Archive | April, 2016

Update on Vestlings and Puncture Wounds

29 Apr

Apologies for not updating sooner and leaving ya’ll on the edge of your chairs wondering how poor Granny K is.

She is fine.

We got the hospital to do all the tests they could – bloods, urine, CTs, MRI, yaddah yaddah – all of which revealed nothing more than the general wear and tear of a vestling her age (79). She was placed in a private room because she was still within the influenza infectious time-frame. I went and picked her up on Monday and found out that the highlight of her stay was when the prized eldest son and his wife visited. My sister in law did bring bread (I told her the first time I met her I liked bread and she has, consistently for the past 12 years, brought us bread on every visit) and passed it on to hub, who just happened to be visiting and restocking Granny K’s underwear at the same time. Unfortunately some of the aforementioned bread had funny shit in it like sweet potatoes and mountain root vegetables, possible some kombucha and lentils, so MAX got it – and then proceeded to ignore it for most of the day in the heat of the sun and finally decided to eat it after it had turned into fuckin croutons.

Note to self – finally inform sister in law that I only want the cheesy bread with all the cheesy goodness in it.

Ah, and talking about the prized eldest son – When I went to pick Granny K up I had to sign her out at the nurse station, go and pay, bring the receipt back and then transport the package down to the waiting vehicle. Just call me the vestling transporter. There was a space for ‘relationship to patient’ on the paperwork and the nurse asked if I was her daughter – maybe she felt she had to for the sake of political correctness. I mean Granny K ‘could’ have adopted me I guess, but this is so far fetched of an idea in our part of the woods I actually laughed when she said it. In NZ you might call your daughter in law your daughter but here she is definitely and always a ‘yome’ – son’s wife.

So I said I was the ‘yome’ and she asked if I was the ‘yome’ of the eldest son and I said no, so she asked second eldest son, to which I again said no and said third eldest son. She just went ‘oh’ – and proceeded to tell me how to write the kanji character for ‘yome’ because it would appear I was having a full-on brain fart at the time. I mean how could I forget the the Chinese character for yome 嫁 comprised of the character for  woman 女 and house 家.

Tis lucky nobody is making up these characters now or it would be something like ‘woman-house-kids-job-wine-wine-wine-‘…. ….

So I get Granny K home and settled into her recently cleaned room. Last time she was in the hospital, getting some kind of butt hole surgery – I’m not even kidding, I totally cleaned her kitchen, which was a horrific mess of dried Chinese cabbage stuck to the floor, a thousand plastic bags and so much shit everywhere that I reckon if you were doing a ‘spot the fire hazards’ photo you’d just have to like get a red crayon and scribble over the entire page. Granny K came home from that visit and completely nutted out that I had moved everything and that I wasn’t to touch anything ever again until she died – which at the time I replied to with a mature ‘fuckin fine you old ungrateful bitch’ – or similar. My wine soaked mind evades me.

SO this time I decided to err on the side of caution and just leave her room completely untouched. But then I went in on the morning I was going to pick her up and realized the water bottle she asked for when she was gasping for air was as is, the home blood pressure testing thingy ma jig was as is, the apron and three vests the paramedics removed were as is, and the ten bags hub had searched through for her insurance card were… as is.  So I cleaned up, wiped down and vacuumed the space of the floor I could get to without moving piles of ten year old newspapers and boxes of various sizes.

In the car on the way home I warned her that I had cleaned up, and you could see her visibly intake air. So I reassured her I just put a few pairs of pants and a bag or twelve away and vacuumed the floor.

We get home and within about 15 minutes her visible floor space has withered back to the 30cm it was before. BUT, I have my babysitter back and at least I still don’t have to change her diapers.

After all this I go and pick Ryu up from school to take him for his final puncture wound check before removing the stitches on Wednesday – as the plan goes. The wound is healing fabulously so the doctor decides to remove the stitch then and there and huuuuu fuckin ra enough of hospitals already.

