26 April 2007
neener neener neener
Our Au Pair is better than your Au Pair!

See what she made us! From scratch! And honestly it doesn't look half as good as it was. Mmmmm!
Oh, and the kitchen was super clean afterwards and THAT is reason enough to love her.
posted by Doc at 10:03 | Permalink | 11 comments
23 April 2007
So Miss Au Pair 2007 is busy sleeping the morning away because she was up all night with the yucky sinus thing and I don’t have the heart to kick her out of bed and put her to work. It also gave us, the Hubz and me, a remarkable chance to take the kids in to the crèche together—for the first time ever—and that was a nice family moment, something I have had far too few of in the past three years. (But something that has, in the past three weeks, gotten exponentially better, don’t know why, but do you hear me complaining?)

We are slowly getting into a type of routine. There’s so much more crap to organize than I ever thought possible, and I am really thankful for the help (and motivation) my niece has brought with her. I still have her in slave mode, helping me organize, clean, and shovel out years of crap stuffed in boxes—things I have never taken the time to do. I never claimed to be a good house wife. So far we’ve managed the kitchen (and those of you who have been here can understand what a giant feat that is), the kids’ room—where she’s now installed as a semi-permanent fixture, complete with real bed and everything, and most of the living room where we’ve taken out furniture and replaced it with other furniture so life seems a little more comfortable—oh, and did I mention the space and light? Wow. The only thing left is our bedroom, which we’ve technically started as I have gone through (and consequently tossed out) a ton of boxes containing papers from 2004 until the present. Old magazines, old newspapers, old everything has all been heaped into the recycling bin, which to date has been emptied three times. If I haven’t used it or found a home for it in the past six months, it’s gone too. I need to simplify and God knows if I don’t purge now, I never will.

My excuse has been that one day we’ll have space for it in that big house of ours. But honestly, when are we going to get to move? No one knows at this point, so there’s no sense in holding on to four years of Time magazines because they may one day be useful. Useful for what? C’mon Doc, you’re not a pack-rat, remember?

Today’s goal was going to be attacking that bookcase of mine, the one that is so over flowing that I have books EVERYWHERE (no exaggeration there, you can ask my Exaggeration Censor). I hope to pull out those books that I probably won’t be re-reading in the near future, pack them into boxes, and hide them away somewhere for a future Christmas-like reunion if and when we have a place to live. I also have boxes upon boxes of old clothes that are either worn out, stained, or just plain old too small anymore to take down to the recycling place (along with those three bottles of used fry oil that I’ve been putting off for, what, six months?) that I need to go through again, and in-between I need to find a space for the TONS of bedding we have. We have a king-size bed, something not common here and impossible to find sheets for, so every trip home, I’d buy a new set. Chances are the mattress will wear out before our sheets ever do. And to give you an idea of how much fabric we’re talking about, I can change my sheets daily for more than a week, but less than a month, without ever having to worry about doing laundry. It’s frightening.

That was the plan, at least, until Miss Au Pair 2007 decided to get sick. Like I said, she was up all night, so I was up all night. And now, I just feel like a big fat legume. And even more so than usual, because, while it is nice to have someone to do all the ‘real’ work, the moving of heavy objects, and the cleaning of various surfaces, there’s a lot of stuff that only I can do, like actually going through the boxes and figuring out what must stay and what really should go. And there’s just so much of it. And it never ends. And an older, very pregnant women does not work at the same pace as a much younger, unpregnant one. The day she did the kitchen I honestly though I was going to end up in the hospital. No lie.

And I am taking it easy, I swear. Which is why today I am letting the cleaning demon sleep a bit late while I revel in my vegetableness. And catch up on some bloginess, because I’ve really missed that.

