Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heart of Darkness Dance Party

"OH MY GOD!" Rissa exclaims.

"What?" I ask, glancing up from my e-reader.

"This," she says, indicating her book.  "THIS. STUPID. BOOK."

"What are you reading?"

"Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.  ARGH!"  The book has fallen from her hands and banged her on the head.

"Dude.  Careful."

"It's not me!  IT'S. THIS. STINKING. BOOK."  She holds it out to me.  "It's not weighted correctly. You see this?  This here?"  She's indicating the first 6th of the tome.  "This is the actual book. 77 pages.  You see this?" She indicates the other 350  pages.  "This is the part where it explains to you why those 77 pages are worth reading!!"


"You shouldn't have to have FIVE times as many pages explaining why the book should be read!!!"

"I have to concur."

"Right?!?   It's a 77 page monologue. GAH!  And I have to read 10 pages tonight. He just keeps talking and talking and talllllking.  I'm not going to make it."  She brightens for a moment.  "I'll   have to have a Heart of Darkness Dance break every 2 pages."

"That sounds like a plan."

"Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack should do it."

Never underestimate the power of a good soundtrack when played on your Crosley portable record player at 45rpm.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gilmore Girls Meltdown

"IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!" wails Rissa.  "WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!!!" She is flailing, face-down, on the couch.

"Yes we will honey."  I smooth her back.  "We've got 77 days."

"And 95 episodes!!"  How are we going to watch 95 episodes in 77 days?!?"

"Easy.  One episode a day, with 18 days where we watch two."

"But then it'll be like work and we won't enjoy it.  We'll resent it! WE CAN'T RESENT THIS!!!"

"Some days we can binge watch - like 8 episodes."


She's panicking.  To her this is a seemingly unattainable goal. To me this is a perk, nay, a privilege.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa there chickadee...  Say, 5 weekends of the next 12, we watch 8 episodes each weekend - so that's 40 episodes of the 95 which means then we only have to watch another 55 episodes over the remaining...  69 days. That's only (insert mental gymnastics here) 3/4 of an episode a day on those days.  If we watch 12 episodes each of those 5 weekends, that's 60 episodes of the 95, leaving us with only 35 for the remaining 69 days - a mere 1/2 an episode each day.   Sooooooooo easy...."

To say that Rissa shoots me a 'baleful' eye would be an understatement.

David takes a different tack. "I'm sending you both a link to the must-see episodes - there are only 19."

Rissa immediately runs to grab her phone.  "We've already watched three of these!" she crows.  "No - five!!  No wait - SEVEN!!! WE'VE WATCHED SEVEN EPISODES!!!  We only have to watch 12 more and we'll have the gist of everything."  She reclines back on the couch, completely relaxed.

"See?" says David.  "Now you only have to watch 12 and you're good to go.  No stress at all."

"Oh, we're going to watch all 95," says Rissa.  "Those 12 are our backup."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sticky thighs in the City of Lights

Our first day in Paris, we get a lay of the land from the massive seasonal Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde. We can see EVERYTHING from there!  Paris has turned us giddy.  "We can go there, and there... and THERE!"   Paris at our feet!  This is fantastic!!

Within  30 seconds of alighting from the ride we realize that  downtown Paris sports wide open spaces with concrete and cobblestones and palaces - all acting as the most stunningly architectured heat conductors/reflectors - I'm going to say it - in the world.  Wilting in the blinding sun, Rissa and I (in our fish-belly white glory), desperately seek out the tiniest scrap of shade that can be found in the lee of Parisian lamposts.

"DIBS!"  I yell - trying to morph my skeleton to the shape of the shadow.  Rissa stands in the lee of me, so she's good to go.

As a family we find ourselves ill-prepared.  Our plans for Paris had not been indoor plans.  We were going to head out each day in a different direction and just walk. We were going to explore - see the 'real' Paris - the Paris of the people.

As we walk back to our Air B&B flat in the 8th - I begin to rethink our Parisian plans.

"What are you doing?" asks David, watching me walk.

"I don't have a thigh gap," I explain, looking like I've just spent an afternoon riding the mechanical bull at the Rock 'n' Horse Saloon.


"Skirt. Thighs. Chafing. I under-powdered."  I am already anticipating macaron-sized heat rash on my inner thighs.  "I shouldn't have worn a skirt.  Or I should have packed the travel size baby powder in my bag."  I milk the physical comedy for a bit longer before I stagger and give up.  "Cover me!"


"Cover me!"  I heft my skirt and grab my slip, tying the front and the back together to create emergency bloomers.  I walk around a bit.  "Not bad.  I don't know if it'll get me 10 blocks back to the flat, but if it doesn't hold, I'll just pretend that I'm a bull-legged Charlie Chaplin."

Later, that evening, we arrive at the train station for our trip to Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, and I realize we have forgotten the travel sized baby powder... again.   I just had to wear a chi-chi dress.   But we're going to a chi-chi Palace, a chi-chi dress is totally appropriate. Having liberally applied powder, I think I'm good to go, but given Paris's heat, it's still not enough. 

Luckily, there is a pharmacy still open at the station.  "Avez vous poudre pour bébé?" I inquire, after having spent a good five minutes searching the baby aisle looking for anything resembling baby powder.   Dude looks at me like I'm nuts. "Que désirez-vous?"  "Uh... poudre de... um... what is baby powder when it's not baby powder - talcum?"  "Ah!  Poudre de talc!"  "Oui!"  I give him a huge thumbs up.  He goes to the back section that houses all the heavy duty drugs and comes out with a box of talcum powder.

"Success?" asks David, upon my return.

"Success!  Now we just need to locate a salle de bain where I can powder these gams!"

An item of note: you have to pay .75 Euros to enter a bathroom in Paris. 
I hang my bag on the back of the door and open the box, which contains a plastic bag full of talcum powder. I look like I have about a 1/2 kilo of coke.  I examine the box again.  There are no perforations, no place that I can tear away to conveniently fold the remaining cardboard over which provides wee little holes so that when I open my 1/2 kilo of talc I can tap-tap-tap it without ending up looking like I've decided to do performance art in a Parisian bathroom.
I tear into the corner of the plastic bag with my teeth and dump a toonie-sized amount of talcum into my left hand.  1/4 of a cup of talcum lands on the floor.

Another item of note:  when I go into les toilettes I am wearing this:

Yes, there is a ginormous crinoline under the dress

I balance the bag precariously on the round toilet paper dispenser and lift my skirt, attempting to navigate through my crinoline to my naked thighs.  I don't succeed.  This is a two-hand job, so to speak.  But seeing as one hand is covered in talcum, and I'm wearing navy blue, that's not an option.  I try again.  I fail.  I am now stuck in a Parisian toilette, more than enough talcum at hand to solve my sticky thigh issue, but unable to powder.   I contemplate getting Rissa to pay .75 Euros to come in and hold my skirt up.  That's when I start giggling.  After another failed attempt, I lean my back against one wall of the stall, put my right foot on the opposite wall and fluff my crinoline and skirt up, holding them to my chest with my chin.  It appears that given the ferocious Parisian heat, the amount of powder that I have in one hand can only really do one thigh.    Still holding my garments under my chin, I manage to pour more powder into my hand and powder the other thigh.  I'm snorting to myself as I wash my hands.

"All good?" asks David as I step out.

"No problem.  From now on, when I say something is impossible?  Remind me of this."