Monday, March 15, 2010

Just a normal weekend full of fun...

We had a nice weekend- but it just seemed like it flew by! Its getting to the point that I long for Monday mornings, which is a sad state of affairs.

Saturday, especially, was a complete whirlwind. I made an appointment for Ella to get her hair cut at that kids place up in the the 11th, Mum & Babe. I think I've mentioned it here before. Well, we got off to a bad start when we left late and I couldn't find a plan de Paris to throw in my purse. Then I thought, 'Well, I've been there before two or three times. I'm sure that I can find it without a map.' Yeah, famous last words. As soon as we got on the bus, I knew that I was in trouble. I couldn't remember which stop. I was watching out the window for something familiar but no luck so finally we just jumped off when I knew that it couldn't be any further along. We wandered around, asking people if they knew where the street was but no one did. On the other hand, it might have been because of my bad pronunciation- Keller, is one of those stupid names that looks English to me and so I don't know how to pronounce it in French. Arg. I couldn't find a kiosk to buy a map so I ended up having to go into a Monoprix and search for one. When I finally looked up the street, I realized that I hadn't a clue of where I was headed so atleast it was money well spent. Despite all that, we ended up only being a few minutes late. You would have thought it was an hour, by the reception we got. They were HORRIBLE to us, even though there was only one other person in the whole salon, and she was downstairs getting a facial. They barely acknowledged us when we walked in. They didn't offer to take our coats or the pousette. They didn't ask the kids names. There was no chatting while we were in the chairs. I was going to party so I wanted a brushing that was a little more 'going out' and she said 'no, your hair is far too short. I'll just blow it straight.' And the one who cut Ella's hair didn't even look at me when I was trying to explain to her what I wanted done. When they were done, no one came with us to the coat closet or the front desk so I had to stand around with two antsy kids while all the staff stood around in the back chatting. They acted a bit nicer to the people who came in after us, since clearly they knew them better. I used to always tell people to take their kids there for a haircut but I don't know if I would do that anymore. It is nice that Ella's cut only cost 12 euro (and I'll admit, that it turned out very nice, which is better than the Camille Albane downstairs does for 25 euro) and that the baby can go in the playroom, but still. This was French customer service at its nadir. And this time when I didn't tip, I did not feel the least little bit guilty.

After all that, we still had to get lunch in a restaurant (MacDo, which was a first for Georgia and after she spied the Chicken McNuggets and fries, there was no question in her mind about eating pureed baby food.), go to a first birthday party, go shopping for a PACS present for B's friends, and buy/order a big bed for Miss Ella. I was running so behind schedule that the babysitter was at the house before us. Thank goodness, actually. She ended up feeding our over-excited monkeys while we threw our party clothes on and hustled back out the door. Good thing there was a big glass of chilled champagne waiting for us on the other end of that car ride or I don't think that we would have made it!

Once we got to the party, I discovered that I was not the only person there who had no idea what the deal was with the Pacs. We did bring a present and weren't the only ones but they ran the gamut from a bouquet of freesia to an engraved silver picture frame from Christofle (I'll let you guess which one we gave...) I'd say that the bigger mistake was dressing up in high heels. There were far too many people in a very small living room, so I spent all but 15 minutes standing. I still have sore feet! To think, I used to be able to spend an entire day dashing around Paris in a pair of heels twice as high. Now, I am so used to my ballet flats and Geox that I can't even make it through an evening without needing to pull out my crutches and heating pad the next day.

I am an old old woman.

On Sunday, we were shattered despite the fact that we were home and in bed at 12:30. The people downstairs went away for the weekend so, per the usual, their son had his friends over. At 3:30 in the morning. I got woken up when they came in but drifted off again. By 4:30 I had had enough, as they were only getting louder and I banged on the floor. They quieted down, but then a girl in heels starting walking around their living room and the tap!tap!tap! of her heels on the floor woke up Georgia. Who woke up the upstairs neighbors and Ella. So then at 5 am I had to go down and ring the door bell to ask if the noisy girl could possibly remove her shoes since she had inadvertently woken up another 4 people. This kid was clearly horrified (by the fact that he woke us or the looks of me? Hard to say. I didn't dare glance in a mirror before going downstairs and I can only guess how scary I looked...) and apologized profusely. But I HATE having to ask them to be quiet since Georgia is a such a noisemaker.

