Friday, September 16, 2011

Chilly classroom

I approached the teacher at pick-up yesterday to explain why I missed the meeting --

I explained my husband was out of town --

I explained my babysitter hadn't shown up --

I apologized --

I asked if any parents had taken notes? --

I asked if she remembered how to blink? --

I think it went pretty well, don't you?

It's a shame I'm back on the school sh*tlist.  Things were going so well.  Lucien is being a calm, studious little boy in class.  We're not quite sure what he's up to, but so far he's really surprised the crap out of us.  The teacher has been very pleased with him and very smiley with me.

Then I went and missed the most important meeting in the world and screwed everything up again.  At least I'm back in the ole comfort zone.

I'm also officially in a transitional funk.  With three months to go, we've had to start planning and organizing for the move, and for our lives back home, all while trying to live full lives here.  We don't seem to be doing a particularly good job of any of it.  As depressed as I'll be to say "Au revoir, caca boudin" to our Paris life, a part of me can't wait until the whole move thing is a done deal.  I don't do well living in the in-between.  I don't feel connected anywhere.  My in-between is full of staring into space and obsessively making lists.

Let's forget all that burdensome crap and talk about Coco for a minute.  Thinking about Coco always cheers me.  I especially love the part of her that is so thrilled to be her, so thrilled to be alive, she runs around the apartment with her arms raised in joyful triumph yelling "COCO!"  Can you imagine being so pleased with yourself as an adult you can't stop running through your house repeatedly yelling your own name?  Go ahead, try it, see how it feels.  I tried it and my answer is "very foolish but kinda awesome."

Where Lucien is loud and obvious and you can see his mischief coming a mile away, Coco is calm, cool stealth.  She know what's off limits and watches around corners to see were I hide forbidden things.  When I'm not looking, she retrieves them, often building towers of other forbidden objects to reach them.  She'll walk up behind me as I'm doing laundry or whatever with the precious breakable or poisonous substance held over her head and yell "COCO!"  Her smile is big and her message is obvious -- Coco wins, Coco will always win, because Coco is the best.

 Timmy! (Timm-ay!?)
How would you write that, South Park peeps?

All right, I'm out.  I have hours of staring into space to do and important research to conduct such as where we can donate our old nastyass couch because that thing is NOT coming home with us. (Old nastyass couch not to be confused with crazy nastyass honey badger -- though much like the honey badger, our nastyass couch doesn't give a sh*t). 

Gotta break out of the transitional depression, or all blog hope is lost,


Anne said...

All too familiar. Hint hint: the movers took our nastyass couch. Also stock up on any French grocery type goodies (nonperishable of course). Our movers packed everything. Wish I had bought more lentils, creme de marron, fleur de sel, etc. Also wish I had bought more small hostess gifts for the return such as Paris dishtowels, Gien cocktail napkins, etc.

MJ said...

Hi Anne! It's an inevitable part of the ex-pat journey, I guess, and it's a weird, weird time. I remember feeling the same way in Seattle, in the couple months leading up to the move to Paris. It's weird to be one place physically, another place mentally. It's awkward and antsy!

Good, good tips. Keep 'em coming because this is stuff I'm just starting to think about. Was it you who mentioned you can buy Speculoos at home? Because that's pretty much all I'm thinking about...

Thanks, Anne!

debbie in toronto said...

ah I the only one who doesn't really like it? can have my have eaten jar...

I run thru the house all the damn time with my hands in the air...but then I'm usually screaming about one thing or another..I'll just change to saying...debbie..debbie

3 more months...aaaaahh
are you home before christmas?? I guess?

packing and paris christmas shopping..oh joy.

have a great weekend..take the kids to Leons!!!

Paris Paul said...

As someone who lived in 11 states in 22 years growing up, I can so sympathize with the move limbo ("mimbo"?).

Cela dit, as a South Park peep, your spelling of "Timm-ay" sounds about right!

Hang in there, babe.

{nikki} said...

"Living in the in between" as you called it (such a perfect term!) is so hard. I really feel for you there. It is so great, though, that you kind-of know what your life back home will look like. Your love for Seattle comes through in SO MANY posts of yours!

I can't wait for more Coco stories. I loooove "Coco wins, Coco will always win, because Coco is the best."

Also? I think you spelled "Timm-ay" the way Cartman says it.


Lisa said...

The in between time is definitely a staring into space time. So well said. Enjoy the last 3 months, you can never get them back, and believe it or not, you will want them. Enjoy where you are...wherever you are. Time to go shout my name and run around the house....bye!

StayingPositive said...

I think "Timm-ay" is spot on.

And I second Anne's comment, the movers were more than happy to take anything we didn't want.

I hear the "Get me the he** out of Paris I've had just about enough I want to go back to somewhere normal but I love Paris and do I really want to leave?" blues hits pretty hard.

