Location: Oregon, United States

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Worse

The Good. Again this week, we have just been impressed with how well we have gotten "plugged in" around here. On the first day of school, I went to pick up Stephen. As I was walking to the school, I came across two other moms I've gotten to know over the summer that were also going to meet their children. They invited me to join them, and we chatted and strolled our way to the school. It struck me as we got there that I had seen them talking to each other as they waited for their kids last spring. At that time, I was the new kid on the block, and stood some distance away from them (because, duh, I didn't know them). And here we were like old timers by the end of the summer. Later that evening as we walked the dog, Paul and I were greeted by at least four people that we have gotten to know in the neighborhood. I looked at Paul and just grinned. Groovy.

The Bad. I had the electrician out to move the outlets up in the kitchen before the cabinets get installed. He started working, pulled one of the outlets out and said, "Oooo, aluminum wiring. That's bad, really bad. I will need to call my supervisor to see if I can even touch this." And I'm starting to freak - "Bad? Really bad?" What is that supposed to mean? So he explains to me that, during the 70's oil crisis, there was also an anti-copper thing going around so they started wiring houses with aluminum instead. About ten years later, they realised it was a really bad idea because houses were burning down. Evidently, the aluminum expands and contracts too much, eventually arcing and burning through the lock nuts, then the walls, and the ceiling, and - well you get the picture. So our options are to rewire the entire house in copper (bottom line - a minimum of $30,000) or go through the house outlet by outlet, fixture by fixture, and install new improved lock nuts (at about $3 each) that won't allow the arcing to occur. There are about 3 or 4 lock nuts to every outlet, fixture and switchplate. Tedium ad nauseum and ka-CHING. But less ka-ching than rewiring, so there you are.

The worst of it is that the inspection noted that there might be aluminum wiring and we should have a licensed electrician check into it. And we were like, "La, la, la - aluminum wiring - how nice is that?!" And never thought twice about it. Note to self: if it says have it checked, have it checked for crying out loud. *Sob!* I feel so STUPID!

The Worse. Okay, momentary stupidity aside. This is serious. We now have all the reports back regarding Paul's mom's tumor. The MRIs indicated that it was calcified and most likely slow growing. However, the pathology report has shown otherwise. It is a "malignant Oligoastrocytoma, grade 3, not localised". Translation: cancerous tumor made of two kinds of brain cells that is growing quickly (4 is the worst - aggressive) and is spreading. This has us all reeling from the news. She met with the doctor today to discuss treatment and will be receiving radiation 5 days a week for six weeks and chemo daily by a pill for a year. They would rather not do surgery because the cancerous cells are embedded within the useful brain cells. Please keep her in your prayers as this will no doubt be a long haul. The good news is, she is one amazing lady. She has been the picture of health up to this point, has a great circle of family and friends to support her through this, and is a fighter.


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