16 December 2010


Ug-h-h-h. We have to leave France today--early. We know for certain that we're not taking the Metro to the RER stop, and briefly consider catching the Air France bus at Opera. In the end, we take a cab directly to de Gaulle. It's not too expensive, and certainly the least hassle this early in the morning with no café in sight.

We experience our first long lines of the trip, but fortunately our end of the que is just in front of a café so I slip over and get us each some fuel and a blueberry muffin to share. We're certainly feeling nostalgic and a bit forlorn this morning, or I guess I should just speak for me... I've loved our time in France, and even though it's been very cold in Paris I'd not scratched the surface on all that I want to see and do and eat.

The good news is that this is a direct flight. The bad news is that in our fogginess this morning we've neglected to ask for an exit row seat, or the bulkhead, and then the couple in front of us on the 8+ hour flight seem to absolutely need to have their seats in the pushed-back position. I want the airlines, and especially American Airlines, to cease and desist from letting anyone put their seat in a reclining mode unless they're in Business Class, and until they give us back more space between the seats. The current approximate 6" is impossible for normal-sized or tall people. Ug-h-h-h!

Other than spacial difficulties, our flight goes without comment and we arrive a bit early at Chicago O'Hare. Again, we have long lines for customs, but the cab is nearly on-time and we settle in for the one hour drive home. Then, the trouble begins.

It's snowed and melted and iced over, so our driveway is slippery. The cabbie decides to back in--our driveway has a nasty curve and a fair incline, so about 1/3 of the way up his tires spin and he decides to park there.

Except, he doesn't engage the parking brake or he leaves it in gear, and as soon as he and CA open their doors to get out the cabbie slides and falls alongside with his legs under the car. CA sees the car rolling forward and makes a grab for the car door which then wrenches his arm and slams him to the ground. I'm in the back seat of the car with a hundred thoughts going through my head. It seems like I consider my options for many, many seconds before leaping through the seats, into the driver's seat and hitting the brake...

No one is seriously hurt, and CA and I gingerly gather our belongings and haul them up the slippery slope and into the semi-cold house. CA's arm, wrist, and elbow are hurting, but he didn't hit his head hard. We're murmuring our prayers of thanks and still reeling from the entire episode. After a bit we consider whether the cabbie will sue us--our homeowners' association is responsible for keeping the hard surfaces clean, but we're still a bit wary.

It's great to be home, even with all the unloading and putting away that faces us. I soon begin stacking the gift items on the dining table. We'll just settle in and it'll be time to hop in the car for the drive to central Illinois and then Omaha for Christmas. The carrot is... We'll get to hug and giggle and play with JA and LE for days and days.

[The following morning the cab company calls to thank me for saving the cabbie's life. I said I thought that was an overstatement, but the caller says he has a history of heart disease and multiple by-passes.]

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