I wouldn’t necessarily call it a resolution, but this year I told myself I’d take one picture a week – specifically, a picture which encapsulates the kind of week I’ve had. Last week I wanted to post a cute picture of the minivan as we returned from our road trip to the Great White North, but I didn’t know which picture to post. I had a few choices:
1. The pic of the new brakes I had to put on the minivan before we left. (Not myself, but by Bruce, my well-named and flawless mechanic.)
2. The pic of the fresh dent I put in the back of the van when pulling out my driveway as we were leaving.
3. The pic of the heating vents in the ceiling of the minivan dripping onto our heads as we drove through Quebec.
4. The pic of the tire pressure light which goes on each time the temp drops below 20 degrees. That light all but imploded as we dropped to -25 in Montreal.
In the end I couldn’t bear to post a pic of the minivan – I hardly want to encourage it. Instead, this week’s pic comes from M – in yet another attempt to subtly remind me to replace the toilet paper.
As I have already made clear, I do not believe in replacing the toilet paper. Other things in which I don’t believe: those crappy little snack-size ziploc bags and the half sheets of paper towel.
Consequently, we have all thawed out from our week in the Great White North; even the minivan. It is now 30 degrees in NY and it feels like Maui. Aloha!
You could say that I lack attention to detail, or that I am easily distracted, but really it’s that I cannot see a project to its completion. I’m not talking about big projects… those I’m sort of okay with. I’m talking about the smaller things, the things that trip us all up every day.
For example, I can load a dishwasher yet just leave enough dirty cups in the sink to leave everyone wondering what the hell I was thinking. Similarly, I can unload the dishwasher but leave all the cabinets open after I put things away.
And this morning once again, I seem to have done it. You see, I see nothing wrong with this: I believe this counts. I believe I have done my job. I believe it is very clear what I intended to do, and there’s nothing wrong with someone else having to come along and finish this for me.
I’d been intending on chronicling the move, if only in pictures. But that plan derailed itself when Fiona dropped my phone into a toilet. (In a moment of weakness, I told her she could play for 15 minutes if she let me nap. I was so, so very tired and would have traded just about anything for a power rest.. maybe even her. Note to self: Do not plug your phone in next to a toilet. I will probably get this right at the same time I learn NEVER to smell underwear (or pull-ups, I did that this very morning) to see if they are clean.)
We are now in the thick of the unpack, the part of the process which has me wandering from room to room in a haze of panic and confusion. It doesn’t help matters that the tiny blue notebook I’d been using in lieu of the iPhone went and got itself lost this afternoon. (It seems the folks at ATT thought we were trying to defraud them when we changed our address and then promptly ordered a new phone, and so they have kept me just about technology free for several long days now.)
Without the phone you cannot see a picture of the dining room table that went and got itself cracked in two during the move – the very same table that did the same thing en route from LA to Seattle.
But I don’t need a phone to tell you that yesterday Sidney asked me what I was doing.
Me: I’m unpacking china.
Sidney: You know, china is an inappropriate word.
Enter Fiona (as if on cue): That’s Va-china Sidney.
Sidney: Oh. Va-china.
Speaking of the nether regions, in a giant karmic last laugh, it seems that while M has moved us with 5,632 rolls of paper towel, we have come here with nary a roll of toilet paper. In a panic I used some tissues I found in the bathroom.
Some menthol scented tissues I bought in France last summer.
Note to self: If you want a spring in your step, there are probably better ways of going about it than wiping with a minty tissue.
And now, an arts and crafts project! No, I haven’t gone all Pinterest on you (and given that I still have difficulty operating a stapler, I never shall), but I do have a quick project to suggest. If you find yourself say, at school, and you perhaps have some time to kill, here’s an idea. Pop into the bathroom, filch a roll of toilet paper, remove the inner tube and place the tube in the sink. Soak the tube until it’s revolting and soggy and then mush it up until it looks something like this:
Place the project on the kitchen counter as your mother is making dinner later that day. Things should go really well for you from there.
This would be even better if you just happened to find a tube lying around, because then you won’t be stuck with this:
While there are a myriad of fun things you can do with this, it’s likely gotten wet and soggy and no longer serves its original purpose. You can really psych your mother out and do this to every roll of toilet paper in the house.
Oh, but you just did.
Someone raced home from school, made a pit stop in the bathroom and headed outside in the rain.
He thought it would be awesome to toilet paper our house (this tree was only the beginning). It’s on the roof. It’s pissing rain. Hence, there is soggy toilet paper on my roof.
I caught him with a raw egg shoved in each of his pockets. Really.
I saw a grown man dressed like a bug today. I saw a small, tortured dog squeezed into a pig costume. I saw a woman dressed like an umbrella. I said, “Nice umbrella costume,” to which she replied:
“I’m a jellyfish. Whatever.”
I never really liked it, but now I officially hate Halloween. Most of all, I want to find the bugger who told Bennett about eggs and toilet paper.
Jet lag messes with your mind. What else, besides perhaps 22 hours of travel with small children, could have you questioning whether even the most glorious the trip was really worth it. I mean, I could have stayed in the same time zone and I’d be asleep now. So would the six other people in the house, two of whom are incredibly noisy and seem to take it upon themselves to mimic large elephants when tiptoeing around at 3 am. One of them, who has not used toilet paper for at least two years now, goose-stepped into my room at two and asked for some. Really?
It is now that I must remind myself of the glorious azure skies, the balmy seas, the thrill of new places, new words, new foods, and the company of friends who make it worth the 5,000 mile trek and yes, the simplicity of travel and why it’s all worth it. Our main focus of the day was where we ought to go, how we ought to get there, and what we ought to eat on the way. Nothing more. Not unless you count the one constant: how to avoid the wrath of French people. Like the woman who we paid extra so we could eat ice cream in her store rather that take it out, but who moaned audibly when Sidney dripped (shock!) ice cream on a chair. Like the guardienne of our little park who did not let us sit on certain patches of grass (me), climb trees (Efram), or play ball (Bennett). Or our precious landlady who came over as we were about to leave for the airport to pick up her key and return our deposit and who feigned a heart attack when she saw the state of our apartment: “Mais, I do not think I knew how many children you had!”
But we are home now. And while we were sad to leave France, we are happy to be here. Even at three am.
(ps: Who, after all, can resist Brainy Smurf gelato? Not the French. This stuff was everywhere.)