Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Was it less than two weeks ago that I joyously made our plane reservations for THE TRIP to France? The trip that would change our lives? The one where we packed all of our belongings in a few bags and moved to start a new life?
I carefully picked out a 4-star hotel in Paris where we would spend a few nights before journeying into the countryside to begin our first housesitting job.
And in the span of a fortnight, those plans have crumbled like so much blue cheese.
Our house fell out of contract on Friday because the buyers could not get their financing.
We urged the real estate agent to get the house back on the market, even though she had told us before that people plan their weekend house viewing on Thursdays. We were a day behind, but we needed to get out there.
I had run six miles that morning, reaching my daily step goal by 8 in the morning, but after work, I never sat down. I came home and headed straight into the backyard to pull dying plants from the dirt and to rip the morning glories from the trellis where they had flourished all summer before beginning to wither. I knew how they felt.
I swept walkways and cut back ivy that had grown toward the sidewalk. My steps reached over 30,000 that day as I madly tried to outrace my worries.
Would we be able to move to France? What about our appointment in Chicago to meet with the French consulate? Would Earl have to continue working rather than retire so we could pay our mortgage?
When he came home, we began to talk of a shorter trip to France where Earl would return home after three weeks while I stayed in France to meet our housesitting commitments.
The concerns whirred in my brain as I made a family dinner that night, drowning my sorrows in a few glasses of port and sharing the stories of how we first came to drink "porto" as they call it in France when my friend Delana and her then-boyfriend Patrick recommended it as an aperitif. I loved the sweet tanginess of it.
I don't recommend turning to alcohol to drown sorrows, but felt I had definitely earned it with my 30,000 steps and the view of my France dreams in a downward spiral.
We'd have to cancel Christmas plans in Florida with my parents if Earl didn't retire. He'd need to work the days between Christmas and New Year. How would Earl get to Florida for our flight? Should we change it?
Should we cancel our appointment for a long-stay visa if we weren't going to be able to move?
I ran six miles again the next morning before my final Saturday morning class -- or was it? Would I be teaching in Columbus again in 2018 if we didn't move to France?
When I returned from class, I found Spencer sitting on the couch holding a heating pad to his ear. A sore throat and blossomed into an ear infection.
A notification arrived on my phone. A showing on Sunday at 1 p.m. Ok, 24 hours to get the place shipshape.
Then at 2, another notification - approval requested for a 4:15 showing.
4:15? Two hours away.
Spencer thrashed on the couch, fever making his eyes glaze. "Please tell them I'm sick. Just let me sleep?" he begged.
I pointed out that he needed to do nothing but stumble over to the neighbors where he could continue to lie on the couch -- she's a good neighbor.
Earl and I work feverishly to get the house in showing shape.
A second showing that afternoon, at 4:30, flashed onto our phones. Glad we hadn't turned down the earlier appoint, we hung white towels, shook out a white comforter, straightened fresh flowers, and lit a candle in a freshly carved jack o' lantern on the front porch. With a sprinkle of peppermint and rosemary essential oils on the light bulbs, we abandoned the house and crossed our fingers.
Two more showings loomed on Sunday.
I raced to the garden store and bought some purple and orange pansies. Earl carved two more jack o' lanterns. I mowed the backyard and meticulously staged the house again before we deserted the house for the afternoon.
We visited my brother about an hour and a half away, forgetting about our troubles and hoping for the best. Around 7, we returned home, and just minutes ago got an email with an offer on the house.
So, this is that part of the novel where the heroine sees the sun rising and realizes she can't give up on her dream. That's me tonight, and by tomorrow, I could be in contract again.
Thanks for your well wishes, your good karma, your prayers.
I'm not giving up. Here's the song I've been singing all day:
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