DRESSING THE DOG
Chapter 10 (Part One)
“Where we love is home—home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Aunt Helen and Caitlin had only been in Paris for a day when Caitlin announced that she would LOVE to see England while she was over this way. I’m not allowed to enter that country because they have a quarantine on dogs, so Mummy told them if they wanted to do that… they would have to go alone. Most of the next morning was spent trying to get them a flight out of Paris and a hotel room in London. They would only spend two days there and then come back. Mummy and I had received a dinner invitation for the following night, from our Facebook friend Ms. Liz, who lived in Paris… so we would keep busy while they were visiting “jolly old England.” She had a little doggie named Suzie, and wanted to prepare a French dinner for the mommies and something for us doggies too! We couldn’t wait to meet them, so once the trip to London was underway, we headed over to the Latin Quarter for dinner.
The apartment was located on the top floor of a very old building with a super tiny elevator to access the floors. Most of the people who lived in the building used the stairs, because the elevator was soooo small and would barely hold two people. It took a long time to reach each floor and by the time you got there, you could have just taken the stairs! Centuries ago, the attic apartments had been living quarters for the hired help in the building. The large corner windows of Ms. Liz’s unit overlooked a lively shopping area, with gorgeous views over the arrondissement. In the beginning, they had started off with ONE teeny, tiny room. There had been several of these small rooms located on the top floor, and as people purchased a SECOND or THIRD room, they would re-configure them into a larger living space. Over time, she and her husband had acquired 4 rooms next to one another, and combined them into a very lovely and spacious apartment. It had two bedrooms and two baths, a nice kitchen and a beautiful living room area. It had taken years to acquire all of the rooms, then more time to convert all of the rooms into one functioning apartment, but it had been worth it. FABULOUS, that was the word for it! The mummies had a wonderful quiche for dinner and Suzie and I had an omelet! I gobbled mine down soooo fast that Mummy thought I would choke. Whoops, I guess I had forgotten my Southern manners. After dinner we said, “merci beaucoup” to our new friends and headed back to our own apartment. We were both IN LOVE with Paris by this time and didn’t want to go home.
While we waited for Aunt Helen and Caitlin to return from England, Mummy and I checked a few things off our “to do” list. We ate lunch at the famous, “Minim’s” restaurant, Mummy had, yet another, crêpe from one of the many street vendors who made them at lightning speed, and we strolled down sidewalk after sidewalk, gazing through shop windows stocked with everything from food to fashion! Even though we only had a few days left in Paris, there was one thing that was always on our minds. Making ICE. This had been a constant issue since the very first day we arrived in Paris! I cannot tell you WHY the French people do not like ice, or why you can’t BUY ice, or what the hang up is ABOUT ICE… but I CAN TELL YOU that Mummy has to have it! After our first few days in Paris, when it became obvious that she would not be able to find ice, she decided that she would just MAKE her own… but she needed an ice tray. This seems like a very simple thing, but it wasn’t. She looked everywhere for an ice tray and came up empty-handed until finally, success! A green silicone ice tray was spotted in a fancy department store… for twenty Euros!!! Not exactly the cheap aluminum tray she was looking for but she had invested far too much time in this search so she plopped down her money and was soon in the ICE MAKING BUSINESS! Every day, she made a tray of ice in the tiny freezer of the doll-sized refrigerator in our apartment. She would empty the cubes into a bowl and start over with a new tray of water. When Aunt Helen and Caitlin had arrived, they wanted a tall glass of ice water and prepared themselves an ice-packed glass. Mummy screamed out, “WHOOOA ladies! Careful with that ice there! That stuff is like GOLD! Just take what you need to get the drink cold…no more!” Making ice, it became an obsession. That ice cube tray would later accompany us on family trips that we would take in our AIRSTREAM trailer, and Mummy would tell Daddy (the ice-lover) all about our ice adventures in Paris!
