The Face that Launched 1000 ships

The next couple of days were quiet. Michael worked. The baby and I took some quiet time for ourselves at the playground and at the Palais Royal

photo by twiga269 on Flickr

We stopped into apothecaries (which I did just about every day) to snatch up some French oil or lip balm or something I knew I couldn’t find in the states. We browsed in bookshops and hunted down toy stores. We sipped hot chocolate and nibbled on macarons at La Maison Angelina on Rue de Rivoli across the street from the Tuileries. We went to Hédiard, a famous high-end French food shop with these great orange gift boxes.

photo by Suzan Black

We went to the toy department at the Gallery Lafayette to find a little wooden car and discovered this is what it looks like inside…

photo by Tom Golway
photo by Olivier Bruchez on Flickr

By Wednesday evening we were still all pretty tired so we headed to bed early. The boys were sound asleep and I had just brushed my teeth when suddenly…the phone rang. It was the land line…and I thought…uh-oh…no one has that number but Michael and his Parisian co-workers…I better grab it just in case.

I quietly whispered (because 2 out of 3 of us were sound asleep in a 500 square foot space)…”hello?”

Hullllloooo!” the English accent blared through the phone, ‘Um, Elizabeth? I think I’m standing right in front of your apartment, but I don’t know for sure’.

I whispered to myself Seinfeldianly…Rigsby!

I went to the window and looked out to see Nanny Rigsby himself (surprisingly quite pulled together).  He was standing right there across the street looking around aimlessly holding a rolling bag. He spotted me and said, “Hang up! Hang up! This is costing me a fortune!”

Ah yes. He’d come to visit for only his secretary knew how long. We’ll never get the exact length of his stay out of him because he really doesn’t even know what it is. Did I mention the apartment was 500 square ft and already occupied by 3 people? I did? No matter. The fun would be to see all 6’2” of Nanny Rigsby fit into a bathroom made for elves.

So let’s backtrack a little…Michael’s friend, who we call Nanny Rigsby, is from England. They met in Africa on a horseback riding safari. My my. Nanny was in the bathroom of the Norfolk hotel stealing what the English jauntily refer to as loo rolls, but what is also known as toilet paper. This is all you really need to know about him. No wait…I will also tell you that we refer to him as Nanny Rigsby because he truly, truly loves the baby and we are convinced he flies across the Atlantic via open umbrella.


When we first arrived in Paris, two weeks before Nanny showed up on our door step, apparently Michael called him and gave him our address and phone number. He said he would pop over from England that first weekend…and then we never heard from him again.

No, wait. That’s not true. He left us a message at some point to say he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to make it because there was some sort of crisis and he had to have lunch with the Prime Minister. Then he mumbled out…”no no no I’m sorry, did I just say I was going to have lunch with the Prime Minister?? Ha ha ha!!! Oh no no no… I’m kidding. I didn’t mean that. I meant I’m having dinner with him. Bye!”

Then we never heard from him again. I told Michael I thought he had probably been kidnapped.

But he had not been. There he was at 11pm on a Wednesday night, exasperated and bleary eyed sitting on the sofa in our living room in Paris ready to regale us with stories, each one more riveting than the last. We had no choice but to stay up and listen to his adventures. In fact, they were so good, I’ve been banned from retelling them in this blog for security reasons (!?!). But ask us in person…(after you’ve had a thorough background check).

In the morning the baby was nothing but thrilled to see him.

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