Where Was I?
Oh, yes. Well. It seems some time has elapsed since my last post. What has happened? I met the princess of Thailand (she's nice, has a PhD in chemistry). In my kitchen in Villeurbanne, I beat a rat to death with a hammer handle. I've endured two transit strikes (and counting) as the French try to decide whether they'll raise the retirement age to 62. I've watched loads of gendarmes appear in the Metro and train stations as a reaction to vague and not-so-vague terrorist threats. I sold off half of my library. I sold a minivan with a quarter-million miles on it at a yard sale. I packed the boys' toys and books into shipping crates now somewhere in the Atlantic or a customs yard in Portsmouth. I relocated French sources for Skippy peanut butter (no Peter Pan, sorry) and Nestle Quik. I bought year's supplies of Nyquil, Q-tips, Children's Tylenol and birth control pills. I put thousands of dollars of work into our house so we could rent it. I craigslisted (is that a word?) baby gear and small appliances and old bikes and yard tools. I drove down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill listening to the new Superchunk album (!) on WXYC just as if 1997 had never ended. I ordered a same-day abdominal ultrasound at a French children's hospital to rule out appendicitis (results negative, cost 20 euros). I ordered a lab test at UNC hospitals to rule out streptococcus (results negative, cost $180 for lab costs plus $170 for physician's fee plus $210 for use of the examination room, payable to 3 separate agencies). I went 3 straight days without sleep. I carried a vomiting child through Heathrow Terminal 3. In 3 weeks in Chapel Hill I saw my friends for a total of about 45 minutes. I didn't get the chance to hang out with you, and I'm sorry about that.
[Photo: A good day's haul from the marche St-Antoine]