I began this post with freshly manicured nails as I sat facing backwards in a speedy train that was whisking us back to Milan. We decided to use up a four-day long weekend and get some rest and relaxation in a town on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea, in Rimini. That was at the end of April and now we’re in mid-May. I’ve been digging and trying to lift the boulders that have slid and tumbled into my path and unclog this blockage in my creativity, attention-span, and writing. I don’t know why something I enjoy to do so much requires a wrecking ball to swing and get me motivated to move lately. I need a firecracker set off under my ass, and hence the title of this entry borrowed from Steel train. Either way, I trudge through this entry little by little to get it published, all the while trying to keep the coal supply at a max so to keep generating my much-needed steam.
I realize I have not entered a post update since April 4th. That is now many moons ago. The reason for this is simple-lately, I am more swamped than a thaasophobic sufferer. Come to think of it, perhaps I am thaasophobic and hence continue to pack my schedule up all the time. It baffles my mind that I can’t seem to find the time in my day to do some typing and photo-minimizing so I can publish an entry here on my site. Is this stay-at-home-mom gig really this time consuming? I’m not complaining about it because spending heaps of time with Little Miss Stubborn and the Albino Hulk is pivotal and all their combined cuteness, comments, tantrums, and giggles leave me more emotional and proud than a newly crowned pageant princess. But, it just seems that at the end of the day all I can do is sit on my couch where mental tumbleweeds begin their solitary twists and turns along the deserted highways of my mind, rendering me unable to stitch words together coherently on my keyboard. How do you multi-tasking and multi-accomplishing mommas and poppas do it?! I have enough energy to run the house and do all my domestic/cooking errands. I have made a promise to my hips that I would take myself to the gym three times a week and for the most part I have stuck to that, except on days where the kids get sick. Other than that, I tend to domestic stuff and/or socializing with the kids be it at the park or playdates, or doing crafts and such at home. At the end of the day, despite my best attempts to fight off the sneaky approach of sleep, I begin to show symptoms of sudden couch snoozing such as heavy eyelids, bobbing neck, open-mouth breathing, a contorted position that under normal circumstances could never be comfortable, an escaping snore or two, perhaps a weeee bit of drool, all topped off by some random gibberish comments I make aloud about the kids as they trickle through my subconscious. A delicious recipe of supremely un-flattering me. Fatigue creeps in so fast, I get to this state where I resemble the suddenly frozen figures in Pompeii faster than….well, an unforeseen onslaught of volcanic dust and rock.
I could ramble on and on but instead I have decided to summarize our activities over the last month in point form for your attention-keeping purposes, thereby allowing you to collectively exhale a joyous ‘Hallelujah!” that you won’t be here too long (just like when you realize the homily at church is shorter than usual). Moving along…..
- Ania headed back to Canada at the very start of April. Was hard to believe it was two months since she first arrived and it makes one realize how quickly we can adjust to having someone around. She was missed by us all, especially the kids, however they were ecstatic to make a mess at their leisure in their old playroom which also doubled as a guest room. Little Miss Stubborn asked me if Ania was upstairs when we got home the afternoon after Ania’s departure. I hesitated saying ‘no’ because I feared it would release little streams of tears from the big blue oceans that are her eyes, however I also didn’t want to lie to my kids more than I already do, (I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t use the abstract art of fibbing as a medium of persuasion on my children). I told her she was gone and prepared to hold her as she dealt with her emotions. Instead, she marched upstairs, beckoning the Albino Hulk to join her by saying ‘Ania’s gone so now we can make a big mess in our playroom!’. Still, it was sad to see her go because I did enjoy having my sister around, (and I’m not gonna lie about that). Honest.
