Once we were in our hotel room, we barely had time to catch our breath before we had to run back out to see JM’s folks. I have to say I was a bit shocked when we did see them, as they had really aged badly in the past three years. My MIL had been forced to retire (she IS 75, but still, she didn’t want to ever stop working) and she took it all rather badly. To be fair, her boss had treated her extremely rudely, and she is a sensitive woman; she has never really recovered from the shock. My FIL just has aged; again, it was his 80th birthday while we were there, so I suppose it is understandable.
The worst thing was looking around their huge apartment and seeing the enormous amount of stuff that had to be dealt with in order for them to move. No wonder they are unable to cope with it at their age; JM and I barely felt able to cope with it at our age; not that we’re particularly young either.
Making it all worse is that they really seem unable to make decisions. That is not really anything new, mostly because I don’t think they actually know what it is that they truly want. And I believe that was the biggest benefit of our visit, to help get them on a more decided path.
JM did a great job taking things in hand, going through the books and taking the ones that we wanted to bring down here, putting aside the things that they should move with them to Toulon and helping them to sort through the stacks upon stacks of papers that are everywhere in their apartment. Part of the problem is that they started a charity a number of years ago and there are dozens of dossiers relating to that everywhere. Now that they are moving they have retired from that, but until it winds down at the end of the year the dossiers remain. Once those are gone the papers will disappear as well and life will be simplified for everyone.
When we weren’t busy with the ‘rents, we did find some time to go out and have lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Mirama, on the rue St. Jacques and shoot some video for those who don’t expect fine art.
Paris on YouTube.
I had forgotten how much one walks in Paris though. We walk about 90 minutes or more a day here in the Possum Kingdom, but it is not at all the same thing as walking in Paris! Our feet, legs and backs were killing us from pounding that pavement all the time. And, despite my finding a pair of great shoes at Au Vieux Campeur, I still have a healing blister on one of my toes that makes it painful to walk the dogs.
I also had a couple of those “epiphany” moments that get you every once in awhile. Both of them came while we were on public transportation. The first was in a bus, where I was sitting in one of the seats where you are supposed to get up if a person who is elderly or of reduced mobility gets in and needs a seat; I always get up. Then I realized I kind of qualify to sit there now! The second time was in the subway; a young man (maybe 20) got up to give the old lady his seat; that was ME. I’m now an old lady! Yikes!! When did that happen???? Just shoot me now.
Other things I realized while we were there were that I no longer have any particular burning desire to shop. Now that we’ve got the internet, I can get anything I want delivered to me at home so I really don’t need to go into a store in Paris to browse and buy. Yes, I did do one quick browse around the Galerie Lafayette, which is always a bit of a lark, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I once would have. Part of that is lack of money to really buy anything, but part of it is that I think I’ve reached a stage in my life where I don’t really want much of anything.
Mostly, I just wanted to come home.
We made one big mistake, and that was not leaving Paris on Friday afternoon and stopping at the halfway point to spend the night before finishing the drive on Saturday. I don’t think we’ll do that again. A hotel is a hotel and a hotel not in Paris would even have been less expensive and probably more enjoyable, all things considered. To top it off, we hit absolutely dire weather outside of Toulouse and the visibility was even worse than the fog we drove through in the Massif Central; I nearly had to stop the car because I couldn’t see a thing. I was pretty terrified to be honest.
I know we’re going to have to go back to help my in-laws again and the next time we’ll have a bit more time for advance planning. I am sure there are better ways to manage it all. I have to say I will not be sorry once they finally move and I don’t have to return to Paris again. I think my days of enjoying it are behind me.
Ciao for now.