Showing posts with label Paris at Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris at Christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time

Have you ever looked back on decisions you have made and asked yourself, "Self, what the hell?  Why did I do that?"

And Self replies, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Here are some of those for me.

Good Idea #1:  Let’s move to Seattle.  It’s lovely and green and has a better summer than we have.

Background:  We lived in the Monterey Peninsula area of California for over 30 years, but I never quite got California.  Not enough deciduous trees to suit my Michigan soul.  And where we lived should not be confused with sunny Southern California.  The weather on the Monterey Peninsula is very much the same as San Francisco - foggy and cold in the summer.  If you have ever stood out on the street in San Francisco in July waiting for a bus, you know what that's like.  So we became used to foggy, chilly Junes, Julys and Augusts. 

So here is what I thought about Seattle.  Yes, it rains. That’s why it’s green. Yes, it’s gray in Seattle, but I like gloom.  And darn it, for two months a year there is warmth and sun.  After a particularly sunny visit in February, I actually got this idea that Seattlites talked about how bad the weather was just so us Californians wouldn't move there.
Reality Check:  As I write this, we are having a lovely summer.  But there have been several Julys that were rainy and cold. If summer is defined as those minutes when the temperature is 80 or more, we had one summer where there was only 78 minutes of summer.  

We moved here in late September. Everything seemed fine until the time changed.  You know the drill, fall back?  As soon as the time changed, it was dark by 4pm and it rained and rained and rained.

So you people out there, especially you Californians who wish to escape the debacle that is the Golden State, it really does rain in Seattle.  But hey, it’s green.

Good Idea #2:  Let’s get a third dog.  Better yet, let’s make it a collie.
Background: We started out with Freddy, a miniature poodle, and Gemma, a German Shepherd. 

Freddy provided the one on one companionship poodles are so good at and Gemma did the fetching and protecting.  But when Gemma died unexpectedly, Freddy was left alone.  I wanted another dog so Freddy wouldn’t be lonely when we went to work, so along came Tarquin, a toy poodle. 

He likes to dress up.

All of that was a good idea.  But then I had another idea.  We need a big dog to take Gemma’s role.  I feel better with a big dog around.  So along came Mildred Pierce, the collie.  I got this brilliant idea because I had grown up with a beautiful collie who looked just like Lassie.  

Remember, “What’s the matter, girl?  Is Timmy in trouble?”  Anyway, the collie I grew up with, Echo, was a wonderful dog who roamed the neighborhood and did good deeds, just like Lassie (which dogs were able to do in the olden days). 

Reality Check: That was then.  This is now. 
And Mildred, you are no Echo.

I know, cute, isn’t she?


If you only knew.  

One thing about collies.  They shed.  Yes, I know that German Shepherds also shed but not like collies.  There is long collie hair everywhere she roams.  You just need to hang an article of clothing in the closet, shut the door and within minutes it is covered with dog hair. How does that happen? I know she plots her whereabouts depending on when I am getting ready to leave the house and whether or not I am wearing black pants.  As soon as I come downstairs, she suddenly appears and is all over me like a cheap suit. When I walk out the door I look like one of her relatives. 

And she barks. 

Not like Gemma who barked to alert us to intruders (OK, at the mailman and UPS man, too, but that was all).  Mildred barks just for the sheer joy of hearing herself.  And let me tell you, the neighbors do not share the joy.  So now, even though the poodles don’t bark, they all must be kept inside when we are gone. I don’t mean to belabor this, but I have to add that collies have long aristocratic noses and pea brains.  That little lump on top of their heads is the brain, I think.  When I found out that the breed originated from a cross between a Border Collie and a Borzoi, all became clear.  Yes, the Borzoi gives the collie a “noble head,” but not much room for what should be inside it. And Borzoi’s aren’t known for their smarts either.  

But Mildred’s breed notwithstanding, the main thing about getting that third dog?

Two dogs are companions for each other.  Three dogs are a pack.  When the pack mentality kicks in, don’t be making your way down the stairs in heels holding something in each hand.  You have been warned.

This is what a pack of dogs looks like.

Good Idea #3:  Let's spend Christmas in Paris.