That kid, honestly. If she is not screaming at 5 am because she was woken by a bad dream or a sudden noise, she is screaming for her bottle. Or screaming to get out of bed. Or screaming for Ella to come and play. Or screaming at some food that she spied on the counter and would very much like to eat, if you don't mind. There is no volume control on her. Yesterday afternoon, we all laid down for a nap after our turbulent night and I ended up getting up first when I heard Georgia waking. But she wasn't actually ready to get up yet, it seemed. EVERYTHING was making her mad. And so, her natural response was to scream at me. No! I don't want water! NO! Nothing to eat!! NO!!!! I do not want to look at a book! or my toys! or a movie! or your stupid face! Finally, because I wanted to let Ella have a bit of nap, I ended up clamping my hand over Georgia's mouth and hauling her out on the balcony. She calmed down almost immediately. I'm hoping that I have found a magic cure for this problem but I worry that it is only temporary. I put her out there 2 more times before Ella was good and woken up. So you can see why I feel like the last person in the world with any right no complain about noisy neighbors. I just pray that she outgrows this. Some kids are just noisy though. Am starting to wonder if we are going to be forced out of apartment dwelling and into the suburbs because we never manage to shut her up. And she was such a calm baby.

I also managed to clear out our old dishes from our cupboards yesterday and put the new ones in their place. We decided our old orange Fiestaware had to go. I've been looking around for plain white round dishes but all I could find was stuff basically the equivalent of orange Fiestaware. Most importantly, I needed to be one hundred percent certain that it was dishwasher and microwave safe, since I've had a horrible experience with some mugs that I bought at IKEA.* Finally it dawned on me that I should just use my wedding china which was Louvre, by Bernardaud. We've had it for 11 year and use it fairly often, for nice dinners and parties, and not a single piece has chipped. Its not too fancy looking for every day, I figured, so we are going to give it a trial run of one month and see how things go. Then, if we decide to go for it, I'll think about getting another set of dishes for parties, something a bit fancier (maybe this , or this, or this, or this!) Anyways, I hesitated as put the dishes in the kitchen, thinking that it would be a shame to see them all getting chipped over time when I like them so much. But then I stopped myself. If you're lucky enough to own beautiful things, you shouldn't waste your good fortune by hiding it away in a cupboard. You should use them and enjoy them everyday. How it can it be anything but good to enjoy beautiful things, right? Right. So the dishes stay.

Which still leaves me with the conundrum of what to do with the Fiestaware which is in perfect condition, after I don't know how many years of use. Amazing. I suppose that I should try and Ebay it or sell it on Craigslist, but I suspect that B and I will be making a trip up to Emmaus this week to drop it off as a donation. We still have the dishes from our first apartment sitting down in our cave and we've never needed them so they will go as well. Thats one thing about apartment living - it teaches you not to get too sentimental about your stuff. If it isn't being used on a regular basis, its got to go. I'm sure someone else out there will enjoy having and using all this stuff, as well, so that it makes it even more stupid to box it up and store away for some imaginary future life of mine when I finally need it again. I've been thoroughly heartless lately and that Emmaus has been the lucky recipient of a mountain of stuff. Anyone out there looking to stock up a new apartment should definitely head over to Emmaus on boulevard Beaumarchais :-)

* I needed some coffee mugs and I just picked up some nice simple ones at Habitat one day, without checking that they could go in the dishwasher or microwave. After a few months, I started noticing that the handle on the mug was hot when it came out of the microwave- even when the contents were still barely warm. Then, one morning, I reached in to grab my mug of warm milk while Ella was running around underfoot, and the handle was scorching hot, so hot that I ended up with a blister over the entire surface of my thumb. I was just grateful that I didn't drop the mug of hot liquid on Ella when it happened and thats when I decided that I couldn't possibly use those mugs anymore, because they were too dangerous. Someone finally explained to me that when the pottery is not dishwasher safe, it can 'absorb' water. Then, when you put it in the microwave, this water heats up and if it gets too hot, can actually make the pottery explode!

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