What? Again?

I don’t ever recall posting so much about packing in previous years!  I suppose I could go back and research but it’s not important.  My FitBit surprised me today.  Nearly 5 miles. And here I thought I was lazing on the couch or bed most of the day.  I forgot about the walk to donation the bag of stuff.

You might recall I mentioned going out while it was sunny?  Yeah, that didn’t work out too well.  By the time I made it outside, the wind was coming up and trickles of rain were coming down.  And by a block into the journey, it turned into a full downpour and hail storm.

Still.  I am in Paris.  Paris rain and hail is wonderful.

But, of course, I had my tiny little traveling umbrella.  Almost lost it to the wind a couple times but I hung on.

Sitting in my apartment, I looked over at a shelf.  Empty.  It normally held things, important things, that I put there with great regularity so as to not lose them.  The things, whatever they are, are packed.  Somewhere.  I guess I will rediscover them in Sacramento.  It will feel like a party with unexpected presents!

I finished my Magical series.  Now I am searching for things to read on the 12 hour flight to SF, 3 hour layover and 1 hour flight to Sac.  I have the 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared on hold.  It’s by the author of the Girl that saved the king of Sweden.  And in between I am rereading Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore.  I read it years ago.  Heard the author at a Cap Radio event.  Loved it.  Recommended it.  And when I was asked what it was about, I had no clue.  Just knew I loved it.  Figured I should give it a reread.

Yes, I know that it is no longer the style to underline book titles.  I don’t know what is the correct style, so I am just going to be old-fashioned.

Just polished my shoes before packing the shoe polish for the next stay.  I have to avoid Parisian gardens until I leave or my black shoes will turn grey once again.

And now to binge a couple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy with maybe a Breaking Bad to spice things up.  And rest up for tomorrow’s big residence changing event.


Sitting on the couch reading my novel on Kindle, I paused for a moment and surveyed the living area.  And tried to process the fact that in less than 72 hours (I wished it was 24 as that would be more dramatic! But not true, and I am sworn to the truth, dear reader), I will be in my house, sitting on the blue couch, surveying a room that I haven’t seen for 6 months.  OK… 3.  I did go back in January but for just a few days.

It’s magic.  Magic to get into a long tube in Paris which then defies gravity and 12 hours later exit in San Francisco.   OK.  So it’s really science.  I get it.

Still.  Magic.

I’m fixated on the magic probably because I am reading a sci fi fantasy light weight novel.  Not a bodice ripper, but still, I am happy to read it on my Kindle, so my banal reading tastes are not displayed to the world via a tacky book cover.  I have several “literary” novels and non-fictions that I am reading or are on the list.   But during the horror that is packing, I must have low-brow distractions.

BTW did you know that sales of bodice rippers apparently soared when Kindles first appeared?  No need to be embarrassed while reading on public transport.

I think every return has had this discombobulation.  I anticipate it now.  I understand it more.  When I get back, there will be new buildings, new signs, new things in Sacramento.  It will surprise me.  What?  Life continued here while I was away?  Particularly when I was gone for 9 months.   One year they tore down and rebuilt two fast food restaurants – Taco Bell and a Carl’s Jr.  It was weird because it was the same company, same lot, but different building.  I had to ask because I was thinking my memory must have totally failed.  Nope.  Progress.

The apartment is clean.  The big suitcase is on the living room table.  I think it will all fit.  The duffle is zipped (after being unzipped because I packed a computer cord I needed).  The carry-on sits half full.  And the backpack awaits this laptop and the other electronic gadgets.  I’m going out walking in the sun to find the donation bin for a few clothing items I no longer need.  Maybe read in the sun.  Dinner out tonight at my favorite local Chinese restaurant.   Nothing more to pack or zip until tomorrow.  Then it will be a frenzy of going to the banlieu, coming back, moving to the hotel, and coming back for dinner with my landlord.

Dear reader, thanks for putting up with my endless dissertation on the woes of packing.  Maybe I can sneak in a blog about the chateaus to catch up before I post about the sadness of leaving Paris.

On the downside of the curve. Maybe

I woke up this morning, Saturday.  It’s my last full day in this apartment.  Tomorrow I will wake up and take my two bags on the RER to my friend in the banlieu. Suburbs.  She has a beautiful three story townhouse with a lovely backyard.  With ample room for my two small bags.  And sack.  I am trying not to “grow” the stuff I leave with her.  But sometimes I am simply cheap.  Really?  Toss out arnica?  Or nice foldable boxes that are handy in apartments without much storage?  And just other crap that seems simply stupid to toss out when I would use it again.  I am steeling myself to toss more, keep less.  (Oh that made me think of a Hamilton lyric… sleep less?  Write more?  I dunno.  And I don’t dare listen to the soundtrack because then it will be in my head for a month!  OH.  Google.  Smile more, talk less.  Whew.  And a btw I am going back to see Hamilton in SF in August!  Very excited!)

