Thursday, April 18, 2013


Empty Nest!

Well it took four days. I slept on Monday, cleaned up on Tuesday, worked on Wednesday and today. But it was this morning as I left the house - gloriously on time, without shouting at anyone! - that I felt just a little twinge of it. That this was what life is going to be like now on a daily basis, me on my own, or heading off to work. Not so much missing them, and certainly not bored, but more realizing that it's the end of an era. No more hanging out at home with the kiddies or going shopping with my little side-kick

Man, that was quick.

I'm glad I did it, slowed down a bit, spent the time with them, enjoying them, doing things together.

Of course it's hardly all over yet - the kindy reeeeally eases them into the routine and Erica's coming home at 12pm for the first month, so the side-kick shopping trips continue for now, and of course there's the mad mad afternoons - Amy came home with her school sports timetable - she's practicing with her club until 6pm every night, plus Saturday mornings, with matches often scheduled on Sundays and public holidays so it's certainly not over yet! But the days become mine and mine alone.  I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon and I'll fill up the spaces!

They are all in bed, Amy's under-loft desk-space blocked off by a blanket so the other two can go to bed at 9pm. And that's probably the earliest I can manage on a Thursday! Erica will be doing karate until 8pm now, and Amy and Lena won't be starting their homework until 7pm. Dinner and baths.. yes it's very easy to see how Japanese are awake until 10 or 11pm on a school night.

Foot news

Catch 22: if I don't use it, it hardly hurts at all - but if I then use it, it hurts! When it doesn't hurt, I feel like I am being such an over-dramatic sook with my crutch and elaborate limping. Wimp. But then the pain if I foolishly try to act normal! So-so today, because I used the crutch, even though it felt like I was overdoing it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And then some more moaning

After a whole family meltdown on Friday, followed by hard-out party prep on Saturday and a bbq birthday party on Sunday, I went to the doctor on Monday. The splint and bandage were taken off, not because it's healed, but just because it's such a nuisance. I felt a little worried, but more happy - like the light at the end of the tunnel. Nearly over folks!

I'm still supposed to use the crutch though. I don't at home, it's too much of a nuisance, but I do outside. I've also started driving, I had to in an emergency yesterday morning to get Amy to school. She'd been promised a ride, and the Mum texted Kanji to tell him she couldn't go, but he didn't read the message until they were due to pick her up - no time to walk. So I drove half way to the school, and it wasn't bad.

It was bad today though, all the way to work, inside to pick up resources, to Mr Max to get crayons for Erica for kindy, then driving to the kindy, resulting in a numb, tingly pain through my whole foot. I was so glad I arrived 10 minutes early and could give it a rest before going in! About to try driving again and go to my hospital class, it should be okay, at least I don't have to jump around so much when I arrive!

Well that's done, and I was a good girl and took my crutch this time, so it wasn't as bad. Having the crutch, I felt justified using the disabled parking space - it's quite painful to walk a long way. The new hospital is finished but the grounds are still under construction, and the new parking lot not finished. One area being used is the former back parking lot, and it's a bit of a mess. They made an effort to supply some disabled parking though, three spaces right by the back door, in front of a mound of dirt that might some day be a garden. They are marked off also with traffic cones on the lined spaces between the spaces. They are off-centre to the other parking spaces, between the bus stop and a narrow road leading to more off-kilter spaces beside another mess of dirt.

So I parked in one spot, happy not to have to go too far. But then when I came out, I found a car parked directly behind me!

Now life in Japan has me scratching my head at times, but this truly baffled me. WHY would you do that??? And after hours, when the parking lots are emptying out? And at a hospital, where you can pretty much guarantee that quite a few disabled or limited mobility patients will be needing those spaces?

There's only two options: utter stupidity, or stupid nastiness.

It could be someone who decided I wasn't supposed to be there (because it was after hours maybe?) and that I deserved to be blocked in. The stupid part of course being that they had no way to tell if I was 'worthy' or not, as Japan doesn't have the cards you need in NZ to use these spaces. They operate on trust - and fail miserably, I might add. While these three spaces were pretty much left alone (maybe people in hospitals are a bit more conscious of the trouble patients have getting around) there are many places where every disabled space is filled every day with perfectly able-bodied people!

