At 8 AM, Bob and I leave the rooms for the gym. At the front door, the overnight security guard (usually one of three boys, all in their twenties) is asleep on the small couch just inside the locked door. We found him in the same condition on Monday morning. Then as now, the phone is ringing away unheeded. On Monday, I woke him to answer the phone. While doing so, he had me toss him his keys, and he indicated which one I needed to unlock the door. Today, we just help ourselves to the keys and leave him - and the phone - to his internal alarm clock.
At the gym, it's a very quiet morning. Bob and I are among perhaps eight guys working out, and it's nice to be able to go about our routines without interruption or delay because someone else is using a particular piece of equipment. We go at the weights and exercises for about an hour and get to the ping-pong around 9:05. We split the first ten games, and at 5-5 Bob suggests we play first one to seven. I take the next two games and the day 7-5. The summer series now stands at 95-90 in Bob's favor.
It's already very warm when we leave the gym at 10:30. Back in the room, Alli is waiting with apple pastries. She and Beth took a new route today past landmarks with which they were familiar (the Russian Orthodox Church we visited last Tuesday) and had not yet seen (the candy factory). Alli had moments of doubt as to whether they would find their way back to the hotel and if not whether we would have a clue where to look for them. But it's all good and there's pastry, too! I make a quick trip to the Gros for diapers - Aidan's size 3's - then return for breakfast. We eat and get ready for our visit.
The walk today is HOT! I know you folks back home have been enduring a heat wave pretty much since we left, but this is new for us. We've had lots of sunshine but there is almost always a breeze of some kind to mitigate the heat. In all, we've had only one or two uncomfortably hot days, and today, with no breeze, is shaping up to be the worst. On the way to the baby home, we are giving consideration to taking the bus home whether Olesya is with us or not.
The kids are inside where, if it's cooler than their outside rooms, it's only marginally so. Aidan's in the playpen dressed in a onesie and socks and ready to go. Molly's in the walking chair in long pants and no top. Alli checks her diaper - clean and dry - and changes her into a onesie. There are no socks inside, so she and Molly stop in the outside room on their way to meet the rest of us.
In the marble room, the kids are game but slowly wilt in the heat. With the room's one window and door open, we usually get enough cross ventilation to keep the room relatively cool, but there is no air moving today. We bring a bottle of ice water (a one litre bottle frozen the night before) with us everyday for our walk back and forth. Today, we use some of it to try to cool the kids by pouring some over their heads and giving them capfuls to drink. Aidan lets most of it dribble down his chin; Molly's a little more adept, but we're hesitant to give her too much. The looks on both their faces suggest they aren't familiar with anything that cold, and we have not been told it's OK to give them anything (you might recall we were expressly told not to supplement their baby home diet in any way when our visits began).
Aidan gets grumpy first. He's content only if Alli carries him around the room or allows him to climb on her and play with her necklace. When these activities tire her, I take him for a walk around the halls, where the dark corridors and the draft provided by several open doors provide some relief for both Aidan and me. When we get back to the marble room, I hand the boy over to his Mommy and take Molly for a short walk before it's time to return both of them to their inside rooms.
Medical update: Olesya has been told Molly's "black eye/red welt" is conjunctivitis. She is being treated with an ointment. Interestingly, I have noticed several children in her room with their hands covered in mitten-like coverings secured by elsatic. Don't know whether there is anything to make of the two other than coincidence....
We bus back with Olesya. Bob, Beth and I go to the Internet cafe, while Alli stays in the room to nap. I check and answer e-mail, then return to the hotel. Alli's awake and not feeling well. She is achy and, despite the warm temperatures - we have the air conditioner off and the windows open - she's chilly. She decides not to join us for dinner.
At 6, Bob & Beth, Dana and I go to the Russian Pub. We find they have no power when we arrive and we - like their other patrons - eat our dinners by candlelight. As usual, they don't have several items including stuffed cabbage (not unusual) and french fries (a first). Despite the power issue, the salads are cool and crisp, the meals are well cooked and the beer is cold. The girls even have ice cream!
After dinner, Bob & Beth and Dana go to the Gros and the mall while I go back to the hotel to check on the patient. Alli's awake and feeling better: She has yogurt and a banana for dinner and has a craving for potato chips. I settle down to journal for a while, and at 10 PM go the the Gros for Pringles, Coke, yogurt and ice cream bars (and tissues). We snack on Pringles while I finish my journal and then have ice cream bars. I wake Alli at midnight to get ready for bed, and it's lights out at 12:15. Nothing on the schedule for tomorrow morning, so we set the alarm for 8:30 and plan to sleep in....