Okay, I'm sorry I've been absent... AGAIN, but some stuff has gone down and I've been busy and well, there hasn't been any extraordinary epiphanies to write about lately--little ones, but by the time I get back to the computer, I either can't remember what they were or I'm just too dang tired to say anything worthwhile. For instance, write now, the kids are sleeping--yes, all three at the SAME TIME--and instead of cleaning up after lunch and hanging out the diapers, I'm sitting here writing. I know I'm a weirdo for obsessing about my wet diapers stewing in the machine while I should be reveling in the fact that I have half an hour or so to myself to write, but such is life.
So, for one, we went back to Sam's parents' house this Saturday and were smart about it this time and did NOT outstay our welcome. We got some business done (like purchasing the van... which was a grand more than we had expected to pay, but since Sam says that that was the French version of the Kelly Blue Book value of it, I aint gonna moan), ate some good food and got on the road.
Sunday, again, uneventful because EVERYTHING in France is closed. Sam did, of his OWN accord, take the kids to the parc, though! Can you belive it? It gave me a chance to do some... drumroll please... CLEANING!!!
Then, on Monday the guy came and put in my new range!!!! I can cook again!!! Oh, wait... I have to cook again... *sigh* I was liking the simplicity of eating sandwiches and salads. Maybe we should have gone without a stove until winter, eh? But no, it looks good in my kitchen and the owner paid for the appliance (and hopefully the installation) so, who am I to complain about it?
Yesterday... okay, lemme give you some background. While I was in the hotel, a Charlotte Mommie wrote me and said that she, though from Charlotte, had grown up in Lyon, had gone to high school here and was coming here with her two kids for a visit and would I like to meet up and go hang out. Well, of COURSE I did!!! So, we made plans to meet Tuesday, yesterday, on her side of town and go to the outdoor market together.
So, I was SOOOOOO excited. I got up early, got some things done, had a shower, was all ready to go, but before I knew it, it was already 9:30... how in the world had that happened? Our original plan was to meet around 10 but we had talked about possibly meeting up sooner... Well at 9:30 there was no "sooner" was there? Not only that, I feared that with the walk to the metro and the actual metro (dealing with the elevators, escalators, etc.) we would actually be there LATE.
I loaded the two older kids into the stroller, put Lolo into my AWESOME BUCKLE TAI from TWOMOMMASDESIGNS.COM and took off walking. It would have been a nice walk had I been strolling, but I was almost racewalking, so I was soaked with sweat within minutes. When I got to the Hotel de Ville plaza, I actually had no trouble finding an elevator to go down into the metro. And I was delighted to see the handicapped passage that would accomodate the stroller. BUT, the way it works is that you go through one glass door, validate your metro ticket, and then the other door opens for you. Well, that DIDN'T happen.
I got through the first door, validated and waited, but the second door didn't open. A guy walking by said, "Hey, I think the first door has to actually be closed for the second door to work." Oooooooh. So, I pushed and squeezed further in and tried again, but since the thingy knew that my ticket had been validated, it wouldn't open the second door. SOOOO, then I had to fish more tickets out of my pocket. That time it worked. So, even though I didn't have to pay for Lolo or Lily, I technically just had.
Flustered from that craziness--and I know that many of you might not understand why any of this is craziness, but when you're in the metro and you have people standing in line behind you trying to get in and sighing and whatnot, you get a little flustered... Plus, there's just the whole looking like a maladroit idiot thing. It's strange, but it's almost as if the French detest seeing humanity. As long as you're moving forward and seem to know where you're going, you are at least tolerable. But the second something doesn't work for you or you are lost or you have a map in your hand or the like, the passerby almost seems disgusted by your handicap. Anywhoo, flustered by that craziness, I stood there several minutes waiting for the "train" (thank you Ryan) to come when I realized suddenly, we were waiting for the wrong train!!! Thankfully, we found another elevator to take us down to the other line.
Then, THANKFULLY, we only had one stop in between where we came from and where we were going. BUT, the trip was up a VERY steep hill. The stroller even almost toppled over at one point. When finally we MADE it out of the subway (after another frustrating ten minutes of trying to find the damn elevator) and we got to the little plaza where we were supposed to meet our friends, I looked at my watch and saw it was 10:30!!! I figured she had come and gone already, taking me for a flake.
I called Sam and asked what I should do. He said, "Go to the market and get somethign for lunch and come home." WHAT? Seriously? So, I really AM supposed to flake on her? He was all done up because our nephew and fiancee were supposed to come over for lunch. I said, as calmly as I could that if I wasn't back in time for lunch, that he was to make our guests a sandwich or something. "I'm not going to just LEAVE. I'm going to at least stay long enough to meet my friend and buy some vegetables." And I hung up.
