Friday, August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009: Already Behind and School Hasn't Started

(pictured above: The scariest picture I could find, which isn't even scary)

So last night I had a slumber party with Ella and Grace. I didn't decide to slumber with them until around 1:30 a.m. when Grace got up to tell me it was too bright in her room. I took her back to her room only to find her closet door with the light on wide open. So I said, "Grace, why didn't you just shut the door? Or rather, why did you open it so much?" She told me the door opened by itself. That sounded weird to me and Ella, her bunkmate for the night, was sound asleep. So I couldn't ask her if she had opened the door. But I doubted that she had as she typically likes it dark in the room. So I thought it weird that her door had mysteriously opened by itself. Then I got to thinking about one night when I thought for sure I heard Grace get out of bed and walking around - you can hear when people are walking in the apartment due to the old, creaky wood floors. So I got out of bed to intercept her before she walked into our room about one thing or another and woke up Andrew. Only when I got to her room, she was sound asleep. And so was Mia. But the footsteps I heard were so real and vivid. I let that go. But here I was now with two curious incidents so last night I just decided to try and diagnose the problem myself. I laid out three big sitting cushions on the floor between Grace and Ella's bed, got my pillow and a blanket, I threw a freaky looking doll I spotted into it's identically freaky looking stroller and yep - I was on the lookout for freaky ghosts, goblins and Chuckie dolls.

Are you laughing at me yet? Maybe you think I am just wacko. But let's face it - I live in a 500 year old building - one of the oldest in all of Caen. The history of France and that of Caen is quite the story and the lives of those impacted by those of World War II alone would be enough to keep a few sad (or happy?) souls around some habitats. From the very start, before we moved into this apartment, I was slightly uncomfortable with that notion. But here we are after 6 months of living in this apartment and now I am not bothered - I just want anything that might be around to be more curtious. Like not walking so loud in the middle of the night and not leaving doors with lights on wide open when children are sleeping.

So what happened? Not much. I did hear some very loud and consistent creaking in the middle of the night that wouldn't stop but I soon discovered after some detective work that it was just the wind and the rain beating on the window dormer. Ella was scared of the noise so I just explained what it was and she immediately felt better. Grace slept. The scary doll slept too, all snug in her scary bed. And I actually slept comfortably myself on the floor. But would you like to know the ONLY weird thing that did happen? Mia got up first in the morning and came into Grace and Ella's room to wake them. So after 10 minutes we all rolled out of bed. I turned on some cartoons for the girls and I went to the kitchen to start my pot of coffee. I looked at the clock and it said 9:15 a.m. I pondered how great it was that the girls had managed to sleep in a bit. After I made a cup of coffee I went to check the news on the computer and a bit later I just happened to see the time the computer clock read 1:15 p.m. Which means that all of us slept until past noon. Without interruption. And the clock in the kitchen had a dead battery that had stopped at 9:15 a.m. So that is all definitely weird and I am not saying anything about anything, except that I fulfilled my protective duties that I felt were required at the time. Now, please resist the urge to commit me just yet. Any of you ever felt spooked for one reason or another?

Onto how we spent the rest of the day. Originally, I thought we had all morning and afternoon to plan an all day outing. But when I realized it was 1:15 p.m. and looked around to see all of us lingering happily in our pajamas, I knew I had to change course. So I let them watch more cartoons as I started to organize my calendar for the next few months - I was still so out of sorts that I felt the need to do something productive and grounded.

Amid my calendar organization, I realized that school starts next Thursday for the girls. And then I remembered that I had three packets of information that had been sent from the school over the summer, one for each daughter. These packets being in French, I had put off the reading of them and had instead opted to read my English US Magazine on many an occasion. I had noticed that required school supplies and vacation schedules were in the packets at first glance so with school supply shopping in mind for the weekend - and of course getting the calendar organized - I just dug into the packets with the idea of getting them read and out of the way.

What did I learn from these packets? Truth be told - not much! I didn't understand about 60% of the information. I mean, I did learn one important thing. That school, in fact, starts on MONDAY not on Thursday as I had thought. So at least I will get my girls to school on the right day. How in the world I thought it was Thursday....I have no idea. I was also able to extract the vacation dates for my calendar. And there are A LOT of vacations. Many of you might be excited for tons of vacation - particularly the teachers out there. But for me, I just get anxious about what I will do with the girls for 5 vacations that are 2 weeks in length. And then lots of little short ones.

And then there is the page of school supplies needed. A different list for each daughter coming from their different teachers. Grace's list was fairly simple. I think she needs 300 napkins, a box of kleenex, 2 self-photos, and a blanket and pillow for nap time. Mia's got a little more difficult. You may be wondering what would be so difficult about this? Just get out your dictionary, Kate, and look up the words! Well the problem is that I did do that. But the words individually looked up mean nothing when you put them all together. For instance, an school supply list from Chicago might say: 100 Rubber Bands. A French person would look up the word rubber and then the word band. Try piecing those together to understand what you child is supposed to bring to school! And those are the problems I am having. I translated one line item to say, "1 envelope of 3 rubber bands". I am doubting that is what it really means. But I can guarantee you that when my children show up to school on Monday, they will be laughed at for some random items I thought they needed for class. Hopefully, they will just remark to themselves that the silly American mother doesn't know any better. Just for your own reference, I scanned a copy of the school supply list I was trying to decipher today for Ella and my "homework" about what the line items may mean. And if you know French, feel free to translate the whole list for me so as to protect Ella from humiliation : )

So loosely, that is how the day went. The girls said they wanted to stay at home and play. Aside from a few timeouts, it was pretty mellow. Tomorrow we plan to take the girls on an adventure so stay tuned. And tomorrow night Andrew and I are going on date. Yay!


  1. I was trying to help you figure this out (with my trusty dictionary) and my husband who can speak not a lick of French said " Why doesn't she just call Remy"

    I concur. Ask Remy. I am coming up with the same translations you are.

  2. Remy just sent you an email with the translation!! Hope we're not too late!!

    Ask him ANYTIME!!!!