UNTIL PTA yesterday and Shou has a temperature so I take him home and realize it is up to 39 which kind of warrants a trip to the docs for some good temperature reduction drugs before the 3-day weekend. He was also complaining of a sore neck which always just screams ‘my kid’s got meningitis’ ever since my dad told me off once for faking a cold with a sore neck – and that having a sore neck could be the sign of this really serious, deadly (I was probably about 8 so everything was dramatic) illness called meningitis.

Anyhoo, I go to the same doctor I went to with Ryu for the dog bite and the reception nurse immediately says – oh no, is the dog bite still troubling him – to which I respond, oh no, this is a different child, they just look the same…

The doctor says his glands are swollen and that he would like to take blood tests, to which Shou is very very very strongly-willed-nine-year-old against. I can’t see me and the nurse being able to console and hold down Shou like we did with Ryu so the doctor suggests a test for influenza. I inform the doctor that the entire family just got through influenza B a couple of weeks back and even though Shou’s test came back negative I think it was because we did it too early and he got a temp straight after and all the other symptoms were identical. But fuck, doctors like to stick cotton buds up noses and Shou decided he would rather that than a blood test injection  (I personally would prefer the injection to the bud up the nose but hey).

Test came back negative so we came home with antibiotics for an infected throat and temp meddy. I also managed to miss three quarters of the PTA shit and hub had to go to all three year-level discussion meeting things. He said it was horrible. I said, welcome to my world.

Shou was looking better by dinner time so I decided to leave him in the capable hands of his father and go to the pre-booked PTA dinner-and-get-drunk-and-sing-stupid-English-songs at Kareoke thing. It was completely boring until the beer and shochu kicked in. Our school has this super fun thing of making everybody pick a number for where they will be seated – which means, even though it is a small school and I do actually know who everybody is, you could get seated between three other mums that don’t drink, and like the school nurse. I had a great conversation with one mum and I swear that over the noise and the pissed dude beside me trying to get me to squill sake out of steamed egg pudding lids I understood about 40 percent of what she was saying. Luckily I’m skilled in the art of faking interest, good gestures and appropriately timed “eeeeeeeh” and “haha, so da ne”s.


Right, time to bathe these children and see to some wine.

Hopefully I am quicker on the updates next time.








Bloody Fuck (long long post)

20 Apr

I shouldn’t be complaining when so many people are without houses, power, water and food down in Kumamoto, but it’s my pity party so I guess It’s my bloody prerogative!

Today has been one of the days  where you don’t think it will end up anything like it did, but it does, and it throws you sideways and completely fucks you over. I’m damn near exhausted and it is all I can do to bring the sweet nectar of wine to my lips.

But if anyone ‘deserves’ a vino this evening well… (pointing madly at self)

Where to start? At the beginning with bullet points perhaps? Mainly because I’m too tired to write properly and I firmly believe that bullet points will keep me, and you, on track.

  • Ryu was meant to be back at school today but his teacher told me last night at the PTA meeting (which I was 40 minutes late for because I completely forgot and my friend texted me ‘where the fuck are you?’ or similar but in nice Japanese) that she thought he should have another day off. So he was home for the day while I finished a translation deadline.


  • I have two English classes on a Wednesday with 20 minutes in between, during which I speed drive to the school to pick up Shou and Marina, come home, bring the washing in, boil some pasta, run the bath and confiscate the iPad.


  • During the second class (seven eight year olds with two new kids who only started the week before I got the flu) I get a phone call from Granny K – who is 20 meters away inside in her room while the boys are watching TV. I answer it, can’t hear her, put my hand up in front of the class (as in ‘talk to the hand’ kind of hand’) and put my stern teacher face on. They all fall silent and watch my face as I hear Granny K tell me she has fallen over and can’t see.  I calmly leave the class doing a word search and sprint inside.


