Diary April 2007


Easter without the kids

There are some people who would enjoy a “long weekend without the kids”. Those people are not us. While they probably envision a fun weekend of hiking, cycling, going to see a movie, going out for dinner and generally having a great time, all we have to look forward to is a weekend of hard work. I have to eat, drink, use the bathroom and get put in/taken out of bed. Usually, the kids help to lighten Hein’s workload, but this Easter it was all on Hein. Luckily, Marjanne was there to help us with dinner. I don’t want it to sound like we didn’t do anything, we played bridge, celebrated easter with company and even went to the Garden of Europe on Easter Monday. And, of course, we went to collect Ward from the airport.

Garden of Europe

Besides going to Ikea, visiting the Garden of Europe is probably the most bourgeois trip imaginable. Nonetheless, I think everyone should experience it at least once. The last time I went there was 12 years ago with my mother, but Hein had never been before. The Garden of Europe is a beautiful park and a true Eldorado for people in wheelchairs, broad asphalted paths without as much as a bump in sight. I’m not much of a tulip fan, I prefer bushes and shrubs. Things that at least look self-sufficient. The Garden has beautiful trees, too.
The most surprising part of our visit was something that didn’t even have anything to do with gardening; a fashion show for hats, designed with the theme of ‘royalty’. We were right at the end of the catwalk, so every model stared right at us when they did their walk. Here are a few hats we saw there. I was cheeky enough to just ask the photographer present if she could email some pictures to us. She has her own website: www.pilipipa.nl. Thank you.


It was only April 15th, but it already felt like summer. The Rotterdam marathon was cancelled halfway through because of the heat. I slept in my chair last night, feeling sick, weak and nauseous besides feeling like I’m about to melt. I’m sitting in my chair like a sack of potatoes. By five, I finally started to come back to life a little bit. Too bad the following night was as hot as ever. I glowed. There was only one thing on my mind: I’m not looking forward to the summer. I’ve put it out of my mind for now.

I was dreading the sweltering days they’d predicted for the end of the month, but, looking back, they weren’t so bad. The wind was cooling and the nights were bearable. The only thing I don’t like now are the days off. Everyone is off to do their own thing. I spend those long weekends, in which others go cycling, hiking, play tennis and going out for drinks, inside. I did sit in the sunroom a lot.

LEGO sorting nights

After the charity cycling event last year, my sister-in-law Monieke came up with another idea to raise money for ALS: a LEGO sorting night. A friend of hers is a LEGO dealer and has a house full of unsorted LEGO bricks. Once a month, Monieke organises a sorting night, on which people can sort bricks for five euros an hour, the proceeds of which go to ALS research. I was excited, if a bit doubtful of the amount of buzz it would generate. Besides simply raising money, it’s about raising awareness for ALS, something Monieke has gotten pretty good at. By now, there have been three sorting nights, all of which have had a sponsor who doubled the proceeds. They’ve earned 580 euros thus far. That’s about one-third of what the cycling event brought to the table. That’s not all. Monieke has big plans: she wants to organise a fundraiser using the sorting money. It’s supposed to take place on the 16th of November. All of the proceeds will go to the ALS foundation.

Hip pain

I sleep on my right, which means my right arm and leg need to be properly supported by my mattress. My left arm and leg don’t have the same support, which leads to some strain on my left shoulder and hip. As my muscle mass diminishes, it’s becoming harder and harder on my body. I’ve been using two pillows to support my left arm for a while now, but until recently, my leg was fine without any supports. For the past two weeks, however, it’s been awful. My hip starts to hurt and I spend the night writhing. I haven’t had much good sleep since and standing up only makes the pain in my hip worse. Maybe I’ll try using a pillow for my leg too, but I’m scared that would render me completely unable to move. Another option would be to start using Ibuprofen again.

Floor in dorms

On Saturday, April 28th, Floor moved into student housing a room on the third floor so I’ll never see it in person, only on photos. Fortunately, she’ll be home on Wednesday and Saturday, which made the change a whole lot less abrupt. In the future, she says she’ll spend the weekends back home. It’s going to take a while before I’m used to it.

Swan attack!

Boating season is here again. Our rubber boat was moored in the harbour, but someone punctured it on the first day, so in the meantime, Ward is using his friend’s boat. They were just cruising around when, out of nowhere, a swan, already looking quite aggressive, came at them. They tried moving past it as slowly and as quietly as they could, but before you knew it, the swan came flying at them like it was a commercial for an airliner. Ward’s friend Lex hit the floor of his boat, his hands covering his head, while Ward jumped overboard and swam to the side. Lex got hit by one of the swan’s wings while Ward pulled himself on the shore. Apparently, the swan was still mad from being hit by another boat earlier. The next day, it turned out that Ward had a bacterial infection in his arm. He spent the rest of spring break inside, wearing long sleeves.