Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peut-être Simply Hilarious to l'Académie Française

Our local super market, the one that used to be called ATAC, has recently under gone a re-brand. It's been kind of fun watching the entire store get a make-over, even if this means that the cookie aisle has been swapped by the dog food section. (Don't worry, I sniffed out the cookies in the end!)

The only thing that makes me laugh is that this new brand is called "Simply Market." It's not a bad name, kind of catchy and fun, but that's if you can actually pronounce it.

Please try to imagine with me, an entire French region of people who's extent of English could consist only of random lines from rock songs or quotes from high school level English about where to find a bathroom. Now ask all of these people to say, with ease, "Simply Market." Then, throw them for a real loop and ask them to sing out the new marketing slogan, "Be Happy. Be Simply."

Did I mention that there is no "h" sound in French?

The worst part had to be the first time I went to the new store with Mini-Husband. In all his new found glory as a child that can read, he proudly looked at the words and deciphered the name all by himself. My beautiful boy, bilingual as the best of them, looked at the signs and read, "Seemplee Marquette."

For my own linguistic sanity, I may have to resort to only shopping at Cora from now on.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rainy Sunday

It's pouring outside so time to become creative! Hubster has taken to hiding in the barn chopping wood, Bubba-Love is napping, and I'm trying to occupy my mind with other things than twinges and niggles from my uterus.

Here's BaPa helping The Princess and Mini-Husband build a pirate ship and a pencil holder. So far so good, no one has broken a thumb with the hammer. BaPa included.

Kitty has the best spot in the house today. She's happily tucked up in the chair next to the woodstove, book in hand, ready and waiting for Grandbaby #11, who, by the way, seems in no rush to quit the deluxe suite at the Dig hotel.

Everything said and done, all's very well and as it should be at the Birth Control Bed & Breakfast this grey and dreary Sunday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Long Strange Trip of Hippy Earrings

These are some of my favourite hippy earrings from back in my days of drinking, singing, and existing on the edge. They jingle when I wear them and remind me of the times I had them on at random and sundry music festivals in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Good days, before I had cares in the world.

I like hearing them tinkle as I turn my head or play with the dogs. A gentle melody from my past playing in my future.

That is, until Mini-Husband got a hold of them yesterday. Seems his new glitter glue pen from Kitty kept getting blocked so he searched high and low for something just the right size to poke out the glue blob.

Yes, it would have to be my earrings, a symbol of my life of liberty, that are now warped slightly from the pressure of expulsing clogged green glitter.

I've managed to mend them a bit today so I can at least wear them again. And I must admit, they do look rather nice with that touch of glitter. I think even George Clinton and the P-Funk Band would have to approve.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And So We Wait

The Cavalry is coming today. A fantastic team of two, who by their presence alone, I think will enable me to just calm down.

There is nothing like having your mom and dad with you when, even though you may look and supposedly act like an adult, you are feeling as abandoned and pathetic as a toddler lost in a grocery store.

I'm not expecting them to do anything really while they are here except to love us and continue perfecting their jobs as grandparents. New sets of ears for Mini-Husbands stories, someone who can sew The Princess' stuffed doll back together, and someone who will happily watch "Cars," "E.T," and "Chicken Little" with Bubba-Love while I hide in the kitchen and hope these contractions actually amount to something.

I spent most of yesterday wondering if each of those twinges and pulls was the start of the 'big one.' Each contraction like a little earthquake around and under my belly. I can understand if and why the people of California are sick of talking about the 'big one.' After a while and all the little 'almosts,' you just give up and don't think something else is really ever possible.

So we wait with baited breath for our 'big one,' who is actually a little one, but one who will rock our world all the same. And the best part is that Kitty's booked travel insurance, so that no matter how long the waiting takes, they'll be here for this too.

I suspect we may need to get a new copy of "Cars" again.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Potty Training at 38 Weeks: Who's Losing the Plot Here?

I'm seriously nuts.

At 38 weeks pregnant, I'm trying to convince Bubba-Love that he's potty trained.

