Canceling a Long-Awaited Trip is Painful

Sometimes the universe says “No.”  And we must listen, even when we don’t want to.

On Monday morning I called British Airways and canceled our five-week, big summer vacation that I had planned for nearly a year.  It was with a heavy heart that I made the call.  This was supposed to be the trip that the kids talked about for years, visiting five destinations in three countries (centered around France, since they are in French school).  I told our children that morning at breakfast that we were not going to visit Europe at the end of the month.  Of course, they are disappointed, but I’m a big believer that kids are resilient and that you shouldn’t shelter them completely from life’s disappointments.  Part of growing up is learning to deal with not always getting what you want.

For the past several weeks it had become apparent to me (and to Manly Guy, but he wasn’t saying anything) that the timing of the trip just wasn’t going to work.  There are cycles in all businesses, and it can be difficult to predict months in advance if a vacation is scheduled at the right time.  Thankfully, Manly Guy can do much of his work remotely, so we have more flexibility than most.  But working limited hours from a distant vacation destination is never ideal, and sometimes it is just a bad idea.

Over the weekend I had scrambled to make changes, seeing if there was a way that we could shorten the trip by two weeks and send Manly Guy home after twelve days.  I was able to find suitable return flights (after discovering that another West Coast city had a lot of availability) but our accommodations ended up being the bigger issue.  Since we don’t fit in a normal hotel room, I had booked vacation rentals for the majority of the places we were going to visit.  There are many wonderful things about vacation rentals (access to a kitchen, larger space, feels more like home), but the biggest downside is that you are required to put down a deposit and you often forfeit most or all of it if for some reason you need to change your plans.  For example, the flat in London where we were planning to stay was not available for the new dates that I tried to book.  We lost nearly $900 on the deposit, and if we still wanted to visit London two weeks earlier we’d be starting over with accommodations there.

Time to move on.  My next task is to totally revamp our summer: we will join a local pool, book various camps for all the kids, and our calendar just opened up significantly for guests.  Sometimes life serves up a little disappointment, but all we can do is try to be grateful for all that we have and get on with it.

La Chandeleur Crêpe Day


February 8, 2013

Today the kids’ school celebrated La Chandeleur Crêpe Day, also known as Crêpe Day in France (normally observed on 2/2, but the school scheduled it on a Friday).  This is a new holiday for me, and I must admit that I find it amusing that a nation would celebrate a day by eating crêpes.  Apparently there is a bit of superstition in the celebration; when making the first crêpe, you are supposed to hold a coin in your left hand.  If you flip the crêpe properly in the pan, it is supposed to be good luck (and doom on you if you flub it up). And somehow the day also determines if winter is winding down, or headed for another six weeks of cold (in a Groundhog Day sort of way).

One of our twins corrected my pronunciation of “crêpe” at least four times in the past twenty-four hours, which started off amusing and ended up annoying.  (“Mommy, it is crêpe with a soft “e”, not an “a” sound.  And you need to add the tiger sound before it.”)  Yes, I know my French accent is crap, and I can’t roll my r’s if my life depended on it, but I wish she didn’t need to remind me so many times.

There was some batter left-over from my earlier crêpe-making for the kids’ classes, so this evening I made a few more.  The kids had not been overly impressed with crêpes at school (served with jam, honey, powdered sugar), so they were complaining when I wouldn’t let them have plain ice cream.  Of course, once they tried the crêpes with chocolate/almond spread, sprinkled with powdered sugar, then served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, they decided it was the “best dessert ever!”