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March 2003

Alberto’s Birthday, “The War” starts
& Ron goes to the hospital!

Saturday March 8th, 2003 – We returned back to California after 2 wonderful weeks in Mexico.  Never get tired of laying out in the sun, reading a good science fiction book and sipping a margarita!  If there’s a heaven, I’m sure it’s in Mexico, next to a pool, with margaritas and good science fiction books.

Before moving to Argentina I bought my mom a laptop so that I could get her setup with email to make it easier to stay in contact.  I noticed that when checking my email at her house it was very slow and looked to see how much memory the laptop had.  32 Megs of memory??  Good God, no wonder it’s so slow.  I called CompUSA (an electronics store) and asked them if they could tell me how much a memory upgrade would cost.  The knowledgeable clerk I reached on the phone was very nice and very professional, what a nice surprise when you get really good service and you say to yourself, “Wow, this is what good service is supposed to be!”  I asked him if he had a way of checking to see how much memory I could put in my particular model of HP laptop, and said, “Sure, holdon a moment!”  I heard the click, clackety, clack of keys in the background and he said that he could upgrade the laptop to 256 Megs of memory, “GREAT!”  I said. 

“How much will that cost?”

“4997 per 128 Meg SIMM.”

I hesitated as I tried to understand what he said, “4997??  Is that pesos?”, I said, without thinking I was in the USA, my mind still trying to figure out what 4997 meant.

“Huh?”, he replied.

“Ooooooh, $49.97 per SIMM!”, I finally understood, “WOW, I haven’t bought memory in a long time and that’s REALLY cheap!”

I asked him if he had it in stock and after he said that he did I told him I’d be right there.

Sunday March 9th , 2003 – Our last day in California and my mom decided to make us dinner, of course she thought it would just be us, but then thought, “Uncle Peter really wants to see you!  And of course there’s your cousin Janet and her family, and Bill, and ……”, after she thought for a minute she decided to have the dinner in the common recreation room that her apartment complex has.  This turned out to be an excellent idea as the room is large and we were all able to visit and talk.  My friend Mary and her husband Antoine even showed up to get caught up on each other.  The dinner was awesome and a great way to see everyone at one time.

Mom's Dinner

Tuesday March 11th, 2003 – Returned back to Bs.As. and were gratefully greeted by the kitty katz.  We got cleaned up and went over to see the progress on the apartment after being gone almost 6 weeks.  This was my friend Alberto’s birthday and I called to wish him a happy birthday and setup a dinner for him the following week.

Wednesday March 12th, 2003 – I walked passed a kiosk and stopped dead in my tracks as I saw a magazine being displayed with a picture of President Bush as Hitler sitting on top of the world in a Nazi uniform, doing the German Nazi salute with the caption “El Gran Dictatodor”.  I stared at it, chills going up my spin.  I had to buy the magazine.  Is this how the world perceives us?  Articles inside like “Las Nuevas Leyes del Imperio” (New Laws of the Empire) gave a different perspective on things then what one sees on CNN.

Thursday March 20th, 2003 – “American missiles hit targets in Baghdad, marking the start of a US-led campaign to topple the leadership of Saddam Hussein. In the following days US and British ground troops enter Iraq from the south.”, a quote from the BBC website http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/737483.stm

In my opinion this was a terrible time for everyone in the world.  A new low for the United States.  Ron and I are sharply divided on this topic and I have made a point that it will not be discussed at the dinner table as it makes my physically ill to think about.  I hate to sound like an uninformed person who doesn’t care about world events, but when I look around and see how wonderful the world it, what a precious gift life is, I just can’t fathom why there is so much violence and hatred in the world.  I prefer to see it from my rose tinted glasses that humans are meant to live together in peace, love and harmony and drink deeply from the well that is life in this short time we have here.  May the “war” be swift with a minimal amount of pain and suffering.

Friday March 21st, 2003 – We invited a few friends over to celebrate our friend Alberto’s birthday.  Ron made a 2nd attempt at making him the same birthday cake that he made the previous year.  The previous attempt was delicious but was one of Ron’s first attempts at baking in a gas oven, the result looked horrible.  This one turned out much better looking, and tasted good too.