And I’ve missed sharing things like how this guy here

turned into this guy here.
Three years have flown by, so all you new moms out there, man, hold on to all those little moments. Because even bumpy headed Klingons with not-so-gorgeous expressions
turn into precious little angels in the blink of an eye.
See, I’m getting all sentimental and crap and that’s not good. In fact it’s boring. Well, for me it is. And I hate being boring. I’d rather shock you. But there’s nothing shocking going on around here, unless you count the fact that Mr. Manthing has been absolutely…wonderful (for lack of a better word) lately. I’m wondering what’s wrong with him. It’s so unlike him. But, yeah, no name for baby 3.0 yet, so I guess I can complain about that. But he has been extremely nice lately, and that can be a bit of a bother. Is he dying and afraid to tell me? Is there another woman (riiiight)? Whatever it is, I hope it continues for a long time (including the other woman thing, because that’s just like that much less work for me, right?) because it’s nice being a bit spoiled. The only thing I don’t like about him at the moment is that he still refuses to get up in the middle of the night and go pee for me. Just one tiny little thing, and he refuses. Which is why he’ll never be perfect.

I’ve got six whole weeks left to walk like a deformed duck, and honestly I have an entire post of emotions to write about as far as that goes. I need to do it too, so I can look back one day and laugh at how stupid I am. Not that I’d need that particular post to point out my stupidity, but….Am I rambling again? Man, blog withdrawal is like the worst thing evah!

So I’ll stop here, before I OD. And I’ll try to be better about pacing myself. Really. Because I’d hate for you guys to have to stage an intervention or something.
posted by Doc at 11:05 | Permalink | 4 comments
There's a huge post in me, coming soon, I promise. For now, I seem to be the Mistress of the Living Dead, as both kids have been sick, The Hubz is claiming a sore throat and yuckiness, the Au Pair/niece is really feeling like crap, and me? Do you really want me to go there?

Otherwise, aside from the ungodly amounts of tissues and cough syrups and stuff like that there, we're fine. Not too happy with the elections, but then who ever is? The lesser of all evils is still an evil, right?

It's just before five in the morning and I'm only checking in from a pee call. Once I have a 'calm' day (explanation to follow, pinkie swear) I'll update you all as to the sense of chaos and which direction it has taken. For now, just take pity of my poor decrepid (and yes, still pregnant...STILL) self and send some of those nice ear, nose and throat wellness fairies our way.
posted by Doc at 04:47 | Permalink | 3 comments
15 April 2007
Life is in total upheaval at the moment, so posting is a bit light. I am trying (so far with little, yet significant success) to get things organized and find a place for this third adult who has come to inhabit our tiny, tiny, holy crap it’s tiny cave.

Once she has a place to perch, there’s a ton (literally) of IKEA!!! furniture to assemble, 9000 pounds of suitcases to unpack (and that is NOT an exaggeration—I carried half of it through the entire Paris Metro system, thankyaverymuch), two screaming monkeys to take care of, one screaming orangutan, a niece to teach French to, and me—somewhere in here I have to find a second or two for me. Yeah, right.

For now, let me end with a BIG FAT THANK YOU to Antipo and Gabrielle, one of whom tried desperately to find me a place to lay my weary head Wednesday night, and both of whom were willing to put up with my sorry butt for the evening. I ended up having dinner with a lovely man (gasp) instead, who worried over me until I was safely tucked into bed only minutes from the airport. And no, he wasn’t my husband.

Anyway, back to the insanity…
posted by Doc at 09:44 | Permalink | 4 comments
11 April 2007
CRAP!. Just plain ole CRAP!
Wake up at pre-ass crack of dawn, after less than two hours of sleep because I'm at the uncomfortable stage in this never-ending pregnancy, to find a message on my cell phone. My niece’s flights didn't connect. She's stuck in DC. And my train tickets are non-refundable. Lovely. I get to do this all again tomorrow...

...unless one of you nice folks in Paris can offer me a bed for the night ;°)
posted by Doc at 03:41 | Permalink | 5 comments
10 April 2007
What a mess! Man, I haven’t stopped for days now, or at least it seems that way. And it isn’t going to get better this week.

Last Thursday, Scottish English Assistant Girl was kind enough to come spend the day with me. I warned her that I had A LOT of housework to do and bless her poor brainless self, she offered to help. SEA Girl used to think my kids were “lovely” until her brainless self offered to watch them for an hour or three. Afterwards they weren’t so lovely anymore. And I think it’s a pretty safe bet that she’ll never volunteer to help me do housework again. She’s learned her lesson. (She’s also going back to Scotland at the end of the week. We’ll pretend helping do my housework has absolutely nothing to do with that.)