Seconds later, I turn and see someone waving at me. YAY! We meet and hug (awwwww, I LOVE AMERICANS) and take off for the market. I bought green beans, mushrooms, some cukes, some CHEESE!!!!! AND, when I was too shy to ask if the local organic egg farmer would sell in half dozens, she did it for me! AND, the cool part was that it was as if her daughter and my son were long lost soul siblings or something. They immediately took to each other and started walking down the way in front of us holding hands!!! SO CUTE!!!
After our shopping, we went to a small park where our kids played for about half an hour... I would and could have stayed longer but I suddenly realized that it was 11:30 and that Sam was going to be furious because not only would I probably not be home in time, but I wouldn't have anything cooked. So, I quickly talked about future plans to hang out, bid my new friend goodbye and made my way to the metro (completely forgetting to buy a rotisserie chicken).
When I go to the metro, the elevator wouldn't work. You had to validate your ticket to gain access and it wouldn't take my ticket. How the hell was I supposed to get down there with three kids, a double stroller and a bag full of fresh produce? And walking wasn't an option because the market was at the top of a hill where I wasn't guaranteed pedestrians rights and in a city which is famous for it's long, steep staircases. I was going to have to find a way down. Luckily, I noticed someone coming UP in the elevator. I ran over to block the door as soon as they got off. YAY! Success. BUT, I pushed the wrong button and got off of the elevator going the wrong direction. By then, it was too late, it wouldn't let me back on... So, I'd have to find another way to get to the other line. At this point, I'm sure Sam is home, waiting with smoke rolling out of his ears. I finally find a way to get through, but BARELY fit with the stroller through the access thingies and did so only after one of them ate another ticket *sigh* But I did get to where I needed to be and made my way across the bridge and towards home. Still, I'm freaking because it's past noon.
On top of that, Sam had said that the fiancee was bringing something but couldn't remember what. Well, if it was a rice dish, as he suggested, then it wouldn't be good for me to make a taboule, right? And if it was a vegetable dish, I'd need to make some pasta or something, right? So, not knowing what she brought, I couldn't even mentally prepare myself for what I was going to make. In the end, I made Sam call them.
What KIND of quiche?
I don't know.
You mean, you didn't ASK.
I know it sounds petty and what not but this would be our first time to entertain and for some reason, I suddenly felt horrible for not having planned better. I should have at least made something that morning or something. *sigh* If it was a ham and cheese quiche, I could just make a cuke and tomato pasta salad or something. It it was a veggie quiche, I'd need to break out some meat (and of COURSE I had forgotten to get the chicken).
It ended up being more of a pie of zuchini and goat cheese (SO YUMMY!!!) and we ended up eating lentils, cukes and tomatoes (just sliced with a white veggie sauce) and olives.
After lunch, our nephew had to go to his cycling team headquarters to train and so planned to leave the fiancee here with me. I was mortified. What in the HELL would we have to talk about. Especially with the kids all napping. I don't know if she picked up on my vibes or what, but she went for a walk in the park. She came back an hour or so later and I was still worried what we would have in common. UNTIL, she started to talk about in-laws. Look, my sister in law (her future mother in law) is a nice lady with a great big heart. BUT, she's a meddler. She's controlling and judgemental, especially when it comes to her children. SOOOOO, it was fun to swap mother in law stories. FINALLY something we'd have in common. And in the end, we seemed to bond very well. She's actually talking about possibly going to Houston to do the full marathon in January... That rocks!
When Sam came home, I woke up the kids, got 'em dressed an announced that we were going shopping. I'm so damn tired of the air currents in our apartment slamming windows and door shut. I'm tired of every freaking light in the house burning out. I'm tired of my stupid sink stopper that doesn't work and always starts to let the dishwater out when I start to wash the silverware. So, we were heading to Leroy Merlin--France's version of Lowe's or Home Depot.
This is where stuff got good. Sam found what he needed, but ignored my constant pleas to find the things I needed. And for some reason, he wouldn't stop the passing random employee and ask them where to find the stuff I wanted. He even got IN LINE at the cash register as though I was just going to give up and shut my mouth about all the slamming doors. Finally after we all turned around and around the entire store three times, I stopped and asked someone. This is what it sounded like:
"Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you."
"Yes, bonjour. Um, I'm looking for a little piece of wood or plastic or whatever, to put under to the door to block it open."
The employee looks at me like I have a cupcake on my head and says, "A piece of wood?"
I sigh. "Sure, or whatever. I just want the doors to stay open. I don't want them to slam closed."
"Ooooooh, you'll want to look at the door blockers over in the child-proofing section... blah blah blah."
I look at Sam to make sure he usderstands the directions she has given and I push off into the general direction she has indicated.
