Sunday, July 24, 2005


We just celebrated Jane's birthday. She had a wonderful day, enjoyed all her presents. Especially the pet rat she got. Yes, you read it right, a pet rat. It was all my own fault too.

Last month, when we went out to buy a hamster for Tara's birthday, they tried to talk us into a rat instead, telling us that rats make way better pets than hamsters do. Tara wasn't convinced, so we got a hamster anyway. So Jane wanted one for her birthday too. Being the math maniac I am, I could calculate too easily the sum of two hamsters though, so I proposed a rat instead, and she thought that that was a great idea. I was just happy to have two non cross breeding species of small furry animals. No endless supply of babies for us!

Fast forward to her birthday. We spent the day before driving around and running lots of errands, culminating in the important decision of which cage to buy and which acessories. When we finally had selected everything, we went to get a rat. No rats available. Rats! We bought our stuff anyway, and went to another pet store, our sixth stop or so for the day. By now, I just wanted to go home, so didn't feel like spending tons of time on buying a rat.

So we ran into the store, a small, local pet store. Yes, they did have rats! So we select a cute one from the 'male rats' section, and ask whether this really is a male. The clerk holds him up, looks for a moment, and ascertains us 'Yes, this is a male for sure'.

Fast forward to home, rat gets installed in new cage, and bites Jane. Ouch! All the books I read said that biting is very unusual for rats. At that point I still think he might just be scared because of all the stress of moving into a new house / location / family. But then he bites Erik too. And me. Not badly, just a nip, but still... I had expected the pet store to sell more socialized rats. Shows me that you always should ask the right questions when buying a new pet. Learning opportunity.

Sander comes home and asks me 'Are you sure this is a male? He sure does look pregnant'. I look at him too and have to agree. He does look a wee bit fat.

One day later, we find out that no, this is not a male rat, and no, she is not pregnant anymore. Instead we now are the proud owners of thirteen baby rats... Let's just say that I am NOT very impressed with that pet store...

Any one wants a pet rat?

At least we can socialize those babies properly.

Good news! Isabella is home from the hospital. Still lots of stuff going on, but she is home!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Isabella is out of Intensive Care!

She still isn't peeing or eating, but at least she is improving a tiny bit every day. She even laughed when watching a video yesterday. She even went out for a walk in a wheel chair, and enjoyed being outside again. Please keep sending positive energy her way.

Not much going on here, it's a quiet week this week before next week the daily swimming lessons are starting. We went to the fireworks on the Fourth, the kids always love that. I am less thrilled about sitting on a field, surrounded by too many bugs and people. Sylvia was very much in awe about the fireworks, not scared at all. She applauded when there was a particularly loud one.

Still gardening and playing go, have been geocaching a bit less lately. We have green tomatoes, can't wait for them to turn red!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Witnessed an Accident

Today we were on our way back from the farmers market, happily driving along on the highway. When suddenly a car in front of us starts swaying and first bounces into the guard rail to the left, then the one on the right side of the road, and comes to a stop, smoking. This didn't look good. I stopped and got out, as did the person from the car in front of us. I feared what I would see, but to my utter relief and amazement, she was basically ok. Yes, she did have a bloody nose, and a cut close to her eye, but seeing the accident, it was a miracle that she wasn't more seriously hurt. Not to mention that this was on a bridge, so I have been thinking what if the guard rail hadn't been able to hold her car.

What did worry me was the way she kept talking about her husband. 'My husband is going to kill me! My husband is going to kill me! My husband is going to kill me! I am not going to call him!' She just kept going on and on. We kept trying to reassure her 'You are ok, the car is replaceable, you are not replaceable', but it didn't reassure her at all. I was so tempted to tell her that he was a jerk and to forget about him, but thought that that wasn't the best thing to say right then. Neither did I think a wisecrack joke about especially not calling him on her cell phone while driving. We just kept trying to reassure her, while she was freaking out.

It turned out that she was talking on her cell phone, and dropped it, so she had to bend over to retrieve it. She said she took her eyes off the road for only a moment. Well, one moment too much. I have never been fond of people talking on their cell phones while driving, and now I feel even more strongly about that. At least it generated a good discussion with my kids about this whole issue. This accident made a big impression on them. I hope it will plant in their minds the importance of not talking on the phone while driving. They were coming up with all kinds of solutions about what you could do when some one called you while you are on the road. Including making sure you had an older kid like Cees with you, who could answer the phone :-) Yes, would be nice if we all could travel with a personal secretary like that.

After this, I spent a fortune to get every one new shoes, and we had something to eat and drink before heading home.

Isabella is doing a tiny bit better, her numbers are improving. She is still on a ventilator, and she is on daily dialysis, but at least things seem to be heading the right way. She was clogging up her line during the last dialysis, which is bad because she needs a new line now, but good because that means her platelets are getting back to normal. She still needs tons of prayers though. Please keep sending positive energy her way.