Thursday, January 5, 2012

Live it up and text me in the morning

I don't miss Paris yet, at least not the way I thought I would.  I'm still excited to be home, to understand what's going on and who's saying what and who's shooting who (there was a shooting in our downtown 'hood on New Years Eve VIVA AMERICA!)

My "I miss Paris" moments come in short bursts, more nostalgia and fondness than pain, and usually happen when I see a picture of our former Parisian lives.  I sobbed uncontrollably while looking at Paris pictures the other day but then realized it wasn't because I missed Paris, it was because I was listening to Bon Iver.  (Those fellas make hauntingly sad music that could make you mourn the end of your root canal, if you happened to be listening to Bon Iver during your root canal, which, by the way, congrats on your cool-ass dentist.)

Surprisingly, Alex misses Paris a lot more than I do.  I think it's because he didn't say goodbye properly.   He worked like mad up to the last second then boop! just got on the airplane.  As for me, I had a mourning process, or as others might call it a "losing her dang fool mind" process.

I was so emotionally unstable those last couple months, I didn't eat much and lost over ten pounds.  I drank a lot, smoked a lot (I don't smoke) and went out pretty much every single night because I couldn't stand to be stuck in the apartment.  If no one was available to go out, I went out by myself.  I met some great people that way, including a fun group of Moroccan fashion designers.

Several nights found me crouching in narrow Parisian streets texting my Texas sister.  "What the hell am I doing?" I would ask.  "You're going batshit crazy; live it up and text me in the morning," she replied.

Some of the comment posse were online with me, commenting in real time, on our last night in Paris as I stood on the balcony of our hotel room and hollered at the cars below on Boulevard Saint Germain.  I named all the people on motorcycles after people I loved in Paris, then yelled goodbye at them.  "Au revoir, Madame Kickmyass, au revoir Boutique Man, au revoir Hot Thing One and Two" (who, by the way, are now my Facebook friends; they are lost without mama).

 I think that's "Wild-Eyed Australian Mom" down there...

I named a large burly man on a large burly motorcycle "Virginia Mom."  As he peeled out in front of our hotel window, I yelled "Bye-bye, gigantic Virginia Mom!" and laughed and laughed but then cried.

It wasn't my most emotionally stable time but dammit, I said goodbye.  I fell apart but I left it all there.  Alex didn't do that; he was in bed every night at a reasonable hour, ate well, exercised, drank only respectable amounts of alcohol but now he's Mr. Sad Face.  Let that be a lesson to us all.

Hey, good news.  We will no longer be without a home when the executive housing people kick us out at the end of the month.  We found a house.  It's a tiny little cottage but it's in the right neighborhood and it's furnished so we can all sit down at the same time -- on furniture, even!  There's a tenant living in the studio apartment in the basement which is unfortunate for him.  After a few weeks (days? hours?) of living with us, he may re-think his place in the world.  I'll take him some crappy croissants to apologize for us being so damn us.

I called a cab company a couple days ago to reserve a taxi.  I told the guy I needed the cab at 7:30 a.m. the next day.  He said, "Are you going to the airport?" and I said, "Nope, I'm going to the deserted parking lot of Northgate Mall with my two small children while it's still dark outside."  Immediately after I said those words, I thought, "dang, he's probably already called the cops."

But there was nothing shady about going to a mall parking lot hours before the mall opened.  Sure, the kids and I looked a little weird standing by the curb holding two car seats over our heads to block the rain, but it all made sense when this sucker pulled up --


We bought my Mom's old car in Colorado and had it shipped here on one of those car carrier things that somehow manages to keep a dozen shimmying cars on top while flying down the highway at high speed.

Our first stop in the brand new car was Seattle Public Schools where we enrolled the Loosh in the American school system.  I was promptly told by an imbecile at Enrollment Services I couldn't enroll Lucien in kindergarten because he'd never been in kindergarten before.  Chew on that for a minute, I'll wait...

I asked to speak to someone a lot smarter.  The supervisor came over and, of course, said Lucien could be enrolled in kindergarten because, well, HE'S A KINDERGARTENER.  The supervisor looked worried, perhaps wondering how many other kindergarteners had been turned away by the rogue Enrollment Services officer and sent out into the Seattle streets without any arts and crafts.

We got him enrolled in a great school thanks to our new tiny cottage rental address.  And today, the Loosh had his first day of American Kindergarten.  He looked like this when I dropped him off --

His lunch is in the Frenchie Barbapapa bag.  He insisted.

I'll get into the differences between the French and American school systems next time.  There's some stuff I need to process first.

In a heartbreaking moment this morning, Alex declared his Frenchie clothing "not practical for Seattle" and put on a t-shirt with a polar fleece vest, jeans, and work boots.  My God, one rainstorm and the guy gives up on fashion.  I, however, am holding on.  The red houndstooth coat is ten pounds heavier when soaking wet but I look fabulous.

