J had to fly off last Thursday to be with her ill mother and whilst I sympathized with her situation, I was nevertheless filled with dread at looking after the kids, on my own, for a week. It was rentré after all – the week when the kids go back to school. All sorts of school and non-school activities tie parents up for the week and I had to face this all on my own!
Thankfully J had been down to Carrefour to spend the annual €200 on new rulers, pencils and all the accoutrements needed for rentrée so that was the one task I dread already done. And, in a highly unusual bit of organization, J left me a sheet of paper with all my tasks on it - day by day, for the whole week!
Friday morning – take Guy to the Dermatologist and Kitty to the Orthodontiste. That can’t be too onerous I thought. Silly boy! After Guy was pronounced OK, Madame Plantin decided she didn’t like the look of a spot on my face and before you know it I was flat out on the bed with a -200c lance being stuck in my cheek. And as she did her best to give me frostbite, she said, ‘ ah Monsieur Hellon, I have seen your wedding pictures with you in a kilt’. What she actually meant was that she’d seen my other ‘cheeks’ when I’d lifted my kilt and some snaps had been taken. At least she knew that I didn’t have a spotty bum so didn’t need to lance me down there!
Then there was food shopping to do for the guest J had decided could stay at our place for the week and the Sunday lunch for the other guests she’d invited. After that Guy had to be sorted out for the scuba diving lesson he had booked but before that he had to go for his rentrée haircut. I was exhausted and it was just the first day!
Saturday – start to ready the house for the myriad of guests arriving on Sunday and head to the shops because I’d forgotten J had booked me and the kids with some friends for a BBQ and it’s bad form to appear without a contribution. BBQ finished about midnight – I was totally knackered!
Sunday and thankfully, our guest, Dave, takes the kids off to church to allow me to start preparing the food for lunch. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas with Pain au Chocolat Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert. I find an e-mail from J telling me that two of our guests will not be appearing so I reduce the number of place settings. When the mob return from church, I find that yet another lunch guest is not appearing. Is it me ? Was it the threat of a man cooking? Anyway – all the more for me, Dave and the kids.
After lunch, Kitty wants to be transported to her friend’s house for a sleepover. I miss the best bits of the Grand Prix! Bugger and damn!
I was rescued from total mental oblivion by Tan who spotted me in the garden and invited me over for a drink later in the evening. I couldn’t get over quickly enough and actually arrived before they’d finished dinner. A bottle of wine and several cigarettes later and I felt a bit better but probably because I was sloshed and didn’t realize the week from hell had not yet started!
Monday - I wake up feeling a bit groggy but realize I need to look at my ‘task list’ to see what’s to be done today. Ah yes – go to village and get school bus passes for the kids. Also need to replenish Angie’s cigarette stock after last night. Our guest likes milk and orange juice (not combined) and I need to refill the fridge – so off to Leclerc the supermarket. Can’t find the parked bus which is supposed to be issuing the bus passes and the supermarket is manic. I get home to find that Guy needs to be transported into town as he’s heading off to the beach with his pals to ‘hang out’ but thankfully Dave does that task as he’s heading off in that direction. And I’ve given all my cigarettes to Angie – oh I could do with one right now! Then I remember that last night Angie said her downstairs shower wasn’t working. I get my tools together and head over there but it appears that it’s working again so some relief there.
I cook lunch for Dave (Pasta Pesto with Chorizo) only to find that he’s sound asleep downstairs! Still, it should be a quiet afternoon until I spot that Angie’s plants are starting to look a bit thirsty so get the sprinklers out and start the water but I need to remember that it’s on because if I forget about it, it I could be on all night.
I start to prepare dinner but Guy needs picked up from town. I just get back with him when Kitty calls- she needs picked up from her sleepover. Aaaaagh!
It’s now Monday night and at last I’m sitting down with a glass of wine but there’s something I need to remember to do tomorrow. Ah yes – get the bus passes. Groundhog day!
J – please come back – all is forgiven.