Sunday, March 1, 2009

Feb 28, 2009: Peeking Pigeons





Feb 28, 2009: Ever since we have lived in this apartment, I have noticed that the pigeons like to perch on all of our window sills. They chirp or squawk or screetch - whatever they say - and poop and peek inside. Whenever I get out of the shower and come back to my room to get dressed, I feel like I hear pigeon beaks banging against the window as they forget how long they are while tying get a cheap thrill from the bare American who has accumulated 24 croissants on her backside. So today, my main goal was to get curtains on our bedroom window. No more peeking pigeons! More importantly, I wanted to cut out the light coming in and the post-movies banter and late night street chatter and all the other noises that seemed to be coming in through a Bose speaker all night long. After having assembled two sets of curtains of the same kind, this was now becoming a much easier task. But still, it required a lot of concentration, measuring, ironing and the elimination of tiny fingers wanting to touch everything. So Andrew took the girls on an adventure to the Botanic Gardens of Caen, just about a 5 minute drive away, while I conquered the curtains. My first and second set of curtains were not perfect, but I have to say it is true about the third time being a charm. After Andrew returned and assisted me with the hanging of the curtains, they looked lovely. Couldn't be happier. Now, let's see if the light, noise and pigeon peeking are reduced...

After curtain hanging, our next stop was an indoor playground that I had discovered. If you are from the Chicago-area where I know these exist, I would say this place is very similar to Pump-It-Up. For some reason, the GPS (aka, our 2nd Geisha) could not find the exact address. So I just told Andrew to get us to the town and we could probably find it from there. So we drove to Benouville, with no problems, in about 10 minutes. However, finding Girafou, this playground, was not as easy as I had expected. After 3 phone calls of incommunicado with Girafou employees, 10 turns around the same roundabout and almost giving up, we came upon the wonderful oasis called Girafou. I knew the kids needed to let off some steam some place other than our apartment, William the Conquerors little playground or running the tiny cobblestones of Caen. I regret not having a camera to capture the girls' eyes when we entered this place. It was a little kids heaven. Two MASSIVE blow up rides, one is a huge moonwalk/mushroom and the other is a huge slide/maze. Then there are two massive three story mazes. And to top it off, for when the kids get way too tired to move, a movie room where movies are played all day long. Today, the movie was WALL-E. Score. There are tables in the middle, probably 75 of them, for the parents to sit and have an espresso or read the paper or talk on their phones, very similar looking to Chuck-E-Cheeses. I envied those parents who were lounging. Andrew and I still feel like we can't just un-attend the girls. So he watched Mia, I watched Grace, and Ella was on her own for the most part. Having kids at this place aged from 2 - 12 make the rides both fun and dangerous. Not 10 seconds went by without a kid getting decked, landed on, elbowed or misplaced onto the ground. So you just pray your kid makes it out of the fight OK. Every 20 minutes or so, they would retreat to movie land, taking a breather. The girls did have a really good time here. It is only open on Wednesdays (when most kids don't have school in France), Saturdays and Sundays. As you can imagine, lots of parties are taking place and those looking for a change of scenery come here on those days. So, it is busy. But boy, it is worth the trip and I will definitely come back with the girls another time.

After Girafou, we stopped for Pizza at a restaurant near the apartment. After all, it was Andrew's official birthday and we needed to celebrate. Now granted, the girls had a long fun-filled day. But Andrew and I never appreciate when we have to cut out early on dinner because of their behavior. Such was the night tonight. We kept them tame ( I speak like they are wild dogs or something) until dinner was almost done and were about to order dessert. Then I took one to the bathroom, they all then wanted to come, and from there it was chaos. We got back to the table and all the sudden a glass was broke, whining ensued - in great efforts and volume, and Andrew and I gave each other the look that says, we are outta here. In France, kids don't act like this. Not sure if they drug small children before going out or if they have strict punishments that keep them in-line, but they simply don't freak out or act out in public. Seeing as how ours do frequently and without warning, we knew this would happen. But you hope you can delay the inevitable forever. Tonight, the delay came to an abrupt halt. We quickly left, paying the bill swiftly, without dessert to celebrate Andrew's birthday, and a few choice words for these precious "looking" girls of ours. Having no tolerence for much at all the rest of the night, they got put to bed as soon as we got home.

Once the girls were in bed, I ran down to Monoprix, our local grocery store, and got some wine and some small dessert treats for Andrew's birthday. We sat and drank wine and ate small desserts and just talked while sitting on our new ugly couch for a while. We talked about how nice it was to have had his parents in town, how our lives are starting to feel closer to normal, how this ugly couch wasn't as comfortable as we had remembered, and how excited we were to get to bed with our new curtains hanging.

Pictured above: Peter and Suzie during their visit, Grace, Ella and Mia at the Botanic Garden of Caen, Girafou amusements.

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