Saturday, 4 February 2012

Woes which have betided and which are currently betiding us

English: Panorama of Offagna, Ancona, Italy It...
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The more astute of you may have noticed that, apart from a brief thought on 21 December, I hadn't blogged since 12 November. Perhaps you assumed that I'd found a way to make more effective use of my time - as if.

The fact is that I'm here on my own in Sassuolo, whereas my wife and daughter are down in Offagna. For a couple of days, that'd be fine, but we've been apart for almost a week now, and it's much too long.

I'll start from Christmas. Christmas itself was great, it was great to see my family, and it had been three years since I was in England, which is pretty weird. Noemi met two uncles that she didn't know she had and two great grandmothers. She even met Will and Rosie, who came up to see us. We had a whale of a time.

It took a sour turn towards the end though, when Noemi got a temperature and started vomiting, emitting snot in copious quantitites and, at the beginning, had loads of gunk in her eyes. We were just in time to get to a GP on Friday to get prescriptions for the requisite antiobiotics and drops. It was the most ill Noemi had ever been; it was good to be with my family, but on the other hand, it was a little bit awkward trying to manage the thing outside of our own house and our own control. Those of you who are parents will know that it's no picnic giving medicine to babies, still less lots of different medicines at regular (regular like having to get up in the middle of the night) intervals. This all started when we needed to think about packing to go back. We were feeling a bit ill ourselves by the time it came to make the journey back.

Well, the journey was very tiring and stressful for obvious reasons, and the less said about that the better. We still had a fair few days of the whole medicine routine ahead of us and then, when we went to our actual paediatrician after the course had finished because Noemi obviously wasn't 100%, she gave us some more. I think it ended up being about another two weeks in all after coming back, so we were pretty exhausted. The one who always suffers the most is Monica; I don't believe I'm exaggerating when I say that she's told me that she's tired every single day since Noemi was born, something which she definitely doesn't need to tell me any more, but which I do certainly appreciate - being a mum is really taking it out of her. It's a tough job.

The Sassuolo division of the Dobson family on Noemi's actual birthday
One of the high points in this bloody difficult first month of the year was Noemi's birthday. We had intended to go down to Offagna before Christmas, but called it off because Noemi wasn't too well then either. Then we were planning on going down sometime soon after Christmas instead, only she was more dramatically ill. Her grandparents took matters into their own hands and invited themselves down (lovely as it was to see them, I can't help but feel that I should have been consulted, but they are Italian relatives after all...). Anyway, the celebrations were limited, but it was nice.

So what's next after illness? Earthquakes of course. There were a couple of earthquakes in Northern Italy, both near Parma I think. We're a little way from Parma. Apparently the geographical characteristics of our area dampen the effect of earthquakes from up there, so some people didn't even notice the first one; I was at work, and the people who manage the complex where our offices are told us to get out of the building, so we all bundled out in the cold. Bit like a fire drill really. This being Italy, no-one said anything about when to go back in, so people wandered back as seemed best to them.

The second earthquake came a few days later, and this time we definitely felt it. Monica certainly felt it in our flat on the third floor, and was sorely troubled, which is reasonable; I daresay I wouldn't have liked it much myself. I should mention that our building is quite solid though - the main problem with earthquakes in Italy is old/inadequate (illegal) buildings. I remember our landlord talking about the reinforcements when we arrived here back in the day; it means you can't get a good UMTS system.

We decided, when Noemi was taking her afternoon nap on the following Saturday, that the best thing for Monica's piece of mind was a temporary separation - it would play merry hell with Noemi's already quite messed up (from the illness) bedtime routine and be difficult for Monica and for us as a couple, but all things considered better than Monica worrying about when the next earthquake was coming (it never did incidentally, but they were talking about there being possible further earthquakes so it did make sense). We managed to get an awful taxi driver who drove badly to start with, got lost on the way to Modena train station and started driving even worse out of panic. I felt quite nauseous at the end, because I hadn't been feeling quite right for a few days anyway, and it scarcely helped. So we left on Saturday afternoon (4 hour journey) and I came back on the Sunday afternoon, so I didn't have much time to sit down that weekend.

And then came the snow; I had asked for Friday off so I could be back with Monica sooner, but by the time Friday came, there were stories on the news about people being stuck in the fields on trains without all mod cons for 6 hours, so it wasn't really on the cards. I'm stuck here. This was meant to be the weekend that we celebrated Noemi's birthday with Monica's (extended) family, but from what Monica said to me, not even people from Offagna can manage it.

And finally, now Monica's feeling ill and hasn't eaten all day, and in the afternoon Noemi started vomiting - 6 times now apparently. With all the snow, Monica's worried about not being able to get medicines if she needs them.

It's been a bit of a crap start to the year really. My poor wife.

So, yes, I can blog, I can watch Italy vs. France and I can have a cooked breakfast tomorrow, but it's not going to make up for the fact that my wife and daughter are much further away than they should be, and we don't know when we're going to be able to see one another.


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Ben Trovato said...

Sounds pretty rough! Sigh indeed...

Will said...

we had a whale of a mousse

Mark said...

Yeah, and you only had one meal's worth! There was plenty for several days.

Emma said...

But on the upside you have a beautiful daughter and beautiful wife and lots of pretty snow to look at.

Mark said...

Heh. That's true enough apart from the bit about the snow, which gets less beautiful and more like a cold, solid alternative to mud every day.