Monday, November 24, 2008

In Which Time Flies

On the one hand, I have absolutely nothing to report. It has snowed a few times in the past week, but nothing more serious than flurries, really. It seems to happen in the late afternoon/early evening, but any accumulation is gone by morning.

Yesterday was practically springlike: a balmy 10C, windy (in fact, I read/heard about signs and bricks crashing down on parked cars/pedestrians . . . the local news was, apparently, urging people to stay indoors). The radiators in our apartment were cold, which was fine while it was 10C. But when the temperature dropped to 0C in just an hour or so, I was starting to get nervous, wondering if the landlords had forgotten to pay something. This is a silly thought, since the heat is centrally managed. But one does wonder . . .

The other concern was the barometric pressure change sent Skittles to bed for a few hours with a sick headache. Since she got reading glasses this summer, the frequency of her headaches has dropped dramatically, which is definately a good thing. But she, like her parents, is still susceptible to dramatic weather changes.

Saturday morning Baboo announced she had an earache. Thankfully, she said this early in the morning, and I was able to get an appointment across the street. This being Moscow, I think I could have just walked into a pharmacy ("apteka") and asked for amoxicilin. But on the off-chance it was not an ear infection . . . and I don't know about dosages . . . it seemed prudent to ask a professional.

So we did. The Spouse took Skittles to her Saturday morning cooking class. I took Baboo to see the doctor. The doctor wrote us a script. I took Baboo back home, and then set out to deal with getting her Rx filled. First, I had to get cash. This meant a trip to the bank, which is across the street (gotta go uuuunder) and a block or so down. Walking out of the bank, I thought about stopping in the pharmacy that is right next door to the bank. But I've never been in that one. They don't know me. Best to stick with a tried and true shop, given my extensive linguistic talents.

So I walk back up the block, go uuuunder the street, continue past our building to find the pharmacy where they know us is CLOSED. The sign on the door lists their hours, and this includes Saturday mornings at 11:00. But, alas, there's no one there.

Okay. I retrace my steps back to the pharmacy by the bank. I step up to the window and greet the clerk. I put my hand in my coat pocket to pull out the prescription.


There's nothing in my pocket.

The clerk blinks at me.

I lose the ability to communicate in Russian. "I don't have the prescription!" I mutter.

She continues to stare. As well she should.

I exit the pharmacy, trying to decide if I left the paper on the table by the door at home or did I drop it on the street? It is possible I accidentally pulled it out of my pocket when I put on my gloves as I exited the bank. Do I go all the way home? Or just stop back in the doctor's office and hope she's still there so she can write me a new Rx. If I call the house, will phone-phobic Baboo even answer?

I decide to look in the bank first. No paper.

As I'm, dejectedly, walking back towards our building/the doctor's office, I see it: a folded piece of paper just lying on the sidewalk! Hurray!

Back to the pharmacy. I manage to complete the transaction and, with help from The Spouse, figure out how to dose the Baboo (it was one of those deals where the drug came in a bottle, but as a powder, and we had to add the right amount of water).

Later that afternoon, with the Baboo one resting quietly and The Spouse and Skittles amusing themselves, I went to buy nuts and honey from the guy with a little shop under the street. I manage to procure 300 grams each of almonds, pistachios, and Brazil nuts. I even get the honey I wanted. But I fumbled on the numbers part when he told me what I owed. I got 40 and 80 confused, and handed the guy 550 rubles when he wanted 580. Duh-oh! Figured it out, no harm done, but I just hate that. I know, I know: numbers are tough. But argh.

Yesterday afternoon, I screwed it up again. I went to the grocery store, but as I was leaving, I realized I forgot to get lemons. Grrr. But there, across the street from the Sedmoy Continent grocery store, is the fruit and veggie lady's permanently parked truck/stand.

"Lemons, please," I say. "Two pieces."

She says a number I interpret as 80. I have a 1000-ruble note, a 500-ruble note, and 4 or 5 10-ruble notes. Drat. She's not going to like this. I shuffle through the bills, hoping to show her I'm doing my best here, and offer the 500 rubles.

She shakes her head.

Sigh. Am I going to have to go buy cheese?

She reaches through her window and gently takes two tens. Duh-oh! She wants 18 rubles, not 80.

I shuffle home, muttering and dejected.

The Spouse, however, is more upbeat.

"Look," he says kindly. "We've been here almost a year now. Can you imagine this time last year if I had said to you, 'Go take Baboo to the doctor, get her prescription filled, and then go buy nuts from the guy under the street'?"

He's right. I would have cried. I haven't come very far, but I've come a long way.

I close with a Thanksgiving wish:

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!


Dawn said...

Oh lady you have come a long long way. To buy anything is trial and a DR.!! wow I can't even go to the store with the right amount of money!!

miamibob said...

You're doing great! And the writing is getting unbelieveably good, too.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have everything so close to your house, you know florida, we have to drive everywhere. Just the fact that you are able to go to stores and you able to complete a transaction is a huge step in my book. You go girl!

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