Why? So I can have like a week free of nappies before Whoopsie comes?

Perhaps it's just I'm looking for something to keep me busy while waiting and waiting and waiting for our newest the arrive.

These last weeks really are the longest. And proof that no matter how many kids you have, each and every single one of them dances to the beat of their own band.

Amen for that.

And "Cars" underpants.

Friday, April 17, 2009

This Is the Reason We Suffer Through Childbirth

The Princess has been having a whale of a time the last couple of days. Her dearest friend, who moved to Paris last year, has been back during Easter break and the two of them have been inseparable. The explosion of Barbies, pink glitter ponies and baby doll stuff in the kids' room brings joy to my heart. The two of them seem to be capable of playing so intensely with each other that even the flying matchbox cars coming from Bubba-Love don't effect them.

These two are so happy to be together, nothing else matters. They spent all day yesterday laughing and giggling and when it was time for the friend to leave, The Princess didn't hesitate a nano-second before agreeing to head off with her for the night.

I have to admit, even though this wasn't the first time she's gone to a friend's for the night, as I sat at the table for dinner with "my men," I missed my girl. I know at this late stage of my pregnancy, I'm having the urge to keep all my people together, around me. But it was more than just that. There seemed to be a little bit of sunshine missing at our table. We were incomplete without her.

About 9:30pm, the phone rang. Turns out, The Princess had been crying since dinner. Would it be all-right if she came home? As if I would have said no.

Fifteen minutes later, her friend's mom pulled up in front of the house and out came my girl, face red from tears, eyes wide and searching. I opened the gate and we grabbed each other.

"I just wanted to come home, " she said.

I hugged her some more, took her inside and made her a Nutella sandwich. We sat quietly, she in my lap, as I stroked her hair and rubbed her back until she had finished. We headed upstairs, stopping in for huge hug from daddy before I tucked her into her bed with her dolls and blankie. I think she was asleep before I even left the room.

There is a quote from Erich Fromm that I love:

Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.”

It fills me to think that our Princess knows this already.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Not to Do When 9 Months Pregnant

There is nothing funnier than watching a woman 37 weeks pregnant trying to wrap her infected big toe in gauze.

Perhaps, had she been able to see the laces on her shoes more clearly, she would have actually made an effort to put them on yesterday morning and therefore not tripped up the stairs in front of the B&B, ripping off most of the skin that protects that bad boy from harm.

I just hope this heals before I have to go anywhere near the maternity unit. I just can't imagine how embarrassing it would be to be begging for an epidural only because I can't deal with the pain of accidentally hitting that toe on the bed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"We'll Take That To Go, Please."

Throughout this pregnancy, I've been waiting for The Princess and Mini-Husband to ask THAT QUESTION, the one that finally explains how on earth did Whoopsie get in my tummy in the first place. Each time we get in the car, the scene of most of our in depth metaphysical and cosmic conversations, I mentally prepared myself that this could be the day I have to finally explain "what happened. "

For some bizarre reason, they haven't asked yet. I don't know whether I should be psyched out of my mind or scared that they don't seem too concerned about knowing the hows and whys behind babies. What I am sure of is that they now know way more than is necessary at 5 and 7 years old about the placenta.

They wanted to know what colour it is, how big was it, did I look at it, was it gross, and most importantly, what do you do with it after the baby is born?

I explained it's function, how I liked seeing it but some people did not, how it was smaller than I expected, and that most often in our cultures, the hospital disposed of the placenta. I also told them how there are some places where the placenta is given to the parents to take home and plant in the garden, a tribute for helping the baby grow. There in the garden, it helps nourish the flowers and trees, making them grow strong and beautiful.

They sat in silence for a few minutes taking all this in.

Finally, Mini-Husband announced to us that not only would his girlfriend (who is currently 5) have to pass her university exams to learn English before they could move to England, but that he, himself, would come to the hospital when their babies were born and take the placenta home in a grocery bag and plant it in their vegetable patch, right under the pumpkins.

