Friday, January 1, 2010

Getting ready for Dordogne:

We are going to be in the Aquitaine region of France, in the Dordogne specifically, in a nice little village just east of Bordeaux. We have part of a house rented on a working farm. The farm has two rental places. Essentially, there is the farm house with attached agriculture structure; then there is the rental building which consists of two rental spaces, each with their own entry and parking. The family that rents the places have been wonderful. You can’t even imagine how helpful they have been. As a for instance, they put Caleigh in touch with a half dozen kids her age that will be going to school with her. The kids have been facebooking for the last month and really getting to know each other and she is now up to date on which boys want to ask her out on a date…all of them, the little dears. They tell her the things she’ll need for school - who likes who, who doesn’t like who, he said, she said, EIEIO. You know the important things. Also the little things, who likes who,……what the kids in rural France are wearing this crop year, who likes who, what to do during the two hour lunch break, and most importantly who likes who. I’ve already got a kid on my radar from what I’ve pieced together about his record while dating one girl before moving on to another unfortunate mademoiselle. The area is quite spectacular from all I’ve researched and read about. I’ll update you on how this lab work pays off in the field.
Earlier I went to the parking lot and did a test run of attaching a weatherproof canvas carryall onto the roof of the Citroen. It worked pretty well, but we’ll see about the spider web of straps that will be stretched across the inside of our car roof, and how it handles at speed. The only thing missing from the roof, will be granny on her rocking chair with her shotgun on her lap.

“The Topanga Hillbillies”
Come and listen to the story of a man named Hank
Used some home savings from his tiny little bank,
His friends all said “Don’t move away from here”
But they flew to France, where they talk mighty queer
French that is, foie gras and escargots,

Well ze first thing you are knowing,
Hank is a getting ah mighty fat,
He ate everything, except the neighbors feral cat.
Then they said, “Hey we’ll cook that up to“,
Make some bouillinaisebaise, and add it to the stew.?”
Vichesuoir that is, black truffles, berets.
The Topanga hillbillies………..

Anyway, you get the idea. Caleigh has been all and all a pretty incredible sport about the whole thing, that lie about , I mean, the possibility about her getting a scooter helped.
There are things that sound odd about her school, but I’m not one to judge…yeah right.
She has to choose to either play basketball or take Latin. That’s right, one or the other. Other than the root names of sexually transmitted diseases, all I know in Latin was on a bumper sticker that read: “Illigitimea non carborundum, which if I’m not mistaken means “don’t let the bastards wear you down.” or “Bastards don’t wear down.”
Bright and early the next morning, I meander over to the Harbor parking lot, the caisse machine works well, and I retrieve the Citroen and tie up the roof mounted carry all bag, and proceed to our rental house. Once there I park with my flashers on and start loading our bags. There is one large piece of luggage for me; 50 lbs, there is one large piece of luggage for Cindy; 50 lbs , there is one large piece of luggage for Caleigh; 50 lbs; there is one large piece of luggage for shoes; 50 lbs. I kid you not. I know men’s shoes are heavy - my stake in this particular endeavor, the pair of black sneakers I am wearing, the nice pair of dress shoes ( and me without a dress) the other pair of brown sneakers ( it is after labor day so the white sneakers stay home),but I think that’s it. In fact, I remember leaving the pumps and espadrilles at home.
So if my math is right the ladies have 23 lbs of shoes, EACH.
“Quit your bitching Gunga Din and get the luggage loaded.” Cindy says in an impatient tone. I’m not sure but as I was getting into the back of the car I heard Caleigh whispering to Cindy bits and pieces of what sounded like.
” We could have hired a Sherpa, and left slack-jawed dad at home,” and “I told you so.”
Then, there is the carry on full of books, that I load individually behind the drivers seat, and fold down that seat as Caleigh will be sitting right behind Cindy who is in the passenger seat. So where were we, 2 large pieces of luggage on the roof with grandma, two large pieces in the way back combo folded down seat, and the remaining four smaller bags wedged in, and I still can see out the back window. As I am standing back admiring my sardine / luggage packing abilities, I note to myself the humor of it all, as the car is decidedly tilting to the rear; an uphill drive the whole way.
So, the three of us strap in and we take off on our seven and a half hour drive, stopping once for diesel / powder room break; then once for lunch, and finally once for another powder room break. As we leave Antibes we manage to get going in the right direction on the right road, and yes, Caleigh is in the back seat. We all start discussing what we liked about Antibes and what we’re looking forward to in the Dordogne - her new school and the kids she’s already facebooked with, who likes who, how it will be fun to have the small party with five of her new school chums that Isabelle (proprietor) has nicely set up. Other than that, the remaining seven hours and twenty five minutes go by quickly.

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