On Tuesday I had a message from a friend that her application to the UN mission to Sudan had finally been approved and she was flying out of Paris on Friday morning. Were we free on Wednesday night for a going away party?
I knew that Anna, our new babysitter, was interested in working for some sort of intergovernmental organization when she graduated from uni so I thought she might like to meet my friend and some of the other people that might be at the party. I thought up this really awesome plan- Anna and Ella could come with us to the party and when Ella got tired, the two of them could take a taxi home, leaving B and I to stay up as late as we pleased.
Well, it seemed to be a very good omen when Ella laid down for a late nap and stayed in bed til 7 pm. I dashed around getting things ready and when B came home from work (late) I told him to hurry since we still had to pick up Anna. He dragged his feet and didn't help me at all getting stuff together so it was no wonder that I forgot the wine for the party on the kitchen counter. When we got in the car, he immediately started to moan about how awful traffic was- traffic in the direction of the peripherique was at a standstill in front of our building which was a very bad sign, so we decided to go through Paris instead. And then, finally, it came out. He did not like my plan one little bit; in fact, it was really a stupid plan and, since passive-aggressive wasn't having any affect on me, he had to just say it outloud. I pointed out that it was too late now, nothing to do but deal with it.
Well, he shifted his irritation to the task of picking up Anna. Since she lives at Cité Université and the boulevard that passed in front was impossible to park on and turn around on, we had no idea where to pick her up. We had her on the phone and were shouting instructions at each other but it was complete chaos and finally we found a place to stop because Ella had started to make noises about her tum-tum being full- translation: she was going to vomit. I got her out of the car while waiting for Anna to walk to where we were parked and the cool evening air seemed to settle Ella's stomach. I had Anna get in the front seat so I could sit next Ella in the back and we were off. Unfortunately, we were on a one-way street in the wrong direction, which only served to fire-up B's irritation again. He said suddenly that he was changing his mind and going to take the peripherique and swung the car sharply to the right. Unfortunately, "sharp right" was not the exit to the peripherique, but the exit for Bordeaux.
So there we were, suddenly zipping along the autoroute at 110 km/hr to a place we definitely did not want to go to with absolutely no way of turning off. We were driving and driving and frantically searching for any sign of an off ramp when Ella started cupping her hands in front of her mouth and shouting, "Full tum-tum! Full tum-tum!" I grabbed a giant plastic tote-bag out of the backseat pocket (thank god that Carrefour doesn't give out plastic sacks anymore or I would have had to hand ella my Fendi bag... who am I kidding. She would have had to puke on the floor of the car if that plastic sack hadn't been there.) and held it under her chin. She proceeded to empty the contents of her stomach (two string cheeses and a sippy cup of apple juice) into the bag, once again puking like a champ and neither getting any on her clothes or crying afterwards. I've only seen frat boys with technique like her.
Meanwhile, B had finally spotted an exit ramp. He immediately took it- and we found ourselves quite literally stuck in the middle of Rungis. In a way, it was a bit cool because you always hear about Rungis, but I had never been and it is quite impressive (if giant parking lots and warehouses are your thing). ALso, it is totally confusing and clearly for people in the know as there were no signs to explain where we were or how we could get out. After looping around aimlessly for about 5 minutes, we found our way onto something ressembling normal streets and after I spotted a bus in the distance, we wisely followed it until we could find a sign indicating which direction to Paris.
So only an hour and a half after leaving our house, we arrived in the 15th at my friend's house, where, quite naturally, there were no parking spaces available and after dropping us off in front of the building, B was forced to circle around for 20 minutes more before finding a parking place. The evenings excitement was finally getting to me, and I was bummed about having left the wine at home because by this point I was more than ready for a nice stiff drink or 9. The rest of the evening actually went really well, the party was great and Ella was in such good spirits that she just played until midnight when we decided to go home all together.
And before turning off the lights, I rolled over and said to B, "Ok, maybe you were right about it being a bad idea taking Ella with us to the party..."