Several months ago, just when the Sequester was being enacted, Dean mentioned he’d been invited to give a talk at a conference in Munich in August. Unfortunately one of the ways his part of the government was handling the Sequester was to restrict all foreign travel unless the other guys paid for it. He was bummed about it because he would have loved to go to Munich.
A couple of months later he told me that he was going to be allowed to go because the other guys agreed to pay. He also asked if I wanted to go. I was on the fence. Munich was not necessarily a place I wanted to go back to. I liked it okay when we spent a few days there in 1985 on our “grand tour” of a honeymoon, but there was nothing there that I really wanted to see again or do. I said I would think about it.
Thinking about it involved posting a status on Facebook mentioning the opportunity. Several of my FB buddies encouraged me to go. When Mali mentioned the slight possibility of meeting up in Munich since she and her husband were going to be spending a few months in Italy, I decided that maybe I would go. I doubted things would work out and I’d get to actually meet Mali, but the slight chance that would happen changed my mind.
I’ve been researching Munich and its surrounding area, online and in a book I purchased at Barnes and Noble a month or so ago. I also downloaded an app to my phone and began learning a few basic German words and phrases. Dean and I would talk, briefly, about what to do when we left Munich. We settled on a hotel. He sent me a list of things I could do while he was at conferences. I told my supervisor about the trip and even said I would work 4 hours a day for 4 or 5 days while I was gone so I would not end up with negative vacation/sick time hours.
I was set to go, but not excited about it. In fact, I was dreading it. Flying to a city I really didn’t want to fly to, working in a hotel on a small screen instead of on dual screens, missing Andrew’s departure to Oberlin, missing many of the last few days with Clare before her Great Adventure. But I was going to go anyway.
Then, last week, Clare told me she wanted to leave Maryland on August 23 — the day after we were scheduled to leave for Munich. She would drive Andrew to Oberlin and head West.
What? I wondered? I won’t be able to say goodbye!
Mom, you can say goodbye before you leave, she reasoned.
But who will take care of Halloween?
A neighbor? she suggested.
It went downhill from there.
A few days later Clare told us that she had a week off in August. Dean immediately began thinking of what we could do as a family that week.
You guys can do something, I said, I need to save up my vacation time for Munich.
That night Dean told me he had not bought my ticket to Munich yet and said that if I didn’t want to go he was okay with it. After some thought and feelings of guilt I said I’d rather not go. He understood. I think. Now we can do something as a family.