So, Monday evening, after dinner, I got the kids dressed and loaded up the umbrella strollers and told Sam it was time for a family walk in the Parc. All the hard work I had done that day, trying to deal with Ryan by asking questions instead of telling him what to do (a la "Parenting With Love and Logic") had paid off and given me pretty cool results, but MAN is it hard to change one's own behavior.
Look, I yell a lot. "RYAN! STOP RUNNING!" "RYAN! SIT UP IN YOUR CHAIR! NOW! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" I'm not sure where it comes from or why I do it, but it's what I've slipped into doing over the past two years. After reading the first four chapters of this book and seeing that if I just take a deep breath and work through my anger before speaking to Ryan (so that I am in control of myself rather than letting his actions have control over me), I am able to better direct his behavior. Well, actually, I let HIM direct it. Sort of. And, well, it's working. Most of the time. But, as I said, it feels really GOOD when I yell. An easy release. So, it's really HARD not to.
SOoooooo, after a day of keeping my yelling to myself, I felt the best release would be a physical one. I was ready to walk the entire acrage of that damn parc, let me tell you.
And, well, we almost did.
We started out on our regular path through the shade, stopped and took some pix near some monuments and statues and what not, and made our way around the lake a bit. But then, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A garden. A ROSE garden.
Yep, folks, you guess right. I found the rose garden where Sam and I used to go on our little lovey dovey picnics when we were wooing/shacking up. But, now, it is no longer just a rose garden. When we were here before, it was a handfull of oriental vine arbors with a few patches of roses in the grass. Now, it's a floral extravaganza. All the little trees I hadn't noticed because they were so small and spindly are now bushy monsters, hiding little rocky footpaths with soft green blades of grass growing in between them. There are huge sweeping and weeping trees carressing foot bridges and covering pathways. The little fountain pools are full (and clean). It was just amazing. I wish I could say that our relationship has grown as flowery as the rose garden. I can say that it has matured. But there are definitely some weeds that need pulled and some bushes that need pruned in OUR little garden. *frown* I'm hoping that some of that will happen in the next couple of years that we are here.
After winding our way through the garden, we heard some voices singing. We followed them until we found a small troupe of performers rehearsing for some kind of spectacle. They had a little organ that runs off those pages with the little holes in 'em (I forget what it's called). They had stopped singing by the time we got to them, but I SO love that I live near a park where entire groups of dramaphiles feel comfortable enough to rehearse.
With both of the older kids walking, it took us two hours to make our way around the big lake of the parc. We did stop once and let them play on a small playground (and tore them away SCREAMING) when the baby started to get chilly (by the way, the weather here is like SPRING right now... I don't know what's going ON, but I LIKE IT!!!). And just when I thought the expedition was over, we found that our favorite little buvette was open. We bought the older kids Mickey Mouse ice cream each and we old fogeys had coffee.
It was funny to see the discomfort of the server and his morbid curiosity (I guess it was that since he kept walking back and forth and peering to look) as I nursed the baby. I was discreet and kept my shirt down (as opposed to my shirtless nursing displays at home *wink*). I was surprised by his reaction. I'm so used to the French being so open about boobage. I guess you can have a naked pair on a billboard (um, I have photographic PROOF of this) but you can't stop to actually USE them for their intended purpose? *shrug* Maybe it was that guy's particular hangup? Or maybe I was just paranoid? Who knows.
We took 'em home, hosed 'em off as usual and threw 'em in bed.
Get this... In France, signing for an apartment is like closing on a frickin' house in the States. You have to GO to the agency who handles the property and you have to TAKE the agent who represents you, and you BOTH have to be there and sign and whatnot. REALLY? You actually want me to show up with all three of my cranky ass kids and let them sit there screaming in an unairconditioned room in the mezzanine level of your ancient office just so I can sign some frickin' papers? Are you crazy?
Guess so, cuz that's exactly what happened.
And believe me, they screamed and shuffled and grunted and cried the entire time we were there. Even mild-mannered Laurel screeched the entire time. I guess some of that was my fault. Though I had made sure they had napped before we went to the agency, I DIDN'T make sure and run their energy out at the park beforehand. My bad.
Still, I say, if you're going to have a policy where both parents of a couple have to be there, you need to have a toy room. Or you need to keep your snarky comments and your sneery facial expressions to your damn self. That's what I say. And if you ain't gonna do that, it AIN'T my problemo, capice?
After we signed our lease, we went to Conforama which is like a home interiors place--furniture, appliances, etc... Kind of like IKEA but not as nice and not as cheap. We found, again, a really nice futon, but, again, they didn't have dark blue in stock. I think Sam's gonna go back to IKEA by himself and just get the dark brown one. It'll have to do, because we just found out that our ship shipment will not be here until September 5. It'll need to sit in customs for a week and then it'll take another week or two to get to Lyon. *sigh* So, we won't have a bed until then. At least I have Sam nearly talked into going to get his childhood bed for Ryan. That's a plus!
