Possum was not helpful as I packed my suitcase for Paris. He was determined to fit in my checked baggage and I had to physically evict him more than once.
Harris was impressed by Possum's persistence. He would have liked to go to Paris with us, too, but only in Business Class.
My little spinner suitcase weighed 24 pounds. I could easily lift and carry it when I needed to so I didn't care. My carry-on weighed 11 pounds and that included several May New Yorkers but didn't include dinner: lots of finger sandwiches with peppered ham, cheese, and butter on Iggy's rolls, which we sliced like tiny loaves of bread; Sun Gold cherry tomatoes with sea salt; clementines; grapes, and trail mix. Plus a chocolate bar and a box of McVities chocolate digestive biscuits, both of which came home with us unopened. (Which is not to say we didn't indulge ourselves over there, oh, ho . . . .)
I packed four guidebooks because three offer lesser-known, off-the-beaten-track recommendations, and are all quite different. I consulted them all. I brought four pairs of shoes and was glad to have them. I walked 20,000 steps on average each day, which turns out to be a little over 8 miles, according to my iPhone, although fitness websites claim that that many steps adds up to 10 miles. (I assure you I don't take mincing, tiny steps.)
I packed as strategically as I could. I brought a few warm things and needed them when we arrived on a chilly rainy morning and needed to wander because our room wasn't ready. I know I'm messy and unlucky, and stain my clothes, so I pack with that in mind. on our first morning in Paris, as we went off to visit my husband's colleagues at their office, I looked down at my nice olive-green pants and spotted two obvious stains by one of the pockets; luckily my shirt hem could be pulled down lower to cover them. Which I did, repeatedly. Back in our room, three tries with my Tide stain remover pen still left traces, so I was glad I'd brought a second pair of pants. And my "travel iron," which is a small empty spray bottle that does the job via mist.
What I lacked was shorts. After that first day, the weather was unusually hot — hitting the 90s for most of every day. We didn't realize that the sun doesn't set there until 10 pm, so it looked and felt as sultry as a Boston summer afternoon until about 9 pm. I tried to do most of my walking before 2, and went back to our room, dripping, for a shower and an air-conditioned siesta. But the city stayed hot until about 11. Air-conditioning isn't prevalent and even the Seine doesn't offer much in the way of cooling breezes.
If you look around online you'll find that every single travel-advice site warns readers not to wear shorts in European cities, especially Paris, lest they be branded low-class tourists. That's baloney. C'est jambon. I can testify that Parisians wear shorts when it hits the 90s. They're no fools: some rules rightly go out the window when the weather misbehaves. Everyone wears flip flops, too. It's just that they manage to look spiffier in casual clothing than the rest of us. So pack your shorts in case Paris sucker-punches you with a heat wave. And throw on a flimsy scarf or something.
More on Paris later. It feels nice to be home. We took three trips in three weeks, knowing it would be a bit much, and it was. It's good to have all the luggage packed away for a long time, and lots of good food in the fridge, and the laundry done. When the house-cleaning is under control it will be really nice to be home.
The cats survived being alone during the loud July 4 fireworks display — from a barge in the Charles just a few blocks from our house — and another week without our constant, fawning attention quite well, we think. But Lion thought we were imposters and hid (except for dinner) until the wee hours of the morning after we returned. Then he jumped on our bed for a talk and petting session — and we were wide awake, of course, with jet lag.
I have lots of photos and things to tell, but my pictures never loaded to my laptop from my phone. Since Friday, I've waited and waited, rebooted and rebooted. I just figured out that I'd turned off the wifi on my phone at some point and forgot to turn it back on. Jet lag! It's a wonderful blanket excuse for everything you get wrong. Try it, even if you haven't flown anywhere; it's probably contagious, clinical studies have not proven otherwise. Say you caught it from me.
Update: Photos still aren't loading so I will keep trying things.