I wish I could have captured that look on his face as he sat staring out the car window. Full of happiness and contentment as he thought about his life with Lisa, in England's green and pleasant land, growing placenta fertilized pumpkins and bilingual children.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Harmless Little Bunny

I always find myself wondering why on Easter Sunday, we look all over the place for eggs hidden by a rabbit. A bizarre tradition in my opinion and one that seems almost as wacky as the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Happy Easter and remember to watch your back where chocolate is concerned!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What They Leave Behind

We noticed with all the various and sundry that have passed through the B&B that there is always a little trace of the visitor that remains. Sometimes it's a t-shirt or a toothbrush and then sometimes it's something more delicate and subtile. Something that will take years to get rid of.

For example, when one of our nieces visited us about two summers ago, she had a fascination with salt and plain pasta. I think that was pretty much all she ate the entire time she was here. Hence, why we blame her that our kids are now addicted to salt and spaghetti. I don't think I owned a salt shaker till she came visit and now you'd think the kids were buying stock in it the way they try to dump it on everything.

Our other niece who was with us last summer, introduced the people to another fun food: chocolate breakfast cereal. Now, I don't know if niece #2 even gets to eat the stuff at her house, but she sure did when she was here and now I can't keep Choco-Pops or Chockella in the house for love or money. I try to avoid getting the stuff but grocery trips during the school vacations usually do me in. You try navigating a cereal aisle with three people who are just the right height to grab those boxes.

But I think the worst has to be what Madame Home Depot has left behind with us this time. See, for some strange reason, she gets horribly car sick each and every time we go out. It doesn't matter if she's riding with Hubster or with me, if we take the 4x4 or the station wagon, or if I drive like a snail or Michael Schumacher. Every time, she's got the back of her head plastered to the passenger seat headrest, sunglasses on, and hand out the window.

Yesterday, while she stayed here at the house, I took the kids out for a morning playdate. On the way home, I took the usual routes and drove as I normally do down the back lanes to the village. When we were about 5 kilometers from the house, I hear a little voice peep up from the back of the station wagon.

"Mom," Mini-Husband whispered, "do you think you could slow down a bit? I'm feeling really car sick."

I glanced at him in the rearview mirror. There he sat with his head dramatically plastered to the headrest, blinking his eyes furiously to shield them from the sun.

"Yeah mom," chimed in The Princess holding the same posture, "I'm feeling sick too."

"And me too," whimpered Bubba-Love.

I'm frightened to take them out in the car now. I can't even imagine what this will mean for our next drive to England.

As for Madame Home Depot, the next time she's here, she's getting her own rental car.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

There is a Room full of Happy, Friendly People in France

I still find it hysterical that any time I walk into a waiting room in France, everyone who is already in there turns and says, "bonjour." This actual acknowledgement of my existence by fellow patients right before a routine appointment freaks me out.

In the States, I would saunter up to the secretary, give my details, and then try and find a chair that would help me achieve my dream of becoming the first person to completely melt into the wall paper. I would try to steal glances around the room at the others there but all the time determined to keep my protective personal space bubble intact as I hummed along with the Go-Gos in my head. God forbid I actually spoke to someone!

Over here, you arrive at the medical office and navigate an empty corridor. Forget asking a secretary. You've already made the appointment weeks ago with a mysterious voice that is hiding somewhere in the building. It's up to you now to find the right waiting room on the day in question.

Bravely, you open door Number #1 and smile like Bambi caught in the headlights at the chorus of "bonjours" that come your way. You bumble your way across a room the size of a closet to find a chair and hope with all your heart that you've got the right waiting room. That is, the one for your gynecologist and not the one for leg amputations or Ebola.

A quick scan of the place tells you there are four people ahead of you and at a normal doctor pace this means there is enough time for you to reorganize your life, read all the old editions of Paris Match on the table, and sing "bonjour" at least 4 more times.