- We took a little family escape to the beaches of Rimini as mentioned above. The weather was great and the forecasted rain managed to stay at bay. Though we felt Rimini was a trendy tourist trap, it was still nice to get away and see something new. The ‘R’ in Rimini must surely stand for Russia as the town was saturated with Boris’ and Ludmila’s from the motherland and for a second you almost forgot you were still in Italy. Why Russian’s love Rimini so much is beyond me but they flock to it without rhyme or reason, like Italian lineups . Within minutes of checking into our room, the Albino Hulk managed to lock the four of us out on our room terrace. A great view we had of the beach indeed, but after a while of trying to calm the kids down and trying to see if our neighbouring rooms had people in them, I became Juliet Capulet. I called into the streets below to get someone’s attention and instruct them to go to reception, asking them to come in our room and open our balcony for us. The role of Romeo was played by some guy walking his chihuahua who got a laugh out of our predicament. That same first night, the Albino Hulk also came down with a nasty case of croup making it sound like we smuggled a seal into our room. We spent some time playing on the beach, eating, and relaxing with the kiddos in our room as well as the sauna by the pool to help the Albino Hulk with his croup. I checked into the hotel spa to get some tender loving care for my hands while Matlock took the kiddos to the beach to run in the sand. During my manicure, a Russian gentleman approached the spa desk wanting to book a massage. He spoke neither english or italian, and my aesthetician/spa receptionist spoke no Russian. From my little treatment room around the corner, I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing as I inadvertently eavesdropped at their conversation. After ten minutes of talking like cave men (‘want……massage……yeah!……….no man……………..now’), they finally understood each other. He wanted to book a massage but was adamant that the masseuse was female. The night we got back to Milan, Little Miss Stubborn began her croup serenade at night. Mega fun. Weeeee.
- My good friend Kasia from our child hood years came through Milan on a quick visit. We headed to Como, we trudged through Milan streets, we shopped, wined, and dined, and hunted for the best tiramisu in town. I don’t think we ever stopped talking for three whole days and visits like this always leave me warm and fuzzy because it’s not often enough that life-long friends come for a visit. Kasia and I go back 27 years, so we had lots to talk about, to analyze, and laugh over.
- Our washing machine broke down and that’s like having your employee-of-the-month suddenly call in sick. I shall nickname my washing machine Leonarda (no relation to Italy’s famous serial killer of the 1930’s although my Leonarda can slaughter off some fine stains indeed). Without Leonarda working, my laundry debts were rising and my hamper looked like it had gotten edema of the smelly kind. Leonarda is my Golden Girl and the lyrics from the sitcom’s opening jingle definitely apply to her. A technician came and gave her some new parts, leaving me with a bill for her repairs. This did not matter-when it comes to Leonarda, I will pay whatever it takes to get her up and running again. That rectangular piece of metal has heaps of respect from me. Much love.
- As a result of Leonarda working again, I spent some time doing laundry in May.
- A friend I met when I first moved here came back to Milan for a visit. Viviana moved back to the States a year ago so it was great to catch up and chat and let the kids update themselves on their important issues as well. Parks, playdates, dinners, and lunches were an excellent way to reunite over her two weeks here. It was sad to have her go, once again leaving me a little mad at the phenomenon that is plate tectonics, only because it has made the Atlantic ocean so big.
