T -5 days and counting

Last week, we moved out of the empty shell that our house had become, and into a local-ish hotel, down the road in nearby Chester. About a day into the packing, it dawned on us that there would soon be no place to sleep other than maybe a half-empty cardboard box, as long as you didn't mind curling around some silverware, and maybe a sheet of bubble wrap.

We had kind of thought that this would be an easy week in the hotel. You know: other people cooking the meals, making the beds and picking up the towels, maybe periodically giving a soft knock on our door to ask if sir would like a mint to go on his pillow? Doesn't that sound nice? What we had forgotten was that we'd be in a confined space with two small children for many, many hours in a row. Oh, and we managed to pick a hotel that, while lovely, has no room service, and the restaurant has enough linen in the table service to

To combat the resulting insanity, and keep in-room breakage to a minimum, we've been seeking out Things To Do Elsewhere as much as possible. This weekend, that included our neighbor's going away party (coincidentally, the other American family in our village is headed back to the US within weeks of us, after being here for over 7 years). They asked us if we minded them putting up some marquees in our yard, since it's big and flat and open, and since we're packed and moved, and gone, we said, sure. Have at it. We'll come over and help you drink all that beer and light some fireworks to celebrate independence day.

Note to self: Explain to your British neighbors why you've saved £200 worth of fireworks since last November to light off on a summer night before you wake them up with incendiary devices.

Also: Bottle rockets that have come loose from that stake thing will not go straight up into the air to safely and prettily explode. Try and not light those too close to the bouncy castle next time. Or at least, get the kids off it before you do so.

We've got one final week of hotel living before we board that plane back to the promised land of cheap tacos and Chinese delivery. I cannot believe I've done without both for four years without breaking down into silent sobs in front of the one, sad, stale bag of "Old El Paso" mock-tortillas in the village Co-Op. Right now, the thought of a fresh burrito the size of a small-ish Yorkshire terrier, dripping fresh guacamole and the juice of carne asada spiced within an inch of its life is all that's keeping me from duct taping the children to the inside of hotel closet for the last few days.