Finally. I finally feel like I had an actual day off today. Yes, yes, yes. I know all my days in Paris have been days off* and I have been fortunate to work part time for many years and enjoy days off during the week. But despite the best intentions, days off can be consumed with daily tasks: start the laundry, create the grocery list, vacuum, move laundry to the dryer, head to the grocery store or two as well as Target, eat a piece of toast or sandwich while folding the now-dry laundry, check the bank account and make sure bills were paid, drop off books at the library that you forgot to take on your way to Target, send some emails about volunteering at school, prep something for dinner while waiting for kids to get home, prepare each child for various activities with appropriate snacks in hand, return home to finish dinner and take folded laundry upstairs since everyone else walked right past it on the steps.
Remove the trip to Target and my days off run pretty close to the scenario above. Not that I mind. I still get to walk past the Tour Eiffel every day and eat yummy things from a bakery all the time (future post on the benefits of a yeast-based diet). But today was a real day off.
I didn’t get up too early. All the kids swim at school on Thursday mornings so there is no sense showering or primping before school. After walking them over, I came home for my piece of toast (read yeast diet) and sent a few emails before taking a short, but nice run to the Champs-Elysees. I actually stopped in a couple stores and just browsed before running home. I took my time showering before Tom, his brother, Rob, and I headed out the door to a new restaurant I had heard good things about. The whole meal I just smiled…so yummy. They serve amazing salads, soups, crumbles, and quiches for lunch, a variety of unique teas and delicious cakes for dessert. I had a bowl of hot chocolate to accompany my vegetable crumble along with one of the best carrot cakes I have ever had (except for the recipe from Julie Trusler). But the highlight had to be Tom’s pistachio-cherry dessert tart. I’m not one to speak in acronyms but OMG. I’m going back and I may take every single visitor to this place.
Afterward, they headed off to Musee Cluny and I headed off to…nowhere. Okay, I had one place I wanted to visit: the largest of all the pharmacies in the city filled with bottles, jars and tubes of every concoction you could conceive. What a place to browse. I walked out with three things but people literally had shopping bags full of stuff.
I had another 90 minutes before school was out so I window-shopped my way home. I lingered over espresso cups (I don’t drink coffee). I lingered over tiny teaspoons (I really don’t drink tea, either). I lingered over jewelry I don’t need. I lingered over shoes I couldn’t afford. I stopped everywhere I saw a cool handbag. I looked in a store that had rolls of material for tablecloths: clever. And the best part: I knew where I was and where I was going! No need to carry my iPhone in my hand, Google or Apple Maps at the ready. My confidence was so high, I even took a short cut. Viola! At the school with 10 minutes to spare.
The day off continued as Elizabeth, Julian and I headed out to a great little art store to pick up some items for a birthday party Elizabeth is going to next week as well as materials for some Halloween decorations the students are making for the children’s hospital. We stopped on the way home for our obligatory dinner baguette from a new, recommended bakery, the closest one to us but one we had not gone to yet. BEST BAGUETTE EVER (except for the baguette du cereales but we would consider that a “specialty” baguette so it’s not a fair comparison).
Came home in time to Facetime with Natalie, enjoy homemade dinner with the family, an episode of Modern Family (yes, we have found a way to stream US tv shows overseas but it’s tricky), kids tucked away and Facetime with Jody. And now I’m talking to you good people.
I hope to have more days off in the future. To heck with laundry, right?!
*For those of you that think I’m working or have said to me, “It doesn’t sound like you are working at all!”, I’m not. This was not the plan but life doesn’t always follow the plan (see previous blog regarding Myers-Briggs to get a sense of how well changed plans go over for ENTJ’s such as myself). After over a month of hiccups in the visa process, I was given the option of taking a personal leave for a year and returning to my role with Disney at the end of our time in Paris. As a friend said to me, “You’re never going to look back on this time and say, “Gee, I sure wish I could have worked during that year in France.” So, I am embracing this gift: time for my husband, time for my kids, time for my guests and time for me. No paycheck this year, but a priceless gift nonetheless.