We had a great dinner with Gustavo, Luis, Jorge, Alberto, Ignacio, Diego, Eduardo, Miguel and myself.

                                   Diego                                                                          Jorge, Gustavo and Luis

      Miguel, Diego, Ignacio, Pete, Alberto, Eduardo                                         Gustavo and Luis

         Miguel, Diego, Ignacio, Pete, Alberto, Eduardo, Ron                                Happy Birthday Alberto!

Saturday March 22nd, 2003 – Went out to dinner with Dee and Fernando, Dee received an offer to return to her previous employer in Houston, Texas, with a better salary and better position (she no longer has to manage people!)  She and Fernando have been dating for a few years and Dee has lived here almost as long as we have.  With the current state of the USA economy, she thought that an offer such as this was to good to turn down.  I was very happy for her that she would be able to “step” back into the corporate world, have a great job, and also have had the opportunity to take a 2 year sabbatical to experience living in another culture.  She is very lucky!  I don’t want to see her go, but I fully understand her motivations.  Dee told us that her and Fernando will continue their relationship, although long distance now.  Fernando is trying to obtain the rank of “Master Sergeant of the Army” which is the highest non-commissioned position in the Army.  Not being a military person, I had no idea that this meant, but Ron was EXTREMELY impressed.  If Fernando receives the position, he may be going to a city outside of France for 2 years.  I told Dee if it was between living in Houston, Texas or Paris, France?!?!!….. well….. I didn’t want to insult her!

Monday March 24th 2003 – Ron has been having some pains in his left leg, foot and hip on and off for several years, it’s been getting worse recently and he’s been going to the doctors to try and figure out what is going on.  They tried lots of things including physical therapy but nothing seemed to really take care of it, finally, the doctors saw something on one of the X-rays that looked like some bone protruding into his spinal cord, the doctors thought this was the problem and scheduled surgery.  We were both relieved that the doctors hopefully found the cause of the problem, but no one likes to go under the knife.  The doctors assured us that this was “minor” surgery, although you can hardly call any surgery involving a knife minor.  Ron went in early to check himself in assuring me there was no reason to get up at 6 am to accompany him to the hospital.  I felt guilty, but hey, 6 am??  I let him go on his own and told him I’d be waiting when he got out of the operating room.

I headed off for the hospital around 10:30 am, they said Ron should be out of surgery around 11 or 11:30.  I stopped at the flower kiosk right near the hospital and bought some red roses for Ron.  The gentleman at the kiosk asked if it was for someone in the hospital and I said yes, and he took a long stem of a very fragrant jasmine plant and put it in amongst the roses, it smelled wonderful.  I thanked him and headed off to see Ron.

When I arrived the nurse on staff said that he was still in surgery and that I should wait in the waiting room.  I saw them wheel him in shortly after, and after a few minutes of putting him in the bed and hooking up the various IV drips, they let me in to see him.  He was very alert and didn’t seem groggy at all.  I asked him how he was feeling and he said the constant throbbing he always felt in his foot was gone, a good sign that the operation was successful.

I stayed with him as he dozed on and off, then headed off at 8 pm when hospital visiting hours were over.

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 – On my way to see Ron I stopped at a favorite coffee store to pick up some chocolates for Ron, he’s a big choc-oholic, so I knew he’d like it.  I bought myself a new MP3 player on our last visit to California, and I was jamming on tunes on the way to see Ron.  An internet chat friend told me about a band that is very hot in Europe called Dream Theater and one of his favorite albums was “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence”.  I love hearing about new groups and went out and bought the album, turned out it’s a great hard rock band and I LOVED it, I grew up in the 70s and 80s with Ted Nugent, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, The Ramones, The Clash, etc. and this reminded me a lot of good ole heavy metal rock and roll.

Ron’s face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning when I pulled the chocolate truffles out of my bag.  He was looking very good and was able to get up on his own and move around.  Spent another day reading and watching TV with him although CNN was just playing 24 hour coverage of “the war” and watching it just makes me physically ill.

Wednesday March 26th, 2003 – Ron was scheduled to be released this morning and as soon as I arrived he flew out of his seat and said, “Let’s get out of here!”  I was glad to get him a taxi home and the cats were relieved to see him too.