Rebecca is in putting the girls through their final paces before bed. In our house, the momentum towards bed can be difficult to maintain. I have lived my life under the information that a missionary dad (Cass) awoke his children before daybreak, ~0430, and took them to the pool (cold pool) where he had them swim laps. Now, I believe that I could go through a very good bedtime routine with my girls if I did a similar exercise heavy day as they would be so tired that they wouldn't have to fight each other, dawdle over putting on pajamas, argue over who was sleeping in whose room, ask to have a snack right after brushing their teeth, or poke-pinch-prod each other during prayer time. They would just fall into bed happy to get some sleep before I was waking them up for their exercise. As soon as I think this, I remind myself that I can't even get myself up with the alarm. It goes off in three snooze bursts, but I have found that if I outlast the third burst that it automatically quits. Then I can role back towards the middle of the bed where Rebecca is sound asleep. She has practiced now for several years the art of not hearing beeping noise, phones, or electronic background noise at night. It is amazing that a child will get her out of bed with a call, but loud beeping won't disturb her. I, on the other hand, can move from sound asleep to discussing surgery with a slight beep. I try, but often can't, ignore the child call in the night. I'm still a little incredulous that Rebecca doesn't awaken to the phone or beeps. I think she might be faking it.
Today, I left the OR early around noon to go with Rebecca to Bamenda. There are great things about residents in that they can continue doing fine surgery most of the time even without me around sometimes. I'm mainly around to whine at them that they need to learn to pass the hemostat a different way, use their finger to cinch down the knot instead of pull the tissue up to them, present their case to me more succinctly, and so on. In Bamenda, we stopped first to get meat. Rebecca's first statement is, "This makes me nauseous." We then moved to the fresh fruits and vegetables market, and I must admit that she interacts great with the many women calling out to her to buy from them. At one stand where she thought of buying a bucket of tomatoes, the lady said it was 1,000 cfa's. Rebecca smiled and said that was too much. The lady said that there were a lot of tomatoes. Rebecca agreed and said that she was also a white woman. That got a chuckle. At another stand the lady wanted three times the amount for bananas than should be paid. Rebecca just stood there shocked with a shocked look for awhile. She then asked again about the price because she was so shocked at the price she had heard. The lady dropped immediately to the right price. The back tire on the car was pretty low, and I started to change it. The spare was pretty flat so I asked the three men who had quickly become involved about the nearest tire place. To my great joy, the place was around the corner. We left the car and went on shopping. The only problem was the afternoon downpour. I found out that you can put inner tubes in tubeless radials. I placed that tire as the spare and the spare just needed air. We won all the way around. We ate at a hotel, but this time found that the bar had a balcony overlooking the city. Rebecca finagled us into getting a table out on the balcony. Bamenda can almost look pretty from above the fray. I still would emphasize the "almost," however. We found out that there is a traffic jam leaving the city at sunset. The two lane road becomes two lanes then three lanes and then four lanes, if you count cars as lane definers. If you use motorcycles, then the "lane" gets muddled because the directions are nearly infinite as to movement or velocity vectors. Rebecca and I both chuckle that this isn't really stressful for me when compared with driving around downtown USA looking for parking lots. I kind of enjoy blocking many lanes of traffic as I pull crooked and back up into a little parking space in front of a store. The traffic just kind of "flows" around the car as it meanders.
You might wonder about the girls and Sarah back at home base while we were away. We lock all the doors. We tell them to shut all the curtains, don't let any strangers know they are in the house, we set the alarm, and notify the security. Just kidding--that is what people do in America. In Mbingo, Hannah went to a visit a resident's wife for an hour and then walked home. Miriam, Hadiah, and Elle went with Ellen Shotanus to the Cameroonian school library. Sarah stayed at home and watched a movie. Debbie Bardin came over mid-afternoon to check on the girls and played with them at the school playground. This evening the girls ate left-overs and watched, "I Love Lucy" episodes which they all enjoy greatly.
Well it is time to say goodbye. Hadiah's birthday is Sunday. She keeps reminding me that this is the last .... that I'll do with my oldest 11 year old. She reminds me that I'm old. I remind her that I'm the best dad she has. She reminds me that I'm the only dad that she has. She is growing up. She now calls Rebecca, "little Mommy," sometimes, but honestly, Hadiah isn't taller than Rebecca quite yet. They are exactly the same height. Rebecca and her are now onto reading and discussing Augustine's Confessions after finishing her test on Eusibius. As far as the other girls, they are growing, also. Don't tell anyone, but Elle is now wearing Miriam's panties. With that note, I wish you all a good bye. dasen