little bits

"So," my sister asked, "can Ben ride with you guys to Michigan?" Ben is my 11-year-old nephew.

"Of course, but why? Aren't you heading out there next week?"

Sister the second has been feeling more sickish than usual, she thought maybe it was still the chemo poisons or maybe just sick in general because she has no immune system left. So the thought of a fifteen-hour drive is enough to make her weep, and then to have to do it again to get back home ... she couldn't face it. But she felt horrible about Ben not getting to see Mamie and Papa Jim this year, and she knew Stanley and I are headed out that way soon, so what the hell ... He'd ride out there with us, catch a flight back home in time to start school on time (though he volunteered to miss the first week of school so he could ride back with us. Did I mention he's 11?)

So I am psyched--Ben's a good traveler and a fun kid and it will be a riot. We ordered Harry Potter 5 to listen to on the way, and Ben is looking forward to that. Plus, the icing on the cake is that both Ginger and Twitch are going too. I assured M that we'd get him to Detroit in time for his flight back to La Guardia (we'll be about 4 hours north of Detroit). All I have to do is alter our hotel reservation to two double beds instead of the queen we usually get. Easy.

It's been quite a while since I've been on a road trip with Ben. The first time, he puked all over me before we even got out of Connecticut--that was when we learned not to give him any milk products before a car trip. The next trip was listening to Raffi sing Baby Beluga oh about 300 times. And spending half the night telling silly jokes in whispers with his sister Kate, terrified that Momilla the Hun would wake up and yell at us for waking her up but having such a goofy good time we didn't REALLY care. I like being an aunt.

So, Sis said she'd call and book Ben's return ticket and call me back and let me know the details. Like within a couple of hours. Only she didn't. Which was weird.

But I did get a call from brother-in-law the next morning: M was in the hospital again. Appendicitis. I wanted to weep--I was afraid it would turn out to be something worse. But it wasn't worse--not that appendicitis is trivial, but with her Wegener's granulomatosis, it could have been much much more serious. Apparently the pain kicked in a nasty way about an hour after she hung up the phone. The docs told her that appendicitis is not uncommon for people undergoing chemotherapy: suppressed immune system plus chronic diarrhea from the chemo will often trigger it. I hadn't known that, but it make sense, I suppose.

M said the only good thing was she could tell the nurses where they could effectively inject pain meds since she was so used to injecting herself with Procrit anything they did was a piece of cake. Sort of.

She's home and recuperating and really annoyed that she got sick when there are so many things she wants to get done this week. But at least the chemo is over and hopefully the Wegener's will stay in remission forever.

And we get to spend a week with Ben--beach, walks, canoing, wandering. I'm happy about that. I wish Kate was going as well, but she'll be at soccer camp, so oh well.

On Stanley's to-do list is to learn how to play Yu Gi Oh so at least one of us knows what the hell Ben is talking about.

. . .

Stanley is the scanner here. He's got everything set up so it's not a major pain in the ass for him to do it. So, Sunday he went to scan something so I could add a picture to a website I'd built for a client last week. No big deal.

Only, when he turned on the laptop, all that could be heard was an ugly whirring sound. The hard drive on the Toshiba is toast. On the one hand, the machine is only 4.5 years old and has never been used particularly heavily. On the other hand, the machine is 4.5 years old and has been moved around a lot. Hmm. Remember when I was accused of putting water in the gas tank so we had to get a new car? Hmm ...

At any rate, we HAVE to have a laptop (or notebook, I guess they're called now). And if it was going to break, I'm glad it broke BEFORE we hit the road rather than while we were in Four-hours-to-the-nearest-mall-land, MI. So we did a quick check of prices and quickly settled on a Dell for less than $1,400. Very fast, lots of ram, cd-rw, all that stuff. And I know it'll be obsolete two weeks after we get it and Dell will probably offer the same thing for $500 less. Oh well. That bite out of the budget hurts--a very unexpected expense, yuck.

It's funny: even though I don't particularly like working on notebooks and probably won't use it nearly as much as I hope Stanley does, I want to have it already. But we have to wait quite a while for it, damn it. I guess I just want to see what it's like working on a 2.2GHz machine. And to test drive XP. And it's going to be nice having such a huge hard drive so we can put everything we need on it rather than just the bare minimum.

But $1,400 hurts. A lot.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/06/03 at 06:51 AM
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