Some Random Awesome Things, part 2

Sausage and the Dubai Airport

Sausage and the Dubai Airport

Generally I don’t celebrate perspiration, but this week I’m sweating happy. I am more than glad to pit out when caused by sun and not heavy lifting.  It’s been 65 and sunny for three days in a row and the forecast says 70 by later in the week.  Of course there is also 70% chance of rain by Sunday, but I will remember this week FOREVER.  The sun + exercise + supplements really do give you a new outlook on life propelling things like Some Random Awesome Things, part 2.

  • European dry cleaners – you pay when you drop off and you pick up at an automated kiosk that's open 24/7.  The kiosk looks like one of the ginormous vending machines with a big claw.  I think I understood correctly that on Saturday I will be able to put the special card the dry cleaner gave me into the machine and the claw will then auto pick my clothes and send it down the chute for me to collect.  I’m hoping I get a plush toy too as surely some prize must be built in to the hefty price I paid.  Someone reading this in the US needs to take this idea and run all the way to the bank with it.  I already told you about the grocery carts that you have to put a coin in to release which means you need to put it back if you want your Euro back.  We’ve been doing that in US airports, but someone needs to do that in our grocery parking lots.  How many times have you almost hit a wayward cart, or is that just me? 

  • Europe School Fruit Scheme – an EU initiative that provides fresh, free fruit to school children.  What a thought: using government funds to combat childhood obesity by buying fruits and vegetables from local farmers and then distributing them to school children while they are forming eating habits.  In practice this doesn’t mean a few extra apple slices at lunch, it means baskets of glorious fruit scattered throughout the school that children can grab whenever they are hungry.  Lawton has been munching on an apple every day I’ve picked him up this week.  He’s also curiously no longer able to finish his streusel on our regular after school patisserie stop.  Let’s hear it for the fruit! 

  • Sausage taste tasting – stop it, right now.  The sausage options here are many, and most of the choices I’ve made so far have been poor (too fatty, too fragrant, too chewy.)  But this week at my grocery store there was a Pop –Up Charcuterie where they were sampling about three dozen different kinds of cured sausage -- cured with all different kinds of wines, cheeses, herbs, spices.   I tasted them all and brought home a Ménage à trois – natural, peppercorn, and spicy chorizo.  Meanwhile, back in the US you get to sample some frozen stuff at Costco that because you are hungry, you momentarily think you’d like to bring home ten pounds of it.  This is one area where my vote is for taste testing and variety.

  • Using your bad decision as a teaching moment – “Now when you get lost in a forest, don’t do as Mommy did and leave the trail.  Stay on the trail and retrace your steps.  Yes, it will mess up your mileage but believe me when I tell you that one of you will have inherited my sense of direction and I’m sorry.”

  • Bikes on trains – it’s not just that there are 600 miles of biking trails here in Luxembourg, but you can travel to the trails on the train.  There is even a special train car just for bikes where you can ride like a bike princess.  Kids and bikes ride free, and it only costs 2 euros for an adult.  We’ve all watched/waited for our husbands as they negotiate the car bike rack, so you know how special this really is. 

  • “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever” blog – If you haven’t read this blog that was shared around Facebook, you must.  It’s absolutely hysterical and it has come in handy this week.  Yesterday someone asked me about the end of year teacher’s gift and I felt all empowered and not alone when I said, “I didn’t read the email yet, so no – I haven’t done it, and by the way – when is it due?”  When she replied with June 12, I thought maybe I should send her the blog so she could ease up on the overachieving gas pedal and know that it's okay.

  • Admitting parental failure and restarting – since we are opening up about areas we've given up on as mothers … as those of you who have visited know, we have a burping problem in our house.  Seriously, it’s completely out of control.  I don’t know what happened, but somewhere along the line we missed making clear that bodily noises at mealtime and in public are considered rude in 99% of households.  I gave an impassioned account of this last night, and we have established some new rules.  We all have our parental blind spots, but it feels good to fess up to them with your children and plead for a restart.  Mommy Manners is totally serious this time.

  • Open-ended bus passes – Brett went to renew his 6 month bus pass this week (meaning we’ve been here 6 months - wow!) and was told that he still had 5 months left on his pass.  After some back and forth, he learned that he was supposed to swipe his bus pass every month not just the one time.  Once that was understood, Brett got out his wallet to pay for the next six months but the guy waved him off and said, “You have 5 months left.”  Clearly Luxembourg doesn’t have the public transportation deficits we do in Seattle.  In Seattle, well-meaning parking attendants are forced to give tickets to people who are parking (with parking permits) longer than 48 hours in front of their own bloody house.

  • Correction for misunderstanding of British slang – not until this week did I learn that “bloody” is kind of profane and therefore inappropriate.  (I used it properly and purposefully above.)  I thought it was simply a word used for emphasis – kind of like the British version of “seriously.”  European living has been helpful in clearly up some misconceptions, although the European lack of personal space is 100% true.  I however have no excuse for my misappropriation of the word “dope.” Never a good sign when your ten year old asks you if you are referring to drugs and you actually don’t know

  • College guys that aren’t too cool to play with kids - I posted this on Facebook already, but it bears repeating.   Yesterday instead of kicking my kids off the field, a group of college aged guys invited my boys to play football with them.  They were so sweet in making it fun for the boys, teaching them some new skills, and staying with it for 45 minutes.  I had to vacate the scene before then as I was doing that over cheering/photographing Mama thing and disturbing the special juju.   I don't know if this would happen with UW students, but I do know that I'm hoping my boys remember the moment and are able to pay it back when they're 20 and their Mama isn't watching.

  • Buying the same shirt as my friend – in high school it was totally rude to buy the same outfit as your friend, in adulthood it’s considered a compliment.  I liked my friend’s shirt, asked where she bought it, and went out the next day to get one for myself.  Not only did I save time and money, but I saved myself from my own fashion confusion.  Boat neck – not then, not now, not ever.  Cropped – consider others.  Iron dependent – know your limitations.  And great news – I saw the same friend today and she had on a top that looked like second new top I bought – this one without help – and I felt like “YES!”

  • New projects – Colin has replaced his obsession with the MLB and following stats with new hobbies like learning Icelandic and writing rap songs.  He's feeding his need for stats with his new road bike computer which informed him and me that he hit 51 kph (!!!!) on a downhill.   I don’t think these projects would have surfaced in Seattle.  Colin doesn’t have the musical part to go with his songwriting, but his lyrics are creative.  Here is the rap he wrote this week.  Both boys have also set up small airports all over the apartment.  I support this new project but it does mean that dangerous, sharp edged toy planes are lurking around every corner.  Writing raps/cycling/learning non-mainstream languages -- whatever the thing, it's awesome how a change in environment can bring on all kinds of new interests.

  • The hunt for the kitchen sink stopper – I need to replace one of those kitchen sink basket strainer stopper things.  It’s especially important here because there is no garbage disposal and also important because the broken one I have is only stopping, not straining which is causing some unfortunate dishwater collection.  I’ve looked in lots of places, but have yet to find one but when I do – it’s going to make for a very happy day.  Some people hunt for art or jewelry, I hunt for special things that are hard to find in a foreign country like sink stoppers (ongoing), sand paper (found), and blue painting tape (IDK if it’s the same though.)  It’s on the list of awesome things because having goals is important.

Speaking of kitchen stoppers and goals and responsibilities …I gotta bounce now y’all.  TTYL.