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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”.

OLAAAAAY!!!!!

Strawberries, French Children Behaving Badly and DVD Deals

Last week I finally had my first batch of strawberries for the season! I don’t know about you, but I am always excited for the “fresh fruit” season and I am one to buy strawberries like nobody’s business. The other day when I was at my local market they had such delicious ones for a promo price that I couldn’t resist. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more barquttes of them! I figured that I was going to have one whole barquette to myself. Well, I guessed wrong. Come lunch time when I busted out my strawberries I was in the mind frame to eat them all myself cuz they were so juicy and red. Then Dude gives me that puppy dog look like, “Are you gonna share with me?” I so did not want to, but being the nice person I am, I went halfsies. After eating my half that became a big regret! Usually the first strawberries of the season aren’t the best ever, but that was not the case this time! Next time, I’m not sharing 🙂

Later that night we went out to run errands and decided to stop of at FLUNCH. I’ll admit it isn’t traditional, cozy, south of France like, but I’m finding that going out to eat is really digging into my pocket book and this place give you a pretty good meal for your Euro and you can go back for seconds on some things. The meal ends up being about ½ the price of a local restaurant and so we go every once in a while. Normally it is usually a Monday night we end up there cuz that’s when we camp out at the office and I can’t cook. The restaurant is usually very quiet and not many people since we eat around 9pm. Well, last week we spent the night at the office on Tuesday and going to FLUNCH on a Tuesday was the biggest mistake we made.

The place was packed (it was around 8:30ish) and there were kids EVERYWHERE! I guess that Tuesday night is “bring your kids for a cheap meal” night or something cuz I had never seen this place in such disarray! It was so loud and noisy and as I looked around it only took about 2 seconds for me to realize that the lady who wrote the article a few weeks back about how French kids are better behaved than American kids and how French parents are better than American parents was probably the biggest load of crap I have ever read! I knew that article was a crock the minute I read it, but this was real life, living proof I was right! Not that I am promoting it or anything, but here it is if you want to read the article. I definitely wasn’t seeing or experiencing what she claims to experience and know. Granted I am probably making a bigger deal out of it than I should, but I was a bit burned up by this article and its elevation of French kid’s behavior.

No sooner had I picked up my tray than some family in line was having issues with their two kids. One was in a stroller just screaming her head off and the dad wasn’t doing anything. I assume he was waiting for his wife to console the kid, but she was already occupied with their other kid who threw a conniption cuz the mom took her tray to pass it through the register. In doing so the kid hauled off and smacked the mom. So there was the mom grabbing her kid by the arms to tell her to knock it off and then this kid starts screaming so now they have two kids outta control. Great… I’m so not getting in line after them.

Once we get through the check out, Dude and I survey where to sit cuz I don’t want to be anywhere near the bazillion kids running around and it was just that, they were literally RUNNING in the restaurant. In looking to my right there was a group of four kids and they were bouncing a ball to each other in the restaurant! Seriously! Yelling and running for this ball in the middle of the restaurant and letting it bounce into other people’s tables and chairs!  One kid even knocked over someone’s drink on their table!! Totally not going over there.

So I look to the left and there is another group of kids running around hitting a balloon in the air to each other! REALLY??!! Not going over there, either. Dude just looks at me and says, “Oh man, THEY are EVERYWHERE!” We finally had to find a little corner table, but still couldn’t get away from kids.

Some of them were running around playing tag and hide and go seek in between the tables of the other guests! A few of them knocked over chairs in their effort to get away from each other! Can you imagine! People are coming into the seating area with their trays full of food and they are trying to dodge out a control, running around kids! I would have completely lost it if one of the misbehaving French kids had run into me and I had dropped my tray full of food!

I was finally gonna lose it when three kids came around the back of my chair and were screaming at each other and knocking themselves into my chair. Then one little boy pushed the little girl and she started crying very loudly behind me! This was a dang circus, I tell you.

Do you wanna know what the parents were doing the whole time??!! Absolutely nothing! I never saw one parent get up and get after their child! All the adults just sat there like nothing was happening! I couldn’t believe that every parent considered it normal for their kid to run a round and disturb all the other customers and why the heck did the people working in the restaurant not say anything. There was something seriously wrong here!

Dude and I were disturbed during our whole meal with crying, yelling, screaming, running, pushing and shoving kids. We never ate a meal so fast to get outta there!

If a parent wants to let their kid run around and play during a meal, they need to go to McDo and let ‘em loose in the play area, not inside a restaurant even if it is FLUNCH there is NO excuse for what we witnessed.

I was livid by the time Dude and I left and all I could think about was how I wanted to have a good talk with the woman that wrote that stupid article and tell her what she is really full of!

After getting a breath of fresh air, Dude and I headed over to the market next store to browse the DVD section and take our minds off terrible kids! It worked and soon we were delving into the 3 for 20€ section and having a good time finding some deals.

Goods and services are so expensive here, that we are always looking for deals anywhere we can. Dude and I never go to the movies. We instead have spent a few years building our own DVD collection and, both here and in The States, we would always look for the good deals. If you wait awhile you’re bound to get a few movies for a good price. Sometimes it’s 4 DVD’s for 20€ or 30€ and sometimes it’s 3 for 20€ or some other variation. The movies are usually older ones, but hey, that’s cool. You just gotta be patient. Well, on this night we scored big cuz we found three great movies that were actually not that old! In fact, Dude found three others he wanted too, but we had to stick to the budget so I made him put them back. We’ll get to them the next time around.

Best thing ever was that we had money back on our market card so by the time we scanned the DVDs and got the discount and used our market savings card, we left with only having to pay 4.96€ for everything! Yes!!! I love when stuff like that happens. That’s roughly 1.65€ per DVD! I would say that’s a major score and happy ending to our evening. We promptly went back to the office and created our own movie theatre complete with drinks and goodies 🙂

It was a great way to forget about those French kids behaving badly! By the way, I hope the lady who wrote that ridiculous article reads this and contacts me. I would sure like to give her a piece of my mind!

My French Life – 13 October 2011

The great folks over at Ma Vie Française/My French Life invited me to be a contributor on their website. I took a look around and really liked what I saw. I’m super excited to be part of this terrific site. My ramblings about all things French are featured around once a month there and this month’s contribution post from me is up and running. Yay me!

They have a host of contributors that write about anything French/Francophile including art, food, and traveling.

Please stop by and take a look and while you’re there take some time to browse the site and check out some of the other posts and contributors and tell me what you think. I always enjoy hearing from ya’ll.

Here’s the link to this month’s contribution by moi…

http://myfrenchlife.org/2011/10/13/living-life-in-the-subjunctive/

My French Life – 13 September 2011

The great folks over at Ma Vie Française/My French Life invited me to be a contributor on their website. I took a look around and really liked what I saw. I’m super excited to be part of this terrific site. My ramblings about all things French will be featured around once a month there and today was my first time. Yay me!

They have a host of contributors that write about anything French/Francophile including art, food, and traveling.

Please stop by and take a look and while you’re there take some time to browse the site and check out some of the other posts and contributors and tell me what you think. I always enjoy hearing from ya’ll.

Here’s the link to this month’s contribution by moi…

http://myfrenchlife.org/2011/09/13/american-city-girl-turns-french-country-girl/

Work It Grandma

This grandma has had some misguided fashion advice. I think it might be time to give this outfit up to one of the grand kids.

Who Said You Could Leave The House Like That!

There is a misconception in this world that French people know how to dress and they always look great. Well the two attachments are proof that this is not always the case.

I snapped these while out on a road trip a couple of weeks ago. Apparently her family didn’t put there well deserved 2 cents in!

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