Saturday, November 15, 2014

Metro, Boulot, Dodo

I signed on the dotted line...... and now I am a full-time employee! With keys to the office and everything. I obviously won't be writing about work because the fact that I was able to find a job when my French is so atrocious is a miracle and I don't want to fuck that up.

I have worked since I was 17 so I enjoyed the first few years off. We consolidated two apartments when we moved to France so organising that mess was a full time job.  We planned our wedding and got married, and I was going to school at Sorbonne, so I was pretty busy. And we moved again after two years, so that kept me occupied for a while. But not having any responsibilities was getting to be a drag. Most of my friends here work, so it wasn't like I was living a the fabulous life of a lady who lunches. And I loved that I had so much freedom, but the only thing I ever accomplished was vacuuming the baseboards or organising everything we owned to fit it into our little apartment.

At the end of the day I was the only one that knew I had cleaned the fridge or put our 35 apartment keys in some kind of order. And housework is not exactly mentally challenging. Also not having my "own" money was depressing. It's one thing to blow money at the sales when you earn it. Blowing someones else's money does not have the same thrill for me. I was super independent before France, and starting over from zero was horrible for my self esteem.

So when I got the offer, I snapped it up and started interning over the summer so I could hit the ground running in September. It's basically office work, but Outlook, Word and Excel are in French, and I answer the phones and speak and write in French all day so it's good for my language skills.

At first I couldn't type anymore because the English and French keyboards are similar so on the French one it's the m and a and periods and commas that are different, but now when I am at home I keep getting q's and ; when I type a and m. I still have a hard time typing, especially on my laptop since I don't type very much outside of work. But that also means I can give away the english keyboard we were holding on to in case I ever found a job. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the back of some useless junk that was cluttering up the apartment.

And my house is a mess. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is vacuum or change the sheets. But it's all worth it when my measly salary hits our account. It's not enough to even cover rent but it's almost enough and a lot more then nothing.

But most of all, I finally feel like a real Parisienne with my very own metro, boulot, dodo routine.
(metro, work, sleep, repeat).

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ma Belle-Mère

My mother in law came to Paris to hang out with Maza while we were in Sardina. She decided to organise our hallway shelves while we were gone. (ummm thanks?) I haven't really bothered with the hallway because everything is going to get taken out when it gets repainted due to the damage from the leak in the apartment above us.

I'm pretty sure she washed the windows and floorboards also. We came home to post-it notes everywhere. I think I found them all (17of them so far) but I haven't checked the drawer where I hid my vibrator.

"For good weather (scarves and umbrellas)."

"For winter (mufflers? I don't know the name in English) and gloves".

"You are collecting these?? Here are all the products for cleaning windows!!! Nothing works as well as white vinegar in hot water! Re-sell, donate or throw these away! Kisses!!! "

I'm sure my friends in the US will enjoy their gift of hops from Pas-de-Calais even more now that she wrote poison on every single side.

"Product for cleaning the oven. Caution!!! Don't use in an oven that cleans itself. Use the self-cleaning setting when the oven is already hot!"

"Products for washing curtains!!! Where are they?? Call the police! Someone stole them!"

 (I refuse to put up curtains in the living room because I need all the light I can get in the winter. If the people across from us want to stare at me on the couch I really don't care.)

"Well, where is the candy? That's ok, I'm going to eat some of the chocolate. Kisses."

"Dish towels and hand towels. Kisses!! And some old rags!!!"

"Here, Maza told me that her dad and mom should buy her a scratching post, a big one (?!). She will surely tell you about it."

"Put this in the box of cleaning products when it is dry. Thanks."

"These two small towels I used for cleaning. Let them dry before putting them in the laundry basket. Thanks."

" I bought these rolls to put them on the glass door between the bedroom and the hallway, but I didn't have a ruler to trace with. I'm leaving you the work to do! These are removable and can be repositioned. You have to clean the glass before you install them then leave the glass a little wet for them to adhere. Good luck!!! Warning there are two sizes. One for the top and the other for the bottom."

"I started to replace the felt on the bottom of the chair legs where it was missing but I didn't finish. I asked Patrick to bring these from our house. We have too much of it. A little work for you! Kisses! I didn't put the chairs back around the table so Maza wouldn't be able to get on it. She likes to sit on the chair in front of the window."

She was not a big fan of the Brita water pitcher and left about five bottles of Evian behind. Did you ever notice that Evian backwards spells naive?


"Sorry, some stuff fell behind the washing machine!!! Kisses."

"Beware! Do not leave wet laundry in the laundry basket because it can rust the metal part and the rust can only be removed with a specific product "Rubrigine". Naughty children!"

"These are for well behaved children. But very, very well behaved. The red is for Emilie, the purple is for David. Don't fight over them!!!"

 "I'm sorry but while I was rearranging the books and talking on the phone with Raymonde I dropped a pile of books including your wedding album! It got damaged. For now I'm leaving it with you but I will replace it with mine the next time that we see each other. I'm really sorry kids!!! And I did not have the time to clean the front shelves and back shelves. It was too hot, I was too tired, and my back ached. I will do it next time!".

There wasn't a post it note on this box, but I'm pretty sure she looked inside and found the weed that accidentally got packed in our boat shipment five years ago.

"Products for the dishwasher. Sniff. There is no dishwasher."

If you want room in front push from the bottom and make sure nothing falls behind!!! Kisses."

If you want more room on one side or the other push the dvds from the bottom to make room, but make sure that the ones on the other side don't fall."

"Big kisses to the Parisians!!! See you soon."

My father in law and his girlfriend merely mailed me a card. He sends kisses from their dog Fifi also.

My mother in law did leave candy though.

