Tuesday, 11 June, Tallahassee to Paris

Written 12 June 2019/p>

Yes, things are looking up. I finally succeeded in purchasing a new laptop, and the fabulous computer guys in FSU Biological Science spent a day setting it up for me (they got two whole wheels of my grandmother's Scottish shortbread for that—thanks guys!). My dad's house and land are now under contract for considerably more than the asking price; projected closing on 17 July. As power of attorney, I should be able to sign everything electronically from Tallahassee, except for one document that I'll receive by e-mail, print, sign before a notary, and FedEx back. The dreaded project of (a) changing my cell-phone number for the duration of the trip and (b) getting Uber to change it in their files turned out to be old throw-your-shoulder-against-an-open-door thing. I bought the French SIM card by mail-order from Tallahassee, changed it out during our initial approach to CDG airport, and by the time we deplaned and reached passport control, the Orange network had picked me up and had sent me a confirmation text stating my balance in minutes and volume of data.

I couldn't initially get WiFi access from our appartment, but once I discovered the router was unplugged, things went fine. So I tried to log into Uber from the computer but was stymied by the two-step verification process—they, of course, texted the verification code to my U.S. number, which is, of course, out of service because its SIM card is in a little plastic bag in my purse. To their credit, though, when I went in through their "need help" form, explained the situation, and was able to describe two recent Uber trips charged to the account, they made the change manually, and I mean within minutes!

All the restaurant reservations for the next few nights are reconfirmed, so we're in good shape.

The only fly in the ointment is that Papa is now under hospice care at his assisted-living facility. His brain and his creativity are still going strong, but his body is just letting him down. Sad, but we knew it was coming.

But to start at the beginning. The Westminster Oaks van was only 7 minutes late picking us up for the ride to the airport, and our flights went like clockwork. We had time in ATL for supper at One Flew South, which was better than usual. I'm pretty well over that place, but David really likes it, so we always go back when it's his turn to pick.

duck davidDavid had his usual supper stand-by, the pulled duck sandwich with fig jam and peanut-ginger slaw. He was dismayed that his usual lunch stand-by—the frissé, bacon, and goat-cheese salad—had disappeared from the menu.

At the right, David is preparing to enjoy his sandwich, while the travellers thronging the concourse walk by the side of the restaurant. The slats that form the wall cut off our view of the walkers' eyes and feet, so our view was of an endless parade of slightly narrowed strike zones.

steak cobbler I went for the steak—a medium-rare NY strip sliced thick and stacked neatly on top of a heap of wilted arugula, pan-seared peas, lightly cooked slices of fresh asparagus, and slices of tiny Yukon Gold potatoes. The whole thing was drenched in a nice reduction sauce and liberally sprinkled with microgreens, marigold petals, and tiny tubular dark-red flowers that I couldn't identify.

For dessert, we both chose the warm peach cobbler with caramel ice cream on top. It consisted of peach slices in a thickened spiced (and rather alcoholic) sauce topped with a perfect round of a crisp, tender brown-sugar shortbread. That was topped with a scoop of the ice cream, and the whole thing was sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, You could tell for sure that the peaches were fresh, because canned or frozen ones would never be that crunchy. Many items on the menu mentioned bourbon as an ingredient, so that's probably what was in the cobbler as well.

The whole time we were there, a woman dining alone at a corner table carried on a cheerful and spritely conversation with her dining partner, who skyped in. Her laptop sat on the table, with its back to us, so we never saw the other person, but they seemed quite used to this scenario.

Out at gate F3, we discovered we were once again flying in the Airbus 380. That thing is huge! They start boarding an hour before flight time, even though they use two jet bridges. The boarding queue is therefore complicated—it involves many, many different boarding zones, as well as two different levels (we fly downstairs, in steerage), so airline employees used what we have come to thing of as the Hartsfield method of traffic control. Staff members, often dozens of them, stand in strategic spots and repeat continually in loud voices "Zone three lower level this way" or "First class to your right and straight forward" or "Get out your boarding pass only, no passports" or (in other locations) "Please claim your luggage from the carousel, move through the doors and hand it to the attendants there" or "This way please everybody." I wonder whether they specialize, so that the same lady says "Zone three . . ." all day every day, or whether they trade off with folks at other positions for variety. But once they finally got us all on board (actually taking a security head shot of each of us as we did), we had footrests even in coach, everybody had ample space in the overhead bins, and those bins have flat, smooth floors, so pulling luggage out of them is way eaiser than extracting it from the usual lumpy and concave surfaces. Nice plane

The movie choices were a little disappointing. It was actually an Air France flight, so the list was heavy on serious French film rather than the heavily special-effected superhero fluff I had planned to pass the time watching. I managed to find Captain Marvel and The Crimes of Grindelwald, but I actually slept through a good portion of the latter—something I'm not usually able to do on planes. Maybe I'll get to see the whole thing on the way back.

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