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April 3rd, 2007

I’m finally home from our European book tour! Even though I was only gone a little more than three weeks, it seems as if I was away much longer than that. Have you ever been away on a long trip and come home to realize everything in your house is much smaller than your remembered?

And also smells like someone else’s house?

Well, that’s what our homecoming has been like.

Oh, plus, my cat Henrietta will NOT SHUT UP.

Because we did so much flying in and around Germany we took Lufthansa back to the US which meant we had to fly from Paris to Frankfurt late Saturday night, then get up very early on Sunday morning to fly from Frankfurt to Miami.

Naturally I assumed since we’d be spending the night in the Frankfurt airport hotel we wouldn’t have to get up THAT early on Sunday. Maybe like eight o’clock for our nine forty five flight. Since the hotel is INSIDE the airport.

But the hotel clerk at reception assured me I was wrong since Sunday was the first day of Easter break for German school children. She recommended we employ the usual two hour arrival before your flight check-in routine. Even though our hotel was INSIDE THE AIRPORT.

I was not too happy about checking out of the hotel a mere six hours after we’d checked in (even though the airport hotel was, let’s face it, not as nice as my hotel in Paris and did not even have MTV or Nutella), then staggering into the airport departures wing at seven Sunday morning.

But was I glad we did. That departures wing was like the fall of Saigon, only with harried German families departing—with their dogs, cats, and hamsters–for Easter holidays instead of fleeing the NVA. We barely made out of there alive.

Even though our plane was departing from a gate in the B wing, they told us to go to C wing. I thought it was a mistake, but it turned out to be to spare us from what was going in B wing—no bathrooms, vomiting children, escaped gerbils. They stashed all the people leaving on flights going to America in C wing, where we could see what was happening in B wing through plate glass windows. Unable to offer help, we could only witness the unspeakable chaos as parents in B wing murmured “Save yourselves” to us, then turned to gravely inform their children that, instead of going somewhere sunny, they were going to see their grandparents…and that they’d accidentally left the Kinder Eggs to melt in the backseat of Volvo….

The horror. The horror.

Once we were bussed to our plane and safely ensconced on board, away from the tragedies of B wing, I was able to prepare myself for my nearly ten hour ride to Miami. While flying, I read three books, two of which I’d brought for myself for the occasion, and one which I stole from He Who Shall Not Be Named In The Blog, who was quickly sucked into The Holiday and then Banditas (while murmuring, “Why would Sam Shephard agree to be in this movie? For the love of God, why?”)

The first book was Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella. As you might expect, it was a delight, and while some might argue the Shopaholic plotline is growing thin, I think the ending proved it is not, and that plotlines for Becky still have ample room to grow.

Then I plunged into High Profile, a Jesse Stone mystery by Robert B Parker. At first I was somewhat taken aback to learn I had missed something in the Jesse Stone oeuvre by failing to read a Sunny Randall mystery (another of Mr. Parker’s series) in which she and Chief Stone apparently get it on (I hope I am not giving something away, but this seems to have happened several books ago).

Personally I am not a great fan of inter-series character mating. I remember how greatly disturbed I was as a child when Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys started up a flirtation on the short-lived television series bearing their names starring Pamela Sue Martin and Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy (I, unlike my friends, had a crush on Parker Stevenson, NOT Shaun Cassidy. Parker was slightly cross-eyed in appearance, like my friend Laura’s Siamese cat. Could the same be said of Shaun? NO).

Anyway, Nancy and the Hardy Boys DO NOT FLIRT in the books (at least when I read them) so it seemed unnatural and wrong for them to be doing so in the TV series. What about Ned, Nancy, you slut???? Though in the end it came to nothing.

But thankfully High Profile turned out to be fine, just like Nancy and the Hardy Boys harmless TV fling, and excellent plane reading.

Finally, I read Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down (did I mention it was a nearly ten hour flight?) which I thoroughly enjoyed, and you will too, even though the plot, about four strangers who gather to kill themselves on New Years Eve, sounds like a bummer. It sort of is, but how they manage to help one another go on living (maybe) is what makes it such a good read.

Then the plane landed and we had to go through customs in Miami where a beagle sniffed me for contraband but found nothing because I brought no illegal cheese or fruit with me from Europe (THANK GOD–not that I didn’t think about it) and then we took ANOTHER plane to Key West where there were even MORE Spring Break revelers to deal with, although these weren’t the kinds crying over Kinder Eggs.

But FINALLY we got home, where Slutty-McSlut-A-Lot greeted us on the porch by rolling over and pretending like she wanted us to pet her (but even though we had been gone nearly a month, we didn’t fall for her ruse), and Henrietta began her long—very, very, very long—explanation of everything that went on while we were gone.

I don’t know what she’s trying to tell us. A lot of it involves urging me to follow her to the guest bedroom at the front of the house, where she hops up onto the window seat and meows urgently through the window, into the yard below, while glancing back at me to make sure I’m paying attention.

I would like to tell you that there is a dead body or something there, but there’s not. There’s nothing there. I don’t know why she keeps wanting me to come with her to look out that window. It’s completely psychotic. I checked all her pet food to make sure it’s not the kind that’s been on the news that poisoned all those cats and dogs, and while she does have chicken flavored Pounce, it’s not the brand number that was recalled.

She’s just nuts.

Two catsitters have confirmed that she sat on this windowseat looking out the window the entire time we were gone. Waiting for us to come home? No…because that would be almost…sweet.

And if there’s one thing we know Henrietta is not, it’s sweet. Especially considering the fact that she’s now mewed herself into hoarse exhaustion, and is passed out beside me on the bed, snoring.

Anyway, to all of those I met on my European odyssey, thanks again, and I’ll miss you—and for those of you back home, good to see you….and stay tuned for my US tour for PANTS ON FIRE in May!

(Well, you didn’t think I was going to stay home for long, did you????)

Now I have to take a nap.

More later.

Much love,

Meg