So, yesterday I took Le Garçon to meet Georges for a nice lunch, and then afterwards I took him to the nearby Gibert Joseph store to buy his massive list of school supplies (but thanks to the school for publishing the list on the Internet so we could get a jump-start on this; last year we had to wait until he went for his first day/orientation to get the list, and then it was a mob scene at the Office Depot).
We had a lovely afternoon, but it was also a comedy of errors in a lot of ways. Let's start with when the boy's beverage arrived at the table, and he instantly spilled a lot of it (it was a Sprite with strawberry syrup added so you can imagine the big red stains) all over himself. He's going to be 12 in about 10 days, so really he's old enough not to be having these kinds of mishaps at the table.
Meet Fool #1 in our family comedy: Le Garçon.
The boy got very excited to see that there were escargots on the appetizer menu, so we decided to get a dozen and share them. When they arrived, Georges was teaching his son how to use the special pince that holds the snail shell, and we were telling him that story about the scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts tries to pick up her first escargot and sends it airborne before it was caught by the calm and distingué waiter who uttered the now-famous reassuring line: "It happens all the time."
Back in the REAL world, as the boy was trying to pick up the first snail with the tongs, which all escargot lovers know ARE a bit hard to handle sometimes, Georges was reaching over to try and help him, and the snail suddenly went flying backwards towards the boy, the boiling hot garlicky oil spraying all over the boy's clothes... AND his face! We went into a panic because that stuff BURNS, but fortunately nothing went in his eyes (he wears glasses but the glasses weren't even splattered) although just above the right eye he had 2 little spots where some oil landed. We put cold water on it right away, but he said it was still stinging. though fortunately it wasn't bad. I happened to have some shea butter (merci, L'Occitane) in my purse so we put that on his forehead and he felt better after that. By the time we got home he'd forgotten all about it, no discomfort at all despite the two little red marks and tiny near-blisters. We were very, very lucky. Which, by the way, makes me realize that in Pretty Woman, had Julia's escargot really been fresh from the oven, no WAY would that waiter have been that serene catching that thing, because YOUCH! And Richard Gere probably would have been the one getting the hot buttered garlic oil all over his perfect self. Anyway... meet Fool #2: my husband, even though this wasn't really his fault, it just sort of happened.
At the end of the meal, we were waiting for our coffee and the check, when Georges, while gesturing expressively with his hands, knocked his water glass into his own plate (he'd already finished his steak at least). Georges earned an upgrade to Fool #2.1. So when the hot coffee came, the boy actually got up and moved over to sit next to me on MY side of the table. Heh heh... can we blame him? This was turning into a dangerous lunch for this kid, and he was already covered in strawberry soda and congealed garlic pesto butter. At least we were laughing about it.
So we survived finished lunch without any further incidents, and Georges went back to work while the boy and I headed down the street to buy school supplies. I love Gibert Joseph, they seem to have absolutely everything; the only things we didn't get on the 2 1/2 page list were a special calculator (because he should have one at his mom's house but he has to check and see if he still has it) and a box of special chalk "grasses" (which means greasy) for art class, plus a lab coat (need to go to another store for that) for science class. When we got to the cash register (which ended up being FAR easier and quicker than I had ever imagined... I guess a lot of people are still on holidays or didn't have their school lists yet because I'd been expecting the usual long lines), the total came to over 168€, and that didn't even count the English exercise book we still had to buy at the bookstore next door! I was a bit shocked at the amount, but it WAS a lot of stuff and by this time my brain had turned to mush and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there and go home, so I didn't think about it long.
And here is the part where *I* turn out to be the biggest fool of the day.
At the store, the clerk put half the load of notebooks and supplies in the new backpack we'd just bought, and the other half in a store bag. The boy wore his new backpack home, so once we were out of the store I reached over and tore off the paper tags.
It wasn't until we got all the way home, and I was looking over all that we'd bought, that I saw there was a price sticker still stuck to the backpack. I reached for it, and saw 45.00€ printed on it! FORTY-FIVE EUROS FOR A KID'S BACKPACK??? What the frickity-frick frack is THAT? I grabbed the receipt because I thought it HAD to be a mistake... but nope, there is was, top of the list, too: 45.00€ for the sac à dos. I think I spent about 15€ last year on his backpack, a no-name brand, but this one was an Eastpack brand and according to my older step-son's girlfriend, that's like the best quality brand it's supposed to be really well made. In the small outer pocket, I found a paper with a 30-YEAR guarantee, so I put that with the receipt because that freaking over-priced pack had damn well better last this kid until he's 42. Or at the very least until he finishes high school. (Last year's cheapo backpack has all sorts of wear-and-tear holes in the bottom and I was afraid he'd lose something important like his house keys, which is why we had to replace it.) So I hope he loves this pack a lot, because he'll be living with it for a very, VERY long time.
Honestly, 30-year guarantee or not, I would never in a million years have spent that kind of money on a simple student backpack. For a 7th-grader who is going to beat the crap out of it in under a year. I wouldn't even spend that on one for myself, as a daypack. C'est ridicule. But it was too late, I'd torn off all the tags and now can't exchange it. My bad. Ma faute. Ma bêtise. Mea culpa.
And now you know who is the reigning Queen of the Fool Family in France.