Keep your chin up and enjoy the gorgeous weather. They say we might have a week without rain! That in itself is cause for celebration.

I think I'll go and try out Coco's "running around the house therapy." (Like my kids need another reason to think I'm nuts.) Think the neighbors will mind?!

Take care,
StayingPositive (Just saying you're staying positive actually me. Some days it's a big fat lie, but the good and bad usually even out.)

Kiki said...

Just to remind you what you are coming home to. ;)

MJ said...

Debbie, you don't like Speculoos??? It's spreadable cookies, Debbie, SPREADABLE COOKIES!!!

We are home before Christmas, we think. Don't have a date yet, still trying to work some details out. I think we're reluctant to set a date, actually, because then the clock is super-duper ticking.

Paris Paul! 11 states in 22 years? Damn. Hey, how's marriage treating you? Yee-haw!

Nikki, true, true, I do love me some Seattle. I look forward to the natural beauty of Seattle as opposed to the manmade here. Sometimes a girl just wants some mountains in her face. We'll miss Paris, oh how we'll miss it, but we've got a good thing going at home, too.


Lisa, how did that running through the house screaming "LISA!" feel? Good times. I do want to focus on these last few months but it's so hard with all the planning. It really takes you out of the moment, and it's a shame. Must try harder...

Staying Positive -- so really, the movers may take the old nastyass couch? How do you know beforehand what they'll take, or did you not know until they got there?

It's raining over here right now, so much for the rain-less week dream. There's blue sky over yonder, though, so hopefully it's brief.

We, too, are Staying Positive -- we just feel a little out of it at the same time.

Kiki, oh how I love The Oatmeal. Love, love, love. Seattle weather never really got to me. It's actually fairly similar to Paris weather -- the gray and the rain bother me more here than they ever did at home. I guess it's just built into the culture in Seattle? Like big comfy couches in cafes instead of teeny-tiny tables and uncomfortable chairs? You always had somewhere cozy to go even if the weather was crap.

Ah, I don't know. The Tale of Two Cities. Love 'em both, for very different reasons.

I AM GOING TO STOP RAMBLING NOW. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me these days???

Kiki said...

Plz ramble moar. Enough Seattle people complaining about Seattle lyfe (especially complaining about Seattle lyfe with lolcats), not enough Seattle people complaining about Paris lyfe.



MJ said...

Thanks, Kiki. I will find things to complain about wherever I am. It's a gift I have. And it makes for fun writing...

Kiki said...

It makes for fun reading!!! I will be so sad when you stop writing about Paris. I'll have to turn from, "Ha ha, it's so true!" to "Har. Har har. Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew true." (I swear, it's only the weather and the Seattle Freeze cynicism talking.)

Bec Oakley said...

Moving schmooving. What about us, MJ? WHAT ABOUT US??

Please tell us you're going to keep blogging when you get back. You could call it American Mom in Seattle (oooh, edgy).

Or better yet, change your name to a symbol and call yourself The Blogger Formerly Known as AAMIP.

laughingsalmon said...

Yes...For missing the most important meeting in all of human history...I would rate you on the evil scale somewhere near Attila the Hun...But what the sh*t...Just rush through the Parisian streets screaming your name...You know you want to...

Anne said...

MJ: You can book bulk trash takeaway from the city of Paris easily online. They pick up frequently. But you'll probably need the movers to take the couch from your apartment to the street.

Danna said...

I too will miss your missives from Paris, just when I find you you - you move! Your blog writing will continue I hope. Good luck with the in-between time. We took two months to move across the alley from apartment to a home. I was hoping for a time fast forward button about half way through. Instead I moved my kitchen one cake-pan full at a time.

Janey and Co. said...

I have been in your shoes dear. I had a 4yr old and was seven months pregnant. Had to move out of our home in the Netherlands, into an apt. Then into a motel in Houston. Finally in our home sitting on neighbors lawn furniture.Until our shipment floated in.
You can do it. Just take one day at a time and tell those kiddos home is where ever you and Dad are!
That by the way was 30 yrs. ago!

Duchesse said...

"I will find things to complain about wherever I am."

Were you and my husband separated at birth?;) He sure finds a lot to complain about here!;) The closer he gets to 50, the more crochety he gets!;) I'm starting to look at the future with great apprehension;)

I totally know how you feel about the in-between stage. We had two-three months of complete craziness before coming here... but fortunately, the return back home will be a lot smoother: we rented our Ottawa condo furnished and put some stuff in storage there, and we rented a furnished duplex in The Hague and bought very little in our time here. So about a month before departure, we'll ship a few boxes home (we shipped six in total 1,5 years ago), sell and give the extra books away and fly back home with two suitcases each and VOILĂ€!:) I know I will have to freshen up the condo with paint upon my return and that we'll have to bring back all our crap from storage (M'gonna get me some movers to do the dirty work), but at least, we'll go straight back home to a furnished place:) I'm sure it'll feel weird being back, but not for long:)

I like speculoos cookies (YUMMMMMM!), but the actual spread, I haven't tried yet... not sure I would like it on bread... eaten with a spoon straight out of the jar is another story... in which case I think it might be better if I abstain from buying it in the first place;)

MJ said...

