Archive for April, 2012

Bachelorette Pad

April 30, 2012

I woke up this morning and felt so happy I had a whole week ahead of me all alone. I felt bad that David’s mom’s feelings were hurt, but if she had been here I would be miserable right now. I just really need to be myself right now. David just left for Atlanta and although I have big plans for unpacking and cleaning, I have a feeling I won’t be getting much done today.

My mom is home, out of the hospital, but they still haven’t figured out what caused her to have chest and head pains so intense they had to give her morphine (I found that out from my oldest sister) or why her hemo-globin count was so low. She was worried when she checked in about how it would affect me when I was so far away (I found that out from my step-dad).

I am just getting bits and pieces, I would actually have to be there to get the whole story but I don’t think I will be flying home this week. I think I will wait a few weeks when the steady stream of visitors has calmed down. Plus it will be warmer then and I might get a chance to go swimming!

Thanks everyone for the kind words and concern.


Happiest Day of Maza’s Life

April 27, 2012

The pigeons finally discovered the bird food on the balcony. I had to wake up Maza from a nap, which she was really annoyed about.

Upward Over the Mountain

April 26, 2012

Only seeing my friends and family once a year is so difficult, that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around I am dreading it. The 12 hour plane ride, followed by the two hour drive from San Francisco to Modesto in rush hour traffic. The dinners and lunches up and down Northern California. Rushing from place to place, telling the same stories over and over, only to have to leave when the formalities are over and the real conversation starts.

It’s not until the end of our vacation that I realize that when I hugged my former co-worker last Monday, that was the last hug, the last time I would see her, until next year. When I said goodbye to my nephew after Thanksgiving dinner, that’s it for another year, and next time I see him he will be 16. But the last and final hug, the hardest of them all, is saying good bye to my Mom. I cry every time.

There are no hugs in France. Only bisous.

I couldn’t call anyone, I didn’t want to go crazy sitting at home, so I went in search of California comfort food: tacos. Unfortunately, Cantine California was closed and so was the other Paris food truck, Le Camion Qui Fume. David took the day off work. I’m not sure if it was because he had a doctors appointment or knew how upset I was. I had a photography/catch up date planned with a guy from my Sorbonne class who is in town for a month. He is always mean and sarcastic, something I miss, so I knew seeing him would make me feel better.

David and I were early so we stopped at Le Quincy which was probably the best meal I’ve had in Paris. It was expensive, but so charming and friendly. Once you enter, it’s like being in a tiny village. They also serve (fresh) frog legs as an appetizer, which is good to know because we haven’t found them anywhere else.

My friend had already eaten, but when I went outside to say hi and tell him we were going to be late, the owner, who is probably in his seventies, followed me out and invited Keith inside and said changing tables would be no problem. We ended up eating a long lunch  and drinking a bottle of wine (David ordered a glass, but they brought a bottle and left it at the table “just in case”). Keith had great news and made fun of my accent when I ordered and was all around the same asshole he always is.


We went on a long walk on the Promenade plantée took some pictures and sent him on his way to his yearly birthday celebration at the Eiffel Tower.

I talked to my step-dad when I got home, and he said to wait 48 hours before booking a flight. He said in two days they will know more. I also talked to my sister who said I could have called her, but she has a baby and I didn’t want to wake up the whole house. And what could she have told me when I woke her up at 1 AM in the morning? I’m drinking coffee getting ready for the day. She would be half asleep and whispering. Would talking to her have made me feel any better?

Who knows.

My Mom is in the Hospital

April 26, 2012

I woke up this morning to see a Facebook wall post from my step-dad on my mom’s wall.

After Ann was admitted to the hospital they repeated some blood tests and found that her hemoglobin had dropped to 4.4 gm. In 22 years of medicine, this was the lowest I have ever seen in a person who was able to stand. Ann was having severe chest and head pain. She was moved from her hospital room down to the cardiac telemetry unit and blood was started. She now is getting her second unit of blood and already looks better. She is still in pain and on oxygen, but looks more stable. I am going to sleep for a few hours and return to her bedside. Still no idea why her blood got so low. We appreciate everyone’s prayers.

It’s 1 AM in the morning in California so I can’t call anyone. What do I do? Do I get on a plane? WTF?! Why did I choose to move so far away from my family?

