24 December 2005

Sick, or Why Our Christmas Cards Are Still in Their Boxes

First, Katrina got sick. Then, a few days later, Jon. A week passed, during which I felt a little ooky off and on. I thought I had dodged the worst of it. Nope. Tuesday night and Wednesday were, um, bad. Jon took off work on Wednesday to take care of Katrina (and did a great job). Thursday, Jon and Katrina drove to the airport to pick up his parents while I cleaned the house as best I could while moving at approximately half-speed. Yesterday we visited the Christmas market in Saarbruecken (relatively small, but nice). Today is last-minute errand day and wrapping presents day. Christmas Eve service tonight. I'm still feeling a bit more tired than usual, which fits right in with Jon and Char's jet lag.

Anyway, with all the sickness and the usual busyness, we did not get Christmas cards out. But, hey, I still have plenty of Christmas cheer to share...or at least random thoughts to amuse and delight you.

  • The most popular Christmas house decoration: the hanging Santa. Yes, on at least one house per block, you can find a Santa clinging to a rope ladder that hangs from a window or balcony. The first one I saw adorned the side of a building that also houses a gravestone-carving business. It was rather...odd. Big granite gravestones in the front yard, and a stuffed Santa hanging out of an upstairs window. When I mentioned it to a friend who's been in Germany a while, she said, "Yep, the Germans love their hanging Santas. By Christmas, you'll see them on nearly every house." She was right.
  • Katrina finds beauty in the simplest things. We made peanut-butter balls for her class snack. The first step is to mix peanut butter and honey together. As I'm stirring it, thinking how hard it is to stir, Katrina says in an awed tone, "It's soo bootiful." As I looked at the swirls of honey reflecting the light, I had to agree.
  • A new version of "Santa, Baby" is in heavy rotation on German radio (in English). You know, "Santa, baby, hurry down the chimney tonight." When Katrina heard it, she said, "Papa, why are they throwing babies down the chimney?" Now she giggles and says "babies down the chimney!" because it makes us laugh.

And finally:

'Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and all through the room,
The radio was playing a favorite German tune.
Right after a Christmas carol, we heard it yet again.
Yes, at least once a day, "It's Raining Men!"

12 December 2005

From Full-Speed to Full Stop

This week has been packed full, and next week will be little better. Friday was the last day to send packages via Priority Mail to have them arrive by Christmas, so I spent some time scouting out boxes that would actually fit the items we needed to send. A more complicated endeavor than I anticipated...a few things seemed to be exactly the wrong size.

Wednesday was the Christmas party for Jon's office at the base. When's the last time your company Christmas party was in a castle? Medieval costume was requested, so we rented costumes. Herewith is a picture of us for your amusement.

Katrina was thrilled to go to the "kids' party" --onsite babysitting--especially since Rory was there. Rory is the 3-year-old daughter of Jon's co-worker, and the only girl Katrina's age who is taller than Katrina is. We've been getting together on the weekends to socialize and for the girls to play together.

Anyway, Katrina has suddenly started smiling those unnatural, forced smiles whenever there's a camera around. So after the party, she had her picture taken with Rory. She had that fake smile, so I told her to smile for real. Here is the result.

Oh, well.

But on Friday night came a milestone you hope will never come: Katrina's first experience with a stomach bug. She was up about every hour on the hour throwing up. (Or, as she says, "fwowing up.") It came on fast; she seemed perfectly fine until about dinnertime. Even then, it seemed more that she was just overtired. Until about 8, when she said her tummy hurt. Then all hell broke loose. She couldn't keep anything down, including plain water. She would throw up (even tho' there was nothing in her stomach), cry, and go back to sleep immediately, only to wake up an hour later and do it again. It finally stopped about 2 am, so she got some sleep.

So Saturday, the only sunshiny day in the last three weeks, was spent inside with poor, tired, sick Katrina, who was very annoyed that we couldn't explain WHY she got sick. I made the mistake of saying that she "picked up a bug," and that confused her further, since she could not remember even touching an insect recently. I backtracked a little, talking about "teeny-tiny bugs, called germs or viruses," but I'm pretty sure she now thinks she swallowed a bug like the Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.

Jon and I have felt a little off (lack of sleep itself can do that to you), but have not gotten sick ... yet. Here's hoping we've avoided it. I took disinfectant wipes to the door handles, light switches, and bathroom, plus washed all the sheets and towels.

So she's mostly recovered now, was running around Sunday evening. This morning she said she was tired and sick, but when I said she should stay home from school if she was sick, suddenly she wasn't THAT sick.

At school, we were greeted by the teacher with, "So did you get sick?" A good part of the class, including the teachers, had the same bug, most of them on Friday night. The teacher said, "Can you smell the Clorox wafting from the classroom?" One little girl threw up at school late in the afternoon on Friday (after Katrina was already home). Another classmate managed to wait until the family was out to dinner before getting sick in the middle of the restaurant. At least Katrina got sick at home and actually made it to the toilet for the most part.

Aren't you glad you read all of this? Go forth and wash your hands vigorously. And don't go picking up any bugs.