  • Granny K is lying on her bed gasping like a fish out of water. She said she felt faint so came to her bed. She can’t open her eyes cause the ceiling is spinning. I ring hub, who is now back at the office 3km away. Meanwhile Shou and Ryu are still watching TV none-the-wiser. Granny K wants me to get out her blood pressure machine, give her some water, and get a bowl cause she feels she might vomit. I do all of this and am genuinely worried that my live-in-babysitter and general vestling that I actually like now might be in some kind of serious predicament!


  • Hub gets home and immediately calls an ambulance and tells me that it is no time to continue teaching English – as if I’ve just casually whipped this class together and am doing it for a bit of a laugh. I realize it isn’t a time to say what I’m thinking out loud so I just say ‘I’ll keep these 7 kids out of the way of the paramedics then’. Seriously, he wanted me to stop teaching and either a) have 7 kids playing outside while stretchers and shit are going past, or b) have 7 cars rock up to pick up kids as ambulance is trying to turn round and rush to hospital down skinny road. I realize the situation is serious but I have just spoken coherently to Granny K and while I know these things can turn worse very quickly I didn’t think it warranted another adult plus 7 extra kids. Well, actually the situation did probably warrant me doing this had it been plausible. I reassured hub that had he not been able to come home straight away I would have called the ambulance myself and not left her their gasping while I helped 8 years olds search for the words broccoli and cucumber.


  • We hear a siren and look out the English classroom window to see a fuckin fire engine racing up the road – sirens blaring. Apparently it is ambulance busy busy season and our town’s ONE ambulance is away on duty. So they send the next best thing. Of course it stops outside out house, thus prompting every neighbor in a ten-rice-paddy radius to come out and investigate.


  • Approximately 3 minutes and 7 seconds later an ambulance comes too – sirens blaring. By this time  I would say every vestling from a 20-paddy radius is standing somewhere along the road wondering what the fuck is going on. I find out later that most people think it is for the 93 year old deaf woman at the temple next door. The paramedics unload the stretcher but apparently can’t get it though Granny K’s door case she has so much shit in the way. They have to carry her out to it on a blanket (I find this out later because am in middle of drawing big red flowers on word searchers and mind numbingly getting the kids to choose English bingo cards)


  • As the ambulance blares off a neighbor brings Ryu up to me and shows me a puncture wound in his forearm. It would appear that MAX, the dog, has been completely freaked out by all the fuckin sirens and flashing lights, people and noise, that he has bitten the first small person that tried to calm him down. I have ‘just’ let my English class kids go five minutes early so I take Ryu inside, wash and antiseptic spray the shit out of the ‘hole’ and wonder what to do – to which a neighbor from 200m away who is good friends with Granny K and who happens to be on hand due to aforementioned chaos TELLS ME (thank god cause I just needed instruction) to take him to the local doctors. It is nearly 6pm by this stage and I fumble over looking up phone numbers so her husband gets out his phone and rings them (I think they were on speed dial).


  • I take Ryu to the hospital where the doctor looks at the wound and kind of sucks his breath in – so I say ‘ I know, I think it needs  a stitch or two too’. I’m no doctor but it is obvious the 1cm hole isn’t going to just fuse together on its own. Ryu gets two local anesthetics in his arm and a stitch, all the while he is crying and we have to hold him down a bit and I have a towel over his eyes so he can’t actually see the needles and fish hook…. fuck, it was so bloody traumatic but the boy was awesome and in reality it took about 3 minutes – but in my mind I might have mummy guilt nightmares for a long time, and need a lot of therapeutic wine.


  • I ask the golden child what he wants for being so brave….


  • he wants me to buy an ice-cream for him, Shou and Marina.


  • This shit makes parenting worthwhile.


  • We get home with ice creams and I relieve aforementioned neighbor of babysitting duties and set about feeding my children and perhaps starting to get Granny K’s overnight hospital items ready – this involves intensive searching of aforementioned vestling’s cupboards and drawers. I can now confirm that the woman has 63 bags – which include pouches, purses, patchwork shoulder bags, black funeral bags and general bagness. I was extremely fortunate to find her vestling insurance card in a nice purple and leather number – which was not her usual ‘hospital’ bag, neither was it the ‘lovely posh black bag’ she told hub to tell me to look in. I have obviously started channeling the real Granny K, and it scares the fuck out of me.


