Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Il nage comme une pierre

There's an earthquake button in this elevator. I fear it's a Godlike button that would bring about an earthquake if you pressed it. Maybe it's more of an informational button, like you suspect you're in an elevator during an earthquake but aren't sure so the button starts blinking to let you know you do, in fact, have the worst timing ever.

Maybe it's a hidden camera thing -- it captures the image of anyone stupid enough to press an earthquake button in an elevator and sends it immediately to the police because that person should not be out just walking around making decisions all the time.

I'll never know the answer in an empirical way because everyone who stepped onto the elevator and noticed the button quickly jumped back with a "what-the-HELL-IS-THAT?"  The U.S. elevator etiquette rules no longer applied;  my fellow elevator riders and I clustered together in one corner, as far from the button as possible.  Even the other elevator buttons sensed the danger and tried to stay away.

We're in earthquake country here in Seattle.  We don't eff around.

But damn, she's so pretty

Coco and Lucien have swim lessons once a week after school.  This past week, they got involved in some kind of intense project in the yard right before we were to leave.  I yelled out the front door repeatedly, "Don't get too wrapped up in that, we have to leave for swim lessons soon."  Then two minutes later, "Guys, don't forget swim lessons, don't forget swim lessons," and a few minutes after that, "Swim lessons swim lessons swim lessons love those crazy swim lessons."

Then I walked off to continue painting the guest room.  It's such a pretty color in there now, makes me feel like I'm doing a back float in my very own hidden tropical lagoon.  So peaceful.... so peaceful.  Lucien appeared an hour later in his swimsuit to find me covered in paint and hugging the wall.  He said, "What time do we leave for swim lessons?" and I looked at the clock and said, "Oh....yeah, we missed swim lessons."

Then Lucien gave me the most peculiar look, almost as if he was realizing he was not born to the most impressive authority figure.  He was skeptical; perhaps I had no right in the world to tell him what to do and perhaps he should be surprised I can even get up and dress myself in the morning?  I could tell I was about to lose his respect so I did what I had to do -- I quickly accused him of farting.  He flailed around in denial, totally distracted.  Works every time.

Swimming lessons are kind of futile anyway.  Lucien is not catching on and has little interest in doing so.  As I recently said to my in-laws, who are here visiting at present, "Il nage comme une pierre."

(He swims like a rock.)

We have a grossly obese praying mantis.  I don't think praying mantises are used to eating as much as we're feeding ours.  Mantisy thinks he's hit the jackpot but his mind will change when his abdomen explodes.

This is a normal praying mantis

This is Mantisy

We just love him so much.

My in-laws are in town so Alex and I absconded to a hotel for a night.  It sounds sexier than it is; we spent most of our evening lying facedown on our side-by-side queen beds saying things like, "Ahhh...these sheets don't smell like feet.  Let's never leave."

The city looks so much prettier when you don't have one kid darting into traffic and the other tugging dangerously hard on your skirt's elastic waistband and begging for Cheetos.

Al and I headed to Pike Place Market early the next foggy morning to collect ingredients.  We were having some friends over that night for a seafood extravaganza dinner.  The guys at the seafood stand were very helpful in our selection of dungeness crabs and halibut fillets and mussels and scallops but I still punched one in the face when he gave me the grand total. We love our friends (and the cioppino was delicious) but you people pricey.

We still feel lucky to have this in our backyard

Coco turned 4 over the weekend.  Coco is a study in contrasts.  She invited mostly boys to her party and insisted on sword fighting with them but also insisted on wearing this --

And insisted on having a cake that looked like this --

We put Lucien in charge of entertainment.  He took his job seriously and planned games all week.  When the time came, Lucien was a rock star.  He held the rapt attention of all party-goers, many of whom suffered from a case of Lucien-worship before they even arrived at the party.  He's either going to be President of the United States or a cult leader, tough to say.

He had great success with his treasure hunt and straw throw (?) games.  He then taught the kids a game called "Make it Rain Money" in which he stood at the top of the stairs and rolled pennies towards the rosy-faced kids below.  He faked them out by adding occasional bottlecaps, which one boy promptly began putting in his mouth.  "What?  Aren't we past that age now?" I wondered as I pried open his surprisingly strong lips.

The kid with the most pennies at the end "won."  There was lots of scrabbling on the floor, some bonked heads, some tears.  Hey, it's a cutthroat world out there.  These kids gotta learn you've got to fight for every cent you have, even if it means hitting someone over the head with a My Little Pony to get it.

(My sincere apologies to the parents of the children at the party.)

And happy, happy birthday to our favorite Paris souvenir. 
Snow White will cut you.

For now, Lucien is staying put in his public school.  The deciding factor was my many meetings and communications with his current teacher. She's just too damn good to leave.  She's not warm and fuzzy but I don't need a teacher to stroke my hair while I tell her my troubles.  I need a teacher who will work with us regarding what he needs in the classroom, a teacher who's got her eye on The Loosh and will notice, and grab onto his collar, if he slips into the pit of despair.

Her sharp-eyed hawk-like nature pleases me immensely.  So we stay this year.

