Tuesday, March 31, 2009
She's a pretty funny guest this one. For some strange reason, two buildings in our garden have disappeared since her arrival. One building being built of wood, so all she had to do was huff and puff and blow that sucker on in. The other being built of stone, which took a wee bit longer to demolish. Actually, it was Hubster who did the majority of huffing and puffing on that one but Madame did what was best in sketchy situations like that: supervised.
Hubster seems to get so motivated to destroy things when she's around. Last time it was walls in the garage and now these buildings this year. I'm afraid that if we invite her back again, they might start on the house.
I'm also really concerned that she's not going to be able to keep up with this intense level of work since all she seems to be eating while here is bread, butter, the occasional lardon, and potatoes.
Silly me, I made spaghetti sauce the other night with tomatoes and onions. I peeked over at her plate during dinner to see a small relief map of France being designed on the side. Thank God Mini-Husband didn't notice that she got out of eating her vegetables or all hell would have broken loose.
So far she does seem to be surviving her crash course in English-American culture differences with Hubster's mandatory viewings of Jane Austin films each night. We've hung out with Mr Darcy (and been told why we really should sympathize with him in the first half, not Elizabeth,) wondered if Mr Crawford from Mansfield Park would have stopped being a male-slut if he had truly won Fanny over in the end, debated which sex really is more capable of loving longest, and had a quick review of who, be it Gweneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, or Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, makes the best Emma.
Needless to say, Madame Home Depot is developing quite the English accent.
All in all, I think she's coping just fine with all the wonders that a house of loud children, an anal retentive husband & father, a psychotic pregnant wife & mother, and three furry Nike eating huskies can offer.
Which reminds me, have you ever wondered why sometimes you see just one lonely shoe laying out all by itself on the side of the road? Madame knows why and would be happy to tell you all about it once she's escaped the B&B. As I'm impatiently counting down the days till I go into labour, she's manically counting down the hours till her flight leaves.
It really is a great comfort to know that we haven't lost our touch yet.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Truth being told, I think being 35 weeks pregnant is effecting me in more ways than I'd like to admit.
To make matters worse, I made my mother-in-law cry today. The sweet thing has been bed-ridden, suffering from severe sciatic pain since before Christmas and nothing seems to be helping. The latest recommendation from the doctors and physical therapists was to try a session of therapy in the pool. My father-in-law had said it sounded like a good idea but my mother-in-law wasn't too sure. When he handed the phone to her, the first thing out of my mouth was,
"Hey, what's with the pool thing? You really should do this, you know. The pool is the best place for you. You've got to keep moving or this is just going to get worse" or something along those really supportive lines. Something very "know-it-all," unsympathetic and down right pushy.
Her response was tears.
Enter Catholic guilt for about the 254, 587, 458 time this week.
I think I've mentioned before how I actually like my in-laws. How I actually feel lucky to be of that minority that likes spending time with her set of in-laws, one who loves having them on my side when I'm pissed off at Hubster, and one who just enjoys them for who they are. I take no joy in upsetting them and the last thing I would ever want to do would be to intentionally make them cry.
Doing just that has been the icing on the horrible grumpy cake I'm making this week. It's got an ingredient list that starts with insomnia, a dash of back ache, a lack of patience, and at least two cups of tears. Throw in an obnoxious attitude and a desire to piss off your loved ones, then beat till you can't feel your arms anymore. Bake till burned and serve next to a slice of humble pie.
I only hope I can really explain to my mother-in-law that I just want her to get better. I need her up and feisty, back to being the tornado I've come to cherish and love so much.
As for me, I'm off to get more milk. I think I'm going to need it to wash down that cake.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I've found it hard to keep him in the right sizes lately. Not only has he been growing like a weed, but he's in that weird boarder area where he's ok with jimmy-jams that have cartoon characters on them but he's becoming interested in the more "big boy" type of stuff.
My answer to this problem is to just buy by colour. Hence, when I ran into the store the other day and saw a long sleeved pair in red & black and a short sleeved pair in blue & brown in just the right size, I thought, "perfect."
