December 21, 2010


I am back to being single. Well, not really single. And only for a week. But surely the longest week that ever existed.

Last Saturday, Martin and Malo left for Austria, where we will be celebrating Xmas. The particularities of French labor meaning that I won’t have any proper holiday until the end of 2011 (yes, end of 2011, and yes, that sucks), I will therefore only fly there late on Thursday night, and spend total of 1.5 days in Austria (I am so lucky). If you can count, you'll see that this means six (six!) days and seven (seven!) nights without my son. For my sin, I can count, too, which means I was already feeling dreadful last week in anticipation of them leaving, and was feeling even more so after they had left.

My mother implied I needed to toughen up a bit, to which I implied back replied tersely that she had zero credibility here, given she had clearly forgotten she herself cried the whole drive from Lyon, France, to Venice, Italy, the first time my Dad and her left me with my grand mother, aged one or so, to do and spend a long weekend in Italy's most city. Still, in all her mum wisdom, she suggested I use this week to do all the things I normally struggle to do, or dream I could do but can’t, when Malo is around.

Credible or not, she was right, obviously, and I quickly did a mental and not exhaustive list of the things I would be doing while single, in no particular order (that's my poorly disguised attempt at avoiding to be too predictable by putting all the running related things at the top of my list):

  1. Take a bath and have a facial.
  2. Think about something to do about this grey hair which have started to grow on my head like bad weeds since I started to work again.
  3. Go for a long run without having to think it is time taken off the little time I can spend with Malo.
  4. Get on my mountain bike (not because I enjoy riding on ice so much, but because Martin and Malo have left with our car) to visit friends in the mountains above Annecy.
  5. Go to the movies
  6. Make the traditional calendar with family photos we have been giving my grand dad every Xmas for the past few years, which I have not yet had time to do this year.
  7. Think of a way to get to one of the nearest nordic skiing spots without a car, since Martin left with ours (yes, we do have only one car, which we did by choice and out of principle, and is usually not a problem, except in emergency situations such as the need to go skiing while the car is 900kms away).
  8. Write posts for Malo’s and my blog in a last minute desperate attempt to avoid having zero posts written in either blog in December.
  9. Go to a Christmas carol concert given by a children choir at the town's cathedral
  10. Get some sleep
  11. Eat rubbish (well, cheese in fact, which is not that rubbish, and which is our usual evening dinner, lazy b*** that I am. For Martin, it is different, it is a culture thing), seated on the floor or in the sofa with a book in one hand and the computer near the other, strictly forbidden by Martin, on top of being very bad for digestion.
My newly (if only temporarily) found single life started on Saturday with neither of the above, since I had to deal, instead, with one of the worst migraine I had in a long time, which started pretty the minute the minute Martin and Malo were gone. If you're tempted to see a correlation between these two facts, well… you are right. And if you're also tempted to think I am a pathetic slob, well, you're right, yet again.

I did slightly better last Sunday, since I at least manage to get out of the house. Yeah me. Initial plan was to run in the morning, then go to a friend's place and spend time with her and her two babies (aged 6 weeks and 16 months, meaning I make a mental note not to complain about being busy with Malo each time I go and visit her), then go to the concert, then go to the movies with a friend. In the end, only the visit to my friend happened, although I did also find time to post on Malo's blog. As for the runs... well, there is not much to say about the runs, since there were none. And the best thing is, I am fine with that. I am telling you, I am going to finish 2010 a zen master (Now, I pause for a minute, to allow you laughing your heart out before you resume reading).

Yesterday: I managed to write a post at lunchtime (well, admittedly, only because a lunch I had scheduled got cancelled and I could not go running instead since I had stupidly left my gear at home), thus ensuring I would have at least one post written in December. Not that this makes me feel like a prolific blogger deserving some kind of Pulizer Prize of the blogsphere or anything, but that way I may just manage not to have my account deactivated for being inactive for too long.

I also went to a spinning class in the evening. That was the first one in so long that I can’t even remember when the last time was. It is not like I am lazy or anything. In fact, I miss spinning a lot. I would even go as far as getting up super early to make it to the gym before work, and believe me, given how sleep deprived I am, that’s saying something. But the problem is, this is France, worst even, this is a small provincial town in France, and that means one can forget about gym opening at 6am and closing at 10pm like I was used to in London. Spinning classes are only scheduled in the early evening, in other words when I have my only time of the day with Malo. That means that something has to give, and since it was not going to be Malo, it has to be spinning.

But since Malo has abandoned me for six days (six days!) and seven nights (seven nights!), spinning it was last night. And man, was that first session in ages hard! It was only an hour, but after all these spinning-less months, this felt harder than the 1h30 sessions I used to go too while heavily pregnant. Coming to think about it, even my heart rate seemed to be going higher than when spinning heavily pregnant. It felt so hard that I don’t think I managed to think about Malo more than a couple of times in 60 minutes. Yep, that hard.

It was so good to be back that I decided to go back tonight. In the end, it did not happen because I got so soaked cycling back from work that my only options were going straight home or risk “catching death”, as my grand mother would put it, by having to put my soaked clothes back on to cycle back home after the session. Instead, I went home, changed into dry warm stuff, got to the supermarket, bought Baileys, walked back, sat on the floor, ate rubbish, blogged and drank Baileys, which is not that bad given I now get to tick a few things off my wishlist, and even one which did not. And man, which one! I had not drank Baileys in years, and that reminded me of my student years when, being broke, we would buy some cheap ersatz to drink between two essays on Saturday nights (Cécile, are you reading?). In a nutshell, the perfect drink for a (temporarily) single girl. And despite the spinning-free, Baileys-full evening, I am not even completely lost for sports yet, since I had gone on my usual mountain run at lunchtime. Isn't life just perfect sometimes?

Tomorrow maybe be movie night. Like spinning, that would be the first time in a while. Again, living in a small city where the latest evening show-times are at 7.00pm and 7.30pm in Annecy’s only two movie theatres, means going to see a movie is not really compatible with spending time with a one year old, who has his daily bath, eats dinner and go to bed precisely between 7.00 pm and 7.30pm.

Seeing that it is now close to midnight here, one thing I may not be able to tick off the list though, is getting some sleep. But at least I'll have had some Baileys.


cherelli said...

I don't have a child so probably don't quite appreciate it, but I love temporary single life opportunities! No one to answer to! Cereal for breakfast AND dinner! Oh, and I am hoping maybe, just maybe I can get to the French Alps in early July - maybe we can house swap then??? :) Though you might have to take in Brett as part of your family....can't believe you don't get leave until the end of 2011 - that is a looong tunnel....Merry Christmas!!

PiccolaPineCone said...

mapp - you are COMPLETELY turning my pre-conceived notions of French labor laws on their head. every time I read one of your posts that mentions working life - no vacation until end 2011, 50 hours a week in daycare I am completely aghast. What happened to the stereotype of the french person working 30 hours a week and then prancing off for a 2 month vacation? was NOTHING in the book "A year in the merde" true???
You have made me see the truth! That STINKS that you don't have real vacation to take at Christmas! I wish you the best of holidays and may your very abbreviated vacation be quality!

Cécile said...

I am reading!! (Is it really a month later? I can't believe it). And thinking of Baileys now... The cheap version... mmm.. Now, Map, congratulations for being fine with not running on that Sunday: you have become zen indeed....