Thursday, May 26, 2016

I Can Hear Again

So, how did I end up Jonesing for a cup of coffee in the heart of Paris without a Euro to my name?  As with most things in my life, it was the The Boss’ fault. Well, at least the being in Paris part. It all started with a casual comment she dropped at work when she overheard a co-worker mention that names were being submitted for a symposium in France. She said, “France? Put my name in. I want a piece of that action!” Apparently, someone did. 

Fast forward a few weeks and the phone rang one Tuesday afternoon.  My congenial “Hello?” was instantly drowned out by screaming. 


I didn’t hear the rest. At that point all the cochlear hairs in my right ear fainted. I think I muttered a bewildered “congratulations.” The news was good. The Boss works hard at her job. Being chosen to present a briefing at the symposium in France was recognition of her hard work.  Traveling to Europe has always been one of her goals. The extra per diem money wouldn’t hurt our budget, either.

The phone rang a few hours later on that same Tuesday afternoon.  My congenial “Hello?” was instantly drowned out by more screaming. 


My left ear quit, too.  

Over the course of the next two months, every spare minute of The Boss’ time was spent online researching travel arrangements, hotels, places to visit, sites to see for a ten day excursion through Europe after the symposium ended, and which colors the folders should be to hold all the important documents for each country. France was green, Poland was pink, Germany was purple, and anything work related went into the blue folder. These were important decisions.

I had other concerns. Who would watch the kids? Who would take care of the house? Who would take care of the dogs? How would we pay for this? And then there was the slightly less rational but still present concern of how would we get to and from France without becoming the next pile of terrorist debris? The March bombing of the Brussels airport did nothing to calm my mind. Suffice it to say, I was less than thrilled. These concerns kept me awake at night, in particular the child care question. 

General Mayhem is now 19, and about to move out of the house. Major Havoc is a 13 year old boy. Need I say more? Captain Chaos is 12 and still charging through life at 100 M.P.H. without concern for the carnage she leaves in her wake. 18 days is a looooong time. And then there was this surprising struggle…

I’ve been a stay-at-home dad since June of 2001. Since then, I have not been away from all three of children for more than a day or two at a time. When I was, they were with their mother. The longest gap away from them has been a week when I took one or both boys to summer camp. My home is my domain. My children, their education, and their care is my life. And while I love my best friend dearly and knew that once we had feet on the ground in Europe that I’d be fine and we would have fun, the idea of leaving my children for that long was uncomfortable, to say the least. The 13 year old proved to be our biggest challenge. He simply could not resist poking at his older brother while we were away, and could not handle the reaction when he did. 

Everything worked out. The proof is in the 15,000 pictures that The Boss is determined to post on Facebook. The trip was quite the adventure, and hopefully not of the once-in-a-lifetime type. During the first week, I was able to explore Paris and Toulon (a town on the French Mediterranean coast) by myself during the day while Melissa worked. Together we explored Warsaw and Cracow with friends Tom & Katie, and Leipzig and Nuremberg on our own. 
And I think my hearing is finally back to normal.


Michelle said...

I'm hoping this means you'll be blogging again?

I would have taken the kids and dogs in a heartbeat. Not a problem whatsoever.

I'm so thrilled that you were able to go and have such a wonderful time!! I have enjoyed all the photos so far!

The Boss said...

Hey, you even admitted that my colored folder system worked well and was nice and organized. And it was green for Germany, pink for France and purple for Poland.

And Michelle, we thought about calling you, but figured you had enough on your plate without our two rugrats for almost 3 weeks!