It wasn't until Mini-Husband actually put on the short sleeves the other night that I realized what a blessing and a curse knowing English really is and that I should actually LOOK at the pyjamas before buying them.
Yes, my 7 year old is sporting a pair of size 10 year old pyjamas that are bascially advertising a hot night out at a jazz club. Girls included. I was hoping he wouldn't start down this path till he was at least 16. What's even funnier is that you can get these pjs starting in a 2 year size. Great! Why not pick up a matching pair for Bubba-Love!?!
Thank God, the kids really only get their English from us. Perhaps if Hubster and I just ignore the words written there, they'll fade away nicely in the washing machine.
Note to self: Please don't pack the blue & brown pyjamas next time we go to England. Grandma and Grand-dad already think I'm a wild American, I can only imagine what they'd have to say about this.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Hubster and Madame Home Depot have been insanely busy these last few days, knocking down an old stone building in the garden. Between the hurling of boulders and the swinging of sledge hammers, the two of them earn high marks for putting in good days' work.
As for me, my days' work consists of growing Whoopsie and fighting with those other people I previously evicted from my body. Throw in several nights of insomnia and children's nightmares, and I am just a joy to be around. Come dinner time, we are all dreaming of getting to bed early and hoping that Typhon forgets his duty as the 7 am wake up call.
I've never seen grown adults be so happy to scarf down chicken nuggets and fried potatoes like we did yesterday evening. Comfort food at it's best. Fast forward through the nightly ritual of yelling at Mini-Husband to get his pajamas on, The Princess to brush her hair, and Bubba-Love to use the potty, the three of us somehow managed to haul ourselves, packed to the gills with ketchup, upstairs to bed.
Hubster and Madame Home Depot were busy clearing up the debris once again today, only to have our bi-annual wood delivery turn up this afternoon. Tonight, I think I might have to finally admit it and give up the title I've fought so hard for lately. I may be tired, but they are exhausted.
At least I know that I've got a least 4 days of hospital rest coming to me in a couple weeks time. Believe me when I say that I'd happily take labour and delivery over throwing stones anyday.
Monday, March 23, 2009
It's a combination of Whoopsie kicking, Hubster snoring, mind racing over things that we need to be doing and not doing, all compounded by the fact that The Princess can't seem to find sleep either.
It's ironic really that I'm suffering from insomnia tonight. It was just a day or two ago that I had a conversation with a friend about the "conundrum" of lying awake at night. There is no doubt that you are exhausted but for some reason, when the world is calm and you can barely make out the outline of your window with the moon shadows, your mind takes to wandering.
Should we have done this? Why haven't I thought of that? Where shall I plant those flowers? Why are the kids having to deal with this? Or that? What do they think of us? How will I get that done tomorrow? Does it matter? Why do I care? Where is my sleep? Was that the bell for half past already?
When I lived with my parents, I used to get out of bed and take a steaming hot bath. Soaking and stewing in the wee hours of the morning. Inevitably, my mom would knock on the door and ask me if I was ok. I always answered yes, but was that really true?
Ask me now. Are you ok?
The answer is, as always, "yes" I suppose, but I feel too much upon me this night. Sleep has gone wandering with the moon and I wait and wish that I could be hiding in my dreams, blissfully unaware of the slow turning of the earth.
Friday, March 20, 2009
This day and age, with the constant updates, it's almost like I'm on that plane with them. Knees scrunched up, banging into the seat in front of me, desperate to pee but waiting ever so patiently for the large man next to us to wake up so I don't have to perform some sort of bizarre gymnastics move to escape the row and run to the toilet. Not to forget the inability to get any sleep on such a long flight since your head has become frozen to the cold little window next to you as you repeat obsessively to yourself, "please God, don't let me snore."
