You know that saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”? Debra Callicutt, our International Tax Partner, and I were talking before she left for a recent wedding in France.
First, she was stressed about leaving because she has so many Forms 5471 to review before the September 15 tax deadline. But, goodness, it was France – so, how fun! I admit to being a bit jealous. Here’s the email I received from her Monday night after her 100-hour whirlwind trip.
I have outlined the past 100 hours or so! I fear I might be a bit tired this week. Apologies in advance!! SO LOOKING FOWARD TO GETTING HOME AND BACK TO THE OFFICE!
Highlight of the evening:
10 p.m.: Chateau aglow with an array of lights followed by a massive display of fireworks. Disneyesque style chateau – original part of the home was built in 1420, new wing built in 1887.
(Recall, I left Phoenix Thursday.)
Saturday morning: Caught the 7:50 a.m. train to Paris – delayed 30 minutes. The car hired to collect us from Gord De Nord to Montrapasse Station was a no show. We caught a taxi and paid him almost double the fair to get us to our train. I ran so hard that my chest hurt. We made the train with 90 seconds to spare.
France is notoriously lacking in taxis – no Uber service in Poitier. We arrived at Poitier – no taxi at the train station. We chatted with a French woman who was also en route to the wedding and she managed to persuade another group to give up their prearranged taxi for our use. We arrived to our ‘hotel.’ I use the word lightly. We were greeted by a kind woman; however, her kindness could not overcome the deficiencies of the facility. The Inn, as the English would say, was “bloody awful.” We made the appointment at Coiff with one minute to spare.
We were told to walk to the church and that it would take 10 minutes – NOT! All while wearing heels that I could barely stand in, let alone walk 40 minutes in. I pulled some sort of muscle in my right leg. Bit a of rain en route, but not too bad.
It turns out that the church we walked to, Church at La Rochelle (adjacent to the family home), was NOT the venue for the service! The church service was being held back in town! We managed to get a ride to the church and slipped into the back pew no problem. The service lasted an hour and 15 minutes and was in French and a bit of German – no English. Cocktails and dinner at La Rochelle included 250 guests – all polyglots. I felt quite inadequate. Midway through the evening, my winter coat went on and stayed on. Apparently, I made quite the impression.
Life was better – for a bit
We slept until noon and then grabbed a ride back to La Rochelle. The garden party at the house, in the warmth of the sun, was a lovely spread and very elegant; regaining the will to live. We toured the family home and walked through living history – it was also amazing.
Life is taking a backward turn. Airport taxi – no issues. Then, all hell broke loose. We were in the tiny airport, locked in the gate area with no water (unless you had a Euro coin – men’s toilet not working). On top of that, a 90-minute delay.
We finally boarded the plane only to have a takeoff delay because there was no runway slot! As we land, and are about to disembark, plane door open, it’s a no-go. The door on the ground was locked and the man to open it had gone missing – another delay of 20 minutes. That’s when a crazy, rich multilingual lady had a meltdown. Her three children screamed throughout the flight like you could not believe.
Late Sunday evening:
There’s a long line at immigration. Up next, luggage. In a last-minute decision, my husband checked his backpack which had his two iPads, his passport, etc. You guessed it – his bag was lost. Arrived around 10:30.
Husband had to go back to the airport at 5 a.m. to collect his bag. I must run to board my flight.
In talking to an only semi-rested Debra this morning, I have decided that the grass is, indeed, not always greener.
Donna H. Laubscher, CPA – with all of the funny bits courtesy of Debra Callicutt