Leaving Chennai, part 3 – Final Roundup

Today is our last day in Chennai, which means this is my last blog post from here. The packing is pretty much finished, there is mess all over the house, and all the furniture is getting picked up at varying times throughout the day by 4 different people. Pretty much all of it sold, except for the old water filter and microwave, though we may be able to get the scrap dealer, who has taken a number of our things, to buy them.

Sidney the cat is noticing the changes around here. She was outside on the balcony early and saw that I had the light on, so she cried her most pitiful cry. Then seeing as I wasn’t opening the door, she jumped to the window where I couldn’t ignore her. Now she is roaming the house meowing, looking for everyone else who is still asleep (it’s not quite 7 a.m.). I think she will miss us as much as we will miss her.

Now for some “I remembers”:

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I remember the day Logan got his first crib. It meant a more comfortable night sleep for me. (14 months old)

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I remember the shock of finding this rocking horse in a parcel shortly after praying to get one for Logan. (19 months old)

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I remember how sweet Logan was with Lila, and how much he wanted to hold and play with her. (Logan 20 months, Lila 3 months)

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I remember I was lying down and Lila was nursing, while Logan was making his puzzle next to me. He put the knob of each piece in his mouth and then stuck it in the puzzle.

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I remember seeing Lila in this rare thumb-sucking moment, and thinking how cute she looked. It’s one of my most favorite pictures of her. (3 months old)

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I remember how excited he was to get to pet this baby goat. He had been chasing the goats and they were all running from him. Then this man stopped and picked one up for him. (2 yrs. 3 mo.)

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I remember this moment of bonding between Lila (19 months) and Scarlett (10 days).

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I remember that Scarlett really loved our homemade popsicles. (16 months)

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I remember how excited they were when I told them they could play tea party on the balcony. They brought everything out. (Lila, 3 yrs., Scarlett, 17 mo.)

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I remember this day when daddy and Logan reversed rolls and had lots of fun on the roof.

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I remember how much work it was to get those not-quite-perfect lines in Lila’s hair.

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I remember they were so excited that it was Christmas Day and they could have chocolate and cookies for breakfast. (Lila, 3 1/2; Logan, 5 yrs.)

There are so many more special memories but I’m going to have to stop here. Tomorrow morning early we will be driving off towards Bangalore, where we will spend the night and head out the next day for Mangalore.

And now I’d better get going as I have a 9:30 dental appointment.

Leaving Chennai, part 2 – Special Events

If you missed the first part, you can read it here.

 

There have been many special days and events that have happened in the past 5 years since we moved here, but I’d have to say that the biggest and best of the special events were that Lila and Scarlett were both born here, in the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor.

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Newborn Lila.

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With daddy.

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Newborn Scarlett

Nana Mable visited several times.

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With newborn Scarlett. November 2010

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Her birthday. That is Lila she is holding. November 2010

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At the zoo. June 2012

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At the beach. Lila was miserable and hated it. November 2012

 

Logan and Lila started school.

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Logan on his first day of preschool. June 2011

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Lila on her first day of preschool. June 2012

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Logan’s first day of kindergarten. July 2012

 

We had some family vacations.

Mahabalipuram, just outside Chennai, February 2010.

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Dinner at a sidewalk restaurant.

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Going down to the beach.

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Swimming in the pool.

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Relaxing.

 

Mango Hill resort and a visit to the Crocodile Bank Reserve park. July 2013

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Checking out the crocodiles.

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Learning to swim.

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Such a water baby.

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Fun times.

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My handsome men.

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At dinner.

 

So many memories, so little time to go over them all. I’m going to do one more post in this series, but right now I need to go get myself and the kids dressed for a little goodbye party that is happening at Glad’s office.

Packing

Packing – there is so much to do and so little time to do it in. I’ve got just one week to go through everything that we own and cut it down to the bare minimum of what we will need while in Mangalore. But I’m excited! We’ve been waiting for this time to come for over a year now, and it’s finally here!

Yesterday I pulled out all of our suitcases and bags. I found the padlock for our back door that went missing about 2 years ago, conveniently hanging from the zipper of Glad’s small suitcase that hadn’t been used in forever. The suitcase was sitting inside a larger one that was stored under my bed, and of course, I never went into it because there was no need. I wonder what I’ll find today?