Or it was someone just being a brainless copycat? There were also cars parked in front of, but not IN the other two disabled spaces. Kind of a parking version of having your cake and eating it too - you get to occupy the space (there is still enough space for cars to pass between these double parked cars and the row on the other side) but not break the rules about not parking in disabled places.

If indeed it was not someone being nasty, but just being phenomenally stupid, perhaps they just pulled in alongside the other two cars, thinking it was rather odd to see my car parked there. Perhaps they park like this every day after hours and it's become so normal to them that they thought I was actually in the wrong.

Either way, baffled.

There was just enough space to get out (god knows what I would have done otherwise, called the security guard I suppose). There were a few guys hanging around the smoking shed on the mound of dirt that may one day be a garden. If they weren't there I would have taken a few more photos (I got one photo). They were kind of partly watching me, as I loaded my bags and crutch into the car, then hobbled around to the front and back to gauge the distances. So that when I got in and started to back up, one of them came in behind me to help direct. I didn't really need it as I have a rear-view camera, but it was nice of him. I did wonder if it was his car... they didn't seem like staff, so maybe they were visiting a sick friend and taking a smoke break. But then why didn't he move the car? Too lazy? Too embarrassed? Too confident that I would be able to squeeze out? Or just noticing my conundrum and helping out. That's a nicer thought anyway.

Good News Bulletin

* I can drive again. So nice to have my independence back.

* School started. All three kids out by 7:50, it's amazing but it's Wednesday and the living room is still passably tidy!

* I solved the Erica bed problem (it broke again on Monday). I simply laid the two slabs of wood on the FLOOR between the sides of the frame, instead of balanced on the lip of the frame, as they are designed to do. Can't possibly fall off the floor, and the wood slabs keep the mattress off the ground. Actually, it was Erica's idea! Well, she decided she wanted to sleep on the floor inside the bed frame, and I added the bed slabs.

* I found a ring. This time a year ago, I bought a cane chair at a second-hand store. It rocks on a spring base, which is hidden inside a circular base. This double-base makes it impossible to clean inside - but also apparently creates a perfect hiding place for lost jewellery. I was reaching past the chair, which had been recently moved around as we prepared the room for the party, and just spied it there inside the base. I reached in and plucked it out, put it on, gave it to Amy, took it back.... looked a bit closer, and started to wonder. It was dusty, but very nice. A central oval cut emerald in a bezel setting, with two diamonds, one on either side. Looked inside, and indeed it had a gold mark, it's 18c gold, and you don't usually put crap stones in 18c gold, nor such tiny diamonds. If you're going to go fake, you go proper fake and get big ones!

So I suppose I'll have to get it valued sometime. If a comparison to my engagement ring is anything to go by, it could be worth $1-2000.

Of course, the other thing to do is wonder whose it is and if I can possibly find them. I haven't had anyone tell me they've lost a ring at my house, but if they do, well hey, I just found it guys!!

I suppose I could lodge it at the police station for six months, I think you get to take it back if no-one claims it.

I don't think the shop itself is a good bet, since the purchase was a year ago, and I'm pretty sure they don't keep records of what they buy either, and I would worry that they would decided to keep it 'for if the customer comes back' and then sell it themselves! I could tell just give them my phone number in case someone calls I suppose.

Or just keep it. Like Kanji said, it's fate, it's payback for losing my sapphire ring all those years ago (and both my signet rings!)

I'm wearing it now. I should take it off so I don't get too attached to it so I can sell it once I decide it's really mine, and take the kids on holiday. Maybe only to the next town for a picnic though if it's fake!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What to write?

I really don't know what to write. I should write about the nyugakushiki, Amy's junior high school entrance ceremony, but I can't be bothered. People have already put up so many photos on facebook that I'm bored with it already, and face it, it's a pretty boring event! But I took some nice photos so I'll put those together in a nice post for her for posterity.

And I was going to write about how I had decided that Wednesday was going to be my whinging day this year, what with classes at 10:30, 2pm and 5:30 for an hour each, plus a swimming lesson thrown in the middle.

