Monday, April 16, 2007

Top 10 Things I Leared About Taking a 4 Year Old to France

Most people just looked at me like I had a frog growing out of my head when I told them I was taking my son to France. After all, he's a rambunctious four year old and neither my wife nor I speak French. I have to admit, it was trying at times. Now that we are back I realize we have memories we'll keep forever. Some memories are fond ones. Others are memories we laugh at now. Of course some of the laughs are still a little manic but I'm sure this will pass in time.

But there were lessons learned from taking Zack. I've listed ten of them here in hopes others might be better prepared than I when taking a preschooler overseas.

  1. A jet lagged 4 year old is no fun. You may logically realize you need to get on a sleep schedule fitting the current time zone but a four year old is ill-equipped to grasp this and will keep you up all hours wanting to play.
  2. Paris, in one word, sucks. The people are in a hurry and therefor a bit rude. The drivers are insane. There are nice people there and thanks to all those that helped the lost Texans.
  3. With a 4 year old, Paris sucks more.
  4. Be prepared to eat lots of French food; mostly French Fries since McDonalds are everywhere and look just like their American counterparts.
  5. The high speed train (TGV) is wonderful and much better than flying. With a child in tow, it gets even better since they have a lot of cars they can explore.
  6. French food (once you get past McDonalds) is very good.
  7. French wine is very good and available at a low price.
  8. French is not an easy language to learn, and much like the dialect of the southern United States, drops the last few pronounced letters.
  9. If you try to teach a child to say C'est Bon (translated "This is good") in French, he just says "Bon"
  10. Once a 4 year old gets over his jet lag he has one good day then wants to come home.

Top things my wife learned about dealing with a four year old in France
  1. 4 year olds love trains, trams, buses and water and you will spend much time on and in these
  2. 4 year olds do not like to shop for food, clothes or anything other than trains, buses, planes…….
  3. When a mom with child has a breakdown in the airport because they have missed their flight back to the states and has no way to contact her husband, the French airport staff are very accommodating and pleasant and they buy you food.
  4. 4 year olds do not like to hurry, even when there is only 15 seconds to get on and off the trams
  5. 4 year olds love to embarrass you (I have one memory of him sticking his bare feet in the face of passenger sitting next to him on the plane)
  6. French bread is not fattening, of course it may be the 4 miles you have to walk to purchase the bread that causes that illusion
  7. I do not think that feeding bread to the ducks is an acceptable thing to do in France
  8. There is no grass around the sidewalks
  9. There is dog poo around every tree along the sidewalks
  10. Motorcycles drive fast on the sidewalks
  11. The French love blond children, therefore reinforcing the “I am the center of attention” mentality

Of special note is the fact that Zack watched King Kong in French from the hotel room after being a complete snot when Debbie was trying to shop for shoes. Eventually Debbie gave up and returned to the hotel angry that her shopping plans fell through.

There is one scene where King Kong is sliding on the ice playfully with the heroine. Zack said, "Ah, he loves her. He wants to buy her shoes." Those of you without kids won't realize how truly funny that is.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Uninstalled Google Deskstop

I had a situation with my work computer where I couldn't get google desktop to uninstall. For some reason the google desktop search engine had issues. Note, I love this product and found myself hurting at work because I didn't have access to it.

Here are the manual steps to uninstall.

How to manually uninstall Google Desktop Search
You can easily uninstall Google Desktop Search by going to Start > Programs > Google Desktop Search > Uninstall Google Desktop Search. If that didn't work, you may need to manually uninstall the program. Here is how:
As you may know, editing the Windows registry is a fairly advanced process. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, you may want to contact your system administrator. That said, you should be able to solve the problem by deleting the following registry keys:


You'll need to restart your machine in order for this change to take
effect. Once you've done this, you can remove the program files for
Desktop Search. Here's how:

Open C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME-THAT-NO-LONGER-EXISTS\Local
Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Desktop Search. Delete all the
files in this directory.

You should now be able to successfully install and use Google Desktop

The above is from

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Magical Anniversery

Since I travel for work, I accumulate a lot of travel points for airlines and hotels. For my wedding anniversary, I decided to cash a few of these in to give the wife a special night out.

We dropped Zack of at his grandmother's house for an all too infrequent night out alone.

I started with making reservations at the Austin Hilton. I'm a diamond member of their frequent stayer program so I requested a complementary upgrade to suite. Luckily for me, I got it. The room was near the top floor so we had a marvelous view of the city.

I also ordered flowers for the wife, a nice bouquet of flowers in her favorite color. She was so impressed with the suite that she, at first, did not notice them. I mentioned that it looked like we had some flowers. She read the card and gave me a big hug and smooch.

I had another surprise that was due to arrive so I thought we should leave before things took off and we'd get an embarrassing knock at the door in the middle of something. I told her we had access to the executive lounge and that they had food and wine up there. We were both starving so the ruse worked. By the time we got back to the room, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries were on the living room table.

It was truely a great day. As planned, around nine, we left and picked up Zack so we could go swimming. He was asleep by the time we reached the hotel. Deb and I were beat from a hard day of having a good time so we all went to bed.

I woke up at 4 a.m. and looked out the window over Austin, Texas. I was so shocked by the beauty of the skyline and the full moon I snapped a cell phone picture of it. Sadly, the picture doesn't do the image any sort of justice and so this blog is more for me than anyone else. Now I can look and remember one magical night with the woman I picked to share my life.

So how does someone top such a magical night? Well, for her birthday I'm flying her and Zack ot France thanks to Frequent Flyer miles. Usually travel is a pain in the arse. But its times like these that it doesn't seem so bad.