Last week I was getting rid of junk, throwing stuff out or giving it away. This week, I’ve got to look at every item still in the house and decide whether it will go in the bags we are taking or the ones we are giving away. Honestly, all we are keeping are clothes (about half of what we all own), a few toys and books, some personal items, and a few decorative things for Canada, plus a few things from the kitchen that my MIL wants or that I want to keep using while at her house, like my favorite glass baking pan.

Of course this will be reduced even more once we fly to Canada, but for now, if it fits in the car it can come.

Which brings me to the upcoming drive.

Remember last December when we drove to Mangalore? The trip that took two days? Yep, we are doing it again. Thankfully this time it is only one way. Two days in a car with kids is enough to drive anyone mad. My kids can’t do a whole lot in the car since two of them get carsick easily. Last time Logan asked literally every 5 minutes if we were there yet, and “but we’re supposed to be there already” is all I heard all day, unless he was napping.

So if you don’t hear too much from me this week or the next, you know what I’ll be doing.

The Root Canal Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought it Would Be

Ten a.m. this past Sunday found me in the dentist chair, getting a very large needle stuck in my gum.

For so long, years honestly, I’ve put off taking care of this tooth that has gone from a small cavity to a large hole in the side. The hole only grew when I was pregnant and got worse over time.

I finally reached a point where I couldn’t stand enduring the pain any more, so I went to a dentist. You can read how that went here. That particular dentist was not in full practice, however, so I went to a very modern dental clinic for a second evaluation. From the beginning I was much more comfortable with them than with the previous dentist.

I had brought the kids with me (no way I couldn’t), and they kept the assistants busy – touching everything, asking what everything was, Logan showing off his loose tooth, etc. – while the doctor checked my mouth and I had a x-ray done in another room. These dentists were very helpful, reassuring me that nowadays the root canal is the better option, and that they prefer to save the tooth if it is savable, rather than pull it. They took time to explain why the root canal was better and they answered all my questions.

I took some time deciding though, because pain is something I just can’t stand. I couldn’t make up my mind whether enduring the pain of a root canal was preferable to the daily ache I felt in the tooth. I’ve heard so much about how painful a root canal can be. I think one thing that helped me decide was the very friendly customer service I got from the clinic – from the next day check-in call asking how the service was, to having the dentist call me personally with answers to some more questions I had.

After some hemming and hawing, I decided to go for it and set a date to get it done. I chose Sunday so that Glad would be home with the kids. I was so nervous going in, and getting a needle in my jaw first thing didn’t help. I had to wait while half my mouth went numb. The whole left side – cheek, gums, tongue and lips. (If you want to feel something weird, half a mouth is the way to go.)

I tried to lie still and not shake or tense my body. I had to force myself to relax, hard to do when you have to keep your mouth open as wide as possible while it is so numb you can’t feel it. My neck kept tensing up and hurting but I finally figured out how to relax it. At the end of 45 minutes, it was over. They took a mold of my mouth and are making a ceramic cap for the tooth that will be put on in a few days.

And the expected pain? I don’t know if it is the painkillers I’m taking or if it really just doesn’t hurt. I’ve not had any pain. Actually, the thing that has bothered me the most in the past 24 hours is the cut on the side of my tongue that I must have gotten from one of the dental tools.

I feel so much better now that it is done. No more throb or ache in my tooth. No more trying to dig out whatever particle of food happened to be stuck there at the moment. No more avoiding chewing on that side. It’s over.

Now I just have about six other fillings to look forward to.  😦

Leaving Chennai, part 1 – Parks

At the end of this week, we leave Chennai for Mangalore. We are leaving more than just a city – it’s been our home for the past 5 1/2 years. When you leave a place where you have been for so long, memories abound. Like I did for the house we are leaving, I’m going to do some photo posts of places we have visited and things we have done that will forever be embedded in our hearts.

Parks is the topic for this first post. I’ve got thousands of photos of park outings, but I’m choosing the best ones to show you. These are from about 6 different parks that we have gone to regularly over the last 5 years.

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Logan at 19 months.

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2 years old.

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So handsome.

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Lila at 11 months old. She had just started walking and loved the park.

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This was to become our favorite park, being only a 5 minute drive away. Because of that huge tower, it is aptly known as “Tower Park”.
Logan, 2 1/2, Lila 15 months. You can almost see Scarlett popping out of my tummy.

Aug 07

Learning to slide on her own.

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This is one of my favorites. Lila, 21 months; Logan, 3 years.

