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?

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.

Packing and…

I am now officially 8 wake ups from getting on the plane.

I have the duffel bag packed, weighed, zipped.  The big Eagle Creek bag is half full.  The carry-on has sacks of stuff surrounding it and the backpack is pretty much limited to what I need on the plane  and all the electronic stuff.  Sitting by the door are two boxes ready to mail back.  I can’t mail them the same day.  If they arrive at the same time in Customs in the US, I will exceed my duty free limit.  So one goes tomorrow.  Not today?  Well, of course not.  It is Easter Monday and all the post offices are closed.  So one tomorrow, the other on Thursday.

A third box will go on Saturday.  Yes.  One more.  Full mostly of stuff that is returning to the US.  This frees my suitcase of extra weight.  I am limited to 50 lbs per suit case.  It’s a giant puzzle.  Weight plus value of item that is going back to the States for the first time.  I say that because my suitcases are full of things I bought here but bring back and use.

At this point, I think I will be fine.  And if it doesn’t fit, I guess time to toss things.  Sunday it all must be in the suitcases for the move to a hotel.  Two nights in the hotel and Tuesday off to the airport.  This is not my preferred way of doing things.  I have to live out of a suitcase for two nights.  But I can suck it up and survive.

Is it time to go back?  Yes.  The last weeks here are bittersweet. I do love Paris.  But I also focus on the future and am eager to get back home.  Thoughts appear in my head unbidden.  The dishwasher is better than this one.  More light in my house.  My dryer! OMG Fluffy clothes.  The air in Sacramento is less polluted.  I have air conditioning.  An office in which to work on my computer instead of the dining room table.

And after four years with the majority of my time spent here, I know Paris.  I know French.  And I am not ready to tackle French bureaucracy to move here full time.

And, are you ready for this?  I have a checklist of place to go before I leave.  Some I haven’t been to yet.  Some to go back to in order to say au revoir.  And as opportunities to stop at these places occur…  I am on the bus and see the College des Bernadines right there.  I don’t jump off the bus.  I think, nah, it’s ok.  I don’t need to go.  Same with Sainte Chapelle.  This Medieval scholar (applied loosely) suddenly finds Paris to have a surfeit of medieval sites.

I do want to go see the famous table in the Louvre.  I have lunch planned this week for the d’Orsay.  Notre Dame was on the list – clearly, it’s not now.  I don’t need to go back to the Cluny – I can visualize most of the important objects.

Instead, I am making more time for seeing friends.  Dinners, drinks, lunches.  Kir Royale (cassis with champagne).

I still owe you a blog about the three chateau road trips, how I started on Infinite Paris in the first place.  And, maybe more for me than you, how I have changed since this experience.  In fact, I’d welcome any of your opinions on that, dear readers.  Just leave a comment.  Or email me if you have my email.

Now I must go get ready for the first of three tango lessons this week.

Music, Art, Dogs, Packing

I am a sucker for an accordion player who plays the traditional French songs.  On the metro today.  I gave him money.  He made me happy.

I walked to the art museum today.  Remember?  The buses are screwed up again. Bright and sunny again, but chilly.  I wore my Chamonix jacket and it was not too much!  Where oh where is spring?  Or at least, the spring temperatures?

These private art collections are just amazing.  I have seen so many recently.  Imagine you have enough money just to buy up all these impressionists.  And then hang them in your home.  And eventually, create a foundation and your own museum so you can lend them to other museums around the world after you die.  Thank you to all you wealthy collectors.  Paris is special this way.  I can’t think of another city where there are so many museums and so many expositions like this.  Today I saw Manets and Monets and Renoirs and Van Goghs and Lautrecs and Cezannes that I had never seen before.  Even not seen in books.  It filled my soul.  And there were a few cubist Picassos but I won’t spend any time on them.

By the way, I did cook last night!  Chicken with noodles, and asparagus wrapped with bacon, and gouda cheese on top of it all.  Tasty, if I do say so myself!  And when I get home, I shall try the ham and cheese wrapped in endive that was served to me in the Netherlands.  And a friend said they had made pasta with shrimp for dinner – and I actually found myself drooling a bit.  What is happening to my relationship with food?  Pretty soon you won’t be able to call me a picky eater.  Funny how we transform even when we age.

Rudeness.  I wanted to expound a bit more about the ‘rude’ French.  Most of the time I have a good relationship with the French wait staff.  I try to speak French.  I know not to rush.  I relax at the meal.  And I ask their advice re wine or dessert.  I can often get them smiling.  What I do know is that they are not American.  And that American efficiency, the attentiveness, the service with a smile and bring the check soon – ya, it’s not here.  And that’s ok.  The gal I mentioned in the last blog.  She had an attitude.  And I think I was more irritated because the other wait staff there know me and are nice and smiling and actually chat with me.  She was not.  She was dismissive of the tourist.  Ha.

