Friday, September 11, 2009

First full week of school! (Quentin Tarantino style - meaning, you should be able to recognize certain well-known cinematographic or literary genres)

As a blood-red sun rose over Ménilmontant that Thursday morning, one full week had already gone by since the first day of school...

...we were not admiring the sunrise. The night before a couple a dames had told my partner and me a tale, the kind of tale makes you come back for more. So there we were, we couldn't help ourselves, getting ready to go back for more. But we were much less excited about it than we had been the week before. The two of us that is, because another dame, who went by the name of Stella Bella, was much more jolly than we were that day. She was glowing. She had finally received her long-awaited, Obama-beats-McCain sweatshirt which - at least she claimed it was so - her old man had ordered on the internet as a birthday present for her, his little darling. Malc and I weren't sure we could trust her. First of all, she was a dame and Oh what a dame. And secondly, the story sounded screwy somehow. Something just rang false. What kind of man would order an oversized sack like that for his own teenage daughter? Beats us!

That's the guy there, in the background, the one thinks he's the Flash Gordon of breakfast chefs!

Like Stella, Le Fish was also very lively that morning. She was a dame too, a beauty of a dame! They say she often greeted La Daronne and Flash as soon as they came into the living room...

...they told me they thought she was hungry but I don't know, I think I am following the fish doctor's orders : three grains twice a day and no more; I don't want Le Fish to turn out like Dr Seuss's Otto or anything.
So anyway, morning dawned calmly on the 10th... but, actually, we have lots more fun AFTER school or on the weekends so why don't we skip directly to that. Because sometimes school even makes us a little grumpy...

At least I - Henry that is - get a little grumpy sometimes, especially when I'm not expecting surprise photos... Malcolm's usually happier coming home than going to school and he doesn't mind paparazzi...mamarazzi neither!

(Here I am grumpily trying not to let him in the front door...)

But, after I've had a snack and can play Fun in a Bag, then I'm usually quite smiley again...

What's Fun in a Bag, you ask? Well, I climb into an old futon cover that Mom's left lying around the house then Malcolm zips it closed and we have fun!

On the 10th, when Stella came home she couldn't quite figure out what was in the bag...

... but as soon as she realized it was me, she decided she had to have fun too!

I was a little afraid, I admit, thinking she might pull me out to the garbage chute or something but Mom stopped her in the nick of time! Mom actually thought all this was so funny she even took a video!

Oh, we do all sorts of wild and crazy things after school..., homework...

...well, Malcolm does homework; he's gotten really good at doing it as soon as he comes home these days. Apparently, he likes his new teacher! And if she doesn't give him any, well then Mom always can!

An' if he don't like it, I know just howda give 'im a little more incentive...

With the right kinda persuasion the kid usually puts his nose to the grind stone again, no trouble!

I tell ya, ya just gotta know how to talk to the kids these days in a way they can understand... Like, for example, ya says to the kid, ya says, "It's your choice, kid : you either take a running start and dive head first over this pile of cushions landing face first - PAF! - in the pouf....

(I mean, it ain't exactly impossible, since I c'n do it!) ...or ya clean your room. What'll it be kid?" Usually, the kid, he'll make the right choice! Ya just gotta use a little persuasion!

As far as cleaning goes, we don't usually have to do it all ourselves. Mom pays teams of well-trained specialists to come in on Saturday mornings.
Sunshine Cleaners they're called :

And when they're not losing their pants or doing Pilates in the living room, they're pretty efficient, Mom says. Not cheap, but efficient. On top of real money, Mom and Papa have to pay them in pancakes!

Like Ulysse, also of Sunshine Cleaning, Naïm - he's an old family favorite - enjoys pancakes!

Once the Sunshine Cleaning staff has gotten the house all ship shape, Malcolm and I can do other wild and crazy stuff. (Can you guess what, kids?)

You got it! Master-bedroom spelunking! Why don't you try! It's lots of fun! If you don't have asthma, just get down on your knees and burrow! (If you do have asthma, you should not do this without having previously prepared your inhaler.)

