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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. → 

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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)

Always, always have the fear of death if traveling without spouse and/or without children.

Or with them, too, as when we went to Paris with them and I realized that if we all died (Grandma was along too) -- that was a contingency I hadn't considered. Our wills don't really extend to the obliteration of the entire nuclear family plus one. I told a couple what to do if we all died. I might even have left a note on the table at home.

But, anyway, my original point (and it's unlike me to have one) was that this is PRE-trip fear. I find that once I'm aloft and then at my destination, all those fears seem totally crazy. I'm still intact, children alive, etc. Then I can relax and enjoy myself. But until that point? Pure worry hell.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I told a couple of people what to do if we all died.

Not just any old random couple on the street or anything. In fact I think I emailed my plans for the surviving siblings and nieces and nephews to one or two people, just in case.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Oh my girlfriend just went there for her 30th birthday, met a french man and fell in love and has been back again to visit......ahhhh Paris...being an Australian I just love to will be fine!!! Enjoy!!! Relax!!! Live A Little!!! And if that does not work, take some drugs and have a drink.....hahahahahahahaaaaaa
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteraussiechic
La plus chère Alice,

Vous sucez ainsi .

Avec envie,Joe
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterheyjoe
We took the trip without kids last fall for 40th b-days and wedding anniversary. I was also convinced that death while away was inevitable. Even wrote a melodramatic "in case we die, here's how to find our stash and insurance" sort of letter. Don't do that. Oh, wait. Wasting time doing that will guarantee that it's unnecessary.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennie
I'm already freaking out about the flight to BlogHer in July. I would've driven if it wouldn't have taken me about 19 hours.

Bon Chance! I hope that means "Good Luck" in French---it's been a l-o-n-g time since I've had to pull the french from the dustbins of my brain.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFairly Odd Mother
Sadly, I will never see Paris due to my phobia of the flying metal tubes of death. Oh, you can call them "planes" if you like, but I know better.

Will you demonstrate typical Sunday afternoon crazy dancing to see how the French react? I feel they could not help but be as charmed by it as I am. You may not even have to translate, "Na noo, na noo, na noo!" I believe this is comprehensible by all as a universal expression of joy.

Mon cahier d'exercise il n'y a pas dans la biblioteque.

Aussi, Je m'apelle Phillipe Beaumont. J'ai quinze ans.

There. That's my French exhausted. And I'm Canadian and am supposed to be able to function in French, but quel domage! The Menopause has my brain.

Hope you have fun, have wonderful weather and enjoy each other's company immensely.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
My 10th anniversary is this Friday - June 5th - but Paris is not in the cards. I'm kinda eyeballing a Cuisinart hand mixer at Williams Sonoma.

But it's okay - we had Italy for 3+ weeks in January-February and should get to Paris some day.

Have a great time.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChrisV
I'm a huge fan of Paris and have been there several times. I know others have offered suggestions about where to go, and at some point it begins to be too much. That said, I'll add my own unsolicited advice. (From a lurker, no less.) :)

The places I would say never to miss are Versailles (the palace, the gardens and the Petit Trianon), The Louvre obviously, and some people skip the smaller, less touristy Musee d'Orsee, but it has an awe inspiring collection of the most prominent impressionist painters. Another absolute do not miss (even if it has to be on your next trip there) Père Lachaise Cemetery--burial place of Chopin, Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein and many others. That place alone is so affecting and full of eerie charm that one visit there could launch a thousand pieces of writing (and a million striking photos).
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
You will have a lovely, elegant, French time. And for several days if there is someone near you who has to go to the bathroom or who doesn't like what they're eating and is pushing the food around their plate, it won't be your responsibility. Be child-free and nearly French for the rest of us. And bon voyage.
June 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterquinn
Bienvenue à Paris! If I'm walking down the street and see you I might approach you awkwardly, so I hope that being accosted by strangers from the internet doesn't trigger your anxiety. :)