  • It is at this moment that the plumber decides to turn up – to fix the upstairs tap that broke a fuckin week ago – and which in turn sent water down the wall and into our fuse box – fortunately it only wrecked our hot water tank fuse and we just didn’t have a hot shower for two days. All is well on that front now though and the upstairs sink is now fixed. The timing was dismal.


  • It is also sometime during this ordeal that a wannabe fire brigade man brings something for hub. Marina tells me it was  so and so’s father but when I relay this to hub later he says said person isn’t even a wannabe fireman so  hmmmmmm….. guess he’ll figure out who tomorrow!!


  • It is also sometime during this ordeal that I get a phone call from the secretary of the organization renting the office space I am taking over from May. I got the key yesterday but was waiting on details of the bank account to deposit rent into. The phone call just happened to come in the midst of armageddon.


  • And then hub rings and tells me to come pick him up cause he went in the ambulance with Granny K. I finish getting Granny K’s list of things together (she is well enough to shout out a list), and ring the aforementioned baby sitter again to come look after the kids for an hour and a half while I go pick up hub (she did offer after all – something she may or may not now be regretting).


  • So I pick up hub and get to see Granny K – who is looking fragile and putting on a brave face and being very apologetic for everything.  I leave her with about twelve pairs of pants and vestling underwear as wasn’t sure what she would want so just packed everything I could find… We got home to find all kids asleep on futons on the floor in the living room – which means the ‘baby sitter’ had to go into the messiest room in the house -not usually the messiest as is the alter room but hub has been sleeping in there since we all got the bloody flu. She probably thinks this is our general arrangement!


  • And I’m tired, and have probably made not much sense.


Off  to bed.


Hug your resident vestling if you have one, and especially if an event like this would make your realize how much you rely on them!







Southern Japan Quakes

16 Apr

The last couple of days have been crazy intense, monkey nut bollocksy kind of crazy. We have had a mixture of earthquakes, influenza induced madness, oversized spiders, aftershocks, 40 degree temperatures, poisonous centipedes and now, to top it off, the fuckin manflu.

I seem to be patient zero for this round of the Flu – type B. I have no idea where I got it from but get it I did. The timing was completely fucked up and had me missing my last born son’s entrance ceremony to primary school (Tuesday) – something that is a huge deal in Japan, to the extent of suit and pearl wearing, parents taking time of work, speeches by government officials, certificates, a lot of nerves and the plethora of other things that accompany ceremonial events of such proportion in this country.

I got dressed into my ceremonial suit and then took my sorry, hot (literally not figuratively) self to the doctors where a nurse shoved a long stick up my nostril and ten minutes later declared I had Flu B. I cried I did. We all know my youngest is my favorite and not being able to see him in his little necktie and vest at his entrance ceremony…. snivel snivel. So not fair. I mean I could have snuck in the back and watched but with such a small school it was inevitable that the fact that I was off getting the flu test would be common knowledge before the ceremony even started.

By the time I got home hub was calling saying Marina had a temp and he was bringing her home before the ceremony. By the end of the day Shou was down too and I had them both confirmed at the hospital the next morning. Ryu spent his first few days as a first grader without his brother and sister!

So rock on Thursday night and Marina, Shou and I are all asleep in the flu pit, Ryu is in his own bed and hub is downstairs in his self-declared flu free zone. All of a sudden my phone blares out an earthquake alarm – I didn’t have it on my last phone and didn’t even know it would go on this phone so it gave me a hell of a fright – but not as much as the same alarm going from the town speakers, which are conveniently located about 1m from our upstairs windows.

