So, today was the day that all the materials needed for the work on our house were to arrive. I received confirmation of this last night via an SMS message from the guy who’s been organizing this project. He said that a truck with all the materials will be at my house around 9:30am today and could I please leave my portail (gate) open so they could drive right in for the drop of.
This morning I got up and went down to open the gate around 8:45am just in case they arrived earlier.
Well, 9:30am arrived and I get a call from the guy who tells me that the people furnishing the materials can’t find my house and could I please call the main guy over at the store and tell him how to get to my house.
Okay-no problemo. So I take the number down and call over to the magasin to see what’s up.
The guy (whose name happens to be Guy, how convenient for me) tells me that he doesn’t know how to get to my house. So begins a “Who’s on First” type of conversation the main reason being that this Guy happens to be one of those Frenchmen who doesn’t enunciate (seriously a word slurer big time) and on top of that, he spoke at the speed of light and lastly, it was a PHONE conversation(always difficult anyway). For me, that’s three strikes and I’m out on the comprehension.
Did you ever watch the Peanuts Gang cartoon? You know when Charlie Brown is at school and the teacher is talking to him and all he hears is…Wawa..wa. Yup-that’s what I heard. I was, in fact, in Charlie Brown’s seat at school this morning.
Here is the excerpt of my conversation (sorry it will be in English for my non-francophone amis):
Me: Hello, this is Madame Fisher. I received a call saying you couldn’t find my house.
Guy: Yes, I don’t know where you live. Can you..wawa..wa wawa..wa.. I have the truck and wawa..wa.
Me: I don’t understand. Are you in (my town).
Guy: Wawa..wa.. wawa..wa. the town with the swimming pool at the round-a-bout.
Me: Oh, you’re near the swimming pool? Then go around the round-a-bout, direction “centre ville”. Go through the town with all the magasins on both side of the main street. Then there is a STOP sign at the end of the street. Continue to go straight and then at the first street go right, then at the next first street go right and viola, chez moi.
Guy: No, no, problem. I can’t find wawa..wa wawa..wa.. I passed by the swimming pool.
Me: Okay. So are you at the swimming pool now.
Guy: Wawa..wa.. wawa..wa. your street and I didn’t find it.
Me: If you are at the swimming pool, no problem. I can go down there and then you can follow me back to my house.
Guy: Yes, follow you, but wawa..wa wawa..wa. not at pool.
Me: You’re not at the pool?
Guy: No and I wawa..wa wawa..wa. couldn’t find your house.
Me: Okay, if you’re not at the pool, where are you?
Guy: My house.
What the heck and what does the pool have to do with any of this!
Me: You’re at your house. What direction are you coming from so I can tell you how to get to my town.
Guy: No, I’m not coming from anywhere. I don’t know where you live and wawa..wa wawa..wa. Can you come get the truck at my house?
Are you kidding me! What in the world is this guy taking about!!?? It is not in the plan for me to go and get the truck from his house!
Me: I don’t understand what you are talking about.
Guy: You don’t understand?
I thought I just said that.
Me: No, I don’t understand. Mr. Supervisor said that the truck would be at my house today and now you are saying I have to go and get the truck at your house?! I can’t drive your truck!
Guy: wawa..wa wawa..wa wawa..wa.
Me: Look, where do you live? In what town?
Guy: (his town name).
Me: That is the town right next to me! I don’t understand why you can’t find me. Just go down the street and make a right just after the town sign and Viola, chez moi.
Guy: No, I tried to find your house and I can’t. The truck is at my house. It is also the magasin (name of magasin). Come get the truck.
Me: Oh, I know where you are. You are only 10 minutes away, but I can’t get your truck, why can’t you find my house?
Guy: wawa..wa wawa..wa, no you come to my house and truck will follow you.
Me: Ohh, I understand now. I will go to your store/house and then the truck can follow me back home.
Me: Okay, I will be there in 10 minutes.
After hanging up the phone, I was like, what the heck was that all about and where did the pool part come into play! Why didn’t he just say, “Come to my store and the truck will follow you home”.
Done. End of story. 2 minute conversation! But no, he goes and tells me about some pool and not finding me and I was about ready to be sent to the funny farm cuz there isn’t a dang person in my household other than me that could talk to this guy who slurs his words and talks at the speed of light! Seriously, half way through the 15 minute conversation (I did shorten it for you guys, excerpt remember?) I was picturing myself never seeing these materials end up at my house!
