Monday, November 8, 2010
When I was young growing up in Maine, we would visit our grandfather at his cabin on a lake in the summer. Before we arrived, we would imagine motoring about in his shiny aluminum boat, or sailing in his sleek fiberglass Sunfish sail boat, and camping out on the lawn overnight. The week would consist of summer weather, starlit nights, and cool breezes. We would talk about having a fishing contest, swimming to the float platform 50 yards off shore…life was limitless and food never tasted so good ,ah ‘youth.
Most of those memories still hold true in the back of my mind, but if I think back real hard, I remember a different reality, one of mosquitoes and no-seeum’s, a smelly old sears and roebuck metal boat with two inches of bilge water, and splintery oars as the motor invariably would not be working, and the sailboat was useless on a lake with no breezes but plenty of leeches. I felt like Humphrey Bogart playing Katherine Hepburn’s future betrothed pulling the African Queen through leech infested waters, except the water in Maine is a constant 52 degrees, warm enough for leeches to breed like… well horny leeches I guess, and cold enough where a guy wanted indoor plumbing, if you get my drift.
If any of you have visions of Cindy, Caleigh, and I living a lifestyle of walking about fields of grapevines, or sipping Rose’ in the comfort of a shade structure overlooking the garden and orchard, or traveling all about the environs of France stopping at roadside café’s, well that reality is three to four years off. The reality of it is more likely going to be planting and pruning vines into the wee hours of the night, with blistered hands and a certain young lady griping about not having bunches of fun. And we will also have to replant the garden, dig and plant trees and build a shade structure long before we will enjoy any shade from the arbor. And as for driving about stopping at these to die for café’s, we won’t have the budget for the café’s or even the frivolous gas money to waste, nope we’ll be not to unlike George and Lenny walking about our constant renovation projects.
It starts with Cindy asking.
“Tell me again about the plan, living the life of riley and having people coming in droves to rent our holiday lets.”
To which Caleigh will add.
“And rabbits Dad, and how I can have one for my very own, and I can hug em and squeeze em, and keep em all my live long days?”
To which my reply will most likely be.
“With our budget darling, I invited your rabbit to dinner last night, and he was delicious”
We have been doing a constant re-planning of our departure to France, and getting our seed money together. The process has taught us that no matter what we learn of the process, you have to relearn it anew and differently each step of the way. We have applied to two different lenders and chosen one, only to restart the process again, as there were limitations to the policies that weren’t discussed with us. We had attained a yearlong Visa, and then applied for and was accepted for a Cart De sejour, a yearlong residency card. However the visa ran out Nov. 1st, and it cancelled the residency card due to not having the local Marie (Mayor) sign it prior to us leaving last time we were there. So we now have to reapply for a second yearlong visa, and then apply for the residency card. There should not be much problem getting these documents, but had we known what was required back then, we would not have to go three steps back. But then the real reality of it strikes home, the help in so many different ways from family and friends, documents are e-mailed from continent to continent, time zone to time zone. I can’t even start to list off all the phone calls made on our behalf, to neighbors asking if they wouldn’t mind watching the farm and our mail until we returned, those same neighbors are even turning off the water to the house, because we aren’t going to be back until after Christmas, and don’t want an ice rink in our living room, complete with burst pipes. Sure we have had to go back and forth on so many things, but reality isn’t the world you imagine it to be.