Let's recap Part 1, shall we? It's 1985, I'm in London, England, and I'm driving a car. In what would be an amazingly prescient moment were I, in fact, Chevy Chase, I'm stuck in a traffic circle for all eternity. I'm traumatized to the point where I vow never to drive on the wrong side of the road ever again. Ever. At least, not on purpose.
Now let's set the Wayback Machine for somewhere in the vicinity of Summer 1998. My youngest kid is 2 and a half years old. My oldest kid is 6 months shy of 6 years. We're still basking in the warm memories from our first Big Time Family Vacation, which we had taken in Springtime of that year.
Emboldened by a truly enjoyable week in Florida with 2 young kids (one still in diapers), my wife wonders aloud about 'Europe'.
"I'd love to go someday", she says. "I guess the kids would need to be a bit older".
I know where this going. It's going to be one of those conversations where we both know the right answer, but one us will have to speak The Truth aloud. It's gut-check time.
"That's a long way from home", says I, using my amazing grasp of the obvious. "The kids - the kids are kinda young, aren't they?". I'm looking for the soft landing, but Dee is not going to let me go that easy.
"Sure. You're right, they're too young. I'm mean, they were great little travelers down to Florida. But Europe, that's big isn't it?". Dee's reaching for something, I know. She wants measurable objectives. She wants goals.
So I give her what she wants. "I think we should wait under our youngest kid is, like, 10. You know, old enough to appreciate castles and stuff".
Perfect, I thought. That gives us 8 years - minimum. Not so long a wait as to be unimaginable, but not so short a time as to oblige anyone (like me) to plan or worry about anything.
That was 9 years ago. You probably think you know where this is going.
Stayed tuned for Part 3.