Archive for March, 2012
Over midterm break in Feb (yet ANOTHER full week break for the kids here in Ireland. I swear…they are hardly in school….) I took the three older kids to Eurodisney outside of Paris. Since we are planning to take one of the TWO weeks they have off for spring break to go to Spain as a family, John couldn’t do both. Since February is not the greatest of months weather-wise to stand outside all day in long lines in Northern France, Disney had some great deals. At a girls’ dinner a few weeks before the trip, I was discussing my plans. One of the women I had just met that night asked if I would be up for her and her 3-year old coming along. I figured why not? If she was cool, it would be great to have another adult there with me. And if she was a psycho, it’s a huge theme park. It’s not like we would be sleeping in bunk beds in the same room or anything. Turns out, she was awesome and I couldn’t have asked for a better travel partner.
All of EuroDisney (now rebranded Disneyland Paris…..maybe the former sounds too close to Eurotrash) has an Americana theme. So each hotel is “American”. There’s the Route 66 Hotel, decked out with hot rods and Happy Days style. There’s New York, made to look like skyscrapers. And there was the Cheyenne, where we put our boots each night, Cowboy. Old West. All the servers and help wear Wild West gear, which is funny when they greet you with heavy French accents. But they were very friendly. The Cheyenne had one restaurant, The Chuckwagon, and one bar, the Red Garter Saloon. The Chuckwagon was a buffet style, with the salad bar served atop a replica wagon. Although, I wonder if the real cowboys had escargot and pate on their menu as well. This one did.
We flew in on a Tuesday afternoon, dumped the bags at the Cheyenne and headed straight for the park. I made my kids go right to Peter Pan, since that was the first ride I ever rode. It was also the first for Sophie and John. So, since it was Lincoln’s first visit to a Disney park, by God….it would be his first too. It was the longest we waited for a ride during the whole visit. About 45 minutes. Although, they were champs and after bitterly complaining the whole wait, they declared it “totally worth it” after we got off.
The next couple of days were happily spent hitting the favs over and over again…..Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.
On the third day, we took the train into Paris for the day. We came up on the Metro where one nice gentleman had told us that we should get off to get the best Eiffel Tower view. Annie, my travel partner, lived in Paris for a year (a fact she neglected to tell me until I have par lez-ed my embarrassing French all over the place) and we asked several people how to “get to the Eiffel tower” once we came up from the Metro. All of them seemed perplexed and said that we weren’t too close and it was hard to explain, etc. We then just headed off, following instinct and about twenty feet later….BOOM…the best view of the Eiffel Tower you could want. So, we revelled in the view for a while and then sat down to have our first crepe in France. The rest of the day was spent wandering and admiring Paris. We hit a carousel, two playgrounds, the Pyramids at the Louvre, and the Latin Quarter for dinner. All in all, an amazing day.
That being said, I have to add in for all of the begrudgers out there (you know who you are…..you aren’t in Paris, so no one else should get to either!). Yes, it was an amazing day. Yes, I took my kids on a wonderful adventure. And yes, I rode the train back to the hotel holding a bottle of warm urine for ten stops. Reality with kids doesn’t cease when you take them to Paris. On the train back to the hotel, John John needed to go the bathroom. The commuter train has no bathroom and there’s no time to get off at any of the stops. So, Annie offered up an empty apple juice bottle and he did what he had to do. And what I had to do was hold it until we could find a trash can.
The next day, after Paris, my kids and I had one more day of the Park. Sadly, Annie and her adorable son Jack had to leave that morning. As we walked through the theme park again, Lincoln was holding my hand. Between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, he said, “Mom….there’s French Paris and there’s regular Paris,”. “What’s French Paris?” “Yesterday.” He meant the city of Paris. “And what is regular Paris?” “Here.” Too true. Although, I think for me “French Paris” only exists in movies and postcards. “Regular Paris” is the one where we ate a crepe in front of the Eiffel Tower and played on the playgrounds, but didn’t have time for the Louvre. And I held pee all the way home. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So for forever, I have been meaning to write a post comparing our old house, in Atlanta, with our new house, here in Dublin. But I just never seemed to get around to it. Between settling in, school starting, people visiting, house floods, it just never happened. Well, now I better get it done. Because the new house is about to become the old new house. Let me explain: after the floods at the end of October, we started to feel uncomforable staying in the house. I know everyone says that this kind of thing happens every 30 years. But there’s no guarantee of that. And I don’t own the house, so its easier to make a change. But before we go, here a house face-off between the Atlanta house and the current Dublin house:
Both homes are historic and older in age. Both were built around the 1910-1920 era. The both have wonderful original details. In both, some of the room sizes have been updated to reflect modern times. For example, in both there is no way that the kitchen size at all resembles the original kitchen size. Back then, in a single family home of this size, the kitchen was small and tuck away, because the help was in there. The owners enjoyed their meals in a large fancy dining room, that had been prepared by others back in this kitchen. It wasnt the home hub that it today. The Dublin house was re-done to the nines not too long ago, so everything is brand new and very convenient. Big kitchen, big bathrooms, etc. The Atlanta house was last updated (other than the floors, that we fixed when we moved in) in the early 80’s, by tell of the cheesy black marble and hunter green tiles all over.
But the main difference is this: The Atlanta house has great bones. But it needs a makeover. Its like a woman wearing the look that best fit her twenty years ago. Time to update, sister! The Dublin house is the opposite. The exterior is gorgeous. But there are little signs everywhere that this place was redone in the rush of the Celtic Tiger Boom. Quality was not job one. It’s a pretty exterior over what seems to be a crumbling infrastructure. There are constant leaks. Parts of the wall just seem to weep. There was one kitchen light that leaked water everytime it rained heavily. With the light ON. And the plaster around it kept cracking. The laminate flooring in the basement was buckled, before the flood. After the flood, they have wisely put in tile.
So, we are off to a new place………here’s hoping the days are sunny, the roof doesn’t leak and the ghosts are all friendly!