The French are more formal.  You must start with Bonjour.  Even Excusez moi doesn’t cut it.  My other French friend said that was rather new.  She said she will often start with excusez moi.  And if someone does the Bonjour thing on her, she answers right back with – so what, excusez moi is not polite?  And basically, what’s wrong with you.  No, I shall never say that.  I don’t have the accent to get away with that.  So I will just keep working on remembering to say Bonjour.

The French say the Parisians are the problem.  That the French outside of Paris are nice and friendly.  Yes.  But I don’t mind the Parisians.  Just don’t give me attitude.

The dog cemetery was …  a cemetery for animals.  Not very big.  And for a place that has been there since 1899, I didn’t see all that many graves.  I did see many new ones.  I think they stopped using it in the 50s and started again maybe 20 years ago.  The most common name – Kiki.  Yes, there was Rin Tin Tin.  Nothing special.  And a St Bernard that saved 40 peoples lives, the 41st killed him.  Yes. It said that.  Hmmm…  I don’t know if the saving of the 41 was so difficult and treacherous that he died or that the 41st didn’t like the dog and killed him on purpose.  It’s a mystery.  But many new headstones.  That makes me wonder… do they reuse the space?  I know in some of the people cemeteries, you buy the plot for a period of time.  And if the family lets it go, well then.  The space becomes available.  Do they dig you up and toss you into a mass grave?  I don’t know.  Too morbid to investigate.

There was a lady who was raking and watering.  We chatted.  And I held up my end of the conversation.  I know I know I keep saying this. But it’s always tickles me when I speak French spontaneously.  And they understand!

And lastly, my friend with the heart problem texted me after reading about herself in these pages.  I was delighted to hear that after several hospital stays, she is now home.  Perhaps a long recovery… but that’s still good!  Glad you are doing well, my friend.

Now to practice packing.  Literally, taking everything and putting it into the two bags to see if it all fits.  And if not, what stays…  I must do this early enough that I have time to find solutions.

The Good Mood Continues

It is bright sunny and that is deceptive.  It should be warm.  It is NOT warm.  In fact, it was in the 40s this morning and I think the high is 51.  Where oh where are the 70s?  The long range forecast has some 70s popping up.  But the forecasters are sadists, I think.  Teasing me.  Not nice.  Pas gentile.

Scooters.  The new thing in Paris.  The kind you put your two feet on and then zip away under electric power.  I do not like the scooters. I haven’t tried one.  What if I lose my balance and fall over?  Not risking it.  AND it’s now illegal to use them on sidewalks.  That means you are out scooting in the streets with the crazy drivers and big buses.  Really?  It was bad enough when the kids were using them with their foot power.  But adults?  Going fast?  And what’s worse is that they just drop them anywhere.  The scooters litter the streets.  Standing up in a row.  Lying on their sides, every which way, blocking sidewalks.  I hate them.  I think Paris is becoming displeased – hence the law re no sidewalk use.  Hefty fines.  And there are a multitude of companies providing the scooters.  I read there will be more fees required of them in the future.  It’s all done on line.  You download the ap.  Put in your credit card info.  Search for a scooter.  It hooks you up with one around you and sends a signal to the scooter to beep at you until you claim in.  And you ride away and then just get off and dump it.

It’s another Saturday and my buses are screwed up.  Those damn Gilet Jaune.  But that’s ok.  I have been going too fast – no real break since my trip to the Netherlands.  I planned to stay in bed all day.  Lasted til noon.  Did a bit of shopping – everything around me is closed tomorrow on Sunday.  Got a croissant and baguette.  And some chicken.  OMG.  It sounds like I might even cook!  I’m taking a break from Grey’s Anatomy, my new binge show.

I go back to the US in 17 wake ups.  And before then, I have to send at least one more box home.  I might send two.  I’ve started packing my duffle.  Still room and only 25 lbs.  I’m going to have to put everything else into the suitcase and see how much that weighs.  And then take mostly everything out because I am still here for 17 days.  But this is my normal returning-after-more-than-6-months routine.

And my thoughts are turning back to California.  Today as I was taking ice cubes out for my drink, I remembered that I have an ice maker in my fridge.   Automatic ice!  What a concept.  And even though both the apartments on this trip had dishwashers, and this one has a separate clothes dryer, I am still looking forward to my appliances.

The clothes dryer here is wonderful.  I don’t have to plan out my washing.  When should I wash?  How long will it take for the clothes to air dry?  Can I put them in front of the heater?  Nope, just open the washer, take the clothes out, throw them in the dryer.  But the clothes don’t ever come out American fluffy.  I miss fluffy.  Soon!!

