New Year's Eve never really turns out how you imagine it to be. I don't ever remember a New Year's where all of my wildest dreams came true. They all start out with good intentions. You have a great party to go to, you have a really great outfit, there's some great guy who's going to be at the party, all your friends are going to be there… Blah blah blah. But we know it never ends up that way. One memorable New Year's Eve I spent trapped in a snowstorm in Aspen in a swinging gondola in the middle of nowhere with Diandra Douglas and Yolanda Hadid Foster fighting over a cell phone so we could call our children and tell them we were going to die. That was fun. We could not get ahold of our children because they, in turn, locked themselves out of the house and were huddled together with the housekeeper/babysitter in the shed surviving on Carmel coated apple lollipops. Jesus Christ.
So in case any of you were wondering… Here is my Christmas list. Thank you in advance.
So…… I am living, as you know, in Paris. I am living in the 1st arrondissement across the street from the Louvre. My apartment is in a 19th century building. Everything is old, old, old. There is a café at the entrance of the building and I have made friends with the owner. He casually asked me one day in November if I had any ideas for his Christmas decorations for the café. Boy, did he open Pandora's box. My eyes lit up like an inferno. Why? Here's why… Decorating is my life. Especially Christmas decorating. I was not going to let a little ALS dash my opportunity to decorate my first Parisian café. Mind you, I am completely paralyzed from the shoulders down so this was not going to be an easy feat. All I have is my bossy mouth to work with. The café is very old school so I thought that the Christmas theme should be very old school Parisian Christmas. The owner of the café had four requests… Use red, gold, stars and do it on a €200 budget. Let the fun begin. In the United States, I could do this with my eyes closed and do it within a day. Not the case here in lovely Paris. My first obstacle was the garland. Garland is not readily available here. I went to about 400 places to look for it. No one was selling it, and no one would tell me where to get it. It was like a French Garland secret. Finally, finally, finally I found a florist who had some sticking out of his truck. I pounced. I begged him to sell me some. €125 for 5 meters! I was able to negotiate it down to €100. There goes half the budget. Jesus. Okay, garland solved. Next, the lights. Another problem. I hate LED lights. Why is everyone using LED lights? They are so ugly. Trying to find regular, exterior, green cord, natural glow, non LED lights is like trying to ask Brandy on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills not to call Joyce , "Jacqueline." It's not easy. Again, I went to about 400 stores to find them. No one had them. I had to order them. Another problem. I placed the order, expecting the lights the next day. No delivery. I called the store and they said they had to have proof of residency for delivery. Oh my God. So I had to fax a copy of my lease immediately. They arrived the next day. Okay, lights solved. Whoops, not so fast. French lights do not self connect to each other to make a continuous string of lights. What is wrong with these people? So I had to first learn how to say, "extension cord" in French, and then go find one. Okay, lights solved. Next, red and gold balls. I ordered those as well, super cheap. I ordered big, medium, and small balls in shiny, matte, and glitter. I also managed to find gold star ornaments. I'm already over the budget, but whatever. Okay, balls solved. Next problem? Explaining to my straight Nepali male caregiver how to decorate this garland. This proved to be the biggest challenge. I became a decorating bitch. "To the right, to the left, don't crowd the balls, don't wrap the lights so tight, not so many gold balls together, not so many red balls together, stop crowding the balls!" I thought he was going to quit. Finally though, in the end, he did a great job and he is now gay. Just kidding. The next obstacle was getting the garland downstairs to the café. It took three people to carry the garland downstairs and six Frenchmen to put the garland up in freezing cold temperature. After all of our hard work, I didn't have the energy to tell the guys that they put the Garland up crooked and too far to the right. Choose your battles. My reward? The owner of the café made me a delicious hot red wine with a slice of orange with cloves. So good, I am now addicted.
Here is the funny part… The workers put the garland up uneven and then someone cut two strands of lights the next day so that is uneven as well. Jesus. Like Martha Stewart says, " If you want anything done right, do it yourself."