Monday, May 14, 2007

First it was April almost gone, and now it is May half over.

This is not terribly surprising. This is life zooming past as usual. But all the same, I am just really, really jealous of the individuals who seem to juggle their family, their friends, their kids, their work, their home, the animals, the plants, the insects, the government, (those last two place side by side on purpose), the endless-list-of-stuff-to-do and still have time at the finish of the day.

I am in awe, or I am asleep. One or the other.

Here in the merry, merry land d'Oc, the end of April looked something like this. Awww.. sometimes being Dad is just the BEST.

The first of May was a trip to Nancy for a family wedding. A very pleasant experience considering the wedding was the day before the final election and under the circumstances a bit like being sent into "the mouth of the wolf" (French version) or into "the lion's den" (American version).

In spite of being a small (minuscule) business person, my political leanings have always been
somewhat left of center. Even if the objective is to arrive somewhere in the middle, I just feel more comfortable if the project starts somewhere to the left.

My friends on the right
obviously don't agree, but right wing, conservative governments make me nervous. Too much potential for really bad stuff. Just look at the damage a "Shrub" can do. (For those who think the "Shrub" has been innocuous, I have no response. And for those who claim oh, no, it isn't the same and it couldn't happen in France, I have no response.)

I realize that not every slippery slope ends in disaster. But if I have to choose between a political philosophy which is more likely to produce a government that gives away too much of my money to people who don't deserve it, and a political philosophy which is even slightly more likely to produce a government that thinks the solution is to blow up everybody you don't like... it is a no-brainer for me.

Relax, we can still be friends. Just leave your handguns at home when you come for dinner.

Just to ruffle feathers, I like to tell people "back home" that I voted Communist in the first round. I love saying that. "Hello, I voted Communist." "What's up? I voted Communist." It really brings home the N
OT in the USA anymore.

Never mind that it isn't true. Since I haven't completely severed the cord and actually become French, I couldn't vote. But it's the thought that counts. "I would have voted Communist just to ruffle your feathers. All the best. Love, Ben."

In any case, the wedding was charming. Tastefully modest, and delicious. Which in my book means they spent all the money on the food and wine. The guests were warm and welcoming. And I am happy to say that regardless of political leanings, lefties and righties were equally open and accepting to our own personal version of family. (The bride is my partner's goddaughter.)

For once I was able to walk into a French "city hall" and not break out in hives. The church didn't make strange noises or give any indication that it would collapse as a result of my walking through the doors. And as a bonus, the bride and groom were genuinely cute, so it wasn't necessary to make up remarks about how "they make such a lovely couple" etc.

The only rub spending time with all those 20-somethings is that it makes you feel old. Well, it made me feel old. Aside from that, I got to wear my Prada suit which has been sitting in the closet for over a year, and was thus granted a reprieve from the pending sentence of being sent to the French version of the Salvation Army. And, I think there was only one photo accenting my shiny pate, which I will show and be done with now and forever more.

I was able to enjoy a little R&R. (OK - having a rightish side of the family provides certain side benefits - but it doesn't change the political philosophy bit.)

He is quite impressive, a sizable hunk of horse flesh at almost 18 hands, which makes a nice mount for my long legs. But something like 30 years have passed since I've done any serious riding, so I played it safe and kept my derriere firmly in the saddle and his nose away from the fences. For someone with younger bones he does a nice job of this sort of thing...

That was a nice bit of nostalgia and play time and then it was back on the night train and back to the real world.

Home in Montpellier, the next out of ordinary task was registering the wee Franco-Americans for this fall when they will start their first year at kindergarten (L'ecole Maternelle). Les monstres will be 3 at the beginning of August and - amidst the blare of heralding trumpets - they are finally "propre" or as you might say, potty trained. Well, almost. The big burly guy is once again lagging behind his sister. But there is much confidence that he will follow suit, and manage his bodily functions with the same aplomb he musters for the soccer ball. The stadium crowd is on it's feet shouting, "Ni-no Ni-no Ni-no."

The registration at school went quite well. Once again, a nod to Montpellier's progressive attitude, nary an eyebrow was raised when a collection of 4 parental types arrived with twins. The biggest quandary was how to fit all the names on the form. But with little hesitation and a little "white out" the head mistress added names in-between-lines and all was proper and in order.

They will be in the same class the first year, which will not help the timid guy break out of his sister's shadow, but everyone seems to agree that it is less traumatic for twins practically joined at the hip. Once step at a time.

That's the phrase for this month. Trying to get up to date. One step at a time.


Amy H said...

Great stories and photos. I'm finally reading your blog for the first time. Keep the posts coming. (I know it's hard to find time - especially as a parent.)

Pam said...

You are a FABULOUS writer (imho!) Very glad to have found you - I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your posts!


Papadesdeux said...

Egads...merci for the encouragement. It is EXTREMELY appreciated.

Jayne said...

Loved the post. Don't know where to begin. I know! I'm so impressed that you have a Prada suit and found a nice place to wear it.

Alison said...

I'm also impressed that you have a Prada suit.

And la maternelle is one of the greatest things about France, in my opinion!

Papadesdeux said...

Did anyone see that wannabe commie in the Prada suit go by? OK, I confess, I bought it on sale in Italy... we're talking deeeep discount...

Kim/Thomas said...

Thank you so much for the very sweet comment, I er we are very flattered (mostly just me:)

I soo put the sponges in the microwave too...

I agree with you pam, fabulous writer! So much feeling, from a guy ;) ;)


Doc said...

writing schmiting I LOVE the bald pate! LOVE IT!

(was always told that a bald head is just a solar panel for....wait this is a G rated blog...nevermind ;°)

Papadesdeux said...

Well of course all those stories about bald men are true! How else do you think I landed myself such a sweet spot here in France.

Funny that you remark on my blog being "G" rated. My life has certainly been more of the XXX variety. Yet when it comes to words on the page I have a mental block. I guess I'm still ducking the bar of soap.

But just to pretend I'm intellectual and on the cutting edge, I tell everyone that profanity was hip and cool in the 60's with comics like Lenny Bruce, but now it is just banal.

That of course is baloney, don't believe it or me. I am so NOT intellectual. Mr. Basic here. Food. Shelter. S... oh h..l you know what I mean.

Sarah said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Would you be willing to let me profile les monstres' language development? I have a questionnaire you can take a look at if you'd like; email me at babybilingual (at) gmail (dot) com.