But now I'm just exhausted. This is what I was writing the other day before I just got tired and went to sleep:

"I've had enough. It's only been one week but the novelty has definitely worn off, I am sick of this stupid foot. Doc today said I could drive maybe some time between the 15th and 22nd.... so poor Kanji is stuck with being my chauffeur and organizing his work life around mine, with me feeling increasingly guilty for putting him out so much - not that he's been anything but sweet and accommodating.

Maybe it's just that I was drinking last night (work do) and I always feel depressed the day after.

But not having my independence and getting so exhausted just trying to get around is very trying.

One thing on the up side - I did figure out that I can ride a bike, so I can now go shopping and maybe even take myself to a few lessons. We'll see how it pans out."

Well I wasn't drinking last night and still feel depressed! I guess that must be normal, right, if you have pain, and you're so tired, and have to shuffle and limp instead of walk, and you can't do anything above a snail pace, and have lost your independence.

The entrance ceremony was fine, but I was in tears before it because I had left my camera at work. Or rather, failed to pick it up (guess why?) after a co-worker borrowed it on Sunday to take pictures at the work do. Bless her, she turned up at the school gate with her own camera for me to borrow.

Then I got ANGRY at Manager for failing to notify me that the 2pm class had been given to someone else. Not happy at having a hour removed from my schedule (and paycheck) but in reality that class was going to be a pain in the neck and I didn't want to do it in the first place... angry because they hadn't told me I didn't need to come in today and I went through so much to get there - we had a rushed take out lunch after Amy's entrance ceremony instead of a leisurely lunch in a restaurant, I was tired from walking all over the junior high school (they picked the furthest classroom from the hall!) and Kanji of course having to take off more time to get me across town. Then, because I was hoping someone at work would drive me to the kindy, I had no ride back once I learned I had no class, and had to call Kanji back to pick me up.

I went straight home and, having no-one to call and abuse, went straight to bed and fell into a deep sleep. And I'm still tired!And I'm off to bed as I'm sick of myself moaning - good luck if you made it this far!

Saturday, April 06, 2013


No photos, you can work with a word image.

Deep Japanese bath.

Naked me, right foot wrapped in a plastic shopping bag over a towel over plastic wrap over a bandage sock over a bandage, balanced on a stool OUTSIDE the bath, left leg IN the bath, up to the thigh in steaming hot water. Things are kind of getting a bit playboy centrefoldish with the legs. And now I have to sit down. Slowly, slowly, knee inching closer to nose, I sink in. Have you ever got in a bath fanny* first?

(Take a few moment to yank out some in-grown hairs since I haven't been this close to my shin for.. well, at least since Susie's last yoga session.)

And sit! I did actually manage to get in! Then sat there with one foot poking up out of the bath like an olive in a martini.

And I did actually manage to enjoy it a little too, once I got my limb balance sorted out. I needed a nice soak on a wet day.

Having a shower is a lot more dignified, I should add, once I got past the mistake of standing up (water just ran into the bag). Sitting down, I can rest my foot outside the shower.

I don't remember it being this complicated the last two times. I suppose I did the dressings myself the first time, so I just took it off and re-did it after my shower or bath. And the second time, the silly splint would fall off in half a day so I just took it off, taped my toes, and slipped it back on to go to the doctor!   Again, I could easily re-do it myself, so I did, after the shower.

Looks like I'm stuck with shower shenanigans for a few more weeks this time.

* American or NZ interpretation work okay here

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Broken Foot Life

The biggest thing is the driving. How do you not drive for 2-3 weeks?

I'm actually working it out much better than I though I would be able to. No driving since Saturday now, and with any luck, I can hold out until Monday the 15th, although I may need to drive by next Thursday. Still, that's one more week from today, and it feels a lot better today - feels better every day of course.

I can walk. It's not that hard really, I walk on the heel or side of the foot, but the problem is I end up with sore shins, knees, thighs and hips from the cacky walking, so I got a crutch, which I could not coordinate for the first few days. I make myself use it to prevent having a sore everything later on. It wasn't this hard with the other toes, this must be worse, or in a worse place. Drat.

