An IHF Day

Oct 31, 2005Family Uncaged

I have them every once in awhile. Or every day.

An IHF day.

An I-Hate-France day.

It started nicely enough. With sun and happy thoughts. The children and I went to Grasse Le Plan to do shopping. I got some money from the cash machine. A man ran over to me afterwards and said 78 words in French and I had no clue what he said. I followed him back into the bank, and there, on the ATM were some keys. But they were not mine. I thanked him anyway.

Then we went to Lidl. Lidl is a smallish discount grocery store. We buy a lot of beverages there because they have great prices. 59 centimes for a half-gallon of orange juice! My stress-o-meter went up as we neared the checkout. A long line greeted us. We loaded all our items onto the conveyor belt and then ran to the other side while the cashier practically threw our groceries on this tiny little spot. The kids helped me bag in a rush. I don’t know if I will ever get over that stress of people watching, food flying, and bags ripping (we have to bring our own bags). Oh, how I long for Tom Thumb or Kroger where people BAG my groceries and then OFFER to bring them out to my car, load them, and take the cart!

We went to Picard after that. It’s this great store that only sells frozen food. They have the best frozen herbs there. Whenever I need some fresh herbs, I just go to my wee (very very small) freezer, grab a small box, and shake the herbs onto the dish. It’s the best!

Then I ran into Casino (another grocery store) because our kitty was out of cat litter and she needed some new stuff. I stood in another long line and bagged the few items I got.

All fine and good.

Then we snaked through a desperately slow McDonald’s drive-through. The man taking my order said 78 words in French and I stared at him blankly. Thankfully, Sophie rescued me.

On the drive home (and throughout the time I drove today), I was almost hit (head on) 78 times. People in France have a need to drive in both lanes, apparently, and the roads were made for hobbits. So, as I was driving back to Hobbiton (my small home), I dodged many a truck and car.

We lived through the drive and unloaded groceries. Then I had the privilege of cleaning the bathroom. I hate that job. The kids cleaned their rooms, but not very well, so I nagged a lot. Then they spent the bulk of the afternoon picking out and making costumes.

We left in a hurry and drove to La Colle Sur Loup. The town was having some sort of Halloween celebration. Sophie didn’t dress up (she ran out of time doing homework). Aidan was dressed like a knight (he was so proud) and Julia was a princess.

Getting there, we were almost hit 78 times. Then I had to park. It took a very long time to find a place, and I’m not very good at parallel parking a station wagon. Eventually we made it.

When we got to the square, everyone was dressed like death and satan. Aidan asked for my coat to cover up his costume, as he was embarrassed. (I wanted to cry. He’d worked so hard on that costume!) And Julia started weeping. She was pretty much the only princess there (other than bloody ones). We started walking through the town, but Julia was spent. I decided to leave amid a cacophony of Julia tears.

We drove home, avoiding 78 collisions. I apologized 78 times to my children for being so crabby and mean and wayward and tired and cranky and all the bad adjectives used to describe haggard parents. They, thankfully, forgave me. We ended the day snuggled in bed. I read Lord of the Rings to Aidan and a pirate book to Julia. (Sophie spent the night with a friend).

I’m so terribly human. Something about France just made me crabby today. I’m lonely. Tired. Wary. Weary. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. I hope so. His mercies are new every morning, I hear. And Patrick comes home–a husband in the shape of God’s mercies.