The Three Longest Minutes of My Life

Well it happened. Honestly, I actually saw it coming. We were tired after a long day of sightseeing in weather reaching into the mid-90s and had decided to go back and relax in the apartment before dinner. We caught the  3 train to our normal connection, the 13 train. On our way to the 13 train Stewart was rushing to the train because she could hear it coming. Her little brother right on her tail. I yelled ahead for them to wait to regroup and once together I pushed us forward to hop on the train when suddenly the doors slammed shut. Stewart and Charlie on the inside of the train, Will and me, well, not so much. The looks at me from inside the car were full of fear and not just from Charlie and Stewart. Parents of all ages with their mouths agape. Will asking if we need to run for it. Me saying to Will: “Shit! Shit!”  My first two curse words in front of any of my kids.  I wish now I could take them back. I shot a prayer up to the man and let him know this was in his hands at this point. We had discussed this. Day 1 and again on day 2.  But not today. If we get split, exit at the next stop and wait where you got off the train…why didn’t I say it again today??

2 minutes pass. We get on the next train. 1 more minute and we are at the next stop. They are there. Sitting in chairs. Waiting. Just as we had discussed. Such. Good. Kids. Such a huge relief. Charlie’s smiling. He yells: “we rode it all by ourselves!”  Stewart has a smile but tears are streaming down her face. “What happened, Daddy?”  Group hug. I praise them for following the rules. I wait until we get home to talk about what went wrong. 

We ride it again later that evening. No one rushes for a train. We group up at the platform. New motto: No group, no go.  

The first thing Charlie says to mom when she meets us at dinner after work?  “Daddy lost us on the subway.”  Not cool, Charlie. Not cool.  I’m blessed to have such great kids. I’m blessed to have this as the worst three minutes in my life, even when you get sold out afterwards by your youngest offspring. 

So what else exciting happened?  I’m glad you asked. I’ll go quick because it is after midnight, still about 85 degrees out and too much more typing and I’ll be sweating. First of all, even in a heat wave the Parisians are fashion first. Even saw a few trench coats on the Metro. Ridiculous.

 First stop:  Arc de Triomphe. This is not to be skipped. An amazing view plus a real appreciation for the planning that went into this city.  York County please take note:  growth for the sake of tax dollars isn’t what drove Paris to great. I’ve yet to see a car care shop since being here. Given the number of Renaults and Puegeots being driven, you KNOW they are here. Just hidden. As they should be. 
Apparently we are looking into the sun.   

 Cindy’s hard at work out there in those tall buildings (La Defense). We had a moment of silence for her and resisted the urge to text her this picture.   

This is apparently light traffic. Fortunately there’s a tunnel to get to the Arc. 

After you climb those stairs you stop at the bottom, in the shade for what other than a chunk of bread. And I’m not allowed to call it French bread. Stewart reminded me that’s not what the French call it.  We also ran into Amy (with her visiting parents), the nanny who greeted us at our AirBNB on our arrival on the first day. Not quite the small world experience as running into friends from Charlotte in Paris, but nice to see someone we knew.     

Now onto the Champs-Élysées where we took in way too much wealth and gluttony. Though this Mercedes shop was pretty cool. 
Next a shady spot for our French lunch of eggs and tuna on a baguette and a sugar bun. Note what the corporate stiffs in Paris do at lunch. Plop down a blanket or suit jacket, eat and even sleep (a la lady in the green dress – she didn’t stir once during our lunch!) in the grass.  What if I bring this custom back to Charlotte with me?  One lady even moved the sprinkler hose that was running so she could have a spot to herself!  “Hi <insert co-worker’s name here>, how was lunch?”  Co-worker responds: “Just glorious minus my wet and grass-stained dress!”    

Crossing the Champs-Élysées was dicey with 3 kids. We made it halfway before “green man” the walk signal disappeared. We were stuck in the middle for a light rotation. Trying to “make lemonade” I was able to snap a decent shot up the hill to the Arc de Triomphe. 


On to the old train station, the Musee de Orsay for some art and air-conditioning. The kids really surprised me at what they knew about art and their overall interest. Truth be told, the art was good but a distant second from A/C on this day. Many great things here but the station itself inside was worth the ticket. 

I am a bit concerned that Stewart asked me to take a picture of this piece of art…c’mon artist man, is it so hard to finish it up with a t-shirt on the lumberjack?

Oops, I forgot…Dad, Aunt D, Mrs. Turner, this piece of art made Charlie want to send you a gator chomp!  

Make mental note:  THIS is how to prepare to board a metro train. 

A fantastic dinner near the old Bourse Stock Exchange with our friends the Nichols from Charlotte. Too cool.     

Stewart and her new old friend Sutton hit it off. 

 Dusk at the Opera House. If you look closely you’ll see couples dancing ballroom style out front. No. Idea. Why.  

Tomorrow…no losing of the kids. Another unseasonably warm day in Paris so we may audible for some more A/C. 



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