December 6, 2008
Erin fans around the world have waited for an update that resumes the normal pace of activities, and do I have a post for you? Let me bring you up to speed.
On Wednesday, Erin spent a majority of the day at school, then I swiped her, picked up her buddy Sam Villalobos and her soccer coach, Lisa Villalobos at the gas station on the way out of town, and headed towards Houston. We managed to get Erin's penultimate radiation treatment at Methodist Hospital (a five-star facility, in my opinion) before we headed out for an evening of fun. We jumped back into the car and drive over to the Rice Village (not as bucolic as it sounds) and bought a new sweater and accouterments for the upcoming dance. We then spent at least an hour browsing Claire's (as any mom of a pre-teenager knows is a gold mine of crap that appeals to 11 year olds). Lisa and I rewarded ourselves by choosing a suitable adultish restaurant with "real" food, Prego's [sidenote: the only other time I have eaten at Prego's was a semi--this means unpaid--consulting job for TCH where we ate and drank in the wine room]. We demurred on the dessert tray because we knew we had access to the concierge floor back at the Marriott, where we hied ourselves to enjoy carrot cake, little petite-fours, and strawberry cheesecake. We then sashayed back over to Methodist, where Sam practiced her Christmas recital music on the baby grand in the Methodist lobby (didn't I mention that Methodist was definitely a five-star facility?).
On Thursday morning, Erin and I returned to the concierge floor for breakfast before finishing off the radiation tour at 7:15 (and rang said bell). We grabbed Sam and Lisa and a little second breakfast (actually Erin grabbed second breakfast and I attempted, unsuccessfully, to update the home page). By 8:30 we were in line to nosh on a third breakfast at the McDonalds in St.Luke's. Are you confused yet?
Erin had an arrangement to meet her friend and Congressman Chet Edwards on Thursday morning. Chet's sister was scheduled for heart surgery bright and early, and we all found it especially funny to meet at the McDonalds house within one of the finest heart hospitals in the country for a little artery-clogging activity. After a short visit Erin moved on to her clinic visit with Dr. Russell back at TCH, and Chet returned to waiting for his sister to finish surgery to repair her heart valve, clean out a clogged artery, and repair a congenital small hole in her heart (it turns out that that was a three-way victory!!!).
We made good time at clinic. Erin counts were okay (low platelets, but decent WBC and hemoglobin), and we made a run for it before anyone could slow us down.
We didn't make it back to school before the end of the day, but we did manage to make brownies for the CNCF bake sale and get a couple of hours of homework in before bedtime. Oh, and we had salmon for dinner which Erin scarfed down like a starving brown bear.
Friday, Erin celebrated her first complete day at school since November 17. Not satisfied with eight periods, she stayed after school to decorate for the dance, then stayed for the dance: Do you think she had fun?
This morning she met her compadres at school at 7:50 and headed to Texas A&M for the Women in Science Conference. All I know is that involved hissing cockroaches, genetically altered fruit flies with no wings, forensic science, the Chemistry Road Show, 150 highly motivated sixth grade girls and more science experiments than you can shake a stick at without causing an explosion. Here is the pre-departure photo [notice the flower arrangement that Bob and Dorothy Anderson dedicated to our family's honor last Sunday in the chancel at church. Have you ever seen something as lovely or unusual? Thank you.]
Erin returned from her day at Science World full of vim and excitement. I had to relive the whole day through her re-telling of it at a rate of about 1:6 (one minute of explanation to approximately six minutes of experience, which means it took about an hour for her to tell me what she had done between 8:00 and 2:00).
We took a little while to re-group and unload and put away groceries, then we headed over to the Tjoelkers. Much to our dismay, but their delight, the entire family will leave tomorrow for a six month adventure in Australia. Erin looked so sad driving home. I looked in the rearview mirror and said,"You look a little sad."
She looked back and said, "What do you expect? My best friend is moving to Australia?" Here are some photos to keep us going until they arrive and we can SKYPE with them.
Once again we would like to thank the many Erin fans for lifting us up, both by contributing to The Erin Project (updated this again this afternoon) and by lighting up Erin's Lunch for Life Christmas tree (we are having our positively best year ever. Erin's Giving Tree Code is 24730). It's not to late to join either endeavor if you haven't yet.
There are no guarantees in life and that's why we grab it by the throat and shake it when we have a chance.