Thursday’s activities included getting my floors clean and (gasp) doing my (ground floor only) windows. Why? Well Pooplette’s God-mama and adoptive granny were coming the next day. So Friday, after a bit of rescheduling with Vi to make a happy-happy surprise on the platform at the train station, we picked up The Anti-Kissy and OGO at the train station in Chaumont.

I just want to add as an aside here what an awesomely sneaky person Vi is and can be. She was originally planning on joining us Saturday morning with her Man/Bear-thing but conflicts arose and she offered to come spend Friday afternoon with us. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be brilliant to surprise Anti-Kissy at the station?” And Vi, sacrificing an hour and a half of precious visiting time, was all like, ‘Yeah!”. Then I saw the size of the train as it pulled into the station and I knew there was no way she’d have been able to pull it off. It was a TER train, with all of two passenger cars. It was tiny! There was no way in hell Vi could have got on without being seen. Just no way. But she did, and happiness and almost-tears gripped us all as we had our first reunion in way too long together right in front of the double doors leading into the train station.

Friday and Saturday were spent visiting things near and not-so near, nibbling on nibblies, munching on munchies and laughing A LOT. Laughter is good for the soul, almost as good as sleeping is, so I managed to make it though without falling over dead. Sunday, being Easter, meant a huge family meal which went down fairly easily this year, with the exception of my obnoxious children. Matthieu was seated at the kids’ table where he ate all of nothing but did manage to run wild all afternoon. Christine, wanting to share in her brother’s follies, spoke up rather loudly about her displeasure in being stuck at the table although she ate enough to make up for all her brother left. Marc took the girls on a walk around the village and gave them the tour of the nightmare on the hill while I tried to get a nap. Tried and failed, but the attempt was nice. After that, we were off to The Aunt and Uncle’s (yes, those two) house for a light apéro which left us just as comatose as Easter Dinner.

Monday morning brought us back to the train station after a quick run through the grocery store, the only one open in all of Chaumont even through LeClerc’s web-site said they were open. Grr. Good thing Marc made me call first. Anti-Kissy was able to grab things from the stationary aisle (she’s got strange fetishes) while OGO got a couple of bananas and then, all too quickly, it was time to say good-bye.

And I honestly did good. Good-byes are getting harder and harder to do, but I managed not to cry until I got home and my darling Monkey-boy ran out to the car to greet me and asked, “Elle est ou, Anti-Kissy?”

Living in France isn’t really that cool, you know. Everyone is so far away and visits are expensive, so few and far between. And short. Way too short.

So it’s Tuesday and life carries on. Muppet had to go see the podiatrist again today to help his ingrown toenails. Apparently all’s well on that front and this was our last visit. Of course, it was a nightmare trip to get there as we had to drop Pooplette off at the crèche first and, oh dear lord, never make a Monkey-boy leave the crèche behind when there are all those toys and kids to play with and his sister got to stay while he was forced to leave. I am very proud of myself for not being institutionalized at the moment because between his cries, screams and general bitchiness, the slow drivers on the highway who have no idea what the accelerator looks like in their respective cars, the non-existent road work which slows down these dumb-ass drivers even more and my inability to manage time in the morning, I really wanted to loose it, to be carted off in the nice white coat and all. But I have held it together, even chatted up the cute podiatrist guy who swears working on my son’s feet is a pleasure because he’s so cool about having things ripped from his flesh.

Tonight we’re having a bit of a goodbye party for the SEA Girl. I doubt I’ll cry tonight. I’m better about that in public with large groups, but I’m sure the next time Muppet asks for her by name I’ll loose it again. You would too if you’d seen my floors after she got done with them. Or my windows. It looks to be another late night—anything after 10 seems extremely late to me at the moment. And another late night is just not something I really need tonight.

See, I have to catch the 4:19 train in Chaumont. Yep, that 4:19 AM, as in before the ass-crack of dawn. Marc and I have hired an au pair for the summer and her flight arrives at CDG at 7:15 in the morning. And before you go thinking I’m a snob now because we have an au pair, let me explain. It’s my niece. And it’s one of those two-way mutual use agreements. She needs to learn French and have a serious change in her life. We need a slave. So it works out well for everyone. Feel free to think me a snob for other reasons, though. Like my beauty.