And rest, yeah, who needs that? Great excuse to blow off the spring cleaning though. But I still have things to do, cooking, laundry, cleaning up. The girls are helping but aren't terribly efficient... I know from experience that I can do a whole lot more - but will regret it by nightfall. It feels fine in the morning and begins to ache more and more as the day goes on.

Kanji's having a go at being soccer mom. That's fun. You should have heard him yesterday rehearsing out lout tonight's duties. Then I reminded him to add the English lesson from next week...

He's been taking me to the hospital for dressing changes and to work and took me shopping on Tuesday, I tried to buy a week's worth. Shopping hurt! I thought I'd be okay leaning on the trolley, but no, I needed that crutch.

It's surprising how tiring it is! I suppose between energy for healing, the extra effort it takes to walk anywhere, and slightly disrupted sleep, it's to be expected.

Oh, and I need to add to the bad luck list. Vanilla knocked the computer of the table and smashed the screen. Grrr.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Bad Luck

I've been having a bit of a run of bad luck.

Erica sick on her graduation day, my favorite plate broke that day too, AND Vanilla went missing (plus all three cats the other night). I got rear-ended at an intersection and harassed on a train. Lena's pyjama party was a bit of a flop, and my iphone conked out, but last night I really topped it and broke my toe.

Ah, deja vu? I've written this post before, right? Yep, twice before, this is the THIRD time I've broken a bone in my foot!

Oh and just now, I lost a filling.

And I still haven't got around to writing about the creep who tried to touch my daughters and smacked me on the head when I protested!

But back to the foot, which takes pride of place as the most irritating and inconvenient of all my unlucky events.

At least it was suitably dramatic this time, not just a bloody door frame or low concrete wall. I fell down the stairs. Or, a few steps anyway. It was during Lena's pyjama party for her 11th birthday. She'd already had a cry because it wasn't as spectacular as Amy's disco party two years before - most of the invitees either couldn't come or couldn't stay the night. So we were happy when the younger sister of one friend decided she would be able to stay. Their parents were standing in the genkan at the time, chatting away and making sure it really was okay for the little one to stay.

There were two futons downstairs, and I needed to get one more, plus blankets and quilts, so I went up with Lena to get them. She hauled the double futon out of the bedroom door, and I warned her not to try carrying it down - just push it, I said, it's safest for it to tumble down on its own (providing no-one's coming up the stairs at the time!). She gave it a wee push, and it went down a few steps along with a blanket she also pushed down. Then I followed, decided I would be better for this job, carrying a quilt or something. I think I was intending on gently pushing the futon down the rest of the way, but I slipped on the blanket, and went down just two or three steps, but enough for my toes to fold beneath me, quite a lot further than toes like to be folded.

I was fine in the immediate aftermath. Having the adrenaline rush of actually falling, and the relief of stopping 'safely' I felt fine, and reassured everyone I was okay. As Kanji finished up chatting with the parents in the genkan, the pain slowly increased until by the time they left, I limped out to him and told him I thought I'd broken it.

We considered going to the hospital right then, with Amy babysitting. I didn't really want to do that, but  it was better than his other suggestions of actually calling an ambulance, eek! No way. So we called. It turned out the one hospital that does orthopedic (no such thing as an emergency department in this town!) was busy with an emergency.

So we went the next day, and the hospital was still all closed down and quiet (and very, very cold - I had worn a skirt in case I got a cast and no socks of course, and I froze!). X-rays taken, foot examined, small crack in the bone at the base of the toe, nothing serious. A foam-lined, metal splint was bent over the toe, just like my little toe last time, taped on and gently bandaged over. It seemed to be a more sensible idea with the big toe than it was with the little toe (it kept falling off).

Aaaaand back again on Monday - 2 hour wait - and back again tomorrow and back again Friday, yep the endless dressing changes have begun and I am dreading the rehabilitation, I really don't want to be spending two hours every second day at the cost of $10-20 to wiggle my toes in a mini spa pool.

More tomorrow on the logistical nightmare caused by being NOT ABLE TO DRIVE!