These alarms are great – for the most part. They give you somewhere between 3 and 7 seconds to get yourself out of harm’s way – which is all you need to get under a table or doorway. Of course the first thing I think when we have an earthquake is that it is ‘the big one’ and my friends in Tokyo are surely all slipping into Tokyo Bay as I reassure my children that our inbred builder isn’t really inbred and that I only curse him all the time because he’s fuckin useless, but I’m sure the door frames are sturdy…

It was a generous wobble here in Oita. I went downstairs, where I realize it’s still only 9:30 (seriously, I thought it was about midnight cause us Flu patients had all gone to bed at 8 and were in deep flu-medication-induced slumber), and watch the news with hub. The quake was centered in the next prefecture over, Kumamoto. There are a few aftershocks over night, before we wake up to Ryu and his temperature and another trip to the doctors. Sigh. The people on reception laugh (with me) as I walk in and say hi ya, another one bites the dust.

For some reason I take on two translation jobs, the first of which I manage to finish and get in on time – hurrah. It hasn’t come back for corrections (yet), so hopefully flu-medication-induced translations are now the go.

Last night – fuck me.

The earthquake siren goes again – in the middle of the night. We all bolt under a doorway and yay, glad we did. It was a lot bigger than the previous night – not big enough for our house to sustain damage or anything even remotely what it must have been like for people at the scary epicenter, but still. For some reason my phone decided to then sound the alarm for every aftershock thereafter – all of which we got up for but only half of which we felt.

Hub got called to work at 2am as per the official ‘City Office Workers and Shaky Events Regulations’ (official translation pending). After he left there was another aftershock – which wasn’t very big but we all got up and everyone decided to have a water and loo break – during which Marina declared she saw a ‘medium-sized’ poisonous centipede crawling in the general direction of the suitcase in the toilet (don’t ask – but if you really feel the need to then I will respond with ‘who doesn’t keep a fuckin suitcase in their toilet?’)

I must admit that I was quite proud of her description when I came across said centipede – it was indeed ‘medium-sized’. This is of course on the gaijinwife scale of oversized Japanese insects.  It is just the start of crawly season here so it wasn’t a fast mover – making it all the easier to catch with the fire tongs (as in the things we use to move wood round in the fire place)  that just happened to be on the stair landing from two nights previous (when oversized spider appeared, was dosed in a can of spray and then whacked with a tissue box before being air lifted, using the tongs, to the loo to be flushed).

We all woke up this morning – haha, woke-up is possibly technically impossibly after not sleeping but you know what I mean – to Granny K with a temperature and hub texting from work saying his temp is on the rise too…

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

So, because hub is at work, I pile all the sick children, and Granny K, into the family wagon and make my FOURTH trip to the doctor’s in as many days. At least I am myself almost over the flu by now and don’t hallucinate on the drive there. Hurrah. You should try that drive on no sleep and flu-drugs. Quite entertaining.

Granny K gets the thumbs up on Flu B, we get her drugs and pass hub on the way home. His test comes up negative but he’s a pussy and has gone too early – instead of waiting until you have an impressive temperature of around 38.5. The doctor realizes however that with 5 out of 6 of us positive the odds are in his favor for being patient number 6, so he gives him loads of drugs and sends him home, where he is now breathing (I think) under five futons in his wife-declared Flu-Zone. I keep checking on Granny K just to make sure she doesn’t lose consciousness under all of her vests and futon layers. Tis like checking on a new born again – ninja into the room so as not to wake them and then stand staring at their chest to see if it is rising or not – harder to do under 1m of futons. Jeeze, I’ll be holding a mirror in front of her mouth next!!

Anyhoo, sorry for not posting sooner about the quakes. We are all fine. Fingers crossed these biggest ones have passed.


I hope this post finds you all well and healthy. Hug the family. Drink some Vitamin C and of course make sure your evacuation kit is up to scratch. I have realized that my awesome 7-way spade wouldn’t be much use if I had to evacuate with a family of Flu victims.