I thought that this morning I would be frantically dashing around trying to get B's Christmas present but instead, I am sitting in front of my computer, surfing gift sites trying to think up something new. After talking about it over with a few people I had decided to buy him a telephone/organizer. I wanted a Palm Pilot Treo 680 but I couldn't find one in stock anywhere yesterday, after spending 3 hours running from one boutique to another. Figured out a back-up plan and managed to sort out a way to go and buy his present this morning while Ella was at daycare, eliminating my last major task (ummm, if you don't count packing 4 suitcases...) before leaving on holiday. I told him last night that I need to do go and buy his gift and asked if he preferred if I put it on a certain card or paid cash. Well, he could have cared less about that and instead badgered me until I finally told him what I was going to get him. I should have just kept my mouth shut but I was trying to give out little hints, since I was a bit unsure whether or not he would like it. When he figured it out, did he get a big smile on his face and then give me a big kiss to say thanks? Nope. He said, oh. I got one of those a few years ago and sold it to one of my buddies after two months, since I never used it.
Actually, I had forgotten about that. So back to the drawing board. He is such a nightmare to shop for! No hints. No lists. No obvious hobbies to supply. I always manage to find something nice and surprise him but what a battle. I'm lying. He did actually ask for something- a watch from Cartier. But he wants it to have the date on the face, which none of them do. So basically, he wants a special order Cartier for Christmas. Somehow I don't think it will be such a surprise when he sees the 20,000 euro charge on my AmEx.
I am going to get him a new backpack though. A few years ago he absolutely had to have one of these hard-shell backpacks that were made for things like rollerblading, where you could fall or bang it and whatever was inside would be protected from the shock. Well, it cost a fortune, is impossible to fill, because everything has to be jammed through a narrow opening at the top, and it looks retarded. But the worst thing about this stupid backpack is that it can't just be squeezed in the cupboard with the other luggage, because it is the size of a toddler. It takes up half the shelf and I can never grab anything else out of there without getting on a chair and removing his backpack, which I might add, he uses about 3 times a year, maximum. I warned him last time it got in my way that I would buy him a replacement and then I would personally hand it over to the first homeless person I could find, preferrably one who looked to be en route some distant land so that I would never ever see the backpack again. He thought I was kidding. Why oh why does that man continue to underestimate me, after all these years?
Ella on the otherhand, will be buried in presents this year. Sadly, none of them will be wrapped for under the tree since she will probably receive them all on our plane trip. I bought 75 euro worth of plastic crap yesterday and am praying that it all fits in my carry-on bag because I think I will need every last bit of it if we are to arrive at our destination with my sanity intact. She is 100% toddler right now, and by that I mean she is a stubborn, tenacious, loud, sensitive, and capricious. The ideal travelling companion. I honestly don't know what I will give her on Christmas day because she is going to be spoiled beyond belief by the stuff I've got in my giant Sac o' Fun for the plane. Dora stickers, Santa stickers, shiny flower stickers, Play-Doh, plastic animals, little cars, puzzle books, toys for her dolly, electronic gadgets (I actually don't know what they do, except beep, which is all she cares about anyways), nesting cups, raisins, cookies, pomme-pots, juice boxes, tagada strawberries, crayons, color books, and new music on my Ipod. If only she hadn't chewed apart the earphones yesterday, we could actually listen to the music. Note to self- add earphones to shopping list. I hesitated a long time yesterday over buying a portable DVD player, but the batteries only last about 3 hours a piece and so I would need to buy atleast one extra and then it started to get quite expensive. In theory, we are flying an Airbus 330 which B assures me has individual video screens and with their own libraries but I don't like to trust the airlines with anything more than keeping the plane in the air. All the rest seems to go to crap on a pretty regular basis. But then my mom said a portable DVD player would probably be an excellent present for someone to give me and maybe I shouldn't buy it for myself 3 weeks before Christmas. She is so sneaky, that one.
So basically, I have to throw together our bags, run out to the shops and pick up a few lastminute things, and then try to get to bed early tonight so I am fresh for whatever tomorrow brings. I am less worried about Ella than I am about the problems the airline will cause. Will I take the carseat on the plane with me or not? Will I be able to carry it, if I decide to bring it? Will I get my stroller in Chicago? Will I manage to go through customs with all my shit plus a cranky baby? Will I be able to bring on a bottle of my magic sleeping potion for Ella (thats Quietude, for all you taking notes)? Will there be Dora cartoons on the plane?
Answers to all these questions and more sometime this weekend when we have recovered. Might be Monday, actually. Did I tell you that my mom volunteered me to babysit my sister's two kids on Saturday night, after I arrive? They'll be dropped off at around 1 am, Paris time, and I'll get to play with them til about 5 am, Paris time, or rather, until there's only about 2 hours before Ella wakes up with her jetlag. I love my mom, but she drives me crazy sometimes. Somehow she is the only person who forgets how I break out in an actual rash when I get overtired- and while the doctor can give me a steroid shot for the rash, there is sadly no cure for the absolutely foul mood that I get in.