And I'll never complain about arriving home to champagne chilling in the fridge. Especially after Air France lost my luggage for the second time this year.

Happy Birthday Emily
So anyone out there want a bottle of window cleaner from my collection?!?!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Best Bread in Paris (shhh it's a secret)

Located on the old roman road Rue Vaugirard , this bakery/badly stocked grocery store called Monoprix is situated on one of the dirtiest and crowded streets of the 15th arrondissement. People frequently use the beautiful 70's building to the right to urinate because it has a nice private two inch niche in it, so feel free to pee if you have the need.

If the smells fail to charm you, the noise might be musique to your ears. The taxi stand across the street has an intercom and you'll often hear the beautiful melodic french language of love being screamed by a French taxi driver trying to understand the address of a customer. The air is filled with the lovely sounds of two different types of sirens because the hospital and police station are just a hop skip and a jump down the street (so you can fit a visit there into your schedule. Maybe steal a baguette or step in front of a truck so you can get a ride and have a more authentic parisian expérience). Add the motorcycles, buses and honking cars to the mix, and you feel like you have been transported to a French movie set. Just magical.

The generic outside is so charming and French. If you are color blind it might even resemble the colors of le grapau français. (I don't know, I'm not color blind yet!).

Real Parisians call it Monop. In Paris people are busy and they don't have time to pronounce whole words. McDonalds is referred to as McDo and Chipotle is referred to as Chipo.

Le pain bio (organic bread) is a little more expensive but it is worth every last centimes because it tastes like salty cardboard. See these croissants? They have managed to take something made with oodles of yummy butter and turn it into a soggy throat clogging bit of French heaven.

Throw in something extra and you will get to take home your very own Monoprix bag! What a great souvenir! I just hope you don't have a list of things to get to complete a recipe. You are 99% guaranteed never to find everything you need. (Not just at Monop, but at all grocery stores).

So next time you spend a warm spring day in Paris inside a darkened room watching the terribly subtitled French reality show The Vrai Housewives  (French housewives living in Beverly Hills) and stumble outside at 11 pm looking for something to shove in your face, don't be triste. Unlike most stores in France, this one is a unique special snowflake and stays open until midnight. Je suis en retard!

**my sarcasm has bitten me in the ass. I thought the store was just extra ridiculously understocked, which I why I wrote this. Turns out they are closing. No more open until midnight store for me! I already miss it all the time every time I forget something and just want to pop down and grab it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Everything's Fine

I don't know why I stopped blogging. I got sidetracked going through my Corsica pictures because I take so many pictures when I use a real camera. I procrastinated for so long that the habit of writing posts was lost.

Also I told my sisters and my Mom about my blog and it became harder to write about certain things knowing that I might make them angry or hurt their feelings or make them feel like their privacy was being invaded. So I edited myself and avoided writing about such a painful time in our lives. Also not being anonymous made me feel self-conscious and insecure. And that made blogging boring.

Speaking of my Mom, she is doing fine. So fine that she came to Paris last week! The chemotherapy that made her so sick almost two years ago must have worked a little bit. There is no cure (she is past the cut off age for a bone marrow transplant) but she's still here. I feel lucky every time her name pops up in google chat or when I call her for a quick talk while I make dinner.

So that's it for now. A short post to get me back into the swing of things.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Air France Flight 666

I thought it was shady when I noticed that our flight number was AF066, which is a little too close to 666, but I've finally gotten over my fear of flying and resigned myself to telling people if I die falling from a great height (I used to have nightmares about falling. I would bounce back up and then fall some more) they will need to throw a party and laugh and laugh because isn't it ironic?

David always puts my screen to show the camera on the outside of the plane and it freaks me out

So we're on the runway about to take off. I've been bumped from my exit row seat and the American guy behind me has not stopped kicking my seat, jostling it by poking at the video screen and using it to get up and down the short amount of time we've been on the plane. But hey, c'est la vie. I'm heading to Vegas and then HOME to Northern California. Land of fat burritos and English speaking people.

But then..... we stop. There is a problem. We taxi back to the airport. I'm not sure how long it takes before they announce that all 516 passengers are going to have to disembark because of a "serious problem" with engine 2 and eventually we end up going back through customs and taking a cab home because our flight is rescheduled for the next day at 9 a.m. That means leaving around 5:30 a.m. only 12 hours later. We would have taken a hotel voucher but they were keeping all the luggage and I had brought absolutely nothing with me but my tablet, some powder and a lipstick and I was already coated in airport grime and looking frumpy. Plus I need to cancel our trip to the Grand Canyon (no refunds! awesome!) and call the hotel so we didn't lose our room.

After an eleven hour flight, still seated in front of the same charming passenger, we arrive in Los Angeles only an hour late. (They had to get a new plane and waited until we were on the plane to transfer the luggage). Of course the boarding ramps aren't working (it's a double decker plane landing unexpectedly so we were off at some random place on the runway) and when we finally get off all 500 of us have to take buses to the terminal. We grab our luggage, go through customs, drop our luggage off again and get on a 45 minute flight to Las Vegas. And when we arrive, our luggage isn't there. This is no big deal really, but David's colleague has some stuff in his bag for the demo set up. No stuff, no demo. Did I mention we were on the same flight as three people from David's work, all named Bruno?

Going to dinner that night with them at 4 a.m. Paris time and trying to speak French, in glitzy Vegas, wearing the same old wrinkled clothes with the same makeup I put on 24 hours earlier was the cherry on top of the worst flight of my life.

And Sunday, at three a.m. our bags arrived. I hadn't seen mine since Friday except for a brief moment at customs and I missed the little fellow.

In other news, I finally got to see what goes into setting up a demo. Lots of wires and screens and laptops, most of which the 3 Brunos had been hauling around with them for this whole debacle.