Now go live it up and text me in the morning,


  1. Too much... goodness... in one post... can't... comment... face... exploding with smileys...

    I'm so jealous of your ability to do stuff like just go out in Paris on your own and meet fashion designers (Moroccan or no). You're so ballsy, I love it.

    Can't wait to hear about Lucien's Adventures in Kindergarten. The look on his face is hysterical!

  2. Hi Bec! I don't think I'm very ballsy because I'm still afraid of parallel parking (will drive miles out of my way to avoid it) and talking to my next door neighbors in our temporary apartment. They're super young and hip. But anyway, it's a nice thought!

    So long!

  3. And I second you and say, "VIVA the red houndstooth coat!" Rain is what umbrellas are for! Sadly, one trouble with Seattle-ans is they've little refined sense of style, of the curves of a body, or the joie of looking great on the street. No more of the daily French "flirtation" the French get to harmlessly enjoy! But you do get plenty of fleece and parkas and Ugg boots, and lots of nerdy talk and boisterous straight shootin'..heh.

  4. If people were meant to parallel park we would have developed echolocation by now :)

  5. Congrats on finding a cottage in the right neighbourhood and a spot for the Loosh at the school you wanted!:)

    If it can make you feel better, there's a gastro-enterite epidemic in France right now... and a few of us brought it back with us to The Hague! They say that during an epidemic, there's an average of 223 cases out of every 100 000 people, but in certain areas now, it's 883 out of 100 000. Acute diarrhea, no less. I should know... Good thing it's happening now and not next week when we're in Venice! (Silver lining)

    So there! Tell that to Alex. I'm sure he'll feel better:)

  6. You need one of those cars that parks for you. Of course that sort of makes the standing in the rain waiting for the current car seem kinda redundant, but STILL robot free thinking park on their own cars! I'm sure old car will understand :(

    I am saddened that the goodness that was Alex in Paris clothes is succumbing to American clothes.

  7. Wow unexpected tears when I saw the pic of the Loosh. So happy and vulnerable and cute all at the same time....he better not get any crap from the other kids about his lunch bag..they don't know about his army of admirers across two continents. Kathy in Iowa

  8. After having visited friends in Seattle (which really is great, BTW) and living in Paris for over 5 years now, I think Paris has more rain than Seattle -- FAR more. And it's more damned unpredictable, too: remember those days when you'd have sunshine and 5 minutes later it was pouring and 10 minutes after that, sun again? And it would go on like that all freaking day?

    Al, man up, dude, and dump the polar fleece and work boots. Get out your Frenchie "man purse" and a scarf.

  9. And MJ, I've been afraid of, and lousy at, parallel parking my entire driving life. It was the only part of my driving test I flunked. Guess the trauma of that scarred me for life.

    Looking forward to hearing about your new neighbors near tiny new cottage. Maybe there are a Hot Seattle Thing One and Thing Two in the neighborhood... or would your Parisian Things be jealous?

  10. They say laughter is good for the soul...therefore I am one healthy being this morning... ready to face the day! Thanks for the belly laughs to start off my day..May your adventures continue! Janey

  11. The Loosh looks so French in that's hilarious....

    Glad you found a place...sounds very blogworthy

    You rock that coat till it falls apart......

    Your last night in Paris was classic...glad to be along for the ride!

    Have a nice weekend

    Ps..hi to the duchesse...she be along shortly no doubt

  12. Loving the face of Le Loosh in this picture! And no matter what anyone else does, practical or not, you stay hip and stylish! You keep wearing that scarf that might get caught in our so American revolving doors. You can do it. I have faith in you! Glad you are in a house that will allow you to sit with your fam. I've heard that's important. Are will still doing the rosary so that you get the {former} crack house?

  13. Love that picture of The Loosh! Congratulations on the little cottage. I'm missing Paris and I wasn't even there!! Where's the wine??

  14. that picture of loosh is adorable! i'm glad they've decided to let kindergarteners in...seems like the right thing to do, in their best interest, really. congrats on his first day, and congrats on finding a cottage in the right neighborhood! love hearing about your last days in paris, and so fun to see some photos of familiar seattle!

  15. Coucou Debs!:) Wassup?:)

    (This blog is quite the social network!:)

  16. I can't wait to hear about the Loosh's American school tales!

  17. Love the picture of Loosh and can't wait to hear about the new cottage and it's renter!

  18. Dear God we miss you. So glad I could Twitter convince you to scream at traffic. I just wish we could have joined you across town!

    Don't give up the coat. Ever. And Al? COME ON! Next thing you know he'll be giving up the skinny jeans. The HORROR!

