Life in the Boomer Lane spent one memorable Thanksgiving in London with Beloved Daughter and her family. Her younger son/youngest child and Her Always Baby and his girlfriend joined them. Her Always Baby and his girlfriend had been together over a year, but this was her first experience traveling with LBL’s family. For part of their stay, they went to Paris for several days. This was primarily to give everyone, including Beloved grandson, the opportunity to all stand in front of the Eiffel Tower wearing berets.
The other important reason everyone went there was to provide J with a first-hand experience with the way LBL’s family was able to create mayhem even in places where they could not speak the language. They didn’t fail her. They experienced a roach baked into the French onion soup, a purse left in a cab, and ongoing “discussions” with the hotel management about charges for breakfasts not consumed.
They saved the best for last. They were a bit late packing up and getting out of the hotel. At one point, MAB had to run several blocks to try to hail a cab, BD had to run back to the hotel to see if they could get a cab more quickly that way, J had to try to find MAB when he seemed to disappear. LBL’s job was to stand on the street corner with a bunch of suitcases, a baby stroller, a baby, and a sinking feeling that there was no way anyone would get to the station on time.
By some miracle, everyone all ended up in a cab, with exactly enough time to get to the station. In the cab, BD realized that she left the baby car seat back at the hotel, (the hotel that had now probably posted a sign in the window saying “No More Americans, Please”). Everyone arrived at the station, consulted the wrong departure board, and came to the gate exactly one minute after it closed. They were told the next train would be leaving in one hour. It took MAB a long time to negotiate with them to allow us to take the next train at no additional cost.
This gave Beloved Daughter the outstanding idea of going back to the hotel to retrieve the baby car seat that had been left behind. This idea was almost as good as Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. SBD strapped the Snuggly with BG in it onto J and left. The minutes started to tick by with alarming speed. Soon, everyone realized they were in danger of missing the second train. MAB stayed in the outer area to watch for BD, while AJ and LBL tried to go through Customs, so at least three of the group would get onto the Eurostar.
Unfortunately, the Customs Official noticed that AJ had an 18 lb baby strapped to her body. By some miracle, the first bag LBL opened had the baby’s passport. Unfortunately, it also contained BD’s passport. LBL now realized that if they went through Customs, BD wouldn’t be able to leave France. But that was minor compared to what was happening between AJ and the Customs Official.
The baby’s passport informed the Customs Official that
1.The baby’s last name was different than AJ’s and LBL’s
2. The baby was a resident of the UK and the two adults accompanying the baby were residents of the US.
By now, all of the Customs Officials were engaged in watching AJ trying to explain who this strange baby was, LBL trying to get back past Customs in order to hold up BD’s passport and wave it frantically to MAB who was in the outer area, and BG who was starting to get seriously verbal about announcing that it was Feeding Time.
With exactly 60 seconds to spare, BD came running into the Customs area, clutching the baby car seat. MAB came running after her, clutching either his heart or his beret (It was tough to tell). The Customs Officials stood back as everyone did a Keystone Cops version of “Toss the Passports/Luggage/Car Seat/Baby to the Appropriate Owners.” They then entered the Eurostar train, exactly as they closed the gate.
Neither Beloved Son-in Law nor Now Husband was there. Had either of them been there, none of this would have happened. They are both sticklers for minor things like organization and time management. Personally, LBL is glad they weren’t there. After all, what would she then have to write about?