May 29, 2012

Black Swan

We've been having a relaxing time and the nightmare of last week is well behind us. Jon is riding my uncle's bicycle along the river path, Max is napping upstairs and I'm watching Black Swan dubbed in French. It's the middle of the movie and Natalie Portman is starting to crack under the pressure of having ot dance the lead. I always forget what a good movie this is.

Here is a picture of Max playing in the grass in my cousin's backyard.

Living in the city, Max never really gets to play in grass. But here he is a country baby. I'm going to have to find a patch of grass for Max to crawl around in when we get home. There's a nice one about a mile and change from our house but hopefully I'll find one closer.

It's the point in the movie where Natalie Portman is finally performing in Swan Lake. It's the intermission and she's just had a fight with herself or so she thinks. Fantastic ending to a fantastic movie.

Today, I am going shopping with my aunt. Sunday here is France's version of Mother's Day. And the women in my family are celebrating. I want to get a present for my mother and my grandmother.

May 23, 2012

World Weary

May 23, 2012

It’s 7:20 am in France. And as usual I am the first one awake. The baby is sleeping in a very comfortable crib in the room next to ours. And my husband is lying asleep in the bed where I am sitting and writing this entry. It’s been quite a journey but we have finally arrived. Our trip was very difficult. Well, part of it was very difficult. Max surprised me by sleeping on the plane for most of the trip. The difficult part arrived when we did in Schiphol, Amsterdam. What a shithole. Our flight coming in from New York was very late on arrival due to bad weather at JFK airport. We had 45 minutes to make our transfer from one extreme end of the airport to another. This included going through security, passport control and getting boarding passes at the gate.

If we had had a longer transfer, we probably would have figured out sooner than we didn’t have a ticket for the baby to make the connecting flight. But instead we learned this at the gate with 10 minutes to board the plane. They denied our entry onto the plane. Denied - at the gate - with people waiting for us at our destination city, Luxembourg.

Once we got over the initial shock of missing our flight, we rallied and went to the transfer desk where Jon worked out problem with the assistance of a very helpful KLM ticketing agent. Turns out, the lunkhead who checked us in in New York City was supposed to SELL us a ticket for the baby to get on our flight per our arrangement with DELTA/KLM as we made it online and confirmed over the telephone.

But instead of giving us a separate ticket and boarding pass for Max, the agent gave Max a boarding pass using my information. So in essence we had two boarding passes for one ticket. Max’s boarding pass listed him as VALERIE BLACKELL/infant boarding pass. That should have raised a red flag for us before we got on the flight, but we blindly trusted that the slack jawed moron who did this knew what he was doing.

Even my mother, who works for an airline as a ticketing agent, didn’t notice this huge gaff. Until we got to the gate for our connecting flight with seconds to spare in Schiphole, we had no idea at all that a mistake had been made.

The only thing we could do, was go to the transfer desk and get tickets for a later flight, which was much later. 7 hours later. What do you do with a baby at an airport for 7 hours while you are waiting for a connecting flight. I’ll tell you. Not much. We ended up letting him crawl on the dirty airport floor for most of the afternoon while Jon and I watched the hours slowly tick by.

If it had just been us that had been effected by this scheduling change, that would have been enough drama for one family. But there was an additional drama. My aunt and uncle were waiting for us in Luxembourg at 10:30 in the morning and we had no way to get in touch with them. Around 11:30 Jon and I found a Starbucks and turned on our computers. I wrote to every family member that I knew could get in touch with my aunt and uncle to let them know what happened. I called my mother repeatedly in New York starting at 3 in the morning New York time, so she could also get in touch with my relatives.

At some point during the day, I received notification that my aunt and uncle had been informed of our dilemma. How nice it was to see their smiling faces as we emerged from the Luxembourg airport. But our journey wasn’t over. We still had along car ride. It was during this car ride that Max cried, really cried for the first time in two days. He started crying in the car, and continued crying until he fell asleep around 9:30. He is still sleeping now. And it’s now 7:40 in the morning.

We anticipated that how Max behaved would be the most difficult part of the journey. We didn’t count on all the problems we encountered in Amsterdam. But we made it through the journey and Max doesn’t seem any worse for the wear. Although he does seem wary of our relatives, I’m sure he’ll warm up to them after a good night’s rest.

It’s amazing what you have to do to earn vacation sometimes.

The end.



May 13, 2012

Central Park Zoo

Jon and I thought it would be a good idea to take to the Central Park Zoo. It was Saturday and the weather was beautiful -after several days of rain. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. When we got to the zoo, the line was 50 people deep. I don't know what we were thinking. Of course, on the first warm day in May, people would want to take their children into the zoo.

April 27, 2012

A Book

Being a stay-at-home mom is very hard work. I find myself getting lost in the details of the day. Yesterday, on my fourth walk outside with Max snuggled in his stroller, I found myself walking into the library and drifting over to the NEW ARRIVALS section, where I picked up a copy of a Jennifer Wiener book. Thrilled to finally have the space in my brain to actually read a book, I got into bed at 8 p.m. last night and started reading. Unfortunately, I was too tired to read more than 15 pages and went to sleep shortly after I began. Maybe I'll read another 10 pages today.

April 07, 2012

Catching up

The last time I entered a post on my blog, we were experiencing one of the worst winters on record. More than a year later, we are experiencing one of the mildest winters on record. It's amazing how much can change in a year.

Since my last post, we met our son Max. Max is now 13 months old and is starting to really develop as a little person. And boy does he have a lot of personality.

If you were to ask me what I think about being a parent, I would tell you that it's really hard work but incredibly worth it.  When Max gives a little hug; when he pulls my hair; when he looks at me that way before he bursts into tears; when he smiles sheepishly because he's about to do something he's not supposed to; when he's sitting in my arms perfectly content; these are the moments that I would use to try to sell parenthood to my friends without children.

We waited a long time for Max and now that he's here, I can't picture our lives without him.

January 19, 2011

Snow and Laundry

Because of the expectation of snow, I'm pushing up laundry one day. Tomorrow, my goal for the day is to finish the laundry before the snow comes. Snow doesn't stop me from doing anything but it sure is difficult pushing a shopping cart through slush and snow.

So. My two least favorite things will happen on the same day - snow and laundry.

January 13, 2011

The Cobbler

Two winters ago, my mother-in-law bought me a fantastic pair of winter boots. Two weeks ago, I wore those boots to contend with weather. My feet were getting wet and I couldn't understand why. At first, I believed that snow was getting in through the tops, by my ankles. We had some pretty deep snow. But two days later, I figured out that the soles were worn out and water was getting in through the bottoms of my boots. 

Two days ago, I dropped the boots off for repair at a new cobbler. And today, I discovered that he's a great cobbler. He replaced the soles, cleaned them off and now it's like I have a new pair.  He did such a good job, I dropped off another pair that I picked up at DSW last year. Those are much cheaper quality than my snow boots but I really, really like them.

They are falling apart at the seams. He said he could fix them no problem. I'll let you know what happens when I pick them up in two days.