickets online. We had planned to go months ago and had just never gotten around to it. Millie was significantly better, so since it was already planned with the Richardsons, it was a go. 
Millie relaxed at home and put together her first Lego, virtually on her own. 

Once Jack was at his party and Millie was bathed and fed, Kayleigh came over to babysit. Stuart and I went out for dinner with Sean and his girlfriend, Manal. As much as I tried to think of things to talk with her about, I found it tough to get to know someone when you don't speak the same language as me. So mostly I just talked with Stuart and Sean. We had decided to go to 101 Cafeteria to eat and smoke sheesha, which always makes me a bit ill, so I'm not sure why I do it. However, it's cheap at 101 and if I just have a few puffs then I don't feel I've blown a lot of money. I left the cafe just before 8 to pick Jack up from his party. On the way home I asked him what he ate at the party.  He said he didn't eat anything.  Then we had the conversation about when you go somewhere during a meal time, you need to eat what they have there.  I think he might have been too busy playing.  I dropped him off at the house and then headed back to 101.  Jack showered and went to bed.  We were back to our house before 10 pm.

Saturday morning we were up and sorting ourselves out for Legoland.  We left around 9 am.  When we got there I felt the need to say, "Sorry folks. Park's closed.  Moose out front should have told you."  (quote from Vacation)  There were not very many cars in the parking lot.  We had heard the attendance since it had opened in November had not been great.  There were more staff there than patrons.  It was weird.  Stuart had dreaded the whole experience because he hates crowds so badly.  In the end we were all pleasantly surprised by the lack of people there.  It wasn't as big as the Legoland in California, but the kids still had fun.  We decided to finally get something to eat around 4 pm, which was a bit late.  The kids were tired, hungry and became a bit cranky.  But once there was food in their system, everyone was a little cheerier.  

We left Dubai just after 5 pm.  On the road home Millie fell asleep, which is not usually a good thing, but I hoped since she had been a little under the weather it would not effect her going to sleep once we were home.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Once we were home, both kids got cleaned up and hit the hay.  Millie was presented with her antibiotic, which took her about 40 minutes to take.  Needless to say, she is stubborn to the core.  There were tears and gnashing of teeth, but I won!  Jack was almost asleep before his head hit the pillow.  I showered after wrestling Millie to take her meds.  I watched a little television, then went to bed myself.  It was a busy, yet crazy week.