"Rectum! *That's* what I'm talking about!"


-- चार हजार तीन सौ और तीन --

I've got pretty much my entire Birth Week next week all booked up, planned and confirmed -- and it's not even the only planning I've got going on.

As it happens, Uncle David and Mary Ann are going on yet another long cruise across the Pacific from their home in Australia, and they are again including a visit to Washington State and Idaho for their trip -- all of only three years after they were last here, in September 2015. Once again, it's a bit of a whirlwind for them when they will be visiting locally: they have a cousin of Mary Ann's to visit on the Washington Coast; they'll take a few days to drive over to Wallace, Idaho to see Mom and Bill (and, since he currently still lives with Mom and Bill, Christopher -- they didn't see each other the 2015 trip so this will be the first time they've seen each other since Grandpa's memorial service in 1996); and, of course, they will visit Shobhit and me in Seattle as well. As it happens, with Ivan out of the condo, they'll actually stay two nights in our guest room this time around. It's all happening in the middle of May.

They'll be in the Pacific Northwest something like Monday, May 14 through Tuesday, May 22. At first as we were exchanging emails about all of this, they were going to come to Seattle and take Shobhit and me out for dinner on Tuesday the 15th. This would have been quite soon after Ivan, at least as is currently scheduled -- he has long since had his return flight from Zagreb booked, although he has already at least once rescheduled another flight during his travels, so we'll see -- will be staying at least one night with us, on Sunday May 13, before he heads to his final permanent destination in Vancouver, B.C.

But, as they also exchanged emails with Mary Ann's cousin about when they would be available for a visit, scheduling got switched around. I let them know early on that they were welcome to stay in our guest room now that we have it free; at first Mary Ann said they already have a hotel booked in Seattle as part of their long cruise itinerary. After they had to rearrange their schedule to accommodate Mary Ann's cousin, however, that switched to them staying in our guest room for two nights, between Saturday May 19 and Monday May 21.

This put a slight wrench into plans I had already made for that Saturday, May 19. Before I had any idea Uncle David and Mary Ann would be in town that weekend, I made plans with Claudia here at work, to go with her and her boyfriend Dylan for a tour of the Amazon Spheres -- something I have long wanted and planned to do, since I very first heard about them, before construction of the new Amazon HQ even began. Tours are happening now, though, with predictably convoluted limitations: they only do them two Saturdays each month; the tours fill up within just a few days; each day of tours only opens up for reservations one month in advance.

I won't really complain about that given that the tours are free -- things like this are the price you have to pay. And I really wish I'd been paying enough attention to looking up bookings for May 5 -- the end of my Birth Week! -- when reservations would have opened up for that day on Thursday, April 5. I even had a reminder in my Google Calendar to do that on April 5, and there was even a pop-up reminder -- but somehow I still didn't see it. I was much more diligent when reservations for May 19 tours opened up on April 19, Thursday last week.

Assuming (rightly, for the most part) that I would need to book as soon as possible, I was delighted to see that even by nearly the end of the day last Thursday there were tons of slots still open for every tour at half hour intervals between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. And just so I wouldn't lose out by waiting for a response from Claudia on Facebook Messenger, I booked a noon tour for five: Shobhit and me; Claudia and Dylan; Claudia's 12-year-old son Jasper.

In the meantime, as I was exchanging emails with Uncle David and Mary Ann, I asked if they had any interest in joining for this tour, now that I knew they would be in town that day. I figured they might, and on the day I asked, there were still something like 30 slots open for that noon tour.

Unfortunately, I sent that email asking about it on Friday, and right afterward was when Uncle David and Mary Ann left for their cruise, with no access to Internet for a few days. I did not hear back, in which Uncle David said he was indeed interested in going on the tour, until Tuesday -- at which point every single tour all day on May 19 was completely booked up, save for a single slot left on maybe three of the tours, none of them the noon tour.

But! I had an easy fix to make this work. I had made the reservation before finding out Jasper actually would not be coming after all. And, assuming Shobhit would not care at all if he could not come (which was true, I got confirmation last night), I just emailed the Visit Amazon Spheres info email to ask that Shobhit's and Jasper's names be switched on the reservation to Uncle David and Mary Ann. Voila! Now we're all set and everyone is happy. Added bonus, for me: I'll be able to add the Amazon Spheres tour to my collection of Birth Week botanical garden visits, even though it will be two weeks after my Birth Week actually ended. But, it fits with the theme, it was the only date I could make work, and it's close enough. Like a Birth Week Epilogue, of sorts, which I have done more than once in previous years for various reasons. In any case, I am seriously stoked to be getting inside those structures.