    And wish Loosh the best of luck. I think he might have a future in stick figure graphic design.


  19. I ran into Alex at work and thought that Paris had done much for his sense of style. He looked great! Don't give up the fashion, Alex!!! If I can rock gold (yes sparkly gold!) boots at work and in the rainy city, he can rock the swanky styles of Paris here. Seattle needs it.

    MJ - I'm looking forward to hanging out one day. Let's make it happen. And screw those young hip neighbors. They're probably intimidated by your awesome coat and awesome family. Just go say hi. :)

  20. Wow, those are a lot of comments. You guys rock, appreciate your coming along to Seattle, fer real.

    I'm a bit pressed for time this evening so...Jadie, Bec, Duchesse, Jenn, Kathy, Bold Soul, Janey, Debbie, April, Tara, Rachel, Ms. Howard, Cari, Staying P and Katie.... you guys are the best, wish I could bake you all a cake but trust me, you don't want to eat anything I've baked. Maybe I'll think of something else.

    Thanks, peeps. Have good weekends.

  21. Congrats on the cottage, glad to know you won’t have to start your own Occupy movement simply to have a tent over your head.

    Can’t wait to hear how Loosh and the US teachers get along. I’m waiting for the day he pretends he only speaks French just to annoy his teacher.

    I always suspected that going to bed early/eating well/exercising/minimal drinking was bad for you, now I know… makes you sad. Thank you, you are my hero! First you validated “assorted toast” for me, made me realize I was giving my children a gourmet breakfast. Now, you have shown me that staying up late finishing off this bottle of wine is in fact a good thing. I bow down to you.

    Be strong with the fashion. Fight the fleece with your red coat!


  22. Ask Loosh to borrow his Paris umbrella if it rains too much. Keep that coat dry and safe.

  23. Fantastic news on the house, and damn if that photo of the Loosh doesn't make me get all mushy inside. I miss you, I miss your kids.

    About this:
    "I was so emotionally unstable those last couple months, I didn't eat much and lost over ten pounds. I drank a lot, smoked a lot (I don't smoke) and went out pretty much every single night because I couldn't stand to be stuck in the apartment. If no one was available to go out, I went out by myself."

    Thanks to your insanity and my willingness to come on over and take care of your kiddies while you lost it (and said your terrific goodbyes -- you were WISE, methinks! Seriously -- you denied none of your emotions and are the healthier for it, I think!), I now have a new camera, and I was able to go out to dinner with friends, and buy my kids Christmas presents via -- which I love because they accept foreign credit cards but ship to US addresses. Just a little shout-out for what I think is a wonderful company for us expats here in France. Anyway, I am really super-grateful that you lost your beans. Kinda literally -- I have been eating the haricots rouges and the lentilles that were in your cabinets. :D

    I'm just so glad to read the updates here (I caught the previous one, too, even if I did not comment there). I'm glad that life goes on, I'm glad that life goes on in a positive fashion!! Um, speaking of, keep rocking that soaked coat, eh? You do look fab in it. :)

    Hugs 'n' Junk --

  24. If it helps, I will shout Viginia Mom! at all portly motorcyclists in Paris this summer. If anything, perhaps the aura of VM will inspire touts les hommes du burly to walk more, motor less.

    Being toughened up by the aggressive frenchie queue system (or lack thereof) must have surely contributed to Looshie's acceptance into The Good Kindergarten. Congratulations.

    I am Anonymous no more. Say hello to your little friend BonJello, a fellow EarthChic (maybe) Northwest Mom.

  25. MJ: You can so parallel park. Seriously, here's the fool proof method.

    Pull up even with the car that is just in front of the empty space. You want to be as close to that car as possible.

    Back up straight until only half of your car is still next to the car you had pulled up even with it.

    Now turn hard and edge your way back into the space.

    It works every time. Trust me, I never really learned to parallel park when I was a teenager but in DC, it's absolutely essential. The two tricks are to be as close to that front car as possible and not turning into your car is half way back the length of that front car.

    I have faith in you.

  26. Happy 2012 everyone!
    Lucien looks adorable, I'm sure he'll do great.
    Good to hear that you are not feeling 'out of place'. I thought it would be hard to leave Paris behind and get into the "American lifestyle" again, but I guess it's easier for Americans, after all, this is what you've known most of your life.
    Keep writing!

  27. Hello again,
    I am reading your American Mom in Paris blog. Slowly savoring it like a really good book at times, devouring it like a hungry pig at other times. I think I just finished your first year there. So fun to live vicariously through you. Glad to hear that you are adjusting well to the good old PNW. Love that picture of the Loosh, but I have to tell you, my first reaction seeing his first day at school picture was, "he looks like a little French boy." Hope all goes well with him and can't wait to hear all about it. Enough rambling. Thanks for the laughs.