Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009: This week so far

We have three computers (well, one isn't ours, but is more-or-less on permanent loan), all of which have different quirks. The main problem with this one is that it has a tendency to be near-dying--WHEN it's working, it's definitely the best of the three. It's the only one that lets me type easily, so I'm taking advantage of it working to try to update.
Passport: after the futile trip to Nikosia on Columbus Day, I chose the next sort-of available time, Thursday afternoon. We borrowed a friend's car so that Jörn could take Lukas to gymnastics, and at 2:00 I left in our car, with Katie and Helen, first taking a friend home. I'd tried quite a few times to call the embassy to confirm the hours, but the recording between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. kept telling me to call between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. However, just after dropping off my friend, I pulled over and tried one more time, as I still needed new photos, and if they couldn't tell me where to get them near the embassy, I preferred to try to get them in Larnaka. I actually talked to a HUMAN!! A very nice human, too, who said that of course I could come that afternoon to renew my passport, no problem--oh, but maybe she should just check if the lady who does that was in. She connected me to someone else, who informed me that under no circumstances could I renew my passport outside of the hours 7:30 to 11:00 (which is, actually, what the website said.)
So...I looked for another place to get passport photos taken (being embarrassed to go to the same place as the week before...) and found a parking space directly in front of a place that gave me FOUR photos (instead of two) for SEVEN Euros (instead of eight.) As expected, I look annoyed and wanting to get out of there in the photo. Oh well.
Monday this week I left at 6:30 a.m., with only Helen, and arrived at the embassy at 7:45, and parked only about a five-minutes' walk away. (A friend came to babysit the other four children as of 8:30, and another friend picked up Jörn at 8:40 for work.) I had to go through three separate security checks, and at the second one they told me I couldn't take anything except my papers, so I said (out loud) to Helen, "Okay Helen, no being hungry or pooping." They ended up letting me take the wipes and a diaper after all, which they put in a page protector along with my wallet, but not the crackers. It's a good thing Helen is very happy with mama-milk, because that's all I was allowed to take in. The rest was put in a cubby, no problem. (A friend of mine renewed her daughter's passport in Frankfurt, Germany, a couple of weeks ago, and had to walk several blocks to a kiosk that does businesss taking a lot of money to hold cell phones of people going to the U.S. consulate--no cubbies there!)
When I got home, I was falling asleep while talking with the friend who had been babysitting, and she talked me into taking a nap. I DO NOT NAP. But I agreed to go lie down. I started to drift off almost immediately, at which point Marie came to tell me she had found something, then Jacob came to ask a question, and then Katie brought me my cell phone, as Jörn was calling. And then I actually went to sleep and slept an hour and a half.
The afternoon was fairly calm, although the children were rather horrid about going to bed (Jörn has a regular meeting Monday evenings), and then when Jörn got home at 9:00 he brought along a couple of friends who needed to talk, who stayed until about 11:30.
Tuesday I went to Tots in the morning, which despite having something like 20 children, is considerably more restful than my own five at home. Katie and Helen mostly bee-bop around doing their own thing--I occasionally have to rescue some child's hair from Helen, and I did play peekaboo with Helen in the playhouse for awhile, and she fell off of her chair during snack time, but nothing dramatic. Then we took Sue home and visited with her for a bit, but it got exhausting chasing Helen and telling Katie to keep her feet off of the furniture, etc., so we were home in plenty of time for lunch. In the afternoon I let Marie stay home (Jörn was out) while I took Lukas to gymnastics, but I spent so much of the time trying to keep Helen and Katie off of the mats (Jacob helped by chasing Helen a few times while I was dealing with Katie) that I didn't get to watch Lukas much or listen to the Greek. Tuesday evening we had a prayer meeting here, but only until about 10:00. (Oh, and I translated and proofread some things for a friend, but it wasn't much.)
Wednesday I worked at the YWAM preschool--oh yeah, kind of a major thing that I haven't managed to mention here on the HOMESCHOOLBLOGGER blog, but as of last week, I'm working Wednesdays and Fridays in a preschool. (Those are the only two days that it happens...) I take Katie and Helen, and there are two other preschool children, as well as the 6-year-old daughter of the leader. I was VERY apprehensive about it all, but it's working out well, and it's so peaceful there. The three older children are at home with Jörn--Wednesdays his regular meeting happens here at home (the children have lists of independent and cooperative, non-parent-needed, work to do, and instructions to interrupt only if there's blood, which there was this Wednesday, but not too serious), and Friday is Jörn's morning off.
Wednesday afternoon we went to Sue's house to watch Swallows and Amazons--the children had actually started watching it Sunday evening on the "new laptop" (the one that we bought new just over a year ago, which has Vista, which we really, really can't stand), but about 15 minutes into it it started getting funny and then quit altogether, and our permanently-borrowed computer doesn't have a DVD player, and the "old laptop" (the one I'm using at the moment, bought used on E-bay 3 1/2 years ago and excellent in every way except for it's tendency to need repairs that would cost thousands of Euros if we didn't have friends who have done it for us for free twice in the last month...) wasn't working. Actually, by Wednesday it had been repaired again, but we'd already arranged to go to Sue's, and the children were REALLY excited about that. A much bigger screen and actual sound weren't too bad, either. :-) Shortly before we were going to leave there, we found out that the couple who was supposed to come to dinner at our house wasn't coming after all, so we invited Sue and Richard to dinner. After dinner we played Settlers of Catan with them AND with Marie and Jacob (who have been begging to play with Sue and Richard for ages), with Lukas, Katie, and Helen all trying to help. It was fun. I think. It was pretty loud, so kind of hard to tell. Then the children went to bed and we played a nice peaceful game.
Today...Jacob complained that he got woken up by my shouting (at Lukas, who had just dropped a rock about the size of Katie's head within about two centimeters OF Katie's head...), but I refused to apologize when I looked at the clock and saw that it was 10:00. Other than that, the day wasn't too hectic. I took Lukas to gymnastics--this time Jacob stayed home, and Marie and Katie watched, and I stayed in the car with Helen, who had just fallen asleep, and sorted photos on the laptop. Then a friend dropped off two of her children while taking another one of them to the doctor (and she had her baby with her, too), so another couple of peaceful hours, because of course the children all went off to play. After the doctor's appointment, they came back here for dinner, which was very nice, although a bit loud. But not as loud with nine children as it had been last night with only our five...I don't get it.
Tomorrow: preschool, Jacob and Lukas to Discoveries in the afternoon, Marie to Youth Group in the evening, YWAM dinner, and bed.
And I just realized that it's nearly 11:00 p.m. I'm looking forward to the time-change this weekend, as I'm not really enjoying the 7:00 a.m. getting-up on Wednesdays and Fridays...

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