When I decided that I wanted a two month "escape," I'm not sure I really considered what that meant in terms of the things that needed to be handled while I was gone. After all, I'm a grown up and have lots of responsibilities (too many, sometimes). I could certainly head off to France, stay connected through the internet and participate in my regular life just as if I were at home. However, I had something a little different in mind. Escape to me meant not checking my email, not checking my bank accounts, not paying bills, not being involved in the day-to-day ops of my business. I wanted to go and pretend to be someone else. I didn't really care who that someone was, I just knew I didn't want it to be me...with all the stresses, all the pressures, all the damned decisions!
I started making lists....lots and lots of long lists. To ensure that everything at home ran as best it could, without my attention or interference or thought! For home, that meant handling all the bills (which while I did pay them on-line, I'd never set up ebills...so silly now that I realize how easy it is to do so), making sure the house was looked after to ensure that our French guests were taken care of, and finding a temporary home for our two cats and two dogs (since I did think it was a little too much to expect our French visitors to take care of all these animals!) The pets were actually the easiest to arrange, since we have some terrific friends who were willing (even happy???) to take all four of them. We'll see how they feel about that decision at the end of the summer.
One down side of this adventure is the fact that I chose not to plant a garden this year, since we would be gone for the prime production months for our tomatoes. (In the past, I've had up to 16 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes. We are definitely missing my tomatoes already!) I'm probably going to plant fall tomatoes when we get home (which I've had good success with in the past).
For the business...there's just one word...Susanna! When my mom was dying, I was basically out of commission for a month and my wonderful Susanna handled everything at the store. She is one of the reasons that I realized that I actually could leave my US life for a couple of months. She willingly stepped up and said she was ready for the challenge to handle everything on her own. I'm blessed to have her in my life! We've spent the last three months training on all the things that she wasn't trained on yet and she is now ready to handle all aspects of the business. We've laughed that when I come home (if I come home), I'll have to start another business...this one won't need me anymore. (And I am really happy about that prospect!)