Monday is tax day.  This is the first time ever I have asked for an extension.  Every other time I have been back in the States in January, February and March.  I sat at my computer and got everything organized and sent it.  This time, I actually grabbed all the documents I needed and brought them over, but I just can’t seem to get motivated to do them here in Paris.  My accountant is a dedicated “dear reader” of this blog.  She texts me from the hospital that she just underwent heart surgery.  Yikes.  This is the kind of thing I hate to have happen.  I want to go visit her.  She should be home now.  I want to see how she’s doing.  And all I can do for now is text and add her to my blog with best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I can’t blog these days without a mention of tango.  I was having lessons at least a day apart – except last week.  Our schedules did not mesh so I had an appointment on Wednesday at 11 and then Thursday at 6 pm.  I really thought my head was going to explode, to say nothing of my aching feet.  She told me that an intensive course like I was taking was difficult.  There was so much to impart and so much to learn in such a short period.  OK, folks.  I’m dumb.  I just figured I was taking lessons.  She’s right.  She has put together a very intensive course for me.  She tries to repeat and build on the lessons.  I’m getting my money’s worth out of her.  And she is exhausting me.  And I had mentioned this earlier, but now, suddenly, I am eager to dance.  To go to milongas, to practicas, to group lessons.  That’s the only way I will figure out how to put this all together.  Using the wall or the buffet as a partner, to practice pivots, etc., is just not cutting it.

In the museums these days, the guards are usually sticklers about back packs.  You must wear them across your chest, not back.  So you don’t run into other visitors and also, so you don’t run into and topple over art – like the Venus de Milo.  I wish someone did the same thing in metros.  I got smacked several different times last week by back pack wearers.  OMG what did they have in that back pack?  It was as big as a large suitcase.  And it hurt when it connected.

I am fading.  Back to binge watching and relaxing.

A bientot

Paris, French, La Poste

Readers.  Impossible to keep you happy.  Good thing I write mostly for myself.  Some of you will comment to me that blogs are either too long or too short.  Or there are suddenly too many in a row.  Or why aren’t you writing? Or even after publishing several on the same day, why didn’t I publish more?

As my fancy strikes me.  That’s what gets written when.

Today.  La Poste.  In preparation for leaving, my brain goes into packing and customs mode.  Remember, I will have two suitcases, limited to 50 pounds each plus a carryon and backpack.  Stop rolling your eyes thinking I bring everything including the kitchen sink.  I do not.  However, this isn’t a two week vacation.  Or even four week vacation.  I am here over two or three seasons.  And I don’t want to wear the same thing every dang day.  And you need things for hot weather, warm weather, rain, and even snow, and nice weather and chilly weather and even very cold freezing weather.  Add to that mix the things I buy when I am here.  The odd piece of clothing.  The various souvenirs.  The butter.  And the customs limit is $800.  It’s a puzzle – weight and cost.

Inevitably I mail a box or two home.  I have a UPS mailbox so shipping to it is easy.  They sign for it, they store it.  This year La Poste is located only two blocks away (not 5) so everything is simplified.  And the ladies there are nice.  They see me enter with my box (15 lbs), come take my shipping forms, stamp stamp et voila.  I’m done.  Mailed the second one yesterday.  Hoping that is it.  There are 33 days ahead of me so there is time for another box if necessary.

DONE WITH PARIS……  I was called on that phrase from an earlier blog by two friends.  First, I fully subscribe to Audrey Hepburn’s quote – “Paris is always a good idea.”  Bien sur!    And I also agree with Bogie (or was it Ingrid?)  “We’ll always have Paris.”   Of course, that’s in the singular.  I’ll always have Paris.  I simply meant I was done with this part of my life.  The need to live here, breathe the Parisien air (pollution et al), avoid the dog merde on the sidewalk, learn to live as a Parisenne, not a touriste.  I will return. But my focus has changed for now.  I’m going to keep up my French – skyping with French friends and more conversation classes at the Alliance Francaise in California.  But in this moment, I am done with this particular Parisienne experiment.

Speaking of the Poste (up above two paragraphs in case you forgot), I had a French speaking triumph.  A friend is rebuilding an Alfa Romeo.  He gets parts from around the world.   He was stumped to find a particular part until a German friend referred him to a small company in France.  My friend asked me to order it if possible because their website was in French and didn’t seem to allow for delivery to a foreign country.  My triumph?  I talked to the gal over the phone, in French, about the car parts and delivery to the US in the most expeditious manner possible – which turned out to the La Poste.  They agreed to take it that same day and it arrived in the US only 9 days later.  I was quite pleased with myself.  First, talking on the phone is always a bitch.  No facial clues.  Harder to hear sometimes.  And the subject was not in my wheelhouse.  (Did I ever think I would use the word wheelhouse?  Never in my lifetime.  Oh well)

I received several suggestions for my talk topics from blog entries.  I really appreciate that. If any of the rest of you can think of anything particularly surprising or amusing, please let me know.  Thanks in advance.

I tangoed this morning.  Well, actually, I did leg and foot exercises, with upper body things throw in as well, all with the intended goal of improving my actual dancing of the tango.  This will be a separate blog soon.

And now to rest my feet.  There’s a new wine bar to discover this evening.