Sunday, August 18, 2013

Eskia & the Window Washer

I hadn’t seen the family in three years, but it could have been yesterday.   We slept well into the morning, but someone woke in time to let in the window washer at 10 am, much to Eskia's dismay.  (Catherine's new home is a design dream--housekeeper's nightmare!--of cathedral ceilings, with glass windows and walls everywhere.)

I forced myself out of jet lag stupor into a house full of kids, barking dog and the window washer, Eskia remembering nothing of bonding with me the night before.  She treated me as equally intrusive as the window washer, and could not be begged, cajoled, scolded or banished from the house to stop barking.  I was fully awake in no time at all, while Clara worked Eskia into compliance over the next half hour.

But soon I was out on the terrace with the power coffee, the baguette, more fruit, and the chance to catch up more with Catherine, while various kids popped in and out with their questions.  Eskia mangled Catherine's latest knitting project, in lieu of me or the window washer, and that seemed to help her with anger management.  We were soon on speaking terms again.  Eli did an unintentional upside down flight off the hammock, and a neighbor chimed in with some toys for the boys.  We did manage to get a quiet hour when everyone seemed to have found their level with a jigsaw puzzle indoors, and Eskia asleep at our feet, waiting for crumbs to drop.  

We then roused ourselves to walk over to the bakery for more bread, while the kids started lunch at home--another welcome respite of calm and beauty in La Buisse, to savor the French countryside.  

We returned home to Rachelle concocting an elaborate cake, with more professionalism than I've ever masterted, although she is several decades my junior. 

"Yes, she is quite the baker!" Catherine affirmed.  "Too bad you will miss it."

Natan's birthday was tomorrow, but by tomorrow I would be several hours west in Ardeche.  

"Lunch isn't ready yet?  Pat, what time's your train?"   Um....we need to leave in an hour...Catherine whipped the troops into action, I ran for the gifts and to finish final packing, and we zoomed to the table together within 15 min.   

More language lessons, over saucisse (I hadn't yet gotten around to telling Catherine I've gone vegan), mashed potatoes and salad (thank God).  A few phone calls--Rachelle was arranging a pool party with a friend, who lived near the train station.  Catherine would drop her off after me.  Distribution of presents, dessert... it that late already?!  Where are the keys!?  Rachelle!  You're not packed yet!!!!  Clara, be ready when your friend gets here--any minute!'s the friend...with the mother...a few minutes of chit chat, introductions.  Where's Rachelle?!    

Well, you can finish the end of this tale...a French lunch that included 5 kids, one dog, and one international guest?  Yep, missed that train...bus...whatever....but that's tomorrow's story. 

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