Thursday, August 29, 2013

Empty Nest

OK, so calling my condo and "empty nest" when there is a pair of three-year-olds running around is a bit misleading, but the cruel fact is that the residency level has dropped by 20%...

Last night was Munchkin's first night in her dorm, which makes me a little bit teary. We move most of her stuff earlier this week, and she has been back and forth a bit to meet the kids on her floor, do some orientation stuff and to bring some other stuff over. But last night was the first night she actually slept there...

I'm not quitting her cold turkey, though! She is back for chicken fingers tonight, obviously, and will probably stay at home. He classes don't start until next week, so she may still be back and forth a little bit before she is really there full time. And maybe she will still be back and forth all the time...I'd be totally cool with that!!!

I forgot to mention that we met her roommate when we were in Paris. The roommate assignment process is very detailed, so I have kind of assumed all along that Munchkin's profile of being local and French-fluent would be likely to land her a foreign roommate from a French-speaking country. So, not the least bit surprisingly, he roommate is least technically. She was born in the Ivory Coast and lived there for maybe half her life, but then re-located with her family to suburban Paris.

In a level of cuteness that makes my heart want to explode, Frenchie actually met her about two weeks before we did...the assignment came, and being relatively close to each other, Future Roommate and Frenchie met for lunch. He approved, which was a good start.

And then we met her when we were there. She seems very serious, but not overly tightly-wound, and she is very personable and her English is just as good as Munchkin's French, so they can get to work on inventing some kind of weird hybrid that only they will know. I think they will get along just fine!

We are headed to the beach for the last weekend of the summer, which makes me so incredibly sad. I am very much a creature of summer, and while I like Fall just fine, I hate Winter so much that its impending arrival actually makes me kinda hate Fall, too. I suppose I will get over it...

I guess that's it. I am just going to go on pretending that I am not a complete emotional basket-case over the growing up of my sister:-)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Being Adventurous

Hi there...yea, remember me? I'm the girl that used to blog here every once in a while...

Please, just ignore my two week absence, and pretend like nothing really happened (I mean, OBVIOUSLY you all noticed, right?) In my defense, I have been otherwise occupied with things that were simply too much fun to take time out to blog...

The trip was absolutely fantastic...I loved every minute of it! Munchkin had a great time, Frenchie's family are super great hosts, and MA did absolutely awesome. She had one super meltdown on about Day 7 because she was tired and missed her Daddy and Sissie, but a little Skype and an early bedtime took care of that and she was back to 100% the next day. Frenchie's Mom kept encouraging me to leave her so that she could babysit:-)

I'm gonna spare you the day-by-day details, but I am going to give you two stories about being an "adventurous traveler". I don't mean this in the sense of doing crazy things, but more in the sense of making an effort to meet people and do things that might be considered socially awkward.

We arrived on Thursday, and Frenchie's Dad, who always looks out for me;-), informed me that he had asked two younger women that he works with if they would be willing to take me out on Saturday night, and they had enthusiastically agreed. Hang out with people I have never met who may or may not speak much English? Sure...why not...I told him I was game, and asked him to find out what I should wear:-). The answer came back "Club clothes"...

So, come Saturday, I tucked MA into bed, hopped in a cab and went to some random apartment to meet two random girls for the night. They had a couple more friends over (because the French pre-game just like we do!) so we hung out for a bit, had a couple of drinks and then headed to a ridiculously Euro-trashy thump-thump dance club. They, and their friends, were really nice, and found the whole situation as ridiculously awesome as I did. From their perspective: "Our boss' boss' boss randomly dropped by, told us that his son's girlfriend was visiting from the States with her older sister in her late 20's (he even lied about my age!!!) and asking if we had any weekend plans could she come with us. What's not to love?"

Never mind that I didn't understand a single word that anyone said to either me or anyone else while we were at the club, and I was exhausted all day on was super fun, and just the kind of thing that I love to do. I mean, when am I ever gonna do that again? And now, I have my own Parisian!

Skip ahead four days now, and we were spending our first day on the beach in Nice. MA was walking around exploring and I was following her, just kind of enjoying the day. We came across two girls, slightly younger than me, one of whom had on a super cute bikini. Being the overly-social creature that I am, I asked them if they spoke English, which they did, and then told her I liked her bathing suit and we just started talking. Before MA got away, they told me that they were going to be at a certain bar for cocktails and that I should meet them there.

So I did, along with another girl and two boys that they were with. Kind of a weird group, very much of the "nation-less European aristocracy". As best as I could tell, they were basically Italian and Spanish, but there also seemed to be a lot of talk of residences in Switzerland and Germany and France. There did not appear to be much talk of having jobs, or the need to have jobs. But they all seemed to like the idea of having an American around, and while the word "arrogant" would not be inappropriate, they were pretty fun and I had a good time with them.

