Two Degrees of the Pope

It sounds so dramatic, saying that my husband is away for a week in Norway while the kids and I are at home puking our guts out. The reality is that Oslo is no further from Milan than Seattle is from Denver, and dear sweet Tobias is not only working all week but puking his guts out as well. I am merely lying on the bed, relaxing my ‘no TV for children’ rules in accordance with how many hours have gone by since I could last hold down a sip of water; Tobias is giving input on global strategy at a senior management conference.

It’s Wednesday now and coffee is starting to sound good. The sickness-related laundry is almost caught up, and if that ends up being 2015’s crowning achievement it could still be a pretty good year. Man, that was a lot of laundry.

I bring up the illness not to inspire pity (although it is welcome,) but to give you the background needed for today’s game. Let’s play…

Coincidence? You Make the Call

In the style of the 1980’s Time-Life Books series about paranormal events, review the list below and decide which elements, if they happened at exactly the same time, would imply causality rather than mere coincidence. 

  • We decided to send Frida to Catholic school
  • We decided to send Frida to the school attended by Berlusconi’s children
  • We all got really sick

Answer: we will never know for sure.

We were going to send Frida to a Montessori school in Milan, but the commute ended up taking 40-70 minutes each way. Not a good plan for an active three year old. Instead, we are going to go with the ‘best’* local school, a school whose entrance features an enormous picture of the school’s headmaster shaking hands/arms with the Pope.  It would be off-putting except that the Pope is the new Pope and in the picture looks like someone’s kind grandfather while the school’s headmaster looks completely overwhelmed and is crying with joy. It’s wonderful.


*asking yourself what ‘best’ means? Me, too! I’m also asking everyone I meet. Answers range from ‘Berlusconi’s children went there!!!’ to ‘Berlusconi’s children went there… (shudder)’ I guess we’ve decided that ‘best’ means: within walking distance, excellent academic reputation, lots of outdoor space, and a weekly lunch menu that sounds positively delicious. No bonus points were given for being on a bro-hug basis with the Pope.


I Regret to Inform You

We’ve had some inconvenient news this week: no more nanny. It’s good news for the nanny (she’s moving to back to England!), bad news for her husband (he’s not,) and terrible news for next week’s household schedule. Today’s Wednesday, and the nanny’s last day is tomorrow. Tomorrow is also Frida’s first day of school and the day that we’re leaving to Austria to meet up with the German cousins for a long weekend. We get back Sunday, which is the day that our houseguest arrives. He leaves Tuesday, which is the day that Tobias leaves for Norway for 6 days. Let’s play…

What First?

how to play: read through the list below, and decide which common chores to do first, which to do second, and so on.

  • Go to the grocery, purchase nutritious, easily prepared food. Plan on one nice dinner for 5 people, one nice brunch for 5 people, and 18 meals for 3 people. Please include 5 fruits and vegetables per day for your growing family, but remember that the food mustn’t spoil easily, as it will be purchased nearly a week in advance of consumption. Also, the toddler isn’t eating beans anymore, we’re nearly out of diapers and TP, and the houseguest is vegetarian.
  • Pack for a long weekend at a ski resort in the Alps. Remember to include the daily anti-inflammatory injections the doctor prescribed when he looked at your knee yesterday, but don’t bother to pack your skis – with that cartilage tear, you won’t be skiing until 2016.
  • Ready the house for the houseguest by unpacking the suitcases you stuffed in the spare room’s closet when you arrived home from Colorado last Thursday. Don’t worry about the fact it’s been almost a week and you haven’t yet completely unpacked. Instead, worry about how you’re still not used to the 8-hour time change.
  • Build a padded room with built-in BabyChow dispenser so you’ll have somewhere safe to put baby Max while you’re ‘helping’ with the 4-week-long orientation to Frida’s school. (Where ‘helping’ means sitting in the classroom while Frida acclimates to her new surroundings, then the second week sitting in the hallway, then the third week sitting in the car, then the fourth week in the bar? Am I getting that right? My Italian’s not great…)
  •  Write a blog post whining about how excruciatingly hard it is to care for TWO WHOLE kids ALL BY YOURSELF with NO HELP except the new babysitter that hopefully starts Wednesday and the loving husband and family that we’ll see this weekend and the awesome, easy houseguest who is up for anything and the organic cheeseburger store that delivers to my front door. My Italian’s not great but it’s good enough to order 2 kid’s meals, a veggie burger, and a beer. Also, last week a cheese factory opened three doors down from our house and their fresh mozzarella could sustain us for weeks. God I love Italy.

Here’s my plan: Blog post? Check! Groceries? We’ll take the houseguest to the farmer’s market! Packing? I just won’t unpack the winter clothes from our Colorado trip! What to do with Max during Frida’s school orientation? Bring him with! Duh!

So yeah, we’ll be living on smoothies and cheeseburgers next week and it will be just finetastic.



(((Nancy, are you detecting elements of The Stupids in the planning of this weekend’s ski vacation? Did I mention that it’s a 10-hour round trip and we are staying for two nights? Sound familiar?)))