Reentry

I’ve been back 2 months today. 

People ask, don’t you miss Paris?  Truth is, not so much.  I am sure I have said before that this return is for a longer time, to see how this consulting partnership plays out.  There are great possibilities ahead but as with all new enterprises, it takes a while to get up to speed.  So this time back in California, my attitude is different.  I am not living out of a suitcase for 3 months, waiting to go home.  Even last year when I stayed longer to work on elections, I still had that return date in my head. 

This time.  Different.  I have filled my time, probably excessively so.  I don’t want to be lollygag about pining for Paris.

Instead, I have taken up Bridge lessons.  Yes, the card game.  My friend for whom I was house sitting was on a 3 month cruise.  I saw his itinerary – 5 days at sea!  I couldn’t think of anything more boring and asked him what he did.  Read. Watch Videos.  Play bridge.  Oh. Intriguing…  And about the same time, I became acquainted with two others who played bridge.  It started looking interesting, so I joined the bridge club and am taking lessons.   Bridge is more difficult than speaking French.  Because Bridge uses English but in ways not defined in the dictionary.  Bridge is all CODE.  Double can mean several things – except not 2 times something.  My head is exploding.  There are moments where I see the light.  Followed immediately by rolling black outs.

And I continue with Tango.  My teacher and a friend have both said my skills have advanced considerably.  Sweet.  I take a private lesson once a week and have joined an intermediate group lesson.  Whoa.  Intermediate!  And you know what?  That’s where I should be.  Dancing with the guys in that class is so much better than in the beginning group I had tried last month. Now on my trips to Macy’s, I look for tops or dresses that say Tango!

I have rejoined the gym and have a personal trainer.  She’s just what I need – she teaches yoga and is a dancer herself.  So, I have asked for things that will enhance my tango.  Wonderful.

I am turning this blog into a book.  I’ve mentioned that before.  But stupid me.  My blog file was simple to keep up – I just typed the latest blog entry at the top of the word document.  Think that through.  I didn’t.  If I want the book in chronological order from the start – duh – then I must cut and paste to reorder the posts.  I finally finished that today.  Next up, formatting for titles etc. and the table of contents. Then eventually printing out the 400+ pages for reading and editing.  I think I shall have to edit with a glass of French wine.  Or two.

Because the consulting gig includes seminars and because I can see giving talks at the service clubs for both the consulting and for the blog book, I have finally joined Toastmasters.  Speaking in front of a group has always been easy for me.  Well, after 4 years of college wherein if I had to give a talk in class, I would drop the class.  Somewhere along the line, speaking clicked.  But I want to be more dramatic.  Shrug.  Why not?

And because I can, I got a job at the local art/indie/foreign film cinema.  Part-time.  Just starting.  Who knows?  At least I get to see the movies for free.

And then there are friends with whom to catch up and plebian things like more insulation in the attic.

Life is not boring.

Oh yeah. I start the French conversation group at Alliance Francaise in a week.

Home. Sacramento

Yes. I know. I owe you some more blogs. When I get back and rest up. You’re first on the list, dear reader.”

OK, yes.  That is how I ended the Blog on April 29, the day before I flew back to the US.  And yes, I know it is now June 9.  Probably 10th by the time I actually finish and post this.  Much has occurred.

The flight was uneventful. Neither bumped up to first class nor engine trouble etc.  Border patrol and customs were snaps.  I have the Global Traveler so I can get through quickly using the computer kiosks.  (I have to renew this every 5 years and the time is upon me.  A cool thing with my United Visa card – if I use that card to renew the $100 fee, United reimburses me!  Yup.  The full $100!)   The layover in SF was over 3 hours but I was able to use the United Lounge – free food, friendly people to watch your bags, comfy chairs, all good.  And in Sac the bags came out relatively early.  Home via Uber.  My usual unpacking – opening everything on the kitchen floor and starting the washing immediately.  And unpacking the boxes from France.  My tea cups did not fare well.  Two had cracks.  My fault.  Shrug.   And I packed these boxes several weeks ago so some of the contents were a surprise.

Next to stock the larder.  That meant a car ride to Safeway.  And for the first time – well, I guess in January too – the car battery was healthy due to the drip charger I used.  Worth every penny to avoid a call to AAA.  I stayed up looking for things until 10:30 pm. At that point I had been up 26 hours.  And of course, I woke up at 4 am.  Started looking for things again and got a quick nap in before leaving.

