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J-7 - The race before the race

At 7 days from departure, it’s hard to focus on one particular thing because there are so many tasks waiting to be done.  Serge is grumbling about not being able to train as he would like but Serge only knows how to be efficient in a crisis and then he handles it with stress that gives him a positive boost; but what nervous fatigue!  Right now he is concentrating on the image aspect, photo and video (subcontracting to professionals ), and between these two things there are days to Paris which are like marathons.
No less than 60 e-mails yesterday and 50 the day before.  Luckily, some did not require a response.
Buy a one year supply of cat food  and make arrangements for him to be vaccinated before May 15, 2010
Give my accountant all the information he will need to prepare my tax return in April.  Explain all the documents that he will receive between now and then from Zette, my faithful sister-in-law,
Send x number of registered letters, faxes and phone calls to all the different entities a self-employed person needs to contact before stopping work for 14 months
Take textiles to the printer then go collect them: 1, 2 3 times = 140 km
Make an appointment with the doctor in order to prepare the first aid kit
Remember to request the European health coverage card and ensure that our insurance policy covers us if we need to be repatriated.
Make arrangements for the annual furnace cleaning before we leave
Make arrangements for our cars to be looked after during the winter and take care of insurance
Make a list of contacts for our dear friends and neighbors, Jean-Yves and Brigitte, in case of a problem with our house.  They will keep an eye on our humble abode, as well as its feline occupant, Figaro
Ensure that all bills will be collected, even though Zette will be watching for them
Go to the post office to make a change of address and authorize power of attorney
Answer e-mails from villages where we will stop, teachers whose classes will follow us, runners who wish to know Serge’s itinerary so they can run with him a bit
See our contact at the bank to explain our absence and tell him how he can get in touch with us if necessary.  Order new credit cards to replace the current cards which will expire in February 2010
Prepare  our computer and telecommunication material.  Even though we are in the 21st century with its unbridled use of telecommunication and wireless Internet connections,  we will use a satellite station to connect to Internet outside of France, as well as communicate between vehicles.  GPRS is financially beyond our means outside of France.
Prepare the vehicles.¬† Thank you, Ren√©, for this precious help: cleaning, marking (see photo).¬†¬† We made a rather late decision not to take the four-wheel drive but to have a small van which we got on Sunday.¬† A shock team is ready to work non stop from Monday to fit it up.¬† Thank you Ren√©, Jo√ęl and Daniel.
Try to respond to all e-mails that need a reply and forget nobody, which I hope is the case (currently about 2H per day)
Buy camping gear that will enable us to be as autonomous as possible, without going to a hotel
Work on the Road Book, with daily updates reflecting the arrival sites during the first French portion of the race
And lastly, update the website, which I have neglected recently due to lack of time.  Rest assured, this daily update, in French and English, for which the translation will be made by our dear Lee, will begin October 18 and continue without interruption until October 18, 2010
The most difficult part is being able to concentrate on one thing without interruption  from the telephone or e-mails, which immediately tie you up.  The best solution is to make a daily to-do list, get up at 6:00 AM and go to bed when all the items have been crossed off so that you can sleep as well as possible.  In these days of intense stress we had a real breath of fresh air on October 3 when we got the entire team together (see photos).  We were at the heart of the subject and at the same time able to have a global view of the project.
It was a very privileged moment which ended with a festive gathering of families, friends, neighbors and runners to celebrate our departure before our long absence.