Guess what? We turn around and around the store again. Sam hasn't listened, I haven't understood and we're both too embarrassed to go back and ask again. Finally, after I BEG him to ask someone, he goes back over and asks the lady. We go over to where she has indicated--and she was VERY nice about it, to her credit--and find the childproofing section. There are things to keep doors closed. Things to keep windows from swinging too widely open (hmmmmmmm.... I might be back for those....), etc. etc. Just about anything you'd need to childproof, but NO doorstops.
I beg Sam to go back over to her. He says, "Well, we were actually looking for something to keep the door OPEN."
She says, "Yeah, I know. There's a thing over there that keeps doors from slamming into the wall behind it (for baby fingers) and there are these little metalic things that have two rubber thingies on the end of it... that's the door stopper."
True, we saw the first thing but not the other.
She shrugs and with genuine sympathy (rare, folks), and says, "If you didn't see 'em, it means we don't have 'em. And you'll have to wait for the next shipment which is in fifteen or so days."
We go back over just to make ABSOLUTELY sure that we haven't missed them somehow and sure enough, they are WAY up on the top of this peg board thing. I say, "Sam, quick, get that stepladder."
He says, "No, no... that's not for public use. There's something on it."
I'm sick of it. Grow a pair, dude. MAN UP! I've already had to be the one to ask the employee (and I'M NOT THE FRENCHY), I've had to chase his ass around the store a thousand times. Here we have the object of my desire right in front of me and he's too freaking chicken to bring the damn step ladder over? I push him out of my way and grab the stepladder and climb the six feet to get my damn door stops.
And we only have like a MILLION doors in the apartment. He wants me to only buy FOUR of these doorstops. I think I bought double of that (and ahem, we ended up using ALL of them!!!).
Feeling triumphant because I will no longer have leaking dishwater and I will no longer have slamming doors, we unload everything into the van and go to the grocery store next door. That too, was a fairly simple and successful trip... YAY!!!
Then, afterwards, Sam, to my utter gaspation (no, I doubt it's a word, but I can't help but make up words whilst living in foreign countries, sorry) agrees that we should go to a resto for dinner!!! In fact, there's a resto here close to the Leroy Merlin/Auchan/Ikea shopping complex called "Les 3 Brasseurs" (The 3 Brewers). When I lived in Lille, ten years ago, there was only one of them and it was in Lille and it was my FAVORITE, FAVORITE resto. They have the BEST micro-brewed beer and these awesome pizza-like things called "flammekeuches" (sp?)... My favorite, of course, being this one with really stinky cheese on it called maroilles!!! WELLLLLLLL, there are now like thirty of these 3 Brasseurs restos all over France and its territories (and even in Canada!!!) and one of those restos happens to be RIGHT HERE IN LYON!!!!!!!!
So we went. And though they didn't have flammekeuches last night (they hadn't been delivered that day for some reason) and though I ended up eating some other bizzare but yummy thing, I had a BLAST!!! I got the beer sampler (four little glasses of different beers) and the kids even ate FREEEEEEEE!!!! YAY!!! So awesome! We ended up staying until nearly 11pm. The service wasn't that great, but there was a table near us with the most adorable little old lady who wouldn't stop flirting with Lolo and who, as she was being ushered away by her sire, said that we had the most beautiful children (and even afterward, the server lady came over and told us that the old lady told her to tell us that not only were our children beautiful, but they were so well behaved and we did a great job of managing them)... They ARE gorgeous, I must conceed, but we were just lucky there were feeling like being good last night. We can take no credit whatsover for their wills.
Then, today, we met up again with our American friends from Charlotte. This time, they came to us. We all went to the park and road the train and saw all the great animals at the zoo and afterwards, met up with Sam back here at the apartment where she made croque monsieurs (little ham and cheese toasted sandwiches) for the kids and I made green beans with lardons and tomatoes and a mushroom cheese omelette for us grown-ups. They stayed for a little while after lunch and the kids played while she and I actually got to have a conversation. And get this, she's going to leave her kids with her mom and I'm going to leave my kids with Sam and we are going to have a MOMMIES NIGHT OUT right here in Lyon!!!!! woo HOOOOO!!!!
We also have plans to meet up on Friday again to go take the kids to a park somewhere (and this time, maybe we'll make a picnic or something). So SO awesome!
Anywhoo, that brings us back to now. The kids are completely OUT and I've had a few minutes to update you guys on what's happening. But the dipes are still in the washer and there are no clean plates for dinner so I had better go.
Thanks for reading me.
Oh and... for REAL... I PROMISE there are going to be pictures up on this bad boy some day. I'm just a little challenged in the computer department right now and am having a difficult time to get those up... But they are forthcoming, a'ight?