The rest of the week just FLEW BY… where did the time go? Mummy, Aunt Helen, Caitlin and I did more shopping, exploring and eating of course! Caitlin had a birthday coming up so Mummy and Aunt Helen had plans to take her to the Eiffel Tower for dinner. Doggies were not allowed on the tower for safety reasons, so while they enjoyed the birthday dinner, I stayed behind and took a long nap! Our month in Paris had come to an end. We had soooo much stuff to take home that it wouldn’t fit in our suitcases… it would need to be shipped back. Boxes were found, packing material was purchased and arrangements were made for someone to come and pick the packages up. WOW, it is EXPENSIVE to ship things back home… just sayin’. You need to know this in case you ever go to Paris and buy a lot of “can’t live without” items. All month, Mummy had been saving the ADORABLE little pottery jars that yogurt was sold in… they were painted a lovely French blue and would be perfect for tiny plants or preparing little puddings once we got back home… but all of those jars weighed a LOT and took up lots of precious real estate in the suitcases. Now Mummy was looking at them for a second time and wondering if she REALLY needed them after-all. She quickly decided, yes… yes, she did. Ms. Lopes came down to tell us goodbye and she and Mummy started to cry. How would we ever live without her??? She held me so tight, kissed me goodbye, and waited there with us until the taxi came. It was a painful goodbye because we didn’t know WHEN we would ever see her again. She had asked for one of our famous cookbooks and Mummy promised to send her one as soon as we got home. It was time to leave. We waved goodbye but Mummy said, “ONE DAY MILLIE… we will return to Paris!”
The taxi arrived right on time. We were giving ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, knowing that we had to check in several bags and get through the security checkpoints. Unfortunately, the driver was NOT our original driver, and was NOT nearly as friendly… or helpful. Daddy had ordered the pick-up online and paid for it in advance. He had explained that there would be luggage that needed to be brought up to the taxi, but apparently this memo had not reached the driver because he was less than happy to see that HE needed to lug the bags up the basement stairs and out to the car. He griped and complained with every bag to the point that Mummy was about ready to WALK to the dang airport!!! As the airport came into view and we pulled up to the curb, the driver turned around and told Mummy that it would be twenty Euros. Ummm, that’s a big NO. She told HIM this reservation had been prepaid, and he told HER that there was an extra fee for the luggage. She wasn’t paying him any more money, and told him so. We exited the cab with him talking loudly in her face, attracting the attention of several people on the sidewalk. OH MY GOSH… just STOP! He removed our bags from the car and slung them against the curb/still in the street. He didn’t even bother to place them on the sidewalk!!! Mummy had her hands full with MY doggie carrier and her big carry-on, and now had to bend down and lug two huge suitcases out of the street and over to the curb. An airport porter who witnessed the event came over to help us and before long, we had them on a trolley and were headed into the airport terminal. The taxi driver just sped off. Mummy called Daddy from her phone and told him what had happened, and he immediately contacted the taxi company to report the driver. During our entire month-long stay in Paris, this one person was the only guy that had been rude to us in any way. We had found the people of Paris to be charming and welcoming. While we had TRIED to speak a few words in French, most of the people had been happy to speak English, which made things soooo much easier, and for that… we were very thankful. With a heavy heart, we turned around one last time to look at the city. Adieu Paris!
Getting to our gate took some time, but we made it with plenty of time to spare. Mummy always liked to check in EARLY, so that the stress of missing her flight was avoided. I had fallen asleep in my fancy French doggie carrier and Mummy leaned back to read a book until time to board. In no time at all, I felt my bag being jostled about and heard our flight being called… it was time to go home! Now that the trip was actually OVER, I have to admit that I was getting excited to see my Daddy and my three younger sisters. I wondered if they would remember me. We had never been away from each other for this long! Mummy got us settled into our airline seat and I waited patiently in my carrier for things to settle down. We had a single seat by the window, so there was no one sitting beside us… that way, it was very private. Once we were in the air, Mummy snuck me out and tucked me under her blanket. Dinner was served, we watched an in-flight movie and before long, the lights went out inside the cabin and everyone went to sleep, including me. I dreamed I was in Paris, but when I woke up… I was changing flights and getting one step closer to home. I had breezed through customs and not even noticed!!!
The plane touched down at our local airport and I recognized the smell of the moist, salty air. As Mummy walked through the small airport terminal, she saw Daddy waiting for us at the end of hall. She reached into my carrier and took me out, sat me down on the floor and said, “Millie, look! There’s your Daddy!!!” I looked up when she said the word, “Daddy” and I heard a familiar voice calling to me. IT WAS MY DADDY! I took off running like a greyhound! Everyone around me starting laughing and clapping their hands… they looked up just in time to see me leap into my Daddy’s arms. I was home.
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Thank you sweet Millie for sharing your first Paris adventures with us! You are a very expressive writer, I’m so glad Mummy taught you how to read and write ?
Love this Chapter!! and like I said before… I would love to Visit Paris with Moka next Year!!! It will be amazing if we could meet there!!! 😉
Big Kiss .. Love you Both!!!
Oh my goodness! I can’t believe that rude man tried to get more money from mommy. Shame on him.
I bet you were so adorable running to daddy. I bet you were wishing your little legs would go faster.
Very precious story, you make me want to be there with you.
Such a sweet story!