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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« We didn't die after all. | Main | I do what I'm told. »

Au revoir à jamais

Oh, my friends who live inside the computer, Scott and I are leaving tomorrow for Paris. It’s our tenth anniversary on Friday, and it was my 40th birthday last week, and since we sold our house we had some cash lying around (technically not lying around; we used it as padding for Charlie’s dog bed). So we thought, why aren’t we going to Paris? What kind of jerks are we?

So Henry’s going to hang out with the grandparents while we cavort and gambol around Paris for six days, and I should be ridiculously excited. Except now that we’re getting ready, I’m pretty we’re going to die. I don’t deserve a nice vacation and therefore the Lord will smite us. Obviously. Here’s what’s going to happen, in no particular order:

The plane will crash and we will all die

The French will hate us and we will all die

Having forgotten the four years of French I took in high school (Je suis désolée, Madame Goldenberg!) I will be unable to obtain for us food or beverages, and death will ensue

We’ll forget to do anything and we'll sit in our hotel room crying (and subsequently die of shame)

The United States will blow up because I wasn’t here to keep things non-blow-uppy

Henry will be sad and lonely with his grandparents and we’ll have to come home early, and somehow we’ll die as a result of that

Something something something death

Needless to say, some of these scenarios are unlikely. Probably we will not die. I went to Paris many years ago and found the French to be largely tolerant of my crude Frenchifying. Henry loves his grandparents way more than us. We have guidebooks and the like. The plane will maybe get us there and back safely. Maybe.

I’ve been practicing some important phrases, too:

Excuse me, stewardess, please make sure there is no turbulence.

Excusez-moi, hôtesse de l'air, s'il vous plaît assurez-vous il n'y a pas de turbulence.

I thought I said no turbulence. Now I require a bucket of red wine and some horse tranquilizers.

Je pensais que je l'ai dit pas de turbulence. Maintenant, j'ai besoin d'un seau de vin rouge et quelques chevaux de tranquillisants.

Pardon me—does the United States still exist?

Excusez-moi, les États-Unis continuent d'exister?

Do not laugh at me. I have an anxiety disorder.

Ne vous moquez pas de moi. J'ai un trouble anxieux.

That man who is laughing? He is my husband. He is a monster.

Cet homme qui rit? C'est mon mari. Il est un monstre.

I go to the library. I want hamburger and fries.

Je vais à la bibliothèque. Je veux hamburger et des frites.

(I already knew that last one.)

We’ll return in a week. Please keep our planes aloft and the Earth safe with the power of your positive thinking or praying or voodoo or whatever it is you do, I really don’t care.

(And I just realized I forgot to tell you about the surprise party my husband threw for me. It was incredible. But I’m leaving now so I’m going to have to tell you about it upon our return, IF WE EVER RETURN, of course you will Alice shut up.)

Reader Comments (85)

It's just not fair. You're going to die and you leave us hanging about the surprise party. You HAVE TO stay and keep things "non-blow-uppy!!"

LOL. You crack me right the fuck up!

Have a fantastic time. I'm totally jealous.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWendyPinNJ
Je suis. That's all I remember of my high school French. And don't think that obsessing about death is some sort of omen...I do this every time I travel, especially without my kids. You have a great trip! Bon voyage! Right?
Joyeuse anniversaire, bon voyage. Malheuresement, à Paris, maintenant, ils parlent plus l'anglais que le français et malgré le fait que tu veux (je peux tutoyer?) utiliser ton francais, ils vont insister de te répondre en anglais. C'est super ennuyent.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
@Blythe. I liked the hamburger with the fried egg on top. I frankly thought they were sitting in the back of the bistro laughing to see if an American would eat a hamburger with a fried egg on top... but now I know it's just the thing.

Bon voyage, Alice. I hope you have as much fun in paris the two times we went (we liked it so much we went back the second year)... and I agree... the Parisiens were exceptionally friendly and nice to us, despite our poor french skillz. We were polite and tried our best, they responded by being kind and generous.

You are funny.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg
I am SO GLAD to hear you are leaving Henry home and are going with your hubby to Paris. Because my husband and I have been putting off having a kid because we selfishly love going to Europe just the two of us, and we somehow got it into our heads that once you have a kid you can never travel alone again, ever.

So thank you for confirming that even awesome parents like yourselves can still have a life after Child, and also for confirming that I'm not the only one who thinks about DEATH! DEATH! DEATH! unbidden and for no logical reason.

Except that it IS logical, right?

