Friday, August 27, 2010

Tickets, Purses, and Towels...oh my!

We recently bought a DVD of the Flintstones (called Les Pierrafeu in French) to watch during down times. I'm sure you've seen this cartoon classic. Do you remember that Fred's car was powered by his own feet? And do you remember how long it takes for Fred's car to move after he starts running? He seems to run in place FOREVER before that car will budge. Well that is exactly how I feel about our housing situation. We are just a-runnin' as hard as we can and we are going absolutely NOWHERE! Still, eventually I believe the car will move. For the time, however, I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that since language school starts next week we are moving in to a furnished apartment in Massy for hopefully 2 weeks, after which we will to move (with our stuff) into a place of our own. In the meantime, our container will arrive and be unloaded into a storage unit. Running, running, running.... This waiting business is hard work!

So while I have little to report on the housing front, I have much with which to regale you in other arenas. Not the least of which is the man-bag debate that has surfaced in our family. You may or may not know that it is quite common in France for men to carry--well--purse-like bags. They also wear skinny jeans, but that's another story. Anyways, I would say that at least 50% of the men I see carry, um, bags. This was somewhat funny to me, though not completely foreign as my father-in-law has been a bag-man for years. What IS new to me is the apparent reason behind the evolution of the man bag: the French passion for paperwork. To drive our car we have to have a Grey Card with us. This is, as our car salesman put it, the car's passport. It is not something we can leave in the car because we need to have it in case someone steals our car. But as I said before, you are required to carry it with you when you drive. It is approximately 4"x6" when folded--larger than the average man's wallet. So there's that. And then there is the French driver's license, which we do not yet have, but is also rather large. And then there is the Carte de séjour, which is like a green card, which we also have to have with us, which is also quite large. All of this is no big deal to me. I have a purse for all that stuff. But David is a bit befuddled, and thereby contemplating... dum, da dum dum, duuummmmmmm...getting a man bag. There. I said it. My husband is in the market for a purse. And I think he is man enough to pull it off, if he must.

In other news, we received some interesting mail yesterday: two letters, very official looking, all in French. They were speeding tickets. Yes, both of them. Here is the funny thing, neither David nor I are speeders. We both ALWAYS go the speed limit. When we know it, that is. I guess we need to learn some French rules of the road. We even knew that there were speed-cameras all over the place--and we thought we were being careful! In Paris there is one camera that generates 1 Million Euros in revenue each year--which is probably how they can afford socialized medicine. Providentially, we can't tell which of us was driving the car when said tickets were merited. We are not going to try to figure that out either. It's just better not knowing.

Yesterday brought some good news, too. We started the process of registering our boys for school and found that the Adaptation Class (the one for non-French speaking students) does not start until October. Between now and then the boys have to take placement tests, etc. In the meantime, our language school had two openings in the beginners class, which means the boys will get a jump-start on their French by going to full-time language school with David and me for the month of September. We also visited their school, and while Graham and Chandler were reluctant to start that daunting process, by the end of the day both boys were feeling like it was not going to be as bad as they had originally thought. They were encouraged, which in turn, encouraged me.

Now if I could just figure out where one goes to buy towels in France, I would feel on top of the world. Our towels from home were getting old and funky, so rather than pack them in the container, we tossed them and planned to buy new in France. Easier said than done. There is no Target, no Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and no JC Penney. I saw towels in the Cora--which is sort of like a Fred Meyer, but there was not much of a selection. There are all sorts of specialty stores, but I have not landed on the towel store yet. We will need them by tomorrow, so this is my great quest for the day. Towels or Bust.

1 comment:

  1. We were at Ikea today...pretty close to Massy, and there were towels there...and at a decent price.

    Coincidently, I think we saw you guys at the school yesterday while we were taking our tour.