Mar 19

I recall that this day was sweltering.

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One of their favorite things to climb – the snail. Lila, 2 years.

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The main fountain at Tower Park.

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Scarlett, 6 months old.

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A good view of the tower. It has a ramp to walk up that circles the tower all the way to the top. but it has been closed to the public for years. I’ve always wanted to see the view from up there.

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It’s a rare occasion when daddy can join us. Scarlett was 14 months old.

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Who knows what lands this snail has taken them too?

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Valentine’s Day, 2011.

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First time alone on the swing. 15 months old.

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Such fun, carefree times.

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The day Logan graduated from preschool. Lila, almost 3; Scarlett, 16 months; Logan, 4 1/2 years.

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Trying out the skates she got for her third birthday.

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Fun times with daddy.

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Sweet.

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My climber. Nothing can ever stop her from reaching the top.

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First time up in a tree.

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Scarlett, 1 1/2.

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These next few photos were taken at the beautiful botanical gardens.

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Time for some tricks. Lila, 4 years; Logan, 5 1/2 years.

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Spiral slides are such fun.

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Their favorite way to use the snail now. Logan and Scarlett are sitting on the antennae.

And that brings me to the end of the park photo collection. We will have one last goodbye trip before leaving. Of all the parks in the city, we have used this one the most, and I shall miss it.

Memories From This House

In only a few short weeks, we will be leaving this house that holds so many memories. I thought it might be fun to do a photo post and take a stroll down memory lane.

We have been in this house 3 years and 8 months (as of the end of March 2014). There are so many special things to remember that it is hard to limit this post to the truly memorable ones from each year but I’ll try. To keep this as short as possible, I’ve not included Christmases or any special holidays, though those do hold some special memories for us.

Warning – lots of photos ahead. I’ve given links to some old posts but you don’t have to read them unless you really want to.

2010

We found this house in June 2010 after a month of intense searching. We had seen many other places, including one just down the street from this one that we almost took, but this house was the one. The photo below was taken just before going to see it for the first time.

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Logan, 2 yrs. 7 mos.; Lila 14 months.

We moved into the house in July. This is what the balcony looked like before we put the wire mesh up for the kids’ safety.

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I took photos of the house when we first moved in, but the flash had died on my camera so they came out dark. If you want to see them, click here.

Shortly after that we bought a new camera, so the rest of the pics from that time are clear. The balcony became a favored play area, enabling Logan and Lila to be outside without having to leave the house. I was pregnant with Scarlett at the time, and did not always have the energy to take them to the park. This balcony is the main reason we took this house.

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Sept 12

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Logan celebrated his third birthday.

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The big event of 2010 was, of course, Scarlett’s birth. You can read the story here and here.

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5 days old.

2011

Lila celebrated her second birthday.

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And she caused me a great deal of stress. Read this story to see how she terrified me when she was only 2 yrs, 1 mo. old, and this one about all the trouble she caused as a toddler.

Logan began preschool.

Sept 27

He also had his first stage performance during his school’s annual day. Daddy had to stand with him to keep him in place.

Logan's Annual day pics

Logan is furthest right in the back.

Logan celebrated his fourth birthday and Scarlett her first.

Nov 30

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2012

Lila and Scarlett kept each other company when Logan was at school.

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Logan had his first sports day at school. Click here to read the funny story of how he did.

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We started making our own popsicles regularly.

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And we got a new pool for the summer (and the rest of the year).

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Aww…

Logan graduated from preschool.

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Logan and Lila went for their first summer day camp. And you won’t want to miss the story of the longest power cut we had in this house, that happened on this day.

Logan 4 1/2; Lila 2 weeks shy of her third birthday.

Logan 4 1/2; Lila 2 weeks shy of her third birthday.

Lila celebrated her third birthday.

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Lila began preschool and Logan move up to kindergarten.

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Lila had her first annual day performance. This was also her first public performance.

Lila is furthest left.

Lila is furthest left.

During an all-night power cut, I almost burned the house down.

Logan celebrated his fifth birthday and Scarlett her second.

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We took the train to Mangalore to visit Nana Mable.

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2013

This year we sent in our applications for Glad’s and the kids’ visas, and began the long wait for them to be processed.

Logan and Lila took skating lessons for a few months. You can read about it here.

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Lila had her first sports day.

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Lila graduated from preschool and Logan from kindergarten.

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Lila celebrated her fourth birthday.

