Friday, January 20, 2006

It's been an eventful week or so. I guess that I'll start off with last Sunday. Sunday morning was pretty average, Jennifer and I ran some errands to pick up the remaining supplies for the closet I'm refinishing. We also drove around some areas where we were looking at housing. The housing market here is schizophrenic. I've never been anywhere with such a driven redevelopment sector. Houses are being re-habbed everywhere you look. At the same time, this is a rather recent development and therefore the boundaries are often very distinct between the zones of refurbishment and the blighted zones. For example, in the area we're considering, Brewerytown, any house south of Girard street, a major thouroughfare, is cute, clean, rennovated and $150k and up. North of that street, depending on how far you go, you can find housing in gutted areas for $20k. Schizophrenic.

Coming back home, we spent an afternoon dinking around the house. Then, while sitting in the living room, I noticed some flames licking the inside of windows in the house across the street. Within minutes the fire had begun billowing around and out the second and third story windows. Those two floors were gutted by the time the fire department arrived 5 minutes later. Talk about excitement, the whole neighborhood was out on the street. I quickly got my camera and was about to run outside when Jennifer stopped what was about to be a really insensitive move on my part.

We had also been invited to the upstairs neighbor's apartment in the evening for a housewarming party. It was a nice time, though we were the only people in the room who couldn't speak any German. Karl is a supreme Deutchophile and is a regular participant in the Stamptish meetings of German speakers in Philly. I don't know what Stamptish means, but what the hell, Karl had good weisswurst.

Things were pretty chill until yesterday evening when I got a call from my parents. They were in the Des Moines children's hospital with my youngest brother Asa. For the past month and a half he's been having a lot of trouble with stomach pain. Over the past few weeks he's been in to the gastrointerologist a few times, gotten to chug liters of radioactive liquids and had a probe put where the sun don't shine. The diagnosis is Crohn's disease, and autoimmune disorder affecting the intestine. Imagine arthritis of the bowels. The call last night was because he's been admitted to the hospital due to intense inflammation in his abdomen. Apparently the abscess or abscesses caused by the disease became infected and he had some pretty severe and painful swelling that had to be treated in the hospital. They're pumping him full of fluids, antibiotics and the like and also draining the fluids from the region.

While I'll not say I'm devastated by the news of Asa's illness, I am concerned for him. Crohn's is not fatal, but could potentially degrade his quality of life to a severe degree. For example, he'll have to keep treating his disease throughout his life and it's likely that at some point he'll have to have surgery to remove affected portions of his intestine. Shit man. He's already had to miss a number of days of school and missed finals on Tuesday. That sort of stuff takes a while to recover from. Anyway, my thoughts are with him. Ganbatte Asa.

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