Sometimes You’re the Winner, Sometimes You’re the Loser, Sometimes You’re in the Middle and Sometimes You Learn New Things

The winner today was me.

I FINALLY, after 6 months of waiting, received my new carte de titre from the French government. Back in September when this whole thing started who the heck could have ever imagined that it would take this long to get my replacement card and all because I just needed a change of address! My card wasn’t even expired. Boy did the prefecture give me a hassle, too, and it was mostly about not liking the fact that I smiled in my picture. So I went over to the local market and took a photo with a very unhappy look and guess what??!! They liked it! The actually decided to use it on my new card and voila! I have an identity card with a picture that looks like an axe murderer!

When I went over to the my town Maire today, the lady who has been helping my family get our cards was so happy that mine was finally in. She definitely knows the aches and pains since she is the one whose job it is to do all the paperwork. The only thing left for me to do is give her 19€ in tax stamps for it.  Say what?? Yup. The thing cost me 19€ but nooooo, I couldn’t just whip out a check for it. She said it had to be in government tax stamps. When I asked her what window I could get those from she told me I had to go to the local gas station and get them! Really?? I can’t get government tax stamps at a government office??!! I have to go to the local Total gas station to buy government tax stamps for my government issued carte de titre? Cuz that makes sense how? Cuz I’m in France, that’s how. So tomorrow morning I will be moseying over to Total to get those things. Whatever!

The loser today was poor Dude.

For months now the prefecture has been telling the lady at the Maire that there was nothing left to do for Dude to get his new card. We never received it so I was guessing that they were waiting to send it with mine. No dice. Today she told us that they didn’t like Dude’s picture, either. It was not for the same reason as mine, though. They didn’t like the photo paper it was printed on! They also decided to add a few wants to their list. Here is what they are: a copy of his birth certificate (which they already had), a copy of the receipt that we paid our property taxes, proof that we owned our house (which they already had) and our current electric bill. Now keep in mind that they never asked for any of this for me, just for him! Whatever! So she gave Dude a temporary paper card that is good until his real carte de titre is ready. Then do you know what else she said? She told us that when we come back in to finally get his real card that we need to bring copies of everything again to start the process all over for his next card.  She figured that since his is only good for 1 year at a time, we had better start on it a full year ahead of time! Really?? Why? Cuz it’s France.

Tinki was the sometime you’re in the middle winner today.

None of her stuff is ready, but we also didn’t get any negative notes on her card so I guess that puts her in the middle (no card but no bad news either). The original prefecture lost all her paperwork and we ended up having to do her whole file all over again. For her they wanted a copy of Dude and I’s marriage certificate translated in French. They didn’t ask for that for Dude and I’s cards! I turned that in a few weeks ago, but still no word. Why?? Cuz it’s France.

The cool things I learned today were:

1. There is a potentially good school for Tinki to go to. I am super excited to find out if this is going to fly cuz right now she is being home-schooled and although she meets the requirements for going to college in the states, she is not meeting any French kids (and has no desire to) and she is not learning the language. So the lady at the Maire gave me the phone number of the director of this school and told me her son goes and he really likes it. It is a Lycee Agricole and the kids there learn all about animal care and agriculture. I think Tinki will really like it. They have horses, pigs, chickens and other kinds of animals for the kids to learn about and take care of and they get to go hiking and learn how to grow their own food. I would like to sign up if I could and Dude said “ditto” for him. It sounds like fun. I am going to try to call the director tomorrow and see if we can get a tour of the school and figure out how to sign her up.

2) There is a doctor in town for us to go to. We haven’t had a need to ever go to the doctor since arriving in France so we have put off signing up for our general practitioner. In France when you find a doctor you have to register with the Caisse Maladie that he/she is your general practitioner and then they do all the paperwork so the government can pay for you and this and that. Well, we all need to have some check-ups so the lady at the Maire gave me the name of the town doctor that her and her husband go to and she said he is a nice guy. I guess we will try him out since I have no other leads. I still need to find a dentist but this is a good start.

Well, to top off my day (and this is the best part), Tinki and I played Badminton in our lovely garden for a little over an hour this evening. It was awesome! The weather was great; warm with a light breeze and the sun was still shining. We had a great time and it was the first time we have been able to play since buying the rackets and birdies. We only lost two birdies over the wall and into our neighbor’s yard so I’d say we did pretty well for ourselves seeing how we are not professional players or anything. It was lovely being in the garden and just having a good, relaxing game. I have mentioned how much I love my garden, right? Well, what’s not to love about being outside to enjoy it on a day like we had today?