Then, we went to Carrefour to pick up some small basics we've run out of. We meandered and shopped and got our goodies but then when we went to pay, Sam's bank card was refused. WELL, the card has been blocked since Saturday when we went and bought all of those appliances. Little did we know, there's a 2000 Euro spending limit (monthly!!!) on his DEBIT CARD!!! WHUH? So, anyway, we asked if we could write a check. They said yeah. She took the check, wrote all her little numbers everywhere she has to and then she called the security guard. HUH? He came over, looked at the check, looked at Sam's international I.D. Looked a the check, looked a the card. Looked at Sam. Looked at the I.D. I MEAN REALLY?!? Seriously!?! First of all, I have stood in a lot of French lines and have never seen anyone go through that much crap to write a check. Secondly, Mr. Security Guard has NO POWER whatsoever (and even proceded to walk away because they have to put the check through some kind of machine for verification anyway), so he was just doing that looking thing for NO REASON other than to try to intimidate us and fill his poor little power-empty life for a few seconds and get his jollies (to use a polite form of what I WANT to say... I'm trying not to be CRASS!!!).
Sam said, "Where's the problem?" The cashier said, "Oh, no, there's no problem, we have to just run it through a machine for verification." At that point, the &%$#@ security guard is STILL looking at Sam's card/check and I want to say, "Then run your little ass over there and run it through the frickin' maCHINE already." The kids are just SCREAMING now. Ryan is groping every germ-covered surface he can find. Laurel is screeching between chomps down on the side of the umbrella stroller for effect. Lily is trying to stand up in the seat area of the cart. I'd get her down but since she's always kicking off her shoes during tantrums, we usually take 'em off the first time she drops one, so she's trying to stand in the seat, shoeless. Finally, I took the key and at least took Ryan and Laurel to the car so Sam could get things figured out and so I wouldn't freaking explode and make things worse (cuz that's invariably what happens in these situations... I explode out of fury and frustration, I get only amused and curiously interested stares from the people I'm unloading on and end up only making matters worse because they look to Sam to please control his woman).
Of COURSE, because I'm terribly disappointed in Ryan for his behavior (though, granted, a lot of it was my fault anyway for not reacting to him in the right way) and because I'm pissed at Mr. Security, I lash out at Ryan and yell. He stares at me stunned and slightly amused (but too smart to show it too much).
When we get home, I walk in the door and go directly to the kitchen. I've already prepared the veggie pasta earlier in the day and even had the zuchini's chopped and ready to throw into the pan for stir frying. I get the fish out of their wrappers and throw them into the sizzling and lightly-buttered pan and I lose myself in cooking dinner. It's like therapy, you know?
After dinner, I lie down to nurse Laurel and I let Sam corral the kids while I watch this whole show on people who have given up their previous lives to start new things (how IRONIC, huh?) and it's pretty interesting until Lily comes in with her diaper around her KNEES!!! Sam changes her at my insistence. But then, as I'm giving her her bedtime hug, I smell poop again. I check her dipe. Clean. I sniff her clothes. Clean. I smell her hand. VOILA!!! What we didn't know is that Lily had been sticking her hand down the back of her dipe. DISGUSTING! I yelled at Sam and told him he had to give her a bath (thinking that, since we don't know how long she's been playing around in her poop, we don't really know where esle her hands have been). He went to the bathroom to wash her hands. REALLY!!!!!!?????!!!!!
I storm into the bathroom and start running bathwater. I put her in the tub and go back in to finish with Laurel. Sam comes in the room. "Where's Lily?" I ask. "In the tub." REALLY!?! Do YOU leave YOUR two-year old in the tub by herself? I say, "Dude, go back in there. You can't leave her by herself." "Oh, she'll be alright," he says. WHUH??? I'll not give you the rest of the play-by-play because I'd have to put a censor bar over it to make it polite. Suffice it to say that there was some yelling (true to form, eh?) and Sam finished by going back into the bathroom.
After everyone was in bed, I came in here in the kitchen where my computer is, to check my email. After CM-ing for awhile (all you Charlotte Mommies know what I'm talking about), I decided to call it a night. That's when I noticed a headline about a little girl who got forgotten in a car here in France and died. I know better. I really do. But I clicked on it anyway. I had already heard about the story. But when I clicked it, I found that it wasn't the same story. It was a different one. TWO IN THE SAME WEEK!!! I mean, this country is smaller than TEXAS, okay? You'd think that if you live here and don't live in a hole, you'd read about the FIRST incident and hold your kids so tight you'd not forget them in a car, right? Well, some jack ass did. I'm sorry. I know, he was in shock and stuff when he realized she was there and that she was dead. And I'm terribly sorry for his loss (so sorry, in fact, that I cried myself to sleep last night thinking about how that poor sweet baby girl must have screamed and cried and then ultimately fell asleep to never wake up--choking up just thinking about it) and what not, but he's still a JACKASS!!!
That story was too much for me. I went to bed, but I pulled my baby girl close to me and refused to put her in her Pack 'n' Play. She stayed the night with me and I can tell you, I didn't sleep well cuz I kept waking up making sure she was still close and snuggling with me.
Okay, so, we've signed the lease. This afternoon, Sam is going over there to do the etat des lieux to make sure all the scratches and other dings are recorded so we don't get charged (although, have I mentioned there is a hallway where the wallpaper isn't PAPER but is instead done in FABRIC? That's gonna be fun to replace when we leave because I can almost guarantee my kids are going to ruin it... and I'm an OPTIMIST!!!) when we leave. So, we'll have our keys tonight. I'm tempted to take the kids over there and let them run the length of the place and see them be excited and what not.
The happiness is that tomorrow, our air shipment will arrive and then later in the afternoon, the cable guy is coming to hook up our internet and stuff!!! WOO HOOO!!!! And THEN, on Friday, our appliances are coming! YAY!!! So, if we finally get a futon, we'll be out of this hotel by Friday night.
Cross those fingers...