The Mother in Law

April 21, 2012
Next weekend we are going to Château de Chantilly to celebrate David’s mom’s birthday. Normally when we visit David’s relatives we end up staying for at least three days, so I was pleased to hear that we are only going for the day, because speaking French and having every glass of wine that crosses my lips monitored is exhausting. She wants grandchildren like yesterday. But spending hours at a table struggling to understand what everyone is talking about gets boring after a while, so I end up sipping wine and making to-do lists in my head. Apparently this means I “like to drink”.
David is going to be gone all week in Boston, and I was looking forward to spending time alone, spreading out and making a huge mess emptying boxes and getting things organized and not having to stop or clear off the table every night for a “proper” dinner. Bread and cheese at midnight? Bon apetit!
So I was pissed when he informed me that my belle mere will be staying here with her husband for an undetermined amount of days. They will be sleeping in our bed, which means I get to wash the king sized sheets, pillow cases and duvet cover in our tiny washing machine and then figure out where I am going to hang them to dry. I can’t even do clothes yet because there is nowhere to set up the drying rack. I’ll be sleeping on the couch. And without him here to translate it’s going to be really annoying. 
It’s bad enough having his relatives stay with us when we have a guest room and a stove and oven, so I can hide in the kitchen and cook and “go to bed” at 9 so my ears and brain get a break. I have no idea what I’m supposed to feed them using only a microwave and toaster. And the restaurants around here are touristy, overpriced and god-awful. My shrimp tasted like they left them out to ripen for a few days then rolled them in used cat litter and microwaved them for 25 minutes to make sure they were nice and rubbery. So gross. Then they covered it with black licorice flavored alcohol (pastis) (which was not mentioned on the menu, or I wouldn’t have ordered it) and set on fire.
My mother in law is very “helpful” when it comes to the progression of my French and always has new ways of informing me that it is not getting better fast enough.  She also likes to talk about how I don’t have a job, a lot. She emails me suggestions, like this video below. A job so FANTASTIC they have to advertise it on YouTube. Although spending my nights cleaning up barf bags and scrubbing airplane toilets sounded lovely, I’m sure the daily three hour round trip on the ghetto shady RER would be the cherry on top. Don’t anyone go and try to steal my dream job from me. I can’t wait to apply!

Journey Through the Labyrinth

April 20, 2012

I tried to go through my clothes but I got frustrated and shut the door. I feel like that girl in Labrynth when the junk woman starts piling stuff on her back when she is in her fake room.

 I have dresses and cute jeans that make me feel pretty, but they are lost in the jumble of ok jeans and dresses that I can’t get rid of because there is nothing wrong with them.

Instead of dealing with that hot mess, I went to see Jeanette Winterson at Shakespeare and Co. I was there alone, basking in the glow of listening to a writer I really liked read from her new memoir, and remembering when I 20 I read all her books and never imagined someday I would be at her book reading in Paris.

David showed up right at the end and started having a mental breakdown about the crowd and trying to pay for the book and stand in line and hurry up and get out of there. Next time he is NOT INVITED!  He totally harshed my mellow.

A lady behind us told the cashier behind us that we had stolen the book because we grabbed one from the pile where there wasn’t a cashier and were going to pay at the counter two feet away where there was a cashier. People living in France forget that every one around them speaks English in an English bookstore. I guess she had never been to a book signing before. People don’t come to a book signing and steal books. And holding a book in your hand while inside the store is not “stealing it”. And why did she care?

A friend of a friend that has tried to invite herself to stay at our apartment twice instead of paying for a hotel was in town, so I invited her and her two friends over for a drink because she is an asshole and I wanted some free entertainment.

She is SO LOUD. Americans really do speak louder than Europeans but she is even louder than normal. It was fun. Her friend kept making it clear that she lived in NOB HILL in SAN FRANCISCO not Sacramento and she had traveled to Italy MANY MANY TIMES. Anyway, they didn’t say thank you, they didn’t say anything nice about the apartment, they only wanted to know how much we were paying and why is the kitchen so small? They were just plain rude. So next time she invites herself to stay I will have no problem saying no. I can’t imagine putting up with that kind of obnoxious narcissism for more than an hour.

This is why I never wanted to get married

April 16, 2012
We spent yesterday looking at kitchen cupboards and appliances. I always thought that was so stupid and boring, spending weekends “fixing up the house”. But here I am, looking at kitchen counters and LIKING IT. What a loser.

We bought bird food to put on the balcony to entertain Maza

 You can really drink this water. It’s a Wallace fountain

David wanted to know if this plant came in green. I told him we will just have to wait until Amsterdam
Free bird stealing food from the caged bird

I was a vegetarian for ten years after my dad died of a heart attack. I read the back of labels. I cut out fat and processed foods. I worked out like a crazy person. It didn’t work. He was still dead.

I ate foie gras for the first time on my first date with David. And I could only choke down half of it because of the guilt.

Now I eat anything that doesn’t eat me first. Blood sausage, rabbit, chicken gizzards, frog legs, pigeon. It’s all delicious. We will probably roast Maza in the oven with potatoes when she dies. She is hefty, so she will probably last us a week.

