December 20 2003

Bad News 1st:

We have no pictures of Anthony or Katherine to post today. We lent our digital cameral to the Feret's so they could take pictures of another baby that is being adopted by another WPA family.

Today you will only get pictures of our new apartment.


Ahhh!  The new apartment.  It doesn't stink.  My nose is relieved. We have moved on up. Well, we are actually on a first floor apartment now, which is kind of weird because you hear everyone inside and out.  This is not an issue, but is different because we were so isolated before. Did I mention is does not stink.  The toilet and the bathtub and bathroom sink are all in one room. That's a pretty cool thing too. I don't have to leave the bathroom to wash my hands.  How do I explain the toilet? Should I explain the toilet?  I can't not explain it.  I've never seen anything quite like this and whoever invented this particular model was not thinking clearly.  Too much vodka probably. OK - think about your own toilet. The drain is in the back.  That is, the slope goes back toward the wall. All the toilets here have the slope/drain going to toward your feet.  This in itself is less than desirable because the number 2 doesn't go directly in a hole.  It sits on the porcelain.  They have toilet brushes accessible at every toilet - even when toilet paper is not available - to wipe away any remnants.  Well, the genius that invented our toilet took it one step further.  Yes, the hole is still in the front but there is a catch basin where everything that comes out of you puddles into. The water pressure here is pretty amazing.  I'm fearful that if the catch basin had a big load, some might shoot right out the top.  Are you all grossed out enough? You're just reading it. We're here.  It's pretty funny actually. Just part of the adventure.  Enough about toilets. 


I need to skip to the end of the day - The second visit. This was out of control.  Our routine is we get the babyhouse, go to the playroom, drop off our coats, get Katherine from her room and the three of us go get Anthony.   So the three of us get to Anthony's room and they've just decorated for Christmas.  Put up a Christmas tree and some pretty garland across the ceiling. At a little table next to the mega crib are about six caregivers.  All the children are in the sleep room, not this main room.  Apparently it was Svetlana's birthday and all the caregivers brought in homemade dishes to celebrate.  They insisted we sit and eat with them.  Can you say Terrified?  Can you say Food Poisoning?  What can you do?  You have to be polite.  We sat.  They started piling our plates with stuff.  There was one dish that was made with kidney beans.  It wasn't bad.  I kept feeding mine to Katherine but eventually one of the caregivers saw and said it's not good for babies. There was this other thing where they cut a slice of lemon, like a circle, and put some creamy white saucy stuff on the top. They said it was cheese.  Bill tasted his.  I was having no part of it.  There were some boiled potatoes. They were good.  Then there was some meat.  It looked like bacon. Like partially cooked bacon.  They proudly let us know that it was homemade. You can understand that I did not put a morsel of that in my mouth. No Way No How!!!! Oh My God!!!!!!!   Then there was this other thing.  A salad????  On the bottom was grated carrots. On the top was grated purple cabbage, but both were all slimed up.  The middle was white.  I think it was fish.  Katherine liked it. I couldn't eat it.  They had what I think are sardines on the table.  They were fairly large oily minnows in a tin can. Thank God they did not put that on my plate.  UGH! 

You ask, 'What did they offer you to drink?'  Come on, take a guess....  VODKA!  Neither me or my husband drink Vodka.  And I could not drink it even to be polite.  They insisted. I declined. Bill declined.  They insisted. They offered orange juice instead. I thought I was saved. They went back to the Vodka.  Finally they seemed to accept that Mama did not drink the Vodka, but surely Papa would!?   "Niet" says Papa.  The girls in the room were a bit giddy. We were a bit taken aback. They insisted I eat more.  I got the whole sign language thing with Papa being big and strong and Mama (me) having sunken cheeks and if I ate more I would be fuller and more curvy. I'm afraid if I ate more I'd be throwing up for the next two days.  Hey!  I'd be throwing up in the catch basin in the toilet!  Oh Dear. I'm sure we'll be fine.  It was really a great deal of fun.  I ran back to the play room and got our regular camera and we took a group photo in front of the Christmas tree. All the caregivers, all the children and me and Katherine.   We dropped off the film to be developed tonight and will make copies for all the caregivers.  I wish I had pictures of the food.

We did sing Happy Birthday in English to Svetlana.  It was a lot of fun.


What else happened today?  Katherine and I went outside for our morning and afternoon visit.

We went outside the babyhouse grounds during the morning visit.  I don't know if they ever take them outside the gates, but she wanted to go and so we did.  There's a school next to the babyhouse and we went over there.  We also played in the playground at the babyhouse. We went on a swing and on the merry go round.  We had a lot of fun. So much I guess she wanted to go again this afternoon. We saw a bunch of dogs in the afternoon.  She likes watching them.  Still no birds, I've got the damn breadcrumbs in my coat pocket.  I'm not giving up.


We have just four days until court.  Can you believe it?  Really three days since today is already over. Seems a bit unreal. Well, those were the things I was burning to tell you.  I'm going to give you over to Bill so you can get his take on the day.  Perhaps he'll tell you about the ATM Machine.


Just a quick note about the ATM machine, overwhelming.  It gives you Tenge back. The current exchange rate is about 145 Tenge to 1 USD.  It is still confusing to me, I want to use even numbers.  I keep trying to figure out how much something would cost in USD.  The first machine said I could only take 30,000 Tenge, I was lost at that point.  I went to the next machine and tried to take out 50,000 Tenge, WOW!  It worked, this is only about 350 USD.  50,000 tenge out of the ATM.  The whole money thing seems to keep escaping me.  Oh well.  No sweat.  Everything we have purchased seems to be reasonably priced, I think!


Just for a treat tonight, Ann and I put on a demo of the toilet experience.  You will find a 10 second video clip of the thing in action.  I realize it appears amateur, we had to improvise.  The main character is shaving cream...  Enjoy, we did!  It has sound also....

© Bill Delmedico 2013