In this week's episode I met LuAnn for the first time, and we really hit it off. We've had the opportunity to spend time together since both on and off camera; she and Alex are lots of fun and we found that we have mutual friends as well. During a Fall Fashion Week show that LuAnn, her daughter, Simon and I all attended this February, I discovered that it was Victoria's very first tent show, and was happy to let her have my front-row seat so she could sit next to her mom. Jill, Bobby, Simon and I had a great dinner at the Kobe Club (did that knife fall down yet?) Simon and Bobby are definitely kindred spirits. The four of us have had great times together with many more to come! François tells us that Jill is his girlfriend, though I don't think he has let his wife know yet -- see the previous blog when he "got married".
We toured Claremont Prep in this episode as well. By the time we toured, the school pressure was off as we had been able to switch François into our 1st choice public school, a fantastic pre-K where we'd been on the waitlist. He was no longer in the one that we were filmed going to that Simon had joked was 16th choice. However, we still wanted to see what Claremont was like. A friend of Jill's owns this school; with the dearth of available seats in city private schools it was genius for someone to open a for-profit school, and Claremont is beautiful. Jill and I had both been meaning to check it out prior to having met at Spring Fashion Week last September when we discussed the school. We had hoped to do the tour together, but between our schedules and the production calendar of the show it didn't happen. Jill's call to her friend allowed us to schedule a one-on-one tour at a convenient time, which was great as most school tours are in the middle of the morning with 15 parents. We were able to spend a good hour with the owner and admissions director and had the time to ask all the questions we wanted; though I'm sure our questions were no different than any other parent of preschoolers!
We spent this weekend scouring the house after our contracting team finished stripping the corridors and stairs between the 1st & 2nd floors. Though every precaution was taken with paint removal, we wanted to make absolutely sure there were no lead monsters lingering to get anyone. What a great surprise it was to discover that under the 10 coats of paint of varying colors, the pressed tin ceilings are in really fantastic condition; ditto the brick walls and wide-plank pine floors. We didn't expect that all the woodwork would be mahogany, but it is!
Anyway, it was warm enough to open every window and door to air the place out, and the boys loved riding their bikes from the front to the back (with permission; the floors won't be sanded until the very end). Since we bought our 100+ year old house in mid-2005, when I was pregnant with Johan, we've been careful to plan when we have work undertaken both for our children's health and our sanity. In the first six months of 2007 we completely underpinned the foundations of the 5 story building and dug the cellar out to a full 8 foot ceiling height. Next, after we finish the aforementioned corridors & stairs we'll move on to stage 3 which will involve moving the kitchen from the 1st to the 2nd floors and then restoring all the woodwork in the formal dining room and parlor. We were hoping to get underway last summer but with the show filming decided life was just too hectic to undertake another construction project as well!
What else? We recently celebrated Simon's birthday, and although I had grand plans of whisking him away for the weekend, we decided that we really didn't want to be away from the boys or the house. François planned the party and chose the entertainment, part of which involved all four of us going to see Horton Hears a Who. It was the first time we attended a film as a family where no one cried or had to leave the theatre! Johan fell asleep for about two minutes, but otherwise a good time was had by all.
Last week when the five wives appeared on the The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch we had some fun rating the usefulness of new products -- among them a child's booster chair called the Kaboost. I was not impressed and thought it would be very easy for a kid to tip themselves over. A sharp-eyed exec at the company saw the segment and sent us one to try out, and to quote a movie from my youth, "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong." It seems pretty sturdy and works well. Though it was meant for Johan, who doesn't like it, François loves it so everyone's happy!
And in honor of Earth Day, here are some of our green household tips (besides recycling all paper, plastic and glass, etc.) We try to use cloth shopping bags, but sometimes receiving a plastic bag is unavoidable, so we save them and reuse for trash bags. Switch every single monthly bill to electronic. Also, web-based fax service is great and almost eliminates the need to print things. Unplug, unplug, unplug. So many electrical appliances these days pull power even when "off" so pull the plug - less wasteful and cheaper too. When grocery shopping, buy with an eye to reduced packaging. With the boys, we try to be vigilant about hanging towels and clothes to reduce loads of laundry. In New York, WALK! Would you believe that we lasted from December 21st to the middle of February on one tank of gasoline? One last thing. I've been pretty silent regarding blog comments and will probably continue to be; however, there's one thing I'd like to clear up. François has a bag with his name on it which we gave him on the first day of school. That is his lunch bag, and it is required (by both the old and current schools) that all children's names be on their lunch bags. Yes, it has straps like a backpack. No, he doesn't wear it, nor does he even carry it. Simon and I take turns taking him to school, escorting him all the way into the classroom and giving the lunch bag to his teacher, and our caregiver picks him up from the classroom. At no time is he ever alone in public, and at no time does he have the bag in public. Please be aware that this is highly edited television, and things are not always as they are made out to be.
À la prochaine fois...
All best, A