What was I looking for?  General stuff – rediscovering my house and its contents.  And most specifically, my car keys.  I had a spare set which were where they were supposed to be.  But my regular set were invisible to me.  Finally, I had to give up because I was leaving town.

My business partner had tried to open a banking account for us but needed my signature.  So day one I was off to Nevada to do finances.  The second day there and my second day back in the US, I felt nauseous all day and my pulse was racing all day.  I researched before determining if I should go to ER and found that both can be symptoms of jet lag.  I hung tight.  And the next day I felt pretty good and on day 3 I was back to normal.  Even sleeping was back to normal.  So if I have a choice, I will take a day of nausea and racing pulse over 6 or more days of bad sleep.  I am hoping my body will remember this for future time zone jaunts.  Also, going away from my house directly on my return was a good idea.  Accidental.  But good.  Because there was nothing I could do but relax for a few days.  I couldn’t go driving about on errands.  Didn’t have things to put away.  People to call.  It was spa-like.

Then I came home rested and relaxed to make my transition.

People ask me, do you wish you were back in Paris?  How is the change going?  What do you miss?  And frankly, at this point when I go back to Paris or come back to Sac, it’s a fairly immediate transition.  I was there.  Now I am here.  And my daily HERE life becomes my focus.  Sure, I notice changes.  I see things in my house that I totally forgot about.  But I don’t pine – either for Paris or for Sac.  I guess it’s really living in the NOW.

But I do observe.

I was driving down Highway 50 the other day and suddenly thought about the taxi drivers, and the gilet jaunes, and other manifestation groups in Paris and imagined Californians standing on the freeway blocking traffic… and I started to laugh.

No need to use the 24 hour clock and have to think for a moment if I translated the time correctly when making a reservation.

Last week I dropped a book on the floor by the bed and I flinched.  Then I remembered no one lives below me – that’s my living room!  The joys of not living in an apartment.

I rediscovered Target and Macys and Raleys and Safeway and oh so many other shops.  So many options.  And I can easily return items!  I missed that in Paris.  Although, they are getting better about returns.  Before they gave you the stink eye.

Rediscovering my house…  it’s like an old friend I haven’t seen for a while.  I found I needed to nest.  The first call was to Marcos my sometime gardener to clean out the leaves and debris from my yard- without mudding up my pond.  I was delighted to finally catch a glimpse of a fish!  Don’t get too excited.  I do not have fancy koi.  I have the requisite mosquito fish, provided for free and delivered by the Sac County Mosquito Abatement Center.   The back yard once again became the calm, peaceful refuge to sit and relax.  Until the temps climb into the 100s like it will this week.

Dear Reader.  I am home.  But I have more to share about my transition with occasional ponderings about living abroad.  Tonight, however, it’s time to sleep.

Une bonne journée

All the pains, hassles, and worries are gone. Disparu comme le singe of Eddie Izzard.

Easy transfer to the hôtel on Sunday. Today was packed. And I walked over 8 miles! I’m woofed.

Bought a box and mailed the last package home. Was worth it because now my suitcase is under 45 pounds. Breathing space. Made room for the chocolates. Miam Miam.

Got to Foire de Paris. The biggest combination home show, garden show, inventor showcase, international bazaar, and everything else including the kitchen sink. (Literally. There’s a separate room for kitchens!)

Time for a late tea at Hotel Crillon, my absolute fav or luxury hotel teas. Then a walk around Notre Dame. They are working hard. And capping the night off with dinner with my dear friend O. He teaches at the Paris University. We were supposed to speak English as he wants more practice. And I found myself falling back into French.

Then home via Uber and now relaxing. All is packed except for the butter. I fetch it from their freezer tomorrow morning.

Yes. I know. I owe you some more blogs. When I get back and rest up. You’re first on the list, dear reader.

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.

Magic

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.

 

Packing is Hell

I am counting down – one less day to lose something.  One less day to get locked out of my apartment.  One less day to trip and fall (Last stays in Paris had many trips and falls.  This time I have stayed upright – until this week.  Carrying a box down the stairs, I stepped out thinking the next step was the floor.  It wasn’t.  I landed on it.  Good thing I have arnica for my knees.)