And because she’s arriving tomorrow, and because we have NO WHERE AT ALL to put her, I’m going to have to go to IKEA!!!! Thursday to buy a bed for her. And a dresser. And maybe a tent to put her in. And perhaps some sanity for me. (They sell that at IKEA!!!! , right?) And Friday means rearranging the entire house to find enough square footage to put a bed and a dresser.

But hopefully this will have the end result of making life a bit easier on everyone. We can hope, right?
posted by Doc at 13:51 | Permalink | 4 comments
04 April 2007
seeing stars
And apparently it has nothing to do with sleep deprivation. Pooplette is apparently back to normal. That’s the good news.

The odd news is I just ate dinner two meters away from Laetitia Casta, Michel Galabru, Jean-Paul Rouve and some other guy I’m told is a VIP. In Joinville. In Haute fucking Marne.

Hey Vrandi, I think this changes our status as the prostate of France.
posted by Doc at 23:21 | Permalink | 7 comments
03 April 2007
grains of understanding
For the past two nights the little Pooplette has taken it upon herself to turn into the neighborhood’s screaming banshee. She hasn’t just woken up crying and fussing. She’s been screaming, to the point we were really worried about when the gendarmerie was going to show up and take us to prison for murdering her.

The night before last I got up. Nothing I did would calm her. So I woke up the other one for help. We changed her, we fed her, we rocked her, and as soon as we put her back down in her bed, she started screaming again. Ear piercing, glass breaking screams. And it seemed, the more I insisted, the more she screamed. But if her Papa, that lovely man, did anything, she calmed down a bit.

Marc decided to take her to bed with him until she fell asleep ‘for real’ and then put her back down. Well, needless to say, Marc didn’t get much sleep and Pooplette never did make it back to her bed ‘for real’.

Last night, after Marc ‘went to bed’ (meaning he played on his computer until 12.:30 and made it to his bed at around 1 AM), the little monster started up again. Marc got up this time and tried everything from changing her to feeding her to giving her drugs. Nothing worked, and he ended up taking her back with him to bed.

Taking our kids to bed with us is something we’ve always sworn we’d never do, and so far we’ve been able to stick to that. We’ve had a no problems with getting them to sleep in their own beds or anything like that. But Pooplette’s screams these past two nights have been so terrible we honestly have no other ideas of what else to do. We’d like to let her figure it out on her own, but she shares a bedroom with her brother and, mon dieu, if she wakes him up at night (how he sleeps through any of this is beyond me) then I don’t think Marc or I could handle it. He’s cranky when he doesn’t get enough sleep, and cranky in a ‘gimme the rifle, I’ma gunna climb me a clock-tower’ kind of way. Couple this with the screaming banshee and I doubt seriously Marc or I would have the strength of character not to toss one or both of them out the closed window.

This morning I got a glimpse of the monster Marc has been living with for the past year and almost three months, and let me be honest, it was not pretty. I know I’ve complained constantly about his not being around, not helping in the way I want, when I want, how I want. But folks, if you had to wake up to that almost every morning, I think you’d probably try to find as many excuses as possible to hide far, far away.

Now, if I could just get a bit of that validation I’m looking for, a bit of that old ‘Gee, maybe it ain’t so easy after all’-ness that I’m craving, then, then my friends, I think I might actually have the man bronzed when I kill him.

PS: Anyone got any suggestions of what to do with her if she starts up again? Other than killing her, that is?
posted by Doc at 10:13 | Permalink | 9 comments
01 April 2007
family outing
This weekend we celebrated Marc’s parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary. We in this case was Marc, his sisters, me, and about nine thousand other cousins, aunts, uncles and various other hangers on. And as this is France, the celebration centered around a meal—a six hour long meal, and that’s not counting the apéro beforehand, because nibbles and champagne hardly count as food, right?

I won’t bore you with the details of how wonderful my children were, or with who said and did what, or even with what we ate because I’m honestly too tired (and a bit stuffed, even 24 hours after the fact) to feel up to the task. All I will say is I’m glad Marc’s cousin has hooked up with a professional photographer. Why? Look below.

Teaching her the right way to drink, early on.

This is the mutual admiration society.

The king is served.

Later, feeling crappy.
(He spent the rest of the weekend feeling very poorly, poor critter.)

Seven months, the third time around.
posted by Doc at 20:52 | Permalink | 7 comments