I remember when Kitty and BaPa came to visit last time. I knew from watching their flights online that their flight back to the states had been cancelled, their alternative delayed and, with the help of my sister, figured out they would be heading for a quick tour through Germany before finally getting back home to the US. When BaPa finally had a chance to call from Frankfurt, I told him his itinerary before he could.
This morning, I'm watching Madame Home Depot's flights. Last night, I knew already that she'd miss her first connection to Paris and after checking the status this morning, I'm fairly sure she missed the second option as well. This means that as I type, I'm thinking she's being handed some sort of nice plastic meal to wake up her stomach and get her excited for arrival.
The question then becomes how fast can she boogie through Paris Charles de Gaulle to get to the little plane that will finally bring her to us? Can she make a two hour connection through the most horrifically confused airport in Europe and beg her way on to the early flight? Or will she be stuck in a crappy waiting hall for three more hours until, desperate for a shower and a nap, she will finally be able to get on the shuttle bus that will take her to that magic happy plane heading south to us?
The little computer plane is now passing over Ireland, turning slightly towards France. An hour to go till her feet hit French soil. But miles to go before she can sleep.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
It's all about my ego, here, people.
I've gotten to know the head life guard at the pool a little bit better thanks to my weekly visits and it turns out, he's a keen Anglophone and lives for the chance to speak English. Every week, we mumble through polite pool talk either just before or after I wow the crowds with my whale shaped yet dolphin like swimming.
A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with him after I was done my laps and mentioned how I'm trying to make the most of my time at the pool since in a couple of months I won't be as free to swim. He looked at me and asked why.
"Well," I said patting the basketball that is my tummy these days, "I'm pregnant and due in a couple of months."
"You are pregnant?" The look of disbelief on his face was enough to nearly make me cry.
"Um, yeah," I said in a hesitating laugh. Couldn't he see that I had been expanding all these weeks? How could he not notice this large round thing hanging off the front of me?
"But, you are too old to be having babies!"
Ok, right. At this point, I wondered if I should throw him in the pool. I think I still remembered how to rugby tackle and using Whoopsie as leverage, I'm sure I could've gotten him to hit the bottom, no problem.
Instead, using the good manners my parents taught me, I smiled and laughed.
"I'm 38 and yeah, sure, I'm too old to be having babies."
I think at this point he figured out exactly what he had said to me so he tried to back track and fix the situation by telling me how 22 years ago his wife had been 38 when they had had their daughter.
"Really," I asked, "And is she still alive, your wife?"
His turn to look stumped and embarrassed.
"Why, yes. She's fine. In excellent health."
"That's good to know," I said as laughingly sauntered off to the showers.
Since then, I haven't had the chance to really talk to him but he waves hello when he sees me and I wave back, smiling broadly, with one hand on my belly and the other on my hip as I ever so dramatically increase my waddling and straining just to reach the lap lane.
I'm old you know. Best take it easy and not cause myself a harm, now shouldn't I? Hence why I throw myself in quickly while the life guard is still watching and slam out a 100m IM that would make Michael Phelps proud.
I may be sporting a rudder, but I'm not that old to not feel like a goddess in the water.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Hubster loves giving me shit about being Irish.
When we first got together I always talked about being "Irish-American" and he would be like,
"So which of your parents come from Ireland?"
"Oh, so your grandparents then."
"Ummm, no. More like my great-great-great-grandparents."
At that point he'd roll his eyes and say, "Why can't you people just be happy being American?!?!"
Monday, March 16, 2009
Of course, I'm looking at his evaluation and realizing that if it were me in his shoes, I'd be at the bottom of the class. I haven't a clue when to use the accents: the accent aigu (´), the accent grave (`), the accent circonflexe (^), the tréma (¨), and the infamous cedillecedilla (ç).
Mini-Husband, bless his 7 year old heart, was happy to go through them all with me and give me some pointers on how to remember when to use which.
"Ok, Mom. If I get daddy gets mad at me, that's grave (aka serious) so remember that the word for daddy in French has an accent grave. Pére. Easy, right?"
Right. Ok. I think I'll remember that one from here on in.