Anyway, this song reminds me of him. I know he isn’t free as a bird now, he’s just gone. But for three minutes it’s nice to imagine him that way. Every time something really good or really bad happens I wish he was here. I think he would be proud of me for surviving in France. I would love to show him around Paris. I think he would really like David. But I’ll never know.

David made a sharp right and told me under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should I look down the street in front of us. He said the store was to the RIGHT. DON’T LOOK DOWN THAT STREET. GO RIGHT.

I knew exactly what he had seen. PUPPIES!

This one is perfect because I can tell David Maza lost some weight and learned how to bark

I’m only 980 euros!

Oh look election time!

Sweetie, I don’t think you’re very popular in the 20th arrondissement

You don’t have many fans in this arrondissement either

Embarassing Photographic Proof – We Are Hoarders

April 14, 2012
I thought I was exaggerating and being sarcastic when I said we would be moving in two months even though we had eight months.

Oh, how wrong and not funny I was.

We really did end up moving in less than two months. David is a “rip the band-aid off” kind of guy and I am a “keep piling the band-aids on top of a festering wound and hope it goes away” kind of gal. Lets not talk about income taxes, ok? (they owe ME money, why would I figure out how to file my taxes from here when there are no consequences and little reward?).

I am nervous about the walk-thru tomorrow morning. I am refusing to go. It’s not like there is anything damaged at the old place (that some shady wood wax product won’t fix). It’s just that our old place was brand spanking new with IKEA products, and they don’t age well. If they did, IKEA would be out of business.
Our street is poppin’ on Friday nights.  The security guard at the store across the street caught me taking sneaky pictures and said bonsoir and then mimed a guitar like he was serenading me. Adorable.

So, on to the hoarding pictures. Remember when you thought our apartment was cute and pretty? Well prepare to have your dreams dashed.

Presque Terminé

April 9, 2012

It’s quite nice to have our couch all in one piece again. But they messed up our internet so it’s not turned on yet. Somehow we are using David’s moms internet and she lives like three hundred miles away. But only one of us can use it at a time. David went to see Hunger Games and Maza and I are sitting as close to the radiator as possible. I can’t move, I can’t think. I’m surprised we are finished. It seemed like it was just going to go on and on and on.

I kept hearing a growling sound, like a ten second angry thunder storm. David said it is the metro going past underneath our street. I like it. I also read that our street, Vaugirard, is an old Roman highway. Pretty cool.

Watching Maza watching the street from the balcony is more entertaining then just watching the street. She is still convinced that her fat ass has a chance of catching a bird. And she is terrified and fascinated by motorcycles.

It used to be hard to go back to the old apartment when the new one was empty. Now that the new one has a couch and heat and books, the thought of going back to the old place to clean is a nasty ugly thought. Unfortunately that is where I am going today, and everyday until it’s perfect. 

This Week Was A Bust

April 4, 2012

David is in London AGAIN so this week I had to meet with the man to fix our blinds, the man to turn on the gas and the man to clean the chimney. And Friday I get to meet the man who cleans our hot water heater. They were probably expecting an adult who spoke french, but instead they got a very large toddler who can only speak in the present tense.

We didn’t close the metal blinds that protect the glass doors from being smashed in when we first arrived because they are heavy and there are three doors in the kitchen and living room. It only took about three weeks for someone to try and pry open one of the doors with a crowbar. So now we close them every night. This is the second time the blinds on this door broke. The blind guy came and said the stick is too small and he will have to order another one and come back. So, they are still broken and I can’t shut them. Luckily I learned my lesson and no longer watch tv shows about serial killers while David is gone, so I haven’t been too worried about someone breaking in and killing me.
After he left, I went to meet the gas man. He turned the gas on, but then turned it off because our water heater hasn’t been cleaned yet. But the man coming to clean it said he can’t clean it unless the gas is turned on. Failure number two.
Three leash less dogs waiting for their owner to shop. I was about to run downstairs and steal one but the gas guy showed up
This morning I went to meet the chimney guy. After a few minutes of poking around in the chimney and in the gas pipes behind the chimney in the bathroom, he told me NEVER NEVER NEVER use the chimney because it is too close to the gas pipes. He seemed to think I was going to start a fire the second he left.
This was disappointing, but not a big deal because we never expected to have a fireplace. But it was a lot less expensive to get cleaned (only 50 euros versus the couple hundred we were expecting) and it would have saved us a lot of money on heat. Plus, winter is a lot less depressing if we had a fireplace to look forward to using.
A few minutes later he told me that it actually would work and it’s very well built and we have our own chimney so the floors above us wouldn’t get smoke in their apartments. He also said we only need to get it cleaned once a year. So I guess this week wasn’t a total bust.