Saturday, May 14, 2016

a very different Saturday

My, but it's cold outside. With a frost advisory for tonight, even though I swore to Ed we were done with that.

Ah well. Last one this spring, for sure!

A breakfast in the beautiful (to me) sun room.

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Now, about the rest of the day. It requires an explanation.

When I travel, once I've booked my plane, train and hotel room, I put aside preparations until just a few hours before I take off. What's there to fuss about? My suitcase is lightly packed and I work on my to do list once I've landed, settled in and had a glass of wine and maybe a conversation with the inn keepers, wherever I may be.

But I have a trip before me that's different. The idea for it came to me last August and it is the single most easy and at once most complicated trip I have ever planned in my life. I will have spent many more hours working through the details of it than there will be hours at our destination -- which for me will be exclusively Paris. Nine nights in Paris.

What's the fuss? Well, when I was passing through that grand city last summer, I thought how wonderful it would be to be there at least one more time with my family -- my girls, their husbands, my granddaughter. All at the same time.

Ah, but to coordinate something that can gather us like this, given everyone's work and life commitments, given the uncertainty back in August as to what May 2016 will be like, given the various contingencies and given Snowdrop, who was barely half a year old when I got this idea into my head. How will she be so many months into the future?

I persevered. I coordinated. I watched airfares like a hawk. I patiently talked to airlines about seats. Many times. Indeed, I sat down with the airline reps face to face during a winter trip to Paris and asked how it was that I can't book seats in advance, given that Snowdrop would love to sit with her family? (A child her age does not get a seat assignment and so one reason to purchase tickets early is that you get priority in the bulkhead decisions; bulkhead gives us the possibility of a bassinet, if only she didn't look like she is three years old, what with her height and overall girlishness!)

And my kids had to make arrangements. Work schedules. House sitters. All of it. Damn, this seemed complicated.

I persevered. I used miles, I used dollars, I searched for apartments, I adjusted dates, I rented high chairs, I booked a baby-sitter (conveniently referred to as une baby-sitter in French) for the evenings were all of us would be in Paris together (some are arriving later, some are coming then leaving for a bit -- only Snowdrop and I will be the Paris constants, without interruption), and a cab with a baby seat, and restaurants -- oh, don't get me started on the search for places where finally I can eat with my family again! I personally inspected several eateries, rejecting, scratching off one list, trying something else. My daughter helped. We have a plan!

It's been only five years since my younger girl and I traveled across the ocean together, but it's been ten years since I had both girls with me there. How much has changed for them in that time!

And finally, the date is here: we leave tomorrow. At least some of us do. Here's one girl whom I dropped in on today (of course, her dialogue is only imagined by me...):

Hi grandma! Hi hi hi hi hi! The house is in chaos but I'm having fun! Hi hi hi hi hi!

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She was a tad confused about the clothes, the books, the diapers strewn everywhere, but she is a girl who goes with the flow.

What's this? A hat? I like it! Fancy!
Actually, it's from Target. But it packs well.

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In case it's sunny. Of course, it's not supposed to be sunny. Still... you never know...

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That's your carry-on, Snowdrop. With all your important in flight toys, foods and clothes!
I like the way the handle goes up and down!

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We break up the sorting, deciding, stacking with a walk. Oh, but it's windy today! Coldest May 14th on record! (That's a guess. Probably a correct one.)

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Me, I'm dizzy with plans, with notes, with ideas! At the farmette again, I scribble things down, I iron Snowdrop's clothes (why not!), I clean the farmhouse. And I watch the minutes pass and I think -- wow. We made it to May 14th. That means we'll make it to May 15th too.

Be patient with my posting. I always say that travel will inevitably disrupt the even flow of Ocean writing. Never more so than now, with a lively little girl and a few sundry others to keep me hopping all through the grand hours of travel together.

A last appreciative look at the front of the farmhouse. And the lilac. And Butter, knowing only the boundaries of the farmette.
Don't forget to give them daily bread, Ed....

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The reminders begin. Don't forget, don't forget.
I wont.