Lift Off!

Feb 28 2011

After last week’s bombshell that treatment was not due to start until the 1st March, we had another one of these “filler” weeks to try and get through without the kids becoming too bored and too tetchy.


It actually turns out that our timing was impeccable arriving in the US when we did, with Dr Danny’s wife due to give birth any day. She actually had their baby on Sunday, so getting the simulation and planning finished on Friday last week was a stroke of luck to say the least. We had a week free of appointments except for a quick audiology test at the wonderful Nemours Children’s Hospital. It was made even quicker by Camille who refused to play ball. The audiology set-up at Nemours is pretty industrial; Camille and Hayley were ushered into a small metal cased room (which looked suspiciously like a safe) and the doctor went into a “control room”. The idea was that Camille had to drop toys into a box when she heard a noise but she wasn’t having it. The doctor even tried to shock her into the game by cranking the sound to 11 on the dial, again with no success, she just would not play.


While all of this was going on inside the nucleur shelter, Lucia and I were outside, examining the oversized model of the ear, with me trying to explain the various parts of the ear, severely restricted by knowledge being limited to the Drum. Even Lucia and I could hear the attempts of the doctor inside the “sound proof” booth. Camille and Hayley exited the room with their ears ringing. Needless to say, we were unsuccessful getting an Audiology reading and we are going to have to go back pretty soon for another attempt. It’s funny (well nearly) that Camille decided to wind Hayley and I up for the rest of the week by asking us questions about “what that lady in the white coat was trying to do?”


The whole Bug Central issue was coming close to resolution this week after we had found the apartment that we wanted courtesy of the lovely Bosnian lady who was moving back to Indiana, relieving her three bed apartment of herself and Musgy the Pug. We had to wait until this Saturday to actually make the move finally breaking free from the bug-based hell that had kept us on edge for the last week (on this trip). Even this week, the bugs were toying with us. On Wednesday night I opened the dishwasher to see out of the corner of my eye something flash across the base of the appliance. I did think to myself that surely the 1 ½ inch critters that have been parading around the apartment like tentacled majorettes, couldn’t surely get into a freshly washed dishwasher. I slowly lowered myself for a better look and saw the best sitting at the back, looking at me with disdain. I did what any animal loving human being would do, I set at it with the bleach based kitchen spray. I wasn’t sure what it would do, but surely enough it was enough to disable it before I popped it into the stairway to bug heaven, or the food disposal thingy in the sink.


We’re now settled into the new apartment; it is lovely. We’re really enjoying living here; the girls are using the balcony as their play area (it’s enclosed with the mosquito netting that keeps us free from nightly bites) and the bed in the main bedroom is the most comfortable thing we have ever laid on. In fact the bed is so big that I can hardly see Hayley at night, something she is pretty pleased about taking into account my annoying breathing that she keeps commenting on. It is funny though that the lady who owns the apartment has left pictures of her daughter and son-in-law all over the apartment. When Hayley wakes up, she is staring directly at the smiling faces of the young couple on the picture positioned next to our bed.


Whilst still at Bugsville, we attempted to use our time away from the apartment wisely and on Thursday we took a trip down to Titusville to watch the space shuttle Discovery take-off for the final time. This particular shuttle has been on in excess of thirty missions and is considered as NASA’s work horse. There are now just two more shuttle launches ever going to take place before the whole programme is scrapped in June of this year.


For us we left exceedingly early and arrived in Titusville (this is the closest public place to the launch pads) about three hours prior to the launch. We had wanted to watch the launch from Launch View Park where the Space Walk of Fame is located, but we had heard that it gets exceptionally busy and especially with the programme coming to the end. As we drove into Titusville the traffic was already building up and we noticed a lot of cars pulling onto some wasteland. Quickly matching what I could see around us to Google Maps, I noticed we were only a short walk from Launch View Park and followed these cars and parked in a somewhat dubious area.


We found Launch View Park and set-up camp within twenty yards of the Genesis memorial positioned at the front of the Space Walk of Fame. The position was almost perfect for the launch, being just ten miles away from the Shuttle sitting up expectantly. Unfortunately, we had positioned ourselves next to a family who were extreme followers of the Christian faith. The shear delusion that eminated from the woman’s mouth was car-crash, offensive and shocking and for three hours (well two and a quarter – the queues to the toilets were exceptionally long) we sat there unable to escape her BS. A sample of what came out of their mouths was around Israel and Jordan. The lady was explaining how she is an expert on the area because she watches Fox News and that she only needs to watch it now to confirm what she already has been told by God himself in her previous night’s prayers. “This is God here reporting from Jerusalem…..” That was one of the more toned down examples of what this family were about, but at one point she was describing racial equality to a nice black family as if it were something new and that she was a pioneer. Thankfully, a lot of what we have experienced in the US is a long way from this kind of delusion; religion is very prominent here, but most people are just normal followers.


Anyway, at 4.50pm the countdown began on the other side of the lake where God was reporting for Fox News. We looked up for what seemed like ages, Camille in Hayley’s arms and Lucia plonked on my shoulders. Suddenly the sight of the shuttle and the amazing streak of flames billowing from the rockets appeared above the monument in front of us. It took a good fifteen to twenty seconds for the noise to hit us, but the roar was breathtaking. We heard someone ask whether their partner had felt the heat, to be honest, it was so freaking hot anyway I don’t know how they would tell. It travelled so quickly up into the sky and then it was gone, leaving behind the immense vapour trail shaped like a massive white hockey stick. With that, it was over and time to go. We made our way back to our car and sat patiently for about thirty minutes waiting for some movement in traffic to let us out. While we waited, an old banger to our left had been disserted by it’s owners; unfortunately they had forgotten to take their false teeth which were sat on the bonnet encircled by the rust and dirt of Florida life. I got Hayley to take a picture but she soon deleted it in between gags and retches.


Last night we watched the Oscars probably for the first time as it is always on to late in the UK. Seriously people, you are not missing anything. Get up in the morning, turn on the news and watch the clips because it was five hours of art awards and cinematography with only the last half hour being utilised for the big awards.


Back to reality: Camille starts treatment tomorrow, it doesn’t seem possible, we are all very pensive. Wish her luck.