As for Uncle David and Mary Ann visiting Mom and Bill, in his email yesterday Uncle David said he had not been able to call her, and was having trouble getting in touch online. This was unsurprising to me, given Bill's monopoly of the computer they share, and Mom's trouble with writing ever since her stroke in 2014. I had been meaning to call Mom literally for months, and now I had a much more pressing reason to do so -- I assured Uncle David I would call her later in the evening, and then get back to him myself.

-- चार हजार तीन सौ और तीन --


-- चार हजार तीन सौ और तीन --

I did indeed call Mom shortly after walking home from work yesterday, and I got back to Uncle David today from my work email (which is the address they always use for me for some reason). The call lasted about forty minutes and I got a fair amount of information. Instead of re-writing it all, I'll just paste a portion of the email to Uncle David here:

I called Mom last night and you can now rest assured that she knows you’ll be visiting May 17. She was quite surprised and delighted to hear you’d be back so soon after your last visit, only three years ago – she wanted me to tell you she said, verbatim, “I’m very, very, very excited!” She relayed the news on to Bill in the background and he sounded pretty happy about it too. Also of note: Christopher is still living with them, so I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to get to see you as well, and I’m sure you’ll be glad to get to see him too. It only occurred to me last night that, unlike Mom and me after the 2015 visit, Christopher still hasn’t seen you guys since you were here for Grandpa’s memorial service in 1996. 22 years ago!

Mom assured me she has a calendar to write down the dates in (I also reminded her of when Shobhit and I will be there in June), but she didn’t write it down while we were on the phone. So, just to cover all bases, I sent direct messages via Facebook Messenger to both Shelley (one of the state employees who helps take care of them, and is also a very close friend) and Christopher, to keep others in the loop. I have confirmation that both have seen the message. So they all know you’re coming May 17!

And by the way, Mom also told me she never uses the regular computer anymore as Bill’s always using it. Mom has a tablet she uses, but she said something changed as to where Facebook is accessed and she can’t figure out where to find it – so, she hasn’t been on Facebook in ages. She never even said anything about regular email; I don’t think even I have exchanged regular email with her in a few years.

She also told me, by the way, that she’d been to hospitals (or maybe in some cases just doctors) four times so far this year already. I can’t even remember what the issue was all four times. Twice she said she had gone in because she had really terrible stomach aches, and in one instance it turned out she had some kind of growth on her kidney. I guess she’s fine now, though – she sounded fine on the phone, and she assured me she was fine, although she did start joking about me repeatedly telling her to “take your pill, Mom!” until she overdoses. (This has been a running joke of ours since I was a teenager, as she always said she never wanted to live with Alzheimer’s, and if she ever got it she wanted me to just keep reminding her to take a pill since she wouldn’t remember the previous ones she’d taken.) Another time she had polyps on her rectum. As you know, in the years after her stroke she often struggles to remember words, and sometimes this results in funny phrasing. I laughed pretty hard when she paused for several seconds, and then suddenly blurted out, “Rectum! That’s what I’m talking about!” I guess one or two other times she was taken in because she was having such a hard time recalling words that Christopher and Shelley were convinced she was stroking again, but I guess she wasn’t. In any case, she said, “I’m done for the year!” – four times to see doctors is enough for a while, she says. I don’t blame her for feeling that way.

-- चार हजार तीन सौ और तीन --

After that, in my email to Uncle David, I also pasted the majority of the story I wrote for this blog on March 12 about the Amy Miller comedy show I went to with Gabriel, and how she ended up talking to me from the stage about Mom. I shared this story because finally, last night, I did indeed tell Mom the story -- or, a rather truncated version of it, from memory -- since Laney later convinced me Mom would probably find it funny. And indeed she did: Mom laughed quite a lot when I was telling her about it. And so, I thought it might amuse Uncle David too.

-- चार हजार तीन सौ और तीन --

Shobhit was perhaps not feeling quite as badly as I feared when I got home from work yesterday, but if he has indeed caught the crud I have, he was coughing much more frequently, and feeling extremely tired. This sucks especially for him, as he just spent like two weeks feeling sick last month, and even took a sick day himself in March. Perhaps on the upside, mine began with a sore throat, and although Shobhit did say "I'm feeling something in my throat" for a couple of days, he never seemed to have a terrible sore throat, and we can only hope it moves through him more quickly than it seems to be moving through me -- mine began on Monday last week; I continue to cough regularly; and as of last night my ears started feeling all plugged up. I'm getting them to pop every once in a while today, at least.

Fuck, I just hope I am notably recovered by Saturday. I have a lot planned next week.

Anyway, we watched the season premiere of season 2 of Westworld, and, honestly? Eh. I loved the first season; this 76-minute episode honestly felt like a whole lot of filler. Why they felt it should be stretched to such a long run time is kind of a mystery. Then we watched John Oliver and then we went to bed.

-- चार हजार तीन सौ और तीन --


[posted 12:27 pm]