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Logan and Lila had a home school year, since we had no idea how long the visa processing would take. I’ve not covered grades so much as focus areas for both of them. Logan has focused on writing skills and printing neatly. Lila focused on learning to read and write. Both have made so much progress and have learned a lot this year.

Scarlett had her first major accident that scared me.

Lila and Scarlett both had their first beauty shop hair cuts.

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Logan celebrated his sixth birthday and Scarlett her third.

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And we ended the year by driving to Mangalore to spend Christmas and New Year’s with Glad’s mom, his sister and her family.

This house has brought us many adventures. I just spent I don’t know how long going over old posts, looking for things that have happened here that would make interesting reading. It’s good I’ve kept all these records, because my brain just can’t hold so many memories.

If you are really curious, and you have a crazy amount of time on your hands, you can read everything I’ve posted from the time we first moved in to this house. Just go up there where it says “Previous Writings” and select June 2010 as your starting point. Everything after that, up ’till now, happened in this house. Well, except for any travels, of course.

The Little Joys of Summer

Summer is arriving to India once more. We didn’t think we’d be here for another summer but here we are all the same. Despite the heat and daily temperatures of 30 – 32C, it isn’t technically summer yet. It’s not even technically hot yet, seeing as in a month, temperatures will reach highs of over 40C.

Since we are leaving at the end of the month, lots of prep is going on. We promised the person who bought the dining set that we’d have it varnished for them, so today the person who is working on it took all the chairs, meaning there was nowhere to sit for school time.

So I gave the kids the day off from school, and this is what they did this morning.

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I can’t think of a greater summer joy than sitting in the warm sun, wet from water play, eating a large bowl of ice-cold watermelon.

Let the Countdown Begin

Things are getting exciting around here. We recently heard that the visa status has changed from “application received” to “processing”. From this point it will be 4 weeks minimum before we get the visas. Once we have them in hand, we will be able to book plane tickets!!

Right now the plan is to spend some time at Glad’s mom’s house before we leave, so sometime in the first week of April, we will be driving there again. Thankfully it will only be going and not coming.

We have already sold what we can of our furniture, though it won’t be delivered until just before we leave. It was easier than we expected. We just put photos and the asking price on two local used items websites, and for about 48 hours Glad’s phone didn’t stop ringing. One person bought his scooter. Someone else bought 4 items at one go. Even items we thought we couldn’t sell, such as our very old A/C’s, fridge, t.v., and some pressboard stuff will bring a good amount from a scrap dealer. This extra cash is going to make the trip to Mangalore and living during our time there easier, since Glad is quitting his job once we leave.

I’ve begun going through all the stuff we own, sorting what to keep, what will go to Mangalore but stay there, and what to get rid of, which is by far the largest group. Cutting down is never easy, but it feels good. There is some stuff I’ve wanted to get rid of for a long time, but since I knew we were leaving, I didn’t feel it would be right to replace those things only to have to get rid of them again.

All the household items – furniture, appliances, kitchen supplies, bedding, etc. – are either being sold or given away, so really all that’s left to decide on are toys, books, and clothes. The kids have picked out the cuddle toys they want to keep, plus a few items to take to Mangalore that will be left behind when we go. They need stuff to do while there so we have to carry some things. Books are limited to the ones that aren’t ripped, or that I’d like to read one last time.

Clothes are a biggie. Not that we have loads of clothes, but cutting down means leaving not just the stained or worn out stuff, but some nicer stuff too. Yesterday I had the girls pick out two party dresses to keep and I packed up the rest. They love their fancy dresses, even though they don’t get to wear them often, but we can’t travel with a bunch of dresses that aren’t going to get used any time soon.

So in just a few weeks, we will be leaving this house that has been our home for nearly 4 years. A lot has happened in this house – Scarlett was born here, lots of birthdays, first days of school, holidays – in short, memories. But I’m not sad. We’ve had this move planned for so long, and have been waiting for it to happen for so long, that the excitement is growing, and all of us are eagerly looking forward to finally being in Canada.

Canada, are you ready for us?

Sidney

Sidney is our neighbor’s cat, and she has adopted us as her new family.

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When our neighbors moved in a few months ago, the kids were so happy because they had 3 cats. No one around here really keeps cats as pets, so most cats are off limits as far as touching goes since they are filthy, disease-ridden strays. This was their first chance to be around cats that make it to the vet regularly.

