Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year!



Greetings from the other side.

No, not that other side, although I’m sure some of you were wondering. I mean this other side. The one at the end of the holidays.

“We have to rethink this,” said H as we sat blissfully alone in a bustling café on the Continent, shoving food and drink into our faces. “We need a new plan.”

Fancy here had just had, and I quote, “The Greatest Idea Since We Arrived.” Turns out it’s not that hard to look like a genius. Just walk over to the tourist office and buy 4 senior citizen and 2 child tickets for an afternoon-long tour bus of Some City. Then hand the bunch a sack full of sandwiches and a few bottles of water and wave wildly, plastering a mixture of second thoughts and regret on your face.

Then jump up and down, high five and skip all the way to the restaurant after their ride has turned the corner.

It’s not that we don’t love our families. But since Nanny #1 wanted to go see her family and Nanny #2 was hosting some kind of bikram flax seed festival with friends from various Buddhist nations, we were on our own the last two weeks. Okay, that’s a lie. Technically we had our parents. But I mean we were without paid help. Not even our housekeeper. It was all rather tragic.

Instead of sparkly high heels and a gorgeous red dress Fancy here was much more, “Can you take the girls. I need to brush my teeth before I serve dinner. Do you think anyone will notice if I just keep my pajamas on?” and “What the fuck are you doing dropping crumbs on that floor? Did you not just see me crawling around here with fucking Flash wipes on my hands and knees?”

And after a week at the Fancy Home, we shoved everyone on an aeroplane and headed off for a week somewhere in a sort-of-warm European location. Because we don’t know when to say when.

Anyhoo, turns out travelling with 4 old people and two toddlers is a bit like a cross between a senior care home, a mental institution and an unstructured Gymboree play hour.

It wasn’t enough that I was dealing with the Minis. I had 4 other children. Well, 3 other children and one old man. We were all wearing glazed expressions by sometime last week. Not that there weren’t some great moments of excitement.

For example, I taught my mother-in-law how to turn on a stove. (Yes, I didn’t realize it was that different of a system from one European country to another.) On the other hand, H got to teach my mother how to—hold on—open a window. My father-in-law took to walking out the door in search of something vital (like stamps at 10pm for postcards he hadn’t yet written) without a phone or even the address of our apartment. And my dad, God bless him, just laid in the corner with his eyes shut and occasionally one of us would hand him a glass of water.

And finally after over a week and a half of H and I interacting only enough to stare daggers at each other, I put them all on a bus. For 3 well-deserved hours.

“You know, there is such a thing as a Holiday Nanny. You can just hire them for the two weeks to come with us, sleep in the Minis room, get up at the crack of UnGodly o’clock with them and babysit in the evening so we can go out every night,” I offered, between gulps of my wine.

Slamming down his beer glass (yes, that’s how far gone we were. Beer. Not Champagne. Beer.), H looked at me. “Well, now that’s an idea.”

“Yes, and we could try having the holiday catered, as much as I love to cook it was all a bit overwhelming. Also when we travel,  get maybe, two apartments? One for the grandparents and one for us, the Holiday Nanny and the girls. And we could sleep in and I might be able to stay awake past 7:30. What do you think?” I pushed.

“Now that is starting to sound like a plan,” he answered, sucking the meat from the steamed leg of once living crustacean.

And so here we are. You know how some people start planning the holidays 6 months in advance? Well, Fancy here has a full year to get her act together. Christmas, 2012. That’s the one I want to remember.

Happy New Year!

18 comments:

  1. May I say that your Nanny situation sounds a bit tragic... I only have the one and she's currently in the US with me and hasn't really had a full day off since we've been here because we haven't managed to work it out (but I do occasionally take the kids out on my own so she can have a rest) and she's ok with it cause I'll give her an extra week vacation time this year. Really Fancy, sort this out, as much as I enjoy laughing at your blog posts I feel kind of bad for you and H. Or are you and he planning one of your adult only first-class trips somewhere exotic? In which case I'm back to being envious.

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  2. Funny - Fen and I got three hours alone time on our vacation as well - while he was in the ER with a gash in the back of his head. He proposed again so you know he was delirious! 'Twas bliss....

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  3. ah yes, I was actually looking forward to returning to a life of two laptops and two people not speaking while sitting in the living room...

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  4. How did you get that gig?!? Is she live in? Because that would seriously make her more accessible. Ah Italy...and yes, I informed H that we will be making more trips like this followed immediately by 3 days by ourselves somewhere. :-)

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  5. Generally, as I alternate years between having no Christmas kids at all to having 3 christmas kids and 2 old dodderers who bring all their own anxieties, insecurities and nervous tension to roast alongside mine, I was looking forward to this Christmas with just my children in the Peace of our home. This worked well till I got sick of sitting on my own with dirty dishes and a paper hat that was barely holding it together since I had given up alcohol and so wasn't allowing it to save itself! After I forced them into a game of Cluedo which they played with very aggressive bad grace, I find myself resolving to fill the house full of angst ridden relatives in 2 years time, and maybe even a tramp or two.

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  6. Bloody funny! Not much of a holiday eh?? on the bright side at least none of the oldies wore incontience pants or had a colostomy bag you had to change. or did they? I'm sure you got through it with plenty of booze whatever the challenges. Pop over and rewind with me darling xx

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  7. Now THAT'S a plan. I'll carry bags.

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  8. This made me laugh, only because I recognised so many elements from Christmases past. :) Glad you've come through it now. Sounds like what you need is a Christmas spent in a luxury hotel, with a restaurant and babysitting services.

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  9. I didn't think I needed help with my bags but now that you mention it...

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  10. Oh thank God everyone still has control of their bowels. Well, except the Minis...

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  11. Now, a tramp, that would have really made the whole thing. :-)

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  12. How do people like the Duggers manage with all those children? That's why I have one. Easier to pass off in order to have me time.

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  13. Good on you. We know when to say when too. To cries of why why why, we went out last night (a Sunday! practically a school night!) to avoid the bed, bath and beyond situation...

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  14. Sounds like an excellent plan--you can't plan too early for a Christmas to remember.

    We took kids AND old people to Paris once. Not a great combination. I wouldn't want to combine Christmas and vacation.

    And happy new year to you too!

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  15. happy new year! Paris Disneyland I could understand, they have a stroller park and a wheelchair rental. The Eiffel Tower not so much. ;-)

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  16. Well, they clearly crossed a threshold where they now employee child labour to watch over the youngest of the group...

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  17. Yes, I agree. In fact I proposed that option. I was turned down. But now he's seen what the reality of this arrangement was...there's hope.

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