I still have my mojo.  But packing trumps mojo.  At least, packing to go home after a 6 month stay in Paris and having to account for a two night hotel stay does.  Thank god I decided that I was not going to go to Norway- it would have been this week and I am sure it would have caused a meltdown.  Normally, I am such a capable person.  I’ve moved from LA to Pittsburgh by myself.  And back.  And in Los Angeles, to different apartments.  And from LA to Visalia.  And then to Sacramento.  All organized and coordinated by myself.  Alone.  No problem.

There are two things that overwhelm my mojo.  My mojo sees them coming and goes into hiding.  One – this move.  And it’s just the return.  Packing to come to Paris is no big deal.  So if it doesn’t fit, I just leave it at home.   The other thing is new carpeting.  Oh Lordy, how I hate new carpeting.  When everything has to come out of a room.  Well, as I write this, I wonder why is that daunting to me?  Maybe I am improving.  But hey, no plans for new flooring so no need to test it.

The countdown to moving also includes parsing out my food stuff.  Here, not a big deal in that the landlord will not care about some left things.  When you are in an Air BNB, you are supposed to clean out the fridge.  Still, no need for me to spend money unnecessarily.  So dinner out tonight, tomorrow, well -dinner out every night til I fly back.  So that means a lunch tomorrow and Sunday.  Monday will be on the fly as I am at the hotel.

Thanks to my friends whom I have called or texted for packing pep talks.  Sigh.  Sometimes you just need a pat on the back and being told you can do this.  They laugh at me and perk up my spirits.  And most are used to it.  This is the fourth time for coming back…

And my mojo has conquered my existentialist crisis.  I have some idea of what I will be doing for the next 18 months.  Seeing if a consulting business will work.  And there’s that possible South American Antarctic cruise…  And French continuing at the Alliance Francaise.  And the gym.  I’ve missed the gym.  I certainly am getting the walking miles in, but I like the gym.

I had the Last Tango Lesson in Paris today.  But don’t even go to Bertolucci or Brando please.  She is an excellent teacher.  Excellent.  Eleven lessons in the intensive personalized course she developed for me.  I still am unsure if it would have been better to have started with her or if I needed the first lessons to get me to a spot where what she did made sense.  But.  Shrug.  It doesn’t matter… I have improved.  And there is much more improvement necessary.  Still.  What fun to say I learned tango in Paris.

On the bus today I still had that old I Love Paris feeling.  It was supposed to rain but Paris is giving me her best in my last days here.  The light on the ivory bricks.  I simply love it.  And as we were working our way into a merge to a new street, suddenly it was as if the scooters were swarming around the bus.  Like locusts.

We went by the Montmartre cemetery.  Dalida is buried there.  She was an extremely popular singer in the 60s/70s.  Lots of grief in her personal life.  I was thinking of her as we passed.  What a troubled soul.  And thought happily that my life is not that.  Oh, I’m often a confused soul, but not troubled.

My future is always cloudy.  No need any more to ask a fortune teller – it’s always the same, cloudy.  And I like it this way I suppose.  Take one step to the right and think I know where I will end up and whoosh suddenly, I am somewhere else.  Just allow.  Always allow.  That’s what got me here.

Saturday afternoon for drinking in some sights.  Busy work on Sunday – delivering things that will stay here in Paris (or the banlieu – the burbs) in my absence, final zipping up of the luggage and the cab to the hotel.  Monday will be a morning at Foire de Paris and an afternoon for final goodbyes and good buys of chocolate.  A last dinner with a dear friend and then off to CDG at 6:30 Tuesday.

Don’t be surprised by a few more blogs, in spite of the fact this sounds like a concluding post.   Saturday also has the excitement of another gilet jaune protest and a formula 1E race around the Invalides.  I am sure not one bus will be moving!  And who knows what other surprises will occur that will drive me to my PC for another post?

More Odds to One Ending

In a recent post, I said that I had been snarky.  A lovely Dear Reader wrote this back: Of course snarky is good.  It is a combination of common sense, intellectual reasoning and a healthy dose of humor.  Maybe.  But I do want to manage my snarkiness.

The Tut expo here in Paris…  I went to the traveling Tut in Los Angeles in the 70’s.  A friend said she was in the second grade.  I thought seriously for a moment about unfriending her.  Back to Tut.  I recall seeing the death mask.  The real thing.  Is that my memory playing tricks on me?  Any Dear Readers who recall?  It was not here in Paris so I was disappointed.  In fact, I think it was actually a rather small exp but cleverly mounted.  Very dark.  Snaking back and forth into small rooms with small things but of gold so it almost glowed.  With lots of space around each display.  And some great use of videos – to tell a story, to show the excavation in Ken Burns style. Well done.  But I finished in less than an hour.