One by one, the others are called out for their appointments, and the room, each time, sings them on their way with a rousing, "au revoir!" Every time this happens, I laugh to myself at the reputation the French have for being rude. Here's politness personified! Strangers have actually acknowledged my existence! What more could you ask for?

It adds a whole new level of group dynamics to a waiting room. You aren't just a single patient waiting patiently. No, you have become a citoyen, waiting shoulder to shoulder with the masses for your name to be called. All the time hoping and praying that as nice as that man seems next to you, whatever contagious diseases he's got, he's going to be keeping them to his damn self, "bonjour" or no "bonjour."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Boy I'm Glad My Name Isn't Mary

We had a lovely weekend at the B&B. Loads of sunshine and warm weather as well as being blessed by the company of the Three Wise Men, aka Hubster's friends from England.

The arrived in fine style late Friday afternoon, loaded with cases of wine from the local vineyard. Seems they didn't want to take a chance of not getting the trunk filled to the rim with the wonderful red stuff before enjoying a weekend with us.

Much to their surprise, seems Hubster had forgotten to tell them that I was pregnant and we had both neglected to tell them that Madame Home Depot was still here. Lucky for us, I wasn't forced to sleep in the barn and they seem to have adapted well to the overbooking situation. Who knew an eye shield and a mattress in the lounge could be so comfy!

And small success for us, Bubba-Love made it through three mornings without the cartoon fix he gets with his bottle. A rousing success, in my book!

The Wise Men headed off this morning leaving me, the kids, and Madame Home Depot to clean up the wreckage. I'm not sure any of the bottles they bought Friday are actually making it back to England. Most of them seem to have been just carted off to the recycling bin.

I always enjoy getting the chance to see these guys. They understand Hubster better than I do at times and have known him long enough to really tease him well. Add in the sarcastic wit of Madame Home Depot and my lovely grumpy temper and what's not to enjoy? Who cares if the B&B is overbooked? It's all in the spirit of the place.

Three days till Madame leaves us and our German friends arrive. Busy times with my growing belly. I'm thinking I should get the manger cleaned out just in case.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rites of Spring

We've been having the best of weather this week. Warm sunshine and clear skies, inviting all the daffodils and spring flowers to make their appearance. We've got buds on the magnolia trees and the fields are turning green. All I want to do is be outside.

Yesterday, Mini-Husband and I took a drive down our favourite back road near the village and tumbled upon our friend's flock of sheep. All of them bushy and white with a teeny tiny lamb on wobbly legs tottering around the field behind them. Mini-Husband and I laughed at their antics as they tried to hop over piles of hay on those match sticks.

Continuing on, we stopped off at another friend's for a quick visit and had the chance to play with 6 baby chicks who have taken up a corner of her kitchen. There they jumped and peeped as Mini-Husband laughed in joy. Six fuzzy yellow balls of fluff, bumping into the sides of the box, no worse for the wear.

On our way back home, I told him how our dog sledding friend had helped her female to have her puppies at the end of February. Now, those 8 furry Siberians with blue eyes and black & white fur are running around her garden, chasing bugs and bees, their pink bellies round from their mother's milk.

Mini-Husband sat in silence for a couple of minutes. (This in and of itself is note worthy, but it turns out he was reflecting on the beauty of spring and all this new life around us. Old soul, this one.) At that point, he mentioned that since all the animals seem to be having their babies now, I could go ahead and have Whoopsie if I wanted. I agreed that that sounded like a good idea and promised to work on that ASAP.

We arrived back at the house to discover a minor archeological find had been discovered under the rubble that was the annex. Madame Home Depot seems to have uncovered a small scale Stonehenge right here in the Auvergne. Granted, it's not as imposing as the real thing in England, but we think the stones were only dragged from what was the left wall of the annex and not Wales as is in the original case.

Regardless, watching the sun set through our own monument to life's seasons, was wonderful.

So, sing "HO" for the beauty of spring and all that's blooming around you! Now, get outside and enjoy it. Yes, that means even you, Whoopsie.