Wednesday, April 29, 2009

T minus 10 days

It's amusing how everyone I run into asks me about the Trip. When I go to the pharmacy, the lovely Polish pharmacist just looks at me and I announce how many days left. At Trader Joe's yesterday, two women stocking the produce section asked if I was ready. (too much time in TJ's? Ya think?) I showed off my new "shoes for the Louvre", a comfy pair of Sketchers, along with my groovy messenger bag. When I said I didn't want to look like an Ugly American, one of the women actually thanked me.

I have started telling Claire and Aeron about their stay at Gra-Maw's. They couldn't be more thrilled. For my girls, having a sleepover at Gra-Maw's is like telling a foodie he gets to stay over at Alice Water's house. "There will be waffles!" The last time we left them with the in-laws, they didn't want to come home. Aeron wailed for Gra-Maw all the way up the Grade.

We have done quite lot of prep, but there plenty more to do. Miles needs to set up a watering system, so we don't come home to dead tomato plants. We'll need to send Spike over to Susan's, so we don't come home to a dead bearded dragon. I'll need to start buttering up the neighbors with banana bread, so Jan will water my indoor jungle. Then there is the packing up of the twins. How can two little people need so much stuff?! Heaven forbid Mama should forget to pack an essential stuffed animal. Or a crucial pair of footie pajamas.

On a less humorous note, the ever-widening swine flu has got me watching the news very closely. So far, there are no reported cases in France, but there are 28 probable cases (14 confirmed) in California. Schools are closing, and hundreds of people have called our pediatric office freaking out. I have to confess to a bit of worry about our reception. "Oh! You are from California?! Please step into that line." Next thing you know, they'll be swabbing our tonsils in HAZMAT gear.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting real

We're now T minus 17 days until Miles & I get on a plane for Paris.

Miles bought a French children's dictionary, to work on his vocab. We had a hoot, lying in bed with a glass of wine, me pronouncing such gems as "Le chameau a chaud."* Yesterday, we received our train tickets for Stuttgart in mail. still does not seems like it's really going to happen. I wonder when it will become real?

*The camel is hot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Musings, one month out.

So, it's one month until Miles & I leave on our long-awaited trip. Still doesn't seem real.

I tend to get into mental ruts, where I go over the same stuff, over and over, ad nauseum. Drive myself nuts. In an effort to get this stuff outta my head, and to elicit some well-meaning advice, I will vent herein.


"Will I be able to sleep on the plane? Will I arrive in the City of Lights so tired all I can do is stagger to our romantic wrought iron bed and fall in?"

"Do we need a 2 day, 3 day, or 6 day museum pass?"

"What if I'm tired all the time in Paris? I mean, I'm tired all the time at home. Hell, I can just hear myself now, 'No thanks, sweetie, I don't wanna go have lunch in a romantic, street side cafe, I need a nap.' I better start taking my vitamins."

(then comes the panic attack)

"Oh, we are so not prepared! So much to do. So much to figure out! How are we gonna get the garden watered? Where are our passports?! Aaaaaah!"

Hmm. I feel better now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Wee Lassies

One of the motivations for Miles and I to quit footling around and take this trip was our little girls. Specifically, we'd better go quick, before my in-laws can't deal with the little darlings. Now, Gra-Maw is a tough cookie and she seems to be able to handle anything our small chaos demons can dish out. But why push our luck? Plus, getting a block of her time ain't easy. Barack Obama has more open spots on his calendar than my mother-in-law does.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The 30-Year Build Up

I have been dreaming about visiting Paris since my first French class in 1978. I loved the language, I loved the food and I loved the politeness. My textbook was full of beautiful pictures of gardens and ornate museums, the very antithesis of Phoenix in the late 70's.

I knew I would visit France, as soon as I possibly could.

In high school, I took more French and then, in junior college I took still more. When I finally gave up being an eternal student and got a full-time job, I thought, "ok, now is the time to start saving for that trip!" But there was always some other thing to spend my pathetic wages on; clothing, my endless pursuit of that perfect head of big 80's hair; gas, junk food and liquor.

Next thing I know, it's the 90's, and I still have not been to France. That decade I spend gaming, drinking and working in the hotel industry. (Big hello to Sue, Clay and Arwyn!)

By 1999, I'd gotten a real, grown up job. I traveled for business, even had a cell phone and company credit card. But I was also paying San Francisco rent. A trip to France was beginning to look like a pipe dream.

When I became engaged to Miles, we dreamed about romantic honeymoon to Paris. We would discover the City of Lights together, hand in hand in wedded bliss. Alas for reality! Our "honeymoon" was a two day trip to San Francisco and a hike through cool, misty hills and a picnic, with cows. (Hi, Ed!)

I've build up an elaborate fantasy of my dream trip to Paris. I'll will be well-dressed and well-groomed. I will not be an Ugly American. I will speak French. I will wallow in the food, the wine, the culture and the art.

I am determined to make a real effort to get foofed on this trip. My hair will be freshly blond, I'm packing some tasteful jewelry, a few items of flattering clothing and some comfy, yet attractive shoes. I intend to wear makeup.

The next hope, not to be identified as an American at 50 paces? I'm not sure this is even possible. But I will avoid all the usual tell-tale signs; fanny packs, clunky athletic shoes and loud, obnoxious comments in English. I'll attempt to speak my rusty French and hope that immersion will help pull the language out of long-term memory.

The wallowing will be un morceau de g√Ęteau. My expectations can be easily met. A good meal that's still hot. Some architecture older than 100 years. A classic painting or two. A simple picnic in a garden, with some sunshine.

Now, for those of you sniggering at my naivete, I do realize that such a long-held, elaborate fantasy will not become reality. I really am trying to temper my expectations, knowing there is no way in hell I'm going to look slim, sleek and sophisticated, throwing about witticisms in flawless French, while sipping wine in a street side cafe.

But a girl's gotta have goals!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Preparation Phase

First order of business, start the blog. Miles just helped me out, and now I actually need to write something.

Perhaps I should start with a mission statement?

The purpose of this blog is to keep interested folks in the loop during our long-awaited honeymoon to Paris. Post a few pictures, wax lyrical about the glories of French art and cuisine; that kind of stuff. Plus, my memory being utter s**t these days, I can write my impressions down for recall at a later date.

So, it's now T-minus one month and 8 days. We fly out of San Luis International Airport on May 9th. So far, I've done a lot of "window shopping" online. I've asked my buddy Stimpy to make me a dress or two. I've combed through the multitude of guide books we've been given over the years to create a "Must See" list. We've booked a romantic apartment for our 10-day stay.

Miles & I have set some rules for ourselves. First, we aren't going to try to see everything. In fact, we plan to avoid many of the big tourist sites. We've agreed to give the Tour Eiffel a miss. No plans to shop on the Champs Elysees. Our goal is to experience Paris as a native would.

Wish us luck!