Bec, you make me laugh. Where's YOUR blog, woman?

Laughing Salmon, guilty as charged. I DO want to run through these streets yelling my name because I OWN them. That's right.

Anne, that's good to know, too. I cannot imagine my shame, however, as our nastyass couch with approx. five million juice spills on it sits out in front of our building on our tiny sidewalk. Oh, the shame, the shame...we'll have to cover it with something, maybe aluminum foil....

Hi Danna. Moving sucks, plain and simple. I guess I'm grateful I don't have to move our stuff from Paris to Seattle one cake-panful at a time, though. So yeah!

Janey, thanks for the support, we're gonna do it! We will probably also be sitting on neighbors' patio furniture in our living room because ours won't be along for awhile. And I'll have to buy a new couch.

Duchesse! I don't really WANT to complain, really, just find it more interesting. If I read too many "everything is fantastic!" blogs, my eyes cross and I can't tell one from the other. But a good, "This place is CRAP" blog, on the other hand... mama like.

I forget -- when do you guys go back? And yes, I eat my Speculoos straight out of the jar with a spoon. Heaven.


Karin (an alien parisienne) said...


Three months?!?
That's, like, only 12 weeks. Effin' WOW.

Okay, we must have a coffee soon then.

I love your kids, just so you know. :) Coco is Coco-tastic, and the Loosh is a hoot. They rock!

Maternelle teachers not so much. man, do they look grouchy or what? ;-) I maintain it is mostly the ones in your neck of the Paris neighborhood as the maternelle here in the ghetto part of Paris has very smiley, nice teachers. Then again, I am not the momma, just the nounou, so maybe that is why they smile for me...

Inbetweeness sucks, I agree. Limboland is no fun. I'm sending you good vibes! And trust me: anything you write about here is just fab, so keep it up, even if it is about transitional depression for the next while. :)


MJ said...

Karin, YES, three months! And that's being generous, quite possible we're out of here before then. Should probably pick a departure date but man, what a buzzkill that'll be.

Send me a line, we're gonna coffee.

Marie said...

I have a feeling you'll do just fine. I worry about the boy when he gets his first taste of American school lunches....

Duchesse said...

It IS true that bitching makes for better posts;) I too like to do it (although I don't blog!). But I know that you're a pretty positive person. Paradoxically, I find that people with a twisted sense of humour generally are!:)

We are thinking of heading back in early June next year. I'd have the option of sticking around until the end of 2013, but the Duke is antsy to go back. He's agreed to stay til the end of May 2012 for me, but no more. Not a fan of horizontal rain it would seem...;) In any case, I have a ton a projects lined up that will be easier to bring to completion in Canada as I have more free time there. We figure we'll be back home for three years tops before heading off again (quite possibly to NYC), so that'll give us time to iron out a ton of little details that were overlooked this time around. So all is well:) Things are happening as they should:)

You might be gone BEFORE three months? Meaning in early December? Do you think you guys will ever live in Europe again?

MJ said...

Indeed, early December has been discussed. Alex starts his new job end of October and even though he can start it here, he will have to spend a lot of time in the U.S. I don't really want to be without him so much at the end, so we're thinking the sooner the better.

Live in Europe again? Never say never. But not for awhile anyway -- don't think we'd do it with small kids again, and I really can't stand being so far away from my family. That part has sucked, badly.

Sounds like things are progressing nicely for you. I guess I didn't realize you were leaving so soon! Can't blame hubby for hating the horizontal rain, yikes.

Bec Oakley said...

Well, TBFKAAAMIP (your new name, see I'm helping you transition)...

I do blog, although sadly it's just in my head. Sometimes I leave myself comments, which is nice. Unless I get all flamey and start some sh*t, then I have to cut myself off from thinking for the rest of the day. You should see some of the spam I get. Who knew my subconscious wanted me to enlarge my penis so badly...

MJ said...

Bec, never met you, and know you're Australian and all, but pretty sure we were separated at birth.

Bec Oakley said...

Ha! That's so funny because that's EXACTLY what my husband said when I first showed him your blog :) He was all "Babe, are you sure you didn't secretly move to Paris and pop out a couple of extra kids while I wasn't looking? You were gone an awfully long time at the supermarket..."

Caroline Ingalls said...

I lived 4 years in the state .... I had the feeling that the PTA Mums just hated me ....It's hard to live in an other jungle LOL!


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