281,286 Second Countdown!

Houston Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 114 › view all entries

We leave in 281,386 seconds!  No pressure, no stress, no worries!

Ciao Baby has a new refrigerator and powerful 15,000 rooftop A/C!  She has fresh paint inside.  Even the window tracks have been cleaned and greased.  All the curtains and dinette seat covers have been washed.  The door that I hit in Charleston and required an embarrassing kick to fully close has been repaired.  Suspension parts are new.  And yet, dear Ned will still be left a (rather long) list.  Am I neurotic?  Is it possible for Ciao to be perfect? 

The kids are finished with their year of school.   Charles has finished all his courses and asked if he could take his Pre-Algebra book with him to Europe to learn so he can test out upon return (cough- uh, OK!).  Lia has learned through multiple digit division.  Jazy is finishing her last Algebra section right now (as I type) with Ned in the kitchen.  After her chapter review, she will be done with the school curriculum.  I am having her take the additional Science sections with her to Europe (we'll cut up the book to make it lighter) that the school didn't require, but Mom and Dad do. We're tough!  We're going to learn much more in Europe too.

We are so excited!  While we work to minimize packing to carry-on-only, we send emails back and forth to our exchange friends in Europe, getting things organized, planning what to bring, discussing itineraries.  It is great fun and there are real advantages to speaking the same language.

Today I got all the clothes washed, my bag and toiletries and medical kit packed, and now tech items need to be organized.  I have an adapter and D/C for each item- will I need an inverter to charge my computer?  Should I buy a cell phone there or just a phone card?  Will wi-fi be easily available? 

I am a little nervous about driving on the left side of the road. Since Sugar is a left-hand drive vehicle, I need to remember to keep me (the driver), by the curb.  Remember that.

I tried to book a March 31 ferry to France last night and got miffed that the price jumped 30 euros.  I guess I missed my 14 day advance booking requirement.  But it was a blessing, because I changed my mind.  We're going to relax, stay in English-speaking countries for a few weeks, get to know Sugar, see London, etc.  Then we'll wander down to meet Ned in Paris in just 5 weeks, then head south to Italy from there.  It will still be off-season in Italy and we'll not be running around like crazy (my usual method).  Me thinks that is a MUCH better plan, even if the weather will likely not be as warm.  We look forward to the freedom of time to wander!

So after I get us all packed (Lia helped Charles pack today- I'd better doublecheck those two!), then we'll finish getting as much of Ciao done as we can.  I feel bad leaving work for Ned.  But the new black panels for the A/C are broken- you can see the box damage and I'm so mad that I didn't see it and protest when I bought it.  So that return is in south Houston and would slice time off my hours countdown clock.  She'll need an inspection.  There were a few outside things that could use attention, but the rain prohibited it this weekend.  I'm just going to do all I can and Ned has until mid-June to do his Nedchanic Ciaojob, as my friend Chris calls it.  He's just so proficient and talented at it!

Speaking of Ned, I am lucky to have such a wonderful husband! Can I tell you how special he is to be so supportive of our trip?  We are all so blessed that he sees the opportunity and is willing to work so hard (both on Ciao and at work) to help make it happen.  I DO think that I will keep him after all.  His warranty expires May 20th on our 20th anniversary and yes!  I've decided!   He is a jewel.

The kids are great ages for travel:  they're excited about Europe, are old enough to read some travel information daily, can cook dinner and clean up, and are generally fun companions.  I'm extremely grateful for this chance to be together. 

Jazy must be 5'10" now.  She and Ned seem to carry on conversations with the rest of us jumping in the background to participate.  Lia declared Jazy "too tall" but she's just really tired of being half-pint size.  Jazy (and we) think it's terrific- we just have to get used to feeling like we're with a supermodel- a little disconcerting.  I just wish she would quit blowing air over my head in a sign of superiority! 

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Okay, I'm down to 280,116 seconds so I must go!





GWA1225 says:
There is SO much to see and enjoy in the UK! Go to the little town of Bibury and see the little weavers' cottages still used as dwellings. While Stonehenge is famous and all that, there's another ancient, mysterious monument about 90 minutes west of London whose name will come to me any minute here that's about as good, IMHO. Hadrian's Wall up north gives stark evidence of Rome's hold on the island nation. Go see a Shakespearian production in Stratford and visit the dramatic Lake District. Yorkminster Cathedral is spectacular. There's SOOO much!! Enjoy ~
Posted on: Mar 20, 2009
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