So back to today.  The cleaning lady that comes with the apartment is here working around me.  I went to the post to mail the last box home.  The nice man helped me.  Nice because he figures it’s about 7 k and doesn’t put it on the scale.  The mean lady always puts it on the scale.  So far, no problem.  But when you are using a luggage scale, who knows how accurate the reading is?  No worries.  Last box gone.  Sending boxes back can be complicated.  You can send $200 worth of stuff to yourself with no duty applied.  And you can send back your returning goods with no issue.  But if you had $200 in one box and then mailed another with $200 and they arrive in US Customs on the same day,  you have exceeded your limit and you will have to pay duty before they will release your box.  So you must stagger your mailings.

Back to today.  Downside of the curve… or should that be hill?  Whatever.  I am feeling optimistic about the packing finally!  Maybe because I have sorted things – I have offered three sacks to the cleaning lade.  What she doesn’t want, I will donate at one of the drop-off donation bins.  Slippers I bought because the floor was cold cold tile at the first apartment.  Other stuff.  I shouldn’t think about it in detail because maybe I will be tempted to keep it!!

Yes.  Feeling positive.  Let’s see how long that lasts?  Right now it is sunny, and crystal clear out.  A day to wander Paris.  But Paris doesn’t want to be wandered.  At least the bus system doesn’t want you to.  With more gilet jaunes and a formula 1E race going on, it took the cleaning lady almost 90 minutes to get here –  normally 30.  Welcome to France.  WTF

Left Outs

Why is packing such hell?  Because I am the kind of person who likes to have things out and in sight.  My desk at work had piles of files on it.  And I could locate the exact one I needed at any time out of 4 stacks that were at least 6 inches high.  When you pack, you are hiding stuff, essentially.  For a normal trip, overnight to 4 weeks, I usually pack the night before.  Maybe throw things that I might take on the spare bed.  But here, I have weight limitation of 50 pounds per pack.  And you can’t figure out the weight until you put the stuff in the bag.

I was so proud of myself for packing and zipping up the duffle bag.  Good to go.  Until I couldn’t locate my saline solution and had to open it up again.  Yup.  There it was.  And it’s not like at home where I pick and choose from my closet for what to wear while throwing the things to take on the spare bed.  Nope.  All the clothes must go back. Normally  I plan my daily wardrobe in the morning on the spur of the moment.  Now I must plan ahead – what gets packed in the checked bags, what stays out to wear here in Paris for the next several days and will end up in the carryon.  I hate this.  Oh.  Repeating myself…

Some bus drivers are nice.  Others not so.  The traffic is so messed up near me.  It took 30 minutes to go 3 blocks this morning.  I should have walked.  But I would have ended up getting on the same bus at the stop across from the traffic jam caused by roadwork. Coming back, the bus is on deviation.  Some drivers make us get off at Bosquet Rapp, three blocks away.  Other nicer drivers will let me off at my street.

More on Tango.  I fluctuate.  Hopeless. Hopeful.  Yesterday I was feeling absolutely hopeless.  Why did I think I could do this?  I clomp, I don’t dance.  Today I could feel and see the difference.  That I had improved.  I think maybe tango is changing the way I walk… certainly my balance is changing – for the better.

I am exhausted this afternoon.  I have plans to meet a friend for a drink and then another friend for a vegetarian dinner.  So I am lounging on the couch or at the laptop this afternoon.  Why so tired?  I have been getting sensible sleep this past week.  It’s the tango.  It’s both a physical and a mental exercise.  The brain is trying to coordinate the body’s movement.  And the body is not so sure that the brain knows what it is doing.  Trying to do.  This is actually a long standing point of discussion/contention with my Sacramento teacher and a tango partner.  They scoff when I ask to understand the movements.  It should all be muscle memory, they declare.  My Russian French Tango teacher is less strict – yeah, let the brain do its analytical thing and then let it sink into the muscles.  I agree with her.  But the hour of concentration wears me out.  Especially today – it was my third tango lesson this week.  And she tried to review everything we covered.  So I actually had to remember things   Yikes.

And I am not getting much napping in.  Although I want to.  Desperately.  I started weekend afternoon naps when I turned 40.  Then at 50, naps just weren’t interesting.  So I stopped.   Now it’s more an in the moment need.   Today, I had the need.  And desire.  I close my eyes, hoping to drift off.  And I think of something else I have left out of the blog…

Did you wonder when I said one fewer day to lose my keys?  That’s because losing the apartment key is a big fear.  If you have been reading since the first stay in 2015, you may recall the horrible episode of the lost key – which I discovered when a routine pocket check while on the RER to the airport to meet a friend confirmed that I did not have the key on me.  Working backwards, I decided I must have dropped it in the trash bin on my way out. Yikes.  The Universe was looking over me.  When I returned to the apartment (I could get into the building with the code) I immediately checked the trash bins.  Yikes.  They had been emptied.  But there, on the bottom in a bit of liquid, sat my keys.   I have no clue but give thanks to this day.