At first the cats were terrified because the kids made sure to chase them, whether they were out in the yard or when the kids made uninvited visits to “play with the cats.” It was only in the last month or so that one of the cats became friendly with us. I saw her in the mango tree that is right next to our balcony and fed her some roast beef. Over the next few days, we brought her into our house when the neighbors were out because she was just recovering from surgery and there is a nasty tom cat that rules the neighborhood and spends lots of time in our yard.

She got use to us petting her and playing with her, and it wasn’t long before Glad named her Sidney. It turns out that our neighbors had never named the cats, even though they had had them from the time they were kittens, so Glad and the kids went ahead and named all 3 cats. The grey male cat was named Sherlock and the female orange one was named Peaches. (And now the neighbors have begun using the names we gave the cats.)

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Napping on our balcony.

Sidney is the friendliest of the three cats. She now comes into our house daily, either through the front door when we get up in the morning, or she will jump from the roof or the mango tree onto our balcony and prance into the house like she owns it. I often find her napping on the couch or on a chair under the table.

She loves attention, and she especially loves Glad. It’s cute to see her rub her head on his legs and sit with him when he reads the paper. She meets me in the morning when I leave for my exercise and then follows me into the house when I get back.

Unfortunately, the kids are a bit rough on her because of their excitement at having a pet in the house. Logan is especially mean – throwing her, pulling her paws, etc. Yet she has only scratched him once. I told him that he will never be a farmer, zookeeper, or whatever else he wants to be if he is mean to animals. I hope he will learn to be gentle, because we want to get some pets once we settle in Canada. I want to get a cat as soon as we have a house, and Glad wants a golden retriever, but not right away. He says maybe once Logan is old enough to walk a dog then we can get one.

At first we tried feeding Sidney when she would drop in, but aside from the roast beef that she ate on two occasions, she won’t eat meat! Glad bought her fish and she wouldn’t touch it. We couldn’t figure out what to give her until the neighbors said she only eats dry cat food. So now they leave a jar of it with us and she stops in several times a day to eat. Scarlett loves to feed her straight from the jar.

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Scarlett really loves her.

I’m gonna feel sad for her when we leave. She is used to coming in our house and getting lots of attention, since we are home all day and the neighbors are gone most of the time. I hope she won’t miss us too much.

I Finally Forced Myself To Go To the Dentist and This is What Happened

I hate pain of any sort. I’ve always had a very low pain tolerance level. Even a light headache will send me scrambling for a painkiller because otherwise I will be tossing and turning in bed unable to do anything.

About 12 years ago I got a small cavity in the furthest molar on the bottom left side of my mouth. When I went in to have it filled, the experience was so painful that I never had it refilled when that filling eventually fell out.

Then I got pregnant with Logan and the tooth went from small cavity to gaping hole on one side. And it got worse with each subsequent pregnancy. Most of the time it didn’t hurt. Other times it ached so badly I would cry. I used the excuse that I was pregnant or breastfeeding to not go, but the reality was that I was reluctant to get it fixed because of my earlier painful experience.

A few months ago, the molar directly above it began hurting. Since the pain was off and on, I figured it was a cavity and I slowly worked up the courage I needed to go to a dentist. I kept putting it off, until a few days ago when the pain was so severe that I couldn’t sleep.

I finally went to a local dentist and showed him the two teeth that were hurting. I had a full dental x-ray done (the machine that goes around your head and you have to bite this plastic thing and close your eyes, very weird), and the dentist showed me two things.

First, the huge cavity may or may not be salvageable. A specialist will come and check it out and decide whether a root canal, filling and capping the tooth, would be best, or pulling it out. I still don’t know which I’d prefer, though I’m leaning towards pulling.

Second, the tooth that I thought was a new cavity is not one. The pain I’ve been feeling that extends through my whole jaw and even to my ear is caused by an extra tooth that is up in the gum trying to push its way down on top of the tooth that is already there. There is one on the other side of my mouth as well.

The only solution to end the pain? Surgery to remove the tooth! I’m freaking out at the prospect, but with a pain that doesn’t let me sleep unless I have a hot water bottle, I am ready to do it. The thought of having my mouth sliced open and having to endure days of swelling and pain afterwards is not fun. But being pain-free afterwards is worth it.

Besides, I may just lose some more weight from this, being stuck on a liquid diet until I can eat without pain. I’ll probably be inhaling painkillers like candy for a while.

I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.

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