Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 15 - Ready For The Guillotine

The cold from yesterday turned into a full blown mess today, and I feel like absolute crap. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because my nose was so clogged I couldn't breathe. Then when I woke up, my sinuses were throbbing in time to a dance beat. And that's in addition to a headache and runny nose and sneezing. I'm thinking the only thing to be done about it is to chop my head off and start over with a new one. Where's a guillotine when you need one?

I tried to make the best of it, though, I really did. I sent Ryan and Brad out the door with a Museum Pass and directions to the Louvre. (The directions turned out to be wrong, which I didn't realize until later.) I slowly got the rest of the kids ready and with my mom and Tim, we ventured out, aiming for a walk down Rue Cler, a fantastic food-related street market.

Our first stop was a Pharmacie, where I bought some allergy medicine that I had little faith in, but in my poor french I couldn't say, "No, something that would drug an elephant, s'il vous plait." In the town where we are staying, there aren't many tourists, so the shopkeepers put up with my french and then answer in the fastest french I've ever heard. I can make myself understood in the basics at least, but I can't carry on a conversation since I am completely unable to understand their answers. The Metro guy and almost all the city shopkeepers will let me say my piece in french, then will answer in english, as if putting up with my french language practice is not what they get paid for. That's okay, though, I'm still slightly proud of myself for being able to say as much as I do.

I realized the mistake I was making by leaving the house when we got to the Metro station and I realized I didn't have my weekly ticket. I searched every pocket of my jeans and my bag, but the one thing that I always, always double check having before I leave, I had left. I was discouraged and felt stupid, but I wasn't too surprised - I felt so sluggish that I could tell my brain wasn't up for a workout like this. I bought a round trip ticket from the kiosk and we got on the train.

The second problem cropped up on the train, when we had just passed the Auber station, and the next stop was Opera, our connecting stop. That's when my mom looked at the sign on the train and said, "This train doesn't stop at Opera." It turns out I had read the map wrong, and forgot that when we had done the Auber/Opera situation, we had gotten off at Auber and walked to Opera (or vice versa, I can't remember). They don't actually intersect. So we got off at the next exit (Chatelet-Les Halles) and went to a giant map. I realized what I had done, and jokingly looked around for Ryan, who I had told to get off at the Opera stop also, and so if he didn't double check me, would be lost here as well. (Although he is a completely proficient map reader/connection finder, so I wasn't worried at all for him.)

My mom was figuring out a route to get us to Rue Cler while I listened to Noah whine about how hungry he was (can I mention that he didn't once say he was hungry the whole day at Disneyland? That makes me nuts.) I stared at the map but none of it really registered, because all I could hear was the whooshing sound of illness in my head, my sinuses attempting to push my eyeballs out of their sockets to make more room for themselves, wanting nothing more than to lay down on the floor of the Metro station and fall asleep. I told my mom that the new plan was to go upstairs, find food for Noah, then get back on the train and go home.

That turned out to be a good plan. We got food, my mom and Tim kept Noah for the day, and Darcey and Zack and I ate on the train back home. I put Darcey down for a nap and set Zack up on the couch watching Surf's Up, then went to bed. I slept until his movie ended, at which point he was out the door to go play. I felt nearly perfect for all of three minutes, until one sneeze shot pain through my sinus down to my jaw, and a second sneeze popped one ear but not the other. Now I'm watching Zack play with his british friends at the playground with the stuffed Mickey and Minnie dolls and I'm eating packaged mousse from the fridge. I ended up with a rest day, not that I wanted one, but the kids probably needed it.

Now I'm running through my head all of the things that I could be seeing instead of the inside of a mobile home that is covered in clean laundry (thanks to my dad). I haven't been to Sainte Chapelle, walked down Rue Cler, through the Latin Quarter, or climbed up the Arc de Triomphe. I have not strolled down Champs-Elysees. I haven't been to a single museum yet. Today was supposed to be Versailles day, too. I feel like I'm wasting my time and not getting anything done, and it is causing me some serious stress and I feel on the verge of disappointment with this leg of the trip. because I had wanted to enjoy Paris so badly. We've got a Saturday and a Sunday left, and if I can tame my sinuses, maybe I can knock a lot of this out in one shot. I'm already contemplating leaving Noah and Zack with Tim and my dad, who are here currently, and taking Darcey to do some of this stuff. We'll see. I can't guarantee I'll get very far without my head exploding from the pressure.

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