- We decided to let the kids in on their surprise a little early and inform them we were taking them to Disneyland. We took an overnight train from Milan to Paris, giving the kids an adventure on the rails. EuroDisney was a blast. There is no other way to put it. The attention to detail is superb and the smiles and giggles escaping kids everywhere makes this place a must-see. Accompanying the giggles of course were also cries of tantrums and the exasperated sigh’s of parents who were also tired from standing in line with their kids for an hour so that they could enjoy a ride for 51 seconds and see the look of sheer joy on their kid’s faces. After those 51 seconds, the tantrums and protests ensued because now kids were angry that they rides were so short and they no longer wanted the pillow-sized wand of cotton candy that they promised they wanted only a few minutes ago. In Disneyland there is also the consistent hum of monetary winged migration as paper bills just seem to literally take flight from every dad’s wallet and flock into corporate hands. Shocked expressions on parents’ faces are no match for little Suzie’s frown that daddy just won’t buy her that princess outfit priced at 70 euros because after all, she IS a princess because it is he who has told her so since she took her first breath. In line to get lunch on our second day, the Albino Hulk went a little, well….apeshit over a cup with Buzz Lightyear on it. To calm him down I asked to include this cup in my order, not realizing it cost 18 euros. All I know is, that cup will be on his head table at his wedding and he will still be drinking from it then. We caved into purchasing two large balloons for the kids and of course, the kids had zero interest in carrying them but god-forbid we accidentally released them to the sky. We trembled at the hurricane of fury that would escape their little mouths if they watched Minnie or Buzz become smaller and higher in the sky. The balloons were not allowed to stay in the hotel (she’s not nicknamed Little Miss Stubborn for nothing!), and instead, had to join us in our Disney adventure. Naturally, they were strapped to the strollers resulting in us getting licked in the face with these colourful helium pillows all day long, or smacking passerby’s in the face with a smiling Minnie and Buzz. I cannot tell you how many times I uttered ‘oh for f%#$’s sake!!’ under my breath while dealing with these balloons. With a comical twist of fate, upon returning to Paris after Disney was done, Matlock walked through the Paris metro doors first and while commuting, he was carrying both balloons. By the time his body and backpack passed through the stalls of the metro stand, the doors shut behind him, pinching the helium life out of one of the balloons. A horrified Albino Hulk screamed out ‘BUZZ!!!!!’, followed by a POP!, and then Buzz shrivelled up right in front of us. Matlock had horrified eyes that glanced from the balloon to the Albino Hulk, meanwhile I was bent over laughing. To our surprise, the Albino Hulk shrugged his shoulders and said ‘I was done with the balloon anyways’. I wish he had informed us of that before Matlock shuffled around the users of the Parisian metro during rush hour like penguins trying to keep warm in a huddle, all while holding his backpack, day pack, and the two coveted over-inflated floating balloons. Little Miss Stubborn’s balloon met its demise a few minutes later when it somehow got untied on its own from its string, and glided up to the tall ceiling of the railway station. Foolishly I asked Matlock where Minnie was, bringing Little Miss Stubborn’s attention to the fact that the balloon was gone and having Matlock mutter the words to me ‘why would you say that a loud?!’ Regardless, Disneyland is like Las Vegas for children where grown men wearing large Mickey-ear headbands or white four-fingered gloves to appease their children prefer to have what happens in Disneyland, stay in Disneyland. This is precisely why we are already planning to go back next year-we truly had a blast regardless of all the line ups, over-priced merchandise, and whining cries. Too much fun.
- Otherwise, the rest of our time was spent running to school, to ballet, for groceries, playdates and birthday parties. We also went to a friends’ son’s baptism which was great, celebrated our nine years of married union, and somewhere in there, tried to get some down time. A few entries ago I wrote about Luigi, my short iphone fling. I thought I was over Luigi but it turns out whenever I saw him, I started to feel gushy feelings for him all over again. When Kasia came to visit, I asked her to bring me a new phone since they are so much cheaper in Canada than they are here and so now, my fling with Luigi is hot and heavy all over again. He rocks my world indeed and is the ‘piccolina’ gem in my purse. (No worries, we’re using ‘Speck’tacular protection). June promises to keep us busy as well as we have more family coming to stay with us, friends rolling through town, planned playdates, get togethers with friends, birthday parties, Little Miss Stubborn’s ballet recital, year-end activities at school, and packing up for our seven-week holiday to Canada. I get giddy at the idea of keeping boredom at bay AND also attempting to write more. The only thing that sucks about June is it is taking one of my closest friends away from here. Nina is moving to London and my lip quivers at the simple thought of her departure. The dark side of expat life rears its ugly head again.
That’s it for now, this homily is over AND it wasn’t that short in the end. Photos in the next entry-I’m too tired to do photos tonight. It’s 2am and joyous italians are singing again in the streets below-consequences of consuming too many happy drinks.