Background: The first Christmas we spent alone, when our children spent Christmas with their other families, we decided, OK, we have to be alone?  Then we will fly off to Paris.  We will have Paris all to ourselves.  Who would want to be traveling at Christmas?  Doesn't everyone stay home with their families if they can?  I had visions of singing Christmas carols with the flight attendants on an empty plane and getting the royal treatment.

Reality Check: WRONG!!!!

Empty plane?  Packed to the gills and nary a bit of holiday cheer.

Royal treatment?  We know that never happens on a plane in economy, no matter what day it is.

Paris to ourselves?  Not!  Families everywhere and long lines for everything.  We took a whole day to get out to Versailles only to discover we were in the line to get into the line to get into the line to get tickets.  We slunk back to the hotel.

Everyone wants to stay home with their families at Christmas?  No, everyone wants to be in Paris when we are there.

And to add insult to injury, that damn "underwear bomber" was headed to the U.S. the day we were heading to Paris. Well, because of him, on the way home, we not only had to go through security, but they searched everyone's bags AT THE GATE!  When the security person was searching my purse and found my little box of Pop Rocks sour candies, she demanded to know what they were.  I nervously said, "Little sour candies."  She looked me in the eye and said, "Eat one!"  I guess if they were little bombs, it was better for me to blow up right then and there than on the plane.  The plane finally left three hours late. 

Merry Christmas! 

(Speaking of the "underwear bomber," remember the "shoe bomber?"  Because of the "shoe bomber," we have to remove our shoes to go through airport security.  Just think if we had had to take off our underwear that day!  Or since!)

Good Idea #4:  We should spend our summer vacation taking our son on a tour of Eastern colleges.

Background:  Our son was interested in going to college in the East.  He certainly had the academic chops for it and all kinds of other 17-year-old credentials. Why shouldn’t those highly rated schools be just waiting to meet him?


Reality Check:  Let me just say that I have this problem – when I get an idea, I think I am the only one who thought of it (See Idea #3 above).  So naturally I am surprised and sometimes horrified by the number of other people who thought it would be fun to tour houses on a Sunday in Seattle or attend the greased pig races or whatever cockamamie thing I think is an original idea.  I now know that if I get an idea, it’s one that everyone else gets too, except possibly coming to my garage sale.
So when the counselor at Dartmouth asked what number they were, I intelligently replied, “Huh?”  He rephrased his question.  “How many other colleges have you been to on your tour?” 

Tour? Like he knew that we were going to seven schools?  You mean, other families are spending their summer visiting the highly rated colleges of the East too?  Oh.  And then we saw them. The other hopeful mothers and fathers, their freshly scrubbed potential freshmen and the little brothers or sisters who have been dragged along, whining.  It was like a cattle call to try out for a Broadway show. 
I replied to the counselor, “You’re the first.”  He didn’t hear me.  He had already moved on to another family.

Good Idea #5.  I need a TIVO.
Background:  I know that I watch too much TV. 

It started when I was about 4 when I stood on a neighbor’s porch watching the only television in the neighborhood  through their front window.  When I was 5 my Dad bought our first TV and I was hooked. 

But being aware of my addiction and wanting to take steps to combat it, I reasoned that if I had a TIVO I wouldn’t watch so much TV, because I wouldn’t be a slave to the clock.  I could watch it when I wanted to instead of when the TV schedule dictated. I would be in control of my TV watching.

Reality Check:  My TIVOs are like monkeys on my back. 

Yes, that’s Tivo with an “s.”  I have three.  I am not proud of it.  And when I turn them on and see all of the programs my Season Pass has recorded, it’s like my inbox in my email.  I feel I have to do something about every one of them and get them out of that inbox before I can relax. And that doesn’t count the amount of time I spend rearranging my Season Passes, perusing my To Do list and searching for even more shows to add to my lists.  So if you are looking for me, you know where I am.

Good Idea #6:  Let's have a yard sale!

Background:  We have lots of junk, er, stuff and we can make some money.

Reality Check:  Let's not. 

But if you think it's a good idea, don't have one until you read my post "How To Have a Successful Yard Sale (with less trauma)."

So those are some things that seemed like good ideas at the time and turned out to be “What was I thinking?” moments.

But here is a really good idea.

Support your local library! (Shameless plug).
What really "great ideas" have you had?


See you Friday




"Cooking Conundrums
The Week in Reviews"
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