"Now, here's a really easy one for you, Mom. The word for boy is garçon. I know it has a "c" in it, but if I forget the boy's zi-zi, he won't be a boy! That's why the "c" has the cedillecedilla and is spelled, garçon! "
It took me a minute to figure out exactly what he was trying to tell me.
"Yeah, mom. His penis."
Ah, yes. The Zi-zi.
"Yup,honey. You are right. It is very important to spell garçon with his zi-zi, 'cause without that cedillecedilla thing, he wouldn't be a garçon."
Mini-husband smiled at me and said, "Now you're getting the hang of it! Good job, mom!"
There we have it. A way of remembering French that I was never taught at Catholic school.
And it should go without saying that I am so afraid of how I'm going to do with the next evaluation.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
March 19- April 9: Madame Home Depot will be here to help us finally attack some of those lingering home improvement projects that we need to get done. Hopefully this means come the summer, all four kids will not be sharing a bunk bed. Another good thing with her is that I can slap lardons and potatoes in front of her for every meal and she'll be fine with that.
The weekend of April 5: Three of Hubster's good friends from England will be with us as well. Two of them are called John and Paul and since I can not for the life of me remember the third one's name, he's going by Ringo from here on in. The good news is that these three are seriously good company and they will be happy to cook and not care if the toilets are dirty. Where I'm going to put the when it's time for bed, I haven't quite figured out yet. I'm not sure Madame Home Depot will be so disposed as to share her guest bed and since we aren't that 'type' of establishment, I should hope not too!
April 9 or 10 until about April 14: The Germans are coming! Again, yet another set of super guests who I've warned are going to be staying here on a "self-catering" type plan. Hope they don't mind changing the sheets, loading the dishwasher and making dinner for all us while they are here. I'll be about 37 weeks pregnant and extremely cranky if all goes as planned.
April 17- 25: No one. A week to freak out all by ourselves and imagine how life will be when Whoopsie gets here for real.
April 26 ish: The Parents arrive on back up duty.
And thank GOD for that. 'Cause I'll put money on Whoopsie coming that week of April 17, when we've got no one in house. I can see me now, frantically calling friends at midnight to come and keep Mini-Husband, The Princess, and Bubba-Love company till Hubster can get back home to them after Whoopsie quits the Hotel Deluxe that is my uterus.
These weeks will fly by. Are we ready everyone?
Friday, March 13, 2009
The only down side to using the drying rack would be that since there isn't a blade of grass to be found in our garden, each time the dogs breathe, fart or move, the clothes get dusty. It's looking and feeling like the Sahara out there. There is one spot of green way over by the remnants of Mini-Husband's demolition project but I suspect that area is green for reasons that make said spot less inviting as a picnic destination.
My dream is that one day I'll wake up to find that Roger the Shrubber from Monty Python's "Holy Grail" has come by in the night and secretly re-landscaped the place, putting flowers, bushes, and grass where such things should be. I'll be the envy of all the village. The B&B sporting a true "English garden" finally!
Till then, I'll just have to be proud of my American trailer trash front yard, with it's sleeping dusty dogs and underpants blowing in the wind.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
On days like today, grey and chilly outside, I miss heading down to a breakfast cafe for a real kick start to the day. Eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, sausages, syrup, and the wonderful bottomless cup of coffee. All served to me with a smile by someone who's going to clear my table and not ask me to do the dishes.
My French friends don't understand the attraction to such a meal and no matter how I try to explain it, there is definitely something lost in translation. For them, a crusty baguette smothered with good butter and jam, chased down by orange juice and a creamy yogurt, is a lovely way to start the day.
It's just that for me, there's something lacking when your breakfast doesn't have some sort of sauce left clinging to the plate, be it baked beans, ketchup, or sour cream from huevos rancheros. I want to be warm from the inside out. Full of grease and a half caf latte, licking my fingers as I wobble outside, adjusting my buckle and thinking I won't eat again till dinner.