I'm pretty sure you're going to have a great time. And if all else fails, drink some wine. :)
June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiaryofWhy
I'm so happy for you and jealous. If you check your blog comments at some point, hopefully you'll get this restaurant recommendation: Le Coude Fou - 12, Rue Bourg Tibourg, 75004 Paris, France +33 1 42 77 15 16. This is the best restaurant recommendation, I've ever received. I asked an acquaintance from Paris for a place that's friendly, casual, easy but deliciously french and he nailed it. Enjoy! Another place we love is Au Bourguignon du Marais on the corner of Rue Francois-Miron and Rue de Jouy. Bon appetite et joyeux anniversaire!
June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRene
Can you get buckets of red wine? Gimme a straw!

Congratulations on making to 10 and 40, and have a blast in Paris!
June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie @ Figments
Yeesh, that sounds like a whole lotta dying and death-heavy activities you've got planned. I thought vacations were for relaxing?

So we thought, why aren’t we going to Paris? What kind of jerks are we?

Alice-dude, from now on, I am totally using this as a rhetorical device to persuade me into desirable activities and indulgences:

"Why am I not eating ice cream right now? What kind of a jerk am I?"

"Why do we not go out to the posh corner restaurant all the time? What kind of jerks are we?"

and so on.

And, if it doesn't sound too much like lick-spittle fawning: Thanks. I had a rough day, and I really needed a laugh, so I came here in hope. You are a bright spot in my day.
June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElsa
Haha! Vous etes amusante. Have a fabulous trip.
June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsianmommy
About the question on twitter...its nice to leave a small tip and you won't be considered cheap cheep.
June 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermsmezzo
Happy Birthday and Anniversary! Reading this post just now saved me from a case of the terrible grumps. I was just about to go sighing and moping all around my house like a teenager because I hated everyone, and now I don't. I'm happy because I've been laughing so wonderfully, and I'm excited for you to have a great trip. Thank you. My best wishes for continued non-blowy-uppiness and no turbulence.
June 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKellye
Belated happy birthday!Kiss the the Eifel Tower for me.
June 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
I had those thoughts when I went to Europe... could not articulate them as well as you! Nicely done, and have a great time.
June 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersusiej
Have a wonderful time! I can't wait to hear all about it...and what a great idea. Why don't I ever think of things like that? I'm so dumb, I keep waiting for my husband to come up with this stuff. You've shown me: I have to make it happen

Remember everything, for us!!!
June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
Oh Alice you're coming to Paris!I'd love to meet you. I hope you're going to have a fantastic time although the weather is pretty horrible right now.Please feel free to contact me if you have a problem with anything.
June 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpascale
Oh, man. I just had a baby on Monday and I think I laughed so hard at this post that I may have wet my pants. Shoot!
June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
oh, Alice... shut up & have fun! I'll keep the country in order until you return!
June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Football Wife
Indeed. On my most recent trip to France, I had two different experiences: while in France, spoke broken French but tried my darndest, and the Parisians rolled their eyes at us and spoke English to us, and then would walk off and talk about us IN ENGLISH a few feet away.Then, had a business meeting in Fountainbleu, where my attempts to communicate in French went not only noticed, but praised. They loved that I was trying hard, and would speak French back to me, very slowly and plainly. I loved it!!I generally don't have much tolerance for Parisians...but the view from Sacre Couer makes it all worth it.
June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLabradoris
Have a fabulous trip."Ne vous moquez pas de moi. J'ai un trouble anxieux." - Can we get maybe some sort of a card printed up with this phrase in several languages?

Incidentally, you must see this:

"Recipes prepared especially forthe General Electric Refrigerator


MISS ALICE BRADLEYPrincipal of Miss Farmer's School of Cookery,Cooking Editor of Woman's Home Companion,Author of: Cooking for Profit, Candy CookBook, For Luncheon and Supper Guests"


June 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbetsy

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