You know how sometimes when you return from vacation, your home looks weird? We walked into the apartment and wondered, had our ceilings always been that high? We suspected they had but they looked funny.
One thing was definitely different, though. Our courtyard was full of scaffolding. A very intricate structure had been built during our time away and we immediately regretted our decision to forgo window coverings. Looked like we were about to get awfully cozy with some construction workers.
The first morning I forgot all about them. I sat down at my laptop to catch up on the news of the world with coffee in hand when suddenly I sensed someone very, very close to me. I turned and GAH! there was a guy standing on the other side of the window wearing a hardhat and goggles. He waved cheerfully and mouthed, "Bonjour!"
I waved back and made a mental note to start wearing pants.
Now that the workers have been around for a week, we've gotten used to them. They're nice guys with friendly smiles. We wave at each other in the morning and then they work on the building while I pretend to be busy because dammit, someone's watching me now. My usual morning routine of trying to balance things on my head for three hours isn't going to cut it in front of an audience.
The Loosh had his final week at the centre de loisirs after we returned from vacation. The centre was a pretty great thing; it kept him happy and occupied all summer long and we were sad to see it end. I went to pick him up the final day and found him playing with a boy I'd never seen before. The boy seemed equal to Lucien in energy and desire to fight so they were having a helluva rowdy little boy good time.
I told the Loosh it was time to go. He waved at his disappointed friend and we walked off. Halfway across the courtyard, something bonked me lightly on the head. Then again, harder. I turned and saw Lucien's little playmate attempting to throw something over me. Good God, I was being hula hooped!
Before I could properly react, the hula hoop was over my head, around my waist and the little boy was trying to drag me back across the courtyard. I was caught off balance and he had momentum so away I went. At first Lucien was in shock but soon enough Lucien was in hysterics.
I laughed with embarrassment and tried to escape the hula hoop without being too obnoxiously mean about it -- he was just a little boy, after all. I figured at any second, one of the animateurs would see what was going on and come to my rescue. I'd seen them reprimand kids for way less than dragging an innocent mama across the courtyard with a hula hoop.
I met the eye of an animateur. He looked tired. In fact, the entire staff looked like they were in need of a week-long nap and a shot of adrenaline. I'm pretty sure they were happy summer was over. The animateur gave me a dazed look that most definitely told me I was on my own. He managed a weak, "Ohhhhh....la la" but didn't get up from his bench.
I used more force than I would have liked with a small child, but I got the hula hoop back over my head and calmly but quickly beat it for the door. The kid came after me, hula hoop held high. I ducked past the guardienne before the bizarre game of human ring toss could continue.
I was then very happy the centre was finished for the summer; I'm pretty sure that kid is still lying in wait for me in the courtyard.
We went up the Montparnasse Tower last weekend. What looked like a beautiful day to us was quickly revealed to be a crappy day on the other side of town. But still, Paris is the prettiest. I got a little emotional looking out over the city and had a long overdue heart-to-heart with her. (Don't worry -- it was in my head, although I may have said, "Oh baby, why you gotta treat me so badly sometimes?" out loud next to some British ladies.)
It's like Paris and I renewed our vows that morning. We've decided to stay together, at least until next summer, and I promised to take the bad with the good. She's worth it.
You complete me. I wish I knew how to quit you. Bond.... James Bond. May the force be with you.
Paris and I have done some incredible things together since our love was reinvigorated. Alex (a.k.a the third wheel) and I spent a wonderful afternoon in Montmartre where we ate the best lunch that's ever existed, had a coffee at the cafe in Amelie, and sang Don Mclean's "Vincent" outside the apartment where Van Gogh used to live. It's frightening how intensely Al and I look forward to our time alone on the weekends. It almost makes us feel guilty. Almost.
So Lucien started school. The first day went fine, though the teacher did remark that Lucien was "full of life." That one's pretty wide open to interpretation so even though I know she kinda meant "wow, your kid never stops moving," I chose to hear, "wow, your kid never stops being delightful."
The bigger problem occurred the second day when Lucien walked into school and said, "Bonjour, Cacahuete" to the director. I should mention the director of our school is a very, very short man with no sense of humor -- and "Bonjour, Cacahuete" means, "Hellooo, Peanut!"
Lucien wasn't necessarily calling him short; the kids call each other "cacahuete" all the time. He was more being completely disrespectful! (better. yep.) The director was not amused. I dreaded picking Lucien up from school that day. I couldn't bear "the look" I knew was coming my way. And come my way it did.
Lucien still refuses to behave like the French kids and we no longer have the excuse of him being new, and learning a new language, and not being familiar with the way things go at school. He knows exactly what he's doing. This could be a long-ass year.