So far this school year, I - Henry - hold the master-bedroom featherweight spelunking title with a remarkable stay of one hour and a few extra tic-tocs - and that's genuine tomato-timer precision, folks! But the school year is young yet, so perhaps I shouldn't shout victory too soon...

Malcolm looks pretty determined to make a serious burrow for the title!

(Here I am emerging from under the master-bed after my winning stay!)

But after staying under the bed for that winning hour, no matter how efficient Max and Co were, I thought I'd better wash up a bit. And my motto is, "No sense washing if you can't have a bit of good, clean fun."

Mom blew a few smaller bubbles, all the while whining about wasting soap and such... Then we tried to (the following program is not suitable for children of all ages. Explicit language although no explicit imagery - parental guidance advised) mate the bubbles - hers and mine - and we almost managed but, believe me, you can't mate soap bubbles AND take pictures, ain't no way!

In the end, before we'd even noticed, before we'd tired of the day, a slight chill came over us, a shadow dragged her lazy hand over the living room floor and, as we looked up from our game, we realized with a touch of sadness, evening had come as it inevitably will, too early...

...and with evening comes DINNER! (I like mine on elegant Japanese plates these days. I'm even getting quite good at eating French bread with chopsticks! How do you like them apples?)

And, of course, after dinner comes dessert and with dessert (Can you guess, children?)...

Right again! You're very good! Ice-cream container goggles! And you can make them too! Just buy some raspberry sherbert and take the lid off! Voilà, a striking pair of gooy goggles!

But, ultimately, no fun can be real fun, as everyone knows, if you don't get to indulge in the best fun of all : Dangerous fun! We call it Playing with Fire! (Of course, NEVER PLAY WITH MATCHES, but that's different.)

All's well that ends well, as our first week back at school has even if we sound decidedly more neurotic today than we did last week!! That, folks, is what going to school and watching beautiful, cultural films does to you...


  1. B'gob, 'enry, wot s'prises me is de patience yo have, loadin' all them pics into that ma-chine, there. Must gobble up hours 'n hours, leastways does here, the ring goin' round-round, and you 'ope 'n pray Goog don't give ya de "error encountered try gain bit". Patience Galore. That's the name of somebod from 007, or did I get that right?

  2. Most engrossing report on after-school fun. My favorite illustration is the elegant Japanese plate and chopstick dinner table. One addition you may want to consider, Henry: perhaps a couple sophisticated Bento Boxes. The food, artistically arranged, becomes a visual as well as culinary delight. Try them, you may like them too, Malcolm. Such table setting, of course, creates an unexpected and pleasing change to the usual pirate ambiance.

    I also greatly enjoyed illustrations of your fun-in-the-bag and hazardous bedroom spelunking. As pirates, you know how to handle such dangers, I am sure, but I would hesitate, I fear.

    Good luck to all, Dame Stella-Bella included, for the second week of school. Let the after-school-fun and adventures continue!

    As for the Sunshine Cleaning Crew, I envy you such splendidly trained help. Wish I could find such expert service here.

    I await your next adventure communique with great anticipation and meanwhile I send my love.

  3. 'Ello chums! 'Enry told me when we started putting photos on the blog in August that it is MUCH faster here than at Monique's and when I thought about putting the video on I almost didn't try after Susan's comments on Gettysburg Family, but our video uploaded beautifully in about three minutes! And no error messages either or only a few the very first time we did it but Henry knew how to correct the trouble. It's not the photos that take time it's the writing! But I enjoy helping Henry and Malcolm with that...
    We don't know what Bento boxes are, Mom. Tell more. Concerning Sunshine Cleaning, if you pay the right price - two plane tickets to Detroit and a stack of flap jacks with maple syrup - I'm sure they'd be willing to come.

  4. Oh, my lord, I haven't laughed so hard in many days. You guys are too much. What fun.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all these great reports on your adventures!

    You guys are really so creative. I can't tell you how much fun it is to read all about them.

    I'm busy now but I'll send more news from here soon, including a report on Lexi's 5th birthday party. I wish I'd have thought of master-bedroom spelunking as a game for that party! Then again, Wendy may not have liked the idea...

  5. Excellent photo-blogging. I look forward to many sessions of "Fun in a Bag" during your next visit.