Welp, between getting the cat fixed and necessary car repairs, we didn't have the money to take him to an *ahem* real vet to get looked at, once the almost-obvious infection set in just two days later, on Monday, 13 January. I was chatting online with a friend about my concerns, and that friend - y'all, I have some amazing, terrific, wonderful friends - sent me the money immediately to get Pepper seen.
So we took him to a vet uptown, and we waited, like, no lie, five hours in the waiting room.
We made a lot of buddies in the waiting room, like this fellow, Chiquito, who licked the crap out of Sophia's face. Friendly little guy, mangy, but super cute just the same!
Then there was this little adorable Pomeranian puppy, Melody, who I wanted desperately to steal and take home with us, but alas, I don't t'ief me some puppies. Is she not the cutest thing EVAR?!
This quartet of pups, just a couple days old, had to go home without their mommy. They broke her pelvis coming out, poor thing. The dude had to go pay the vet bill and asked me if I would mind dog-sitting them for a few minutes. Would I mind?! Um, no, not hardly, sir. (I'm a dog person. We have five cats, and I'm a dog person. I was in animal-lover heaven over there, y'all.)
At last, it was our turn, after visiting with every other animal in the waiting room, and even after I went to the Publix nearby and shopped for a quick meal of bananas, granola bars, Babybel cheeses, and flavored waters. We kind of got the stink eye from other waiting room patients, but you know what? I did not care. MY babies were hungry, and I shared with the toddler-sized owner of Melody. So bite me, stink-eyers!
So anyway... Chloë and I went into the exam room with Pepper, and there we met the vet tech, whom I'll call Chuck. Chuck was super-smiley, and friendly, and caring. The vet, a woman (woohoo!), came in, and Chuck held Pepper down while she examined his poor, sore bally-sac (technical term there, ya know). Then she left, after giving me the spiel about what he needed (antibiotics) and what, thank the good Lord above, he did not need (a re-neutering, basically).
So Chuck, who was fresh from Cuba, overheard me talking to Chloë in Spanish, and we had the following conversation in that language:
Chuck, to me, about Chloë: "Oh, does she speak Spanish, too?"
C: "But... you do...?"
M: "I've forgotten a lot, but I'm working on it."
C: "Are you from here?"
M, thinking he meant Miami, "No. I'm from New York."
C: "You're from the United States?!!?!"
C: "You're from the United States?!!?!"
And then he switched to English, excitedly, as if he had just made some amazing discovery: "But your accent, and your grammar, were perfect! I thought you were Latina! I didn't know what country you were from, but I thought South or Central America!" blah-zay-blah...
Long story short, I was immensely flattered, and my head blew up to 490 times its normal size. He told me he was looking to improve his English, and we exchanged celly numbers to talk down the road and help each other out. I was pretty damn excited.
Oh, and Chuck? Actually a vet in Cuba, who had recently taken his boards to become licensed in the U.S. For whatever that's worth to ya.
The next day was a cold one. We stayed in, did school, and looked after Pepper and Rob. I say Rob, because he's had his share of medical drama lately, too. He had his MRI the same day I met Chuck, and we went to the neurosurgeon on Wednesday morning.
As far as that goes, it turns out that he still has the TUMOR. What the what?! Rob has been going in to see Dr. Neuro by himself, while I sit out in the parking garage with the Littles, so I haven't been privy to their conversations, but... Just exactly how muddled does your thinking have to be that you can't remember the doctor telling you that you still have a TUMOR in your BRAIN? And, in fact, remember him saying that it's gone? Really, now. Pretty dang muddled, apparently. (So, for those of you who have been asking yourselves, like my dear father did recently, if Rob is all better and is ready to "hit the ground running in the new year and get a job and/or go to school," the answer to that is a big fat hell-to-the-NO.)
So he can't work, can't go to school, can't drive, can barely walk, rarely functions, sleeps 34 hours a day, and yeah. Fun times for Rob. :(
The good(ish) news is that he was ordered to start stepping down off his horrible horrible meds, but the downside to that is he feels like total crap. Crap, crap, and more crap. Bear with me while I say it once more: CRAP!
We went to Cyberknife that afternoon, per Dr. Neuro's orders, to get another consult with the Radiation Oncologist. No-way, no-how did he want to do another Cyberknife, but he and Dr. Neuro are at odds on that score. So... we're going with the Rad-Onc's wishes, but we'll be seeking a second opinion soon. He did agree about stepping off the meds, so that's what my babe is doing. Miserably, but somewhat happily so.
That Friday, I audited a grocery store down the road. It took over two hours, and you know what? After staring at food for 135 minutes, I was pretty damned hungry. I went home and whipped up my former signature mashed potatoes: along with the regular butter and milk, I added sautéed onions and garlic, corn, shredded Cheddar cheese, and maybe, after taking this Insta-pic, I added a small dollop of sour cream. So delicious. I have no business eating that many carbs, but I'm careful to eat just a tad and then pass the rest of my bowl to Rob...
Saturday, I ran up to Hialeah - a good hour's drive from home - and did a bunch of home improvement store shops. Not one of them panned out the way they were supposed to. I try to remember that it really doesn't matter, because I'm just there to report what DID happen and not really care whether what was SUPPOSED to happen did, in fact, happen, but I came home rather annoyed. When that happens, I take a nice break and calm down, so that I can report objectively. I sat outside in our beautiful, sunny Miami weather and surveyed my surroundings. And my feet. I know. I have ugly feet and minuscule toenails. In college, my friend Jorge Alarcon (Are you OUT THERE, Jorge?!!) asked me once, seeing my painted toenails, "Are you trying to show off what you DON'T have?!" Hilarious.
Sunday, I did more grocery store and home improvement audits around our hometown, and then I went off to visit my new friend Chuck. I had intended to bring him home with me, for reasons I won't go into just yet, but that didn't work out as planned, so I stayed there and practiced my Spanish while he worked on his English. We talked for, like, two - maybe three? - hours, animatedly, sometimes stiltedly, about a wide variety of rather intense topics. It was pretty great. Pretty, pretty great.
Inspired by my renewed zest for all things Spanish, I cleaned the kitchen on Monday and cooked with Mojo Criollo. Of course, I told Chuck about it, and he was all "guau!" which is, duh, "Wow!" in English.
Along with a pork loin in Mojo, I made rice and, because I didn't soak the red beans for long enough, green beans. Then I completely forgot about the red beans soaking in a pot until two days later when, in Rob's words, they turned into "a hagfish." Seriously, gross. I had to throw out the whole freakin' pot. Ugh. Good thing that was a cheap bag of beans, but I absolutely abhor waste of any kind.
While the kids hung out upside-down on Tuesday morning, I went down to the Upper Keys to do a couple more grocery store audits. Those managers weren't too happy when I showed up after a holiday weekend in the Florida Keys, as all their stock was wiped out, but I had no choice. It's lovely, always, to go into Monroe County. I love it.
What I also loved on Tuesday was that I went to work rockin' my first ponytail since buzzing off all my hair over a year before! Woot woot! It was long enough to all go in and, more importantly, stay in! Hey, I'll take any kind of victories I can get.
I worked all day Wednesday, in between giving assignments to the kids, and then I came home, took a bath, and sported a mud mask. See? Muddy, muddy mask. My face is sooo soft now! Wanna feel? Here, rub the screen.
I've got nothing else inane to report for the mo', so I'll sign off. I have to head to my glaucoma appointment in an hour anyhoo, so have a splendid day!