With the 50 bazillion dollars we'll "save" this year by not sending Lucien to private school, we will be able to afford lots of occupational therapists, tutors, assorted psychologists, and clowns. We can have one tucked away into every corner of Banister Abbey should any unanticipated educational or emotional crisis arise.  On second thought, drop the clowns.  Clowns tucked into corners and popping out at unexpected times may be a recipe for trauma.

My in-laws have been here for a week.  I love when they visit because not only are they great people, they always do the dishes after dinner.  I was also happy to discover I remember a lot of my French, at least once I've heard it again for a few days and have had a couple drinks.  It helps.

The bad news is after they leave us, my in-laws were originally supposed to visit Yosemite.... and Kings Canyon.... and some other national parks.  *cough cough we suck*  They are now restructuring their entire vacation from our dining room table. 

I'm roasting some potatoes right now.  In the recipe it said "sprinkle generously" in regards to the seasoned salt mixture but I read it as "sprinkle dangerously."  And for just a moment, I felt alive. 

Fingers crossed we make swim lessons this week,


  1. Happy birthday, Coco!:) (Does she actually know her real name is Camille?;)) She IS a study in contrasts! A tomboy in a dress, have you ever?!:) She's like a pint-size cross-dresser!:) Or maybe she's channelling two past lives simultaneously: one in which she was a princess and the other, a knight:)

    Why did your in-laws have to reorganize their whole trip from your dining room table? Am I missing something?

    By the way, the duchesse is now officially the Duchess of Essex!:) I'm off to a roaring start: forgot the only coat I had in a classroom yesterday and now it's gone! Who the hell does that?! I have officially lost the plot.

  2. Duchesse of Essex! You've lost the plot! Good for you. So do I understand you moved??

    My in-laws had to change their vacation because our stupid government is shut down, and therefore all our national parks are shut down, which makes it hard when they had a national park-themed vacation planned after they left us.

    Instead they went to San Francisco, so not a bad consolation prize. At least San Francisco is still open.

    Bye, D!

  3. ah the Duchess leaves the continent and never reads the news...LOL...

    and yes cough, you do suck..cough cough...get your freaking act together down there...

    great long post....and happy birthday to Mme Cokes..my favourtie tiny Parisienne.

    1. Yup, Debs, with a thesis to finish and a new master's to start (two master's overlapping as it were - wooptidoo), I'm afraid the news took a back seat to the other craziness in my life. No wonder I lose my clothes in public places!

    2. Oh, and Mantisy is a fat bastard! Have you been feeding it fast food?;)

    3. Crickets, just crickets, I swear. I've recently read praying mantises need to eat one insect every few days. We've been giving him several insects every day. We've cut back and now Mantisy is hella pissed off.

    4. Crickets fried in duck fat with a side of mayo?;)

  4. I know I know..... totally sucks down here. I just want it known it wasn't my idea.

    It was a long post. It's my hope to blog more frequently with shorter posts. At this point I sit down none too frequently and just blah blah blah. I'll try to get my personal act together too, Deb!

    Coco rocks. Thanks, Paris.

  5. Here in the South of France, we say "il nage comme une clé" (just as impressive as swimming like a rock).
    What we also say : "les chiens ne font pas des chats" or "la pomme ne tombe jamais bien loin de l'arbre" (do you have a similar expression in english ?) ... So, my dear MJ, both your children seem to be one of a kind ... Are you really that much surprised ?
    Kind regards from your faithful reader from Provence,

    1. Bonjour, Cecile! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Oh yes, we have that expression and I've used it many times in discussing the Loosh and Alex. Are you suggesting it pertains to me and Coco as well?

      Hmm... I do love swordfighting and dressing like Cinderella. You may have a point.

      Merci, Cecile!

  6. This is my first time reading your blog, and I must say, you are potentially the most awesome person on the planet.

    Thanks for your humor :)


  7. I don't like the way that mantis is looking at me. Brrrr...

    Awww, I wish a happy belated to Coco!

    1. Don't worry, he's just wondering if he can eat you. Mantis is out of control.

  8. I love that Coco is your favourite souvenir! I went to Paris and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

  9. well- well -well-NEVER a dull moment......loosh will be awesome... president or cult leader don't forget someday there will be a statue of him in your home town that boy is SOMETHING....coco is precious-beautiful-the side glance picture-beautiful-teachers can make or break a situation such as this---- i'm glad she is a maker-the seafood looks delish-all seems well and I could not be happier-wine hum maybe that could help with my French-I am at a learning impasse -well till we chat again

    1. wine, g, wine. Makes you not care if you sound like an idiot.

  10. Feed Mantisy all he wants. I've come to the point where I'm afraid to not feed my enormous formerly stray cat anything she wants. A pissed off cat who knows how to hunt is scary!

    Sounds like a great party! Good for Coco!
    This government shut down sucks! But Alex's family will love San Francisco!

    1. OK, Lou, I'll feed the mantis until he explodes with joy! Probably literally. At least my fat animal is in a cage and can't hurt me. Good luck with the cat.