I noticed a bus driver giving the hand signal for thank you to a car recently.  And realized I have seen this more frequently.  So.  Either the French are becoming friendlier and politer or I am just noticing it.  I lean to the later.  However, I have read in tourist books that the pedestrian is not supposed to wave or mouth thank you or merci to a car that stops for them – it’s a dead giveaway that you are a tourist.  I don’t care.  Feels like the right thing to do.

If I was going to plan something nefarious in Paris, I’d buy or rent a white van.  They are ubiquitous in Paris.  But I am not going to.  Just an observation.

Yes, perhaps I have been here too long.  I noticed myself reading on my phone on the bus yesterday.  Huh?

And I haven’t had one macaron this trip.  Not one.  And perhaps only three croissants.  I have, however, discovered the Financier Nature.  Miam Miam,

For the first time in 50 some years, there are changes to the bus routes.  RATP, the company that runs the buses and metro did a big questionnaire last year.  Wanted to know how people used the buses.  Lots of publicity about it.  And I still have one friend who was totally surprised when I mentioned the new bus routes to her yesterday.  There’s always one.

They have added a few routes.  Extended many of the bus routes at the beginning or end or both.  And they moved the start of bus 87 from a block from me to half a mile away.  Huh?  Fortunately, I only needed it once before I leave.  Not sure if the new route is what distracted him, but yesterday at a bus stop I waved at the bus as you are supposed to do to get it to stop but I just watched it pass me by.  I shouted!  And waved more.  And he pulled over.  I wonder if he heard me or if the other passengers called out for me?  No matter.  He stopped.  And when I got on, he was so apologetic!  Over and over.  Desole.  Desole.  It was ok.  And when I got off the bus, he had a red light where I had a green crosswalk light.  Our eyes connected and he mimed apologies again and again.  I finally did the Namaste hands together.  He did too.  We smiled and I hope his day was better.

On the metro I guilted a young man to stand and give me his seat.  Well, not so sure I did that much to have him stand.  My white hair does help.  I haven’t had to limp yet.  I will say, on previous stays, it seemed that the person giving me a seat on the bus or metro generally turned out to be an American male.  This year, it’s been young people, mostly men.  I am very appreciative.

Time is Warped.  Or is it me?

So I have 8 wake ups til the taxi cab to Charles de Gaulle airport.  And my calendar appears packed.

Until it doesn’t.

You allow time for packing.  And it takes less time and suddenly there is time to fill – but with what?  There are too many choices.  I heard a story on NPR years ago about the stress of choice.  A GI returning after a long tour abroad was sent to the store by his wife  to pick up some cereal.  Maybe even Cheerios.  And he stood in the cereal aisle for over 30 minutes – trying to pick out the right box.  He was presented with so many choices – just in Cheerios themselves. He couldn’t decide.

So here I am in Paris with so many things to do and, presented with 2 hours to spare, I can’t focus on what to do.  I toss out one idea, replace it with another, toss that one out, go back to the first…  and suddenly, there is no time left.

Or, on the other hand, you allow 30 minutes for packing and at the end of 30 minutes, nothing seems to have moved.  It’s still in a circle on the floor around you.  While you are trying to decide: will you need this before the plane?  At the hotel?  This week?  Can it be shipped home?  What day should I wash it?  Does it even need to be washed?

Arrghhh

Then you look at the calendar and freak because why ever did you purchase tickets for King Tut exhibit with a 9:30 am entrance and it will take almost an hour to get there.  Leave at 8:35?  What fool did this?

Oh. Me

I hate the last week.  It stresses me.  I make stupid decisions.  I irritate friends.  I bother friends – to call and say I am going crazy – like they need that conversation in their lives right now.  Not.

I can’t decide if it would be better or worse to be traveling with someone else.  Would that reassure me or just give me an opportunity to drive them insane?

So instead, I take it out on you, Dear Reader.  You can skim.  Or even skip.  Or laugh at.  And after the quick read, move on to the realities of your life.

I am stuck in Paris, contemplating suicide by suitcase.  NO NO NO.  That was morbid humor.  I’m sure if you have been a long time reader, you have lived through three other packing to go back to the states blogs.

I will say, I bet it’s easier to read them than to live through this.  I will also say, don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff.

And then I’ll add, except packing.