And then I mentioned that I was hoping to go to Monaco, they all jumped on board immediately, and an adventure was born! Fast forward a day, and miraculously there appeared a black stretch Mercedes and we rolled in our best movie-star style. The Casino was, frankly, a least as a casino. It's a spectacular building and worthy of looking at, but it is a whole lot smaller and emptier than the Vegas casinos, and is positively dwarfed by the Connecticut casinos.

We stayed there for a little bit because one of the boys wanted to play some roulette, and then we had dinner, some more drinks, danced a bit and just basically hung out. I probably drank too much, but it didn't get too out of control;-). The company was fun, even if it was a little "different" (you'll definitely want to ask me in private for the rest of this:-)).

The moral of of the story is, I guess, when traveling, do random shit. Everyone knows where the museums are, but the stuff you will really remember comes from meeting people that you can only meet if you get a little bit socially adventurous!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Choosing Children

Stephen Colbert suggests that we all pick a favorite child, but not tell our children which one it is. That will keep them guessing...

I may not have picked a favorite child, but I did have to pick one to bring to France with us, and LoriS-C asked me how I made that choice. Which means someone else probably wondered, too, so here's the answer...

It's a combination of things. LK needs less sleep, and she is much better when skipping a nap or taking a short nap. She can also concentrate longer, so she'd be better on the plane...she can color or read books quietly for longer stretches. She is also smaller, by about 3 pounds, which makes her easier to carry when need be.

But she is also a little more high-strung...and more a creature of habit. MA kind of rolls with things, and I feel like she will just be a little bit easier to have away from home for that long. LK has also gotten into a bit of a habit of throwing tantrums over what amounts to essentially nothing, and I would rather not deal with that!

So, MA gets the prize and gets to come with us! And LK gets her Daddy all to herself, which she will enjoy very much. I'd be pretty surprised if she slept in her own bed more than half the time:-). I think The Boy is looking forward to it quite a bit...they may have a dinner date every single night...

It's the first time they have been apart for this long, so I have no idea how they will react. It will probably be weirder for LK, because she will still be at school with her friends and teachers, but no sister. For MA, everything will be so different that not having her sister may not be as notable. They will definitely miss each other, that's for sure!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Some Bad, Some Good...

Busy stretch around here, filled with all kinds of highs and lows....

I'll back up to last week, when The Boy's Uncle died, somewhat suddenly. He had a heart attack a couple of weeks ago, and the initial prognosis was actually quite good, but then he developed an infection and his kidneys stopped working, and then there were a couple of weeks where he seemed like he was getting better, only to deteriorate. Finally, it was simply too many things at once, which probably combined with his deep longing for his wife, deceased five years ago to take him.

That made for an emotional week, not at all helped by what proves to be a somewhat messy situation between his two sons. They don't get along at all, and while they are very different, they are both, in different ways, totally self-absorbed. Also, son #2 has a son and an ex-wife that complicate things...but probably not how you would guess. I'll spare you the details (they aren't secret...I'll happily tell you if you are curious, but they are long!) but there is a little bit of money, and two houses and no will. It could be very simple, or it could be very complicated, depending on whether the sons choose to make it so. And as something of the resident family expert on such matters, The Boy may end up getting dragged into it.

But, for the love of God, people...write a will. It's not that hard, and it's not that expensive.

So, the funeral was Friday, and it got worse from there! Papa Bear's adorable, beloved golden retriever died on Sunday:-(. She's been around for longer than I've been around these parts, and she was just the best dog in the world:-). The girls loved her, and have been very good about giving her gentle hugs and head pats all summer long because they knew that she didn't feel good.

She was very healthy until earlier this summer, when she seemingly hurt her hips and had trouble walking. But it turned out that she hadn't hurt her legs at all, but had actually gotten a very fast-growing tumor in her stomach that just basically sapped all of her energy. She never seemed to be in any discomfort, but she got very lethargic and lost her appetite, and within the last week and a half she couldn't stand up on her own (she could still walk...she just needed help getting upright!) and stopped eating entirely.

Papa Bear had already decided as of Saturday night that he was going to have to have her put down on Monday morning when the vet opened, but she died peacefully with several people around her on Sunday afternoon. And yes, I am crying writing this:-).

I told the girls that she was very, very sick, and that she had to leave us to go to Heaven, but that she would be with her doggy Mommy and doggy Daddy. We had been preparing them for that for a couple of days;-). They were a little sad, but didn't seem too phased by it...they asked who came to pick her up to take her there:-)

Enough with the sad news, and on to the good stuff...Great Euro Trip 2013 kicks off on Thursday!!! Munchkin, MA and I leaving for Paris for about five days, and then Nice for the rest of the following week, returning on Sunday. I doubt I'll blog, but I will have my laptop, so maybe I will...

Until then, though,

Au Revoir!