So I went to get Dude and told him to come on that we had to get the truck and they would follow us back home. In the 10 minute car ride that followed I had to tell Dude the phone conversation since he was not in the room to see the whole thing unfold in all its crazy glory. At that point, since I had finally figured out what the issue was, I was now cracking up while retelling the conversation still trying to figure out what the pool had to do with it.
We finally arrived at the magasin and the driver of the truck was waiting for us. He then followed us back to our house. When we got there he looked at our gate and said, “I don’t think the truck will make it through your gate”. I said, “Let’s try it”.
So he went back out to the main street to get into his truck and proceeded to turn this gigantic (by French standards) truck around on this tiny street so that he could make the turn onto my street. He did manage that, but then he had to be really careful down my street cuz it’s very narrow and there is a balcony hanging over the street from the house that is located on the right, which by the way has some chips in it due to drivers with big trucks not paying attention. I made sure he stayed to the left and warned him about the balcony. Before he could get too far, he was again worried about not making it past our gate and got out of his truck to call his supervisor. He said that his supervisor was coming over to take a look and to help out.
So there we were, standing out on the street, with this truck blocking my street, waiting for his supervisor to show up. By the way, the winds had kicked up again starting last night so it was pretty cold and we were getting a bit blown away. Just my luck that when the work is ready to begin we have to deal with the stupid winds!
Finally the supervisor showed up and guess what?? It’s Guy! Well, in person he was still a bit difficult to understand, but our conversation was better face to face. The first thing he did was to look at the street name and then tell me, “Oh, this is the street name you live on! I was in your town this morning but at a street with your name minus one word and it was way on the other side of town”. By the way, the street name is nearly identical to ours, but with one small different detail. I didn’t know this until today! Seems he didn’t either or he would have shown up on time.
Then he said, “I drove all around and couldn’t find your house so I had to go back to the magasin and call the person organizing this to tell him. Then you called me so I could explain”. Remember the phone conversation that I didn’t understand. Yup-like I said, “Who’s on First”!
Well, could this be the reason why the mentioning of the pool came into play??? I now think that during our phone conversation he was trying to tell me that he was over by the town pool when trying to deliver the goods earlier in the day and found my street but not my house so he went back to the store. I believe the mystery has been solved! Dang, if he was more of a clear and crisp speaker I probably would have gotten that point!
So he now proceeded to take a look at my gate and then said, “I don’t think it’s going to work, but I will get a tape measure to make sure”. He came right back, measured the gate and said, “Ce n’est pas possible, pas du tout.”
I got out my phone and proceeded to call the supervisor of the whole job to give him the bad news and to ask how he was going to fix this problem. Obviously no materials, means no work done. Guess what?? The call went straight to voice mail so I left a message for him. Then Guy said to me that the company would have to rent a small truck and go get the materials in several trips for it to work, but because it was Friday today it wouldn’t happen until Monday. He said that when the supervisor called me back to tell him to call Guy and he would explain everything about what must be done for Monday.
So we all shook hands and the man driving the truck drove away with all my materials in it. Just as Guy was driving away the supervisor of the job called so I flagged him down and handed him the phone to explain away. They conversed for a few minutes while I stood there freezing my tootsie off in the growing-ever-stronger gusts of wind. Then Guy handed me back the phone and the supervisor told me not to worry, it’s all handled for Monday. He said he was sorry about it!
Then after I hung up, Guy said they told him when ordering the materials that a big truck would work no problem. That’s true for the street and the space in my yard, but they forgot about passing through my gate! Viola!
Oh well, c’est la vie en France! In the meantime, the wind has really picked up here and our tuiles are once again singing and moving around the roof. It looks like we are in for a few days of heavy gusts again. I can’t wait until this is done and I don’t have to worry about it any longer. It seems that the rain hasn’t been our biggest problem this year, it’s been the wind! I would rather deal with the rain at this point because there isn’t a risk of it posing a threat to my neighbors. I hope the workers are able to come next week and get started. That will be a whole lot of stress off of us.
In the meantime, I had better practice my slurring of the French language. I think that’s a skill that could come in handy in the future.
By the way, for those of you not familiar with “Who’s On First”, here it is for your enjoyment. This classic is one of my all time favorites. It never gets old!