As it is, I'm going to head to the kitchen and have some cereal. I forgot to buy bread yesterday so even the idea of a warm baguette with jam isn't possible. You have no idea what I'd give for a bagel right about now. One that's toasted perfectly and then hidden under Hollandaise drenched Eggs Benedict.
That being said, looks like it's mock Cheerios and instant decaf again this morning. Tell me that just doesn't get you all excited?
Monday, March 9, 2009
Why is that you may ask? Well, look carefully. Do you see what I see?
There, tucked behind the tapenade and lime juice. There, sitting on the door, as it has since I saw my ob/gyn about 2 years ago, is a simple blue box. That would be a Nuva Ring. A sure fired method of contraception. If you actually use it. Perhaps it's presence there explains why we are always out of eggs...
I had a good look at the box and lucky me! It's still good until May 2009, which, if all goes as planned, should be right about the time Whoopsie makes her independent physical appearance. Though, I think at that point, more permenant methods are going to have to be discussed.
Did I mention that I also found a bag of linseeds in there that date from about 2004-2005 when my sister-in-law gave them to me to help The Princess with some constipation issues? Or the Thousand Island Dressing I brought back with me from the States in August, which has congealed ever so nicely? Or the pickled onions who are now so pickled, they should probably be going to AA?
Note to self: If I really am starting on the slippery slope of nesting before Whoopsie gets here, I need to remember that should include jettisoning the older contents of the fridge. Nuva Ring included. Being called the Birth Control Bed & Breakfast is one thing, actually serving it with toast and marmalade is another.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Chaos at it's finest.
What better way to remember that today is my sister's birthday. My sister, who embraces chaos with both arms wide open, the one who knows that chaos needs a ride to soccer practice and swim team after school, the one who knows it's best to wash everything in a cold cycle so nothing gets ruined, the one who knows that no matter how clean the house gets, when chaos walks in that door, give up and grab the corkscrew.
This would be the sister who is trying with all her might to find a cheap flight to come and spend a weekend with us after Whoopsie is born. Hubster thinks she's nuts to come so far for such a short visit. Not to mention the cost.
"Why would she do that," he asks?
"Cause she loves me. And her wine cellar is getting empty."
She made the same kinda trip right after Mini-Husband was born. Flying across the ocean for a weekend of baby cuddling, nappy changing, and beer drinking with her in shock post-partum sister. She took care of our laundry, made us dinners, and asked Hubster about his day at work while I melted into a breast feeding coma on the couch. Basically, she took care of us. She helped us. Huge.
I love that she wants to do this again. Fly herself across the ocean, leave her four kids and husband at home, just to come and entertain my four kids and husband. She seems to get this chaos thing really, really well and I can only thank her for being so willing to share her expertise with me once again.
I'm really hoping you have a great birthday and that you find that cheap flight, Di-Di. Chaos has already got the corkscrew ready and waiting.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Hubster bought these for me at the Christmas Market a few years ago and I just love them. They are made of bright red yarn with various colours tucked in here and there. When I put them on, I feel like I've got a secret weapon to keep the winter blues away. They fit like half gloves, but have a little hood that covers my fingers and makes them mittens all the same. I'm missing them and I wish I knew where they've gone.
The last time I saw them was back in February, the day I went to visit my friend, Isabelle, in the hospital for the last time. She had been suffering from a second round of cancer and had been hospitalized just after Christmas. I call her my friend, but the truth is, I hardly knew her. Her kids are in the same classes as mine and we crossed paths often at birthday parties, out walking, or just around the village, but our friendship didn't get much deeper than that. Regardless, Isabelle was always incrededibly kind to me so when I heard she was at the hospital, without hesitation, I wanted to go see her. I felt that, if I were in her shoes, I'd want all the visitors I could get.
The first time I saw her, she looked tired and since she was sharing a room, it was hard to really chat with her about things. Plus, I know that dealing with my horrible French can be exhausting for someone who is not sick, so I'm sure she had an even harder time trying to follow my muddled words while under the effects of morphine.
