home again, home again

well, we made it home on Wednesday. we woke up in Paris at 5:30 AM (that’s 10:30 PM in Chicago). we landed in Chicago at 1:30 PM and by the time we got through customs and picked our car up at Paula’s parents and then drove home it was 9:00 at night. for those of you who aren’t mathematicians, that is nearly 22 hours. none of us slept on the plane but the kids managed to fall asleep on the drive from Chicago to our house. Paula and i watched the presidential debate and then we had to fall asleep so we didn’t have a chance to go through mail or check phone messages as we’d been up for 24 hours straight.

the whole family woke up between 4 and 4:30 AM and we were wide awake. that’s 10:00 AM in Paris, so that was really sleeping in. it’s taking a while still to get used to the new time zone as we woke up at 6:00 AM today (the next day). JD and Ellie wanted to go to school so 4 hours after we woke up we headed off to the first day of school — wearing jackets. heh. we got to school a little early and checked in at the office and then found their lockers. their classrooms are far apart, but somehow they ended up having lockers just across the hall from each other. how cute. we saw their teachers and then they started school so Paula and i left. after school, we greeted the kids out front and they both reported good days back. Ellie spent nearly the whole day taking the NCLB test in reading. she also took a reading placement test for her teacher that others had previously taken. she received her score that day. if you’re curious, she was in the 98 percentile, which is extremely good and she’s reading on a 5th or 6th grade level. it’s so interesting to compare Ellie and JD. they’re both our kids, but they have completely opposite strengths. Ellie excels in reading while JD is extremely talented in math.

a funny thing happened after the kids got home. JD went to the bathroom and then opened the door and asked for help as he didn’t know how to flush the toilet. i think all of the toilets we’d used in Europe had the flusher as a button you push on top of the tank. he didn’t even see the flusher lever on the side of the tank. we all got a good laugh out of this one.

some friends of ours dropped by a care package that included dinner, so we didn’t have to bother with that on that first full day back. but what we did bother ourselves with was heading down to the Honda dealer and buying an ’09 Honda Civic Hybrid. we were going to buy a Fit, but i said to the salesman when we walked in that i’d prefer a Civic Hybrid but i don’t have time to wait on a waiting list as i am without a car. that’s when he said that they’d received one late the previous day. we walked out and it was pretty darker gray color. i said we’d take it without a test drive. just then another couple and salesperson walked out to see it. our guy told them we’d just bought it. whew. now Paula and i can park in the close parking lot at work as they have many spaces set aside for hybrid vehicles. hee hee.

after school, we went over and picked Ziggy up. he was so happy to see us. he’s now being perfect. i think he thinks we must have left him because he did something wrong so now he’s trying to be the perfect dog. i’ll just let him continue thinking that.

as i noted, today we woke up closer to 6:00 AM. i walked the kids to school as Paula was getting ready to help take kids on a field trip. Ellie and JD were still being treated like celebrities when their friends saw them. i imagine next week will be back to normal. i hope anyway.