After the game, it was taco’s and rice for dinner. Every once in awhile Mexican food just calls to me and tonight was the calling. Besides, it goes with my new vocabulary word that I have been saying all weekend which is “OLAY!!” Why have I been saying that all weekend you ask? Well, that’s a story for next time. I will keep you “posted”.


About backyardprovence

I was finally able to realized my dream of living in France when I moved here in 2010. I love to read,I love history and road trips. I want to be doing anything outside in the fresh air. I want to have an entire room devoted to a personal library.

Posted on March 28, 2012, in French Daily and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I was laughing so hard while reading this. I had to purchase phone minutes at the post office or convenience store when I was in France. In Italy I had to buy packing tape at the Tobacco Shop. It is all strange and mysterious and all part of the charm of being in a foreign country. I see you smiling – stop that before someone gets your picture.

  2. Jeez, thank God the tacos came in at the end as a consolation…I can relate with so many points in this post!

    Like Dude I need a new card each year, and last year I applied for mine in April and finally received it the following January, meaning about 6 weeks later I’d have to start the whole process over again! Exactly the same problems, too: they’re not happy with a document because it needs to be a certain way (which they never specified in the first place), then my card is ready but oops! someone never bothered to send my notice in the mail to come pick it up. Then I finally wait FIVE HOURS just to ASK what’s up; they say good news: my card is ready, but I need 104 euros of government stamps, which I go to buy at a Tabac but then the line’s so long to get back to the guichet that they close before I can reach someone to get my card so it’s back again the next day….

    The locals know how bad French administration can be, but they don’t quite understand how much we honest tax-paying foreigners are getting jerked around constantly. I recently blogged about how getting the card in the end is definitely worth it, but boy does it suck big time trying to get the damn thing! I hope you enjoy some big breaths of beautiful Provence springtime scenery today to wash that all away 🙂

    • Man, Corey, we are going to be such experts at this that we should open our own business on helping people get through it. Just think how much some foreigner would pay us to go stand in line a bazillion times for them, run to the gas station for stamps for them, do all the photo copying, etc. I think we would make a mint! I can’t believe how often I have had to do this government stuff while here. I keep thinking that one day it will be all over and I won’t ever have to go again. I guess that would mean I’d be in the grave then! Your experience is just as frustrating as ours, I see. I think the French government thinks we like killing time at their offices or something. I do think the wonderful Provence spring is helping me, though. I was in a bit of a bad mood after Dude not getting his card, but then playing in the garden made me forget all about it 🙂

  3. Congratulations on getting your carte. Sorry to hear about the set back for Dude. I hope the school works out for Tinki; sounds like a school I would like. Enjoy the good weather.

    • Thanks, Michel! Dude should expect his before long (we hope)! I trust you are having a fabulous time in Sablet and are yourselves enjoying this great weather we are having 🙂

  4. My photo has been rejected once because you couldn’t see my ears, and a second time because my mouth was slightly open. (I knew not to smile but I was trying to not look like a proof of life picture either). And I also receive my card a few weeks before I have to start the process again, so it’s bitter sweet.

    • Hi Emily! My husband also has to go back in a few weeks to start the process all over again. These government agencies love to waste your time! I hope since we have been through this 2 times now that we might get through it faster this year. That is unless they go and change the rules again which is highly likely! I think it’s funny that in one of your photos they couldn’t see your ears. That is a first for an excuse 🙂

      • Oh, I forgot to mention, it was the same picture! The one that was ON MY CARD. One lady said for my next card my ears need to show, but said nothing about my mouth. When I came back, another lady said nothing about my ears, only my mouth. Luckily there is a photobooth in the building and I have quite the collection of ugly pictures of myself. We just moved and I am scared! They are probably going to ask for my right arm or my first born to change my address.

      • You are correct Emily, they will ask for your right arm AND your first born 🙂 If you moved and are still in the same department, then it shouldn’t be so bad but we moved out of the original department we lived in and into a different one. They like to really hassle you about that. Good luck with all your paperwork! BTW-no two people you come across in l’administration francaise will give you the same story. They all have their own rules!

  5. I better get started on that baby then. They can have the wonky first born pancake baby. In my experience the third child/pancake is always the best one.

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