I only stayed about 10 minutes or so that first visit, but I was glad that we at least had laughed a little and I got to see her smile when I gave her some pictures of her kids that Hippy Love Francaise had taken at school.
The second time I visited her, she had been moved to a new room and, even though she again seemed tired, we were able to laugh about Whoopsie and the name search, talk about school issues, and other mundane subjects. I just hoped that my coming would give her a distraction, help her get out of that hospital mentally, if that was at all possible.
I found out a couple of days later that even though I had been with her for 20 minutes on that last visit, Isabelle didn't remember my being there.
A week passed by and I hemmed and hawed about going back to see her. Finally, on a Tuesday when Bubba-Love was at the creche and the other two were at school, I hitched a ride with another friend into town. The entire 45 minute trip I see-sawed back and forth about going to visit. As we approached the hospital, I stopped waffling and agreed to meet my friend at her appointment after I had seen Isabelle.
Her room was dark, even with the window shades open, and she was laying akwardly in the bed. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was forced and arrhythmic. I have no idea if she even knew I was there, but I sat next to her and told her how much I liked her kids. I told her how I hoped she wasn't suffering too much and told her not to worry. Her parents were looking after her kids and they were doing a heck of a job. I told her how beautiful our village looked that morning, covered in a dusting of snow. I touched her cold hands. I stared at her face. I sat with her for another minute or two, then kissed her on the head and left.
Truth be told, I basically ran from the hospital. I rejoiced to be walking in the snow flurries that were stinging my face and hands, glad it was me who was outside. I pulled my red mittens on my hands and briskly walked to meet my other friend, the whole time trying to understand why someone in her mid-30s, with two children who needed her, was there, dying in that hospital.
Isabelle passed away on the Friday of that week, leaving a community quite shocked and wounded. I see her children everyday at school, the two of them laughing and playing with their friends, as they should be. But my heart is breaking for them. Unlike me, who can buy new mittens, their loss is irreplaceable. No amount of vibrant red yarn will bring their Isabelle back.
I miss my mittens and I miss Isabelle. I'm secretly hoping they've found a way to go to her, keeping her hands warm and ready to grab and hug her children many, many years from now.
Monday, March 2, 2009
She has two children who are about the same age as The Princess and Bubba-Love and a baby who was born last spring. For some strange reason, when ever she does decide to talk to me, it's to tell me how incredible her kids are. She was proud as punch to tell me and a few other moms, how her 10 month old was wearing size 18 months and ready to take driving lessons.
I get a little nervous when she does get into conversation with me because I have this suspicion that the conversation isn't just chit chat, it's checking the score card. She hadn't spoken to me much this fall until she overheard that we were expecting Whoopsie and now, everyday, I'm faced with the same questions. "Are you tired?" "How will you be able to cope?" "My goodness, how big have you gotten?" Of course, she seems to time these questions as I'm run-waddling to catch up with Bubba-Love, yelling at him not to splash in puddles or trying to stop Mini-Husband and The Princess from having it out over a piece of bread right in front of the boulangerie
I'm finally reaching the end up my nice rope. Let's face it, I'm 31 weeks pregnant and turning into the psycho that the third trimester promises every single pregnant woman. I try and smile and tell this mother that everything is just fine, I'm fine, things are fine. It's going to be fine. NO, I'm not TIRED. I'm FINE.
But the truth is, I am tired. And I am scared about how I am going to deal with Whoopsie as well. And I'm even more frightened that my really snarky dark side will take over my soul for good.
I've been trying to beat it back, but I just can't seem to help myself lately. For example, the other day when the mother was going on about how impressive her 2.5 year old's language was, how he could say so many words, and talk to everyone, I looked at her, smiled, and said, "Yes! It's the same with Bubba-Love. He's doing that in English and French." She smiled back, but I'm sure we aren't getting invited over for a playdate anytime soon.
Ah, the snarky, bitchy joys of exhaustion and the inability to bend over.
9 weeks! And then the next round of sleep deprivation and fun starts!