Love you!
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristin
I just laughed out loud. You are hilarious. Then I read it to my husband and I don't think he thought it was funny. MEN.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren From Texas
I had three semesters of French in college, most of which was spent translating Beaudelaire and Rabelais. I still remember how to tell passers by that I am burning with passion or languising in a stultifying pit of despair. But when I traveled to France and a perfectly friendly waiter asked me if I wanted some coffee, in French, and I understood him, I FORGOT THE WORD FOR YES. I remembered no, but I wanted coffee! I nodded vigorously and about five minutes later shouted OUI!
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
Happy Birthday!

Have a great time- I have always wanted to go to Paris.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarolee/Home4ever
Happy Birthday and Anniversary. Please eat a chocolate croissant for me. Mmm... fresh croissant in Paris.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachael
one scenario you left out... your plane might crash into another time and you will totally know what happened on Lost. then you will be the luckiest girl alive. or dead. or transported into another dimension.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Welcome to the 40's! They are tres, tres bien and full of joie de fun--mostly! Paris is the BEST way to herald the next magnifique decade.
My hubby and I just got back from out 2nd honeymoon in Paris(14 yrs). We had a fabulous time and didn't care how well-liked we were since we weren't really there to make friends. Whenever we spoke French, the French rolled their eyes and spoke English. All in all, they tolerated us just fine and fed us well to boot! We had a boulangerie and creperie just across the street from our hotel and made friends with the proprieters so we could get fed when we needed to. We had all the same concerns about leaving the kids with the grandparents, dying, etc but it all went beautifully and the kids now have a greater appreciation for us as parents and also some fun memories of their time with the grandparents. I also worried about not leaving the hotel room, and really did enjoy sleeping in and not having a real solid adgenda, but still managed to do many wonderful things that we loved! Go and relax and love being there! Happy Anniversary and Bon Voyage!
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlurky mommy
You're gonna be fine, darlin'. Obviously god'll make sure you get back ok 'cause you need to write more funny stuff. Oh, and raise Henry and stuff. Have the best time deserve it!

p.s. I heard death was totally in a lock-down rehab facility outside of Pensacola this month, so I wouldn't worry about him for now.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdm
Oooh! Paris is only two hours from me! You should come up to Brussels for a day and do a beer cruise because really - French beer? Not so much. Of course, the wine is cheaper than the water which makes up for it!
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertopo
Happy birthday, and happy anniversary.Have a wonderful time in Paris, I hope you (and Scott, and Henry with the grandparents) have fun.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteraliceaustralia
How fun!

Bon voyage!

We want the obligatory photo of you & Scott with the Eiffel in the background.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLIB
That last one is by far the most important anyway. Except, perhaps, the one regarding horse tranquilizers.

Oh, and you forgot that you will eat far too many pastries... and die.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkristi
I loved the image of a tranquilized horse. Besides, with that on the plane, you'll be totally distracted away from your own anxieties. And I also thought the fried egg/hamburger was delicious. But I have no shame.

Have a fantastic time. I found that if I spoke cruddy French with an almost incomprehensible accent--but I did it enthusiastically and with a big smile--people were very nice to me. It's hard to be mean to someone who's obviously trying, even if you're French. My husband is utterly terrified of flying, so I think romantic trips to Paris are not going to happen for me. So enjoy yourself for me!
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKendra
Have a wonderful time! I only grasp at french I picked up from my sisters, though I did manage, while in Quebec, to pull out "Nous sons perdu" (sp?) and the guy knew enough English to say with a thick accent, "Ah, oui, it 'alf an hour, forty-five, zat way" while pointing in the direction we were already going.

Joyeux anniversaire! (I had to look that up)
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdie Frau
that was too funny and I really needed a laugh today! Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary!
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret
If you get the chance, definitely go to Creperie St. Germain (rue Saint Andre des Artes in St. Germain) delicious. that way, you can either (a) forget about the whole death thing or (b) die happy. Bon voyage!
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKdahlface
L'amour romantique n'est pas mort. Bon voyage!
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoie
Happy late Birthday and have a great trip. Please post all about it when you return. It's my birthday and I'm 40 today, but my husband forgot (he's under a lot of stress at work, really). We had planned an anniversary trip to Mexico, but that was when swine flu hit, so we cancelled. So I will live vicariously through your trip postings! Enjoy
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNan
I remembered my high school French (sort of), I speak with a Parisien accent and I bought a phrasebook. The problem with that was, I could never understand a darn thing they said in reply, because they thought I was fluent! Trust me, you are better off mangling your attempts to speak the language.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
@nutmegI think my first mistake was eating at a Hippopotamus.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlythe

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