Apparently, his mom couldn't figure out how to send the motorcycle pictures so sent this instead.
As far as I can tell, it is 7 month old frenchwoman in the making, otherwise known as our new niece Anna.
I know that it is all that grandparents can think about, but still...
What does yours taste like?
Had another fun Sunday with the SNCF.
Got on the TGV this morning in Strasbourg and arrived in Marseille a little after 3 pm. Seven hours is a little long for a TGV between Strasbourg and Marseille don't you think? That's because between Strasbourg and Lyon there are no high-speed tracks, so the TGV has to run at the speed of a regular train. That is, pretty darn slow. Takes about five hours from Strasbourg to Lyon, then two from Lyon to Marseille, where it can go faster.
I have discovered that:
I like riding on trains (in theory)
I just hate everyone on them (in practice).
I cannot stand the ringing cell phones, people listening to music WITHOUT the headphones, people watching DVDs without the headphones (a few years ago on the TGV from Lyon I politely asked a girl to please put the headphones on so that I didn't have to listen to Mission Impossible 2. She got all huffy but finally did. I don't know, is that too much to ask?)
I finally escaped to the dining car, where I could spread out my things and be relatively more peaceful. Honestly, when I make my reservation, why can't I choose "Sleep or Read a Book Wagon" instead of "Annoying Businessmen on Cellphones Wagon" "Screaming Infant Wagon" or "Teenagers with an Ipod Wagon"? I can choose which class, window or aisle, and upper or lower deck, why not other criteria?
Sure people come into the "dining" wagon and talk on their cellphones but there it doesn't bother me, mainly because that is where you are supposed to talk on your cellphone.
Anyway, I was working on my laptop (brand new, bright, shiny, and non beer smelling/tasting) when the train went around a curve and an open beer can slid across the counter, hit the edge of my laptop, and fell over, spilling beer onto the keyboard. Luckily I had a box of Kleenex nearby and was able to quickly mop up most of it. He apologized quite profusely and it didn't seem to be harmed but I was still rather cross.
I guess I shouldn't have been working in the food and drink area, but seriously it is impossible to work anywhere else. Well, in second class at least. Certainly first class has more space but certainly no plugs to plug in electrical items. I was informed that I could go in the toilets to plug it in, but the idea didn't excite me.
Arrived in Marseille and saw hordes of police in full riot gear in strategic points around the train station. Was wondering what was going on, then saw the signs that the Marseille-Paris match was canceled. Got stopped by four French people, all wearing L'Olympique de Marseille scarves, who asked me how to get to the Vieux Port from the Gare St. Charles. I explained to them that they could either go down and take the subway two stops or else could just walk down the hill from the train station, turn right at the McDonald's on the Canebiere and go straight and they would be there in 5 minutes. They thanked me and walked off. It was one of those situations where you don't think anything of it at the time but then wonder later "What is wrong with this picture?"
Blonde américaine tells four french OM supporters how to get from the Gare St. Charles to the Vieux Port of Marseille.
Isn't that something that should be inate for all OM supporters? Along with pastis, boullaibaise, les calanques, Notre Dame de la Garde, le Vieux Port, pétanque, and the Canebière?
Got home exhausted and am spending the rest of the day doing laundry and trying to calm my raging headache before heading back in to work tomorrow. Oh yeah, and wondering how I am going to explain the fact that my laptop reeks of beer.
Shoot Me Now.
Our apartment is livable!
Wouldn't drop dead in shame if people stopped by unexpectedly!
We actually have space!
Everything is pretty much
1) off the floor, and
2) shoved away somewhere
which are pretty huge accomplishments.
Now we don't have any excuses to NOT have people over.
What am I to do?!
We invited a couple over Saturday, but that morning they called and said that she (six months pregnant) isn't supposed to ride in a car and could we come over there instead?
Yes, our last childless friend couple has bitten the dust. It's over. We now officially have zero non-pregnant/non-ankle-biter-possessing friends.
(That's not true Alain yells from the other room. He knows a guy at work who has a girlfriend who is not pregnant. Okay, I stand corrected. One guy whom we never hang out with vs. ten couples that do. That's it. Seriously. What's wrong with you people?)
Anyway, Alain passed his motorcycle license and bought a motorcycle. A Kawasaki-green ER6N, 650 cc. For weeks all I heard was "Maybe I should get a bicylindre en ligne ou peut-être un quatre cylindre, mais je ne sais pas, un bi-cylindre a plus de couple à 7000 tours, mais un tri-cylindre consomme moins d'essence. Qu'est ce que tu en pense? " motorcycles motorcyles motorcycles motorcycles.
Silly me. I thought once he actually bought the darn thing we could talk about something else, but now its "Oh she is so beautiful...." We are talking about your motorcycle and not another woman right!?
We bought this motorcycle, a 2008 model with 15000 km from a guy here in Marseille. Alain has had it for almost a week now and is so happy he might just burst.
He is happier than a Frenchman in a vat of wine, but buying it wasn't easy. I went to La Poste in Aix to get a bank check. After waiting in line for about half an hour, I get to the front and am perfunctorily told that I cannot, under any circumstances, get a bank check from them. Why not? Because they are not my Bureau de Rattachement.
No amount of arguing would change her mind. I told Alain he would have to go the next morning to La Poste near our apartment. He went, and guess what?
(All you Americans in France know what is coming, but for everyone else....)
Yep. No way were we getting our money. Sure glad it wasn't life or death. Though I am sure that if it was life or death and I went back to La Poste in in Aix I would be told that no, I can't have the money for the emergency heart operation for my dying child who must be operated on today or else she will die, because it's not my Bureau de Rattachement!!!!!
Anyway, his parents were able to get a bank check from their account (not LA POSTE!) and we then wrote them a regular check.
What a pain. thanks La Poste, you keep on giving us a kick in the pants.
Guess I learned my lesson- can't count on them.
We are changing banks, I swear it.
(Mom and Dad, stop reading now. thanks)
Anyway, we rode the famous motorcycle on Sunday to go visit his family. I was a bit (lot) nervous about going on the interstate, as I had never ridden on the interstate on a motorcycle before.
Let's just say, I don't think I will be doing it much.
(I said stop reading mom and dad!)
It was incredibly windy- we were going about 100-110 km/hour and I just wanted to close my eyes until we reached his parent's or got hit by a crazy French driver who just CANT STAND the fact that we aren't going at least 10 km over the speed limit so they absolutely must cut us off as they overtake us, whichever comes first.
(I told you not to read mom and dad.)
Anyway, still alive, and more worried than ever about him driving to karate and back twice a week, though I do actually believe him now when he tells me it is actually safer to have a more powerful motorcycle rather than his 125 cc bike that looks like a real motorcycle and sounds like a real motorcycle and smells like a real motorcycle and tastes like a real motorcycle but only goes 100 km/hour max, making the crazy French drivers think that he can actually accelerate and get out of danger (ie them giving him all of 10 cm clearance as they pass him on a curve) when he can't.
Two things, that took an unbelievably long time (apartment, almost three years, motorcycle license a year and a half) finished.
Sometimes I wonder what we are going to do with our weekends (especially now that all our friends are busy changing diapers) but then I remember:
Not finished: my law course and Alain's 2nd doctoral thesis
Well, not quite another PhD (what is he doing, collecting them?!) but pretty close- it is for him to have his own students, and, oh yeah, Pepe's constant questioning of when are we going to join the ranks of exhausted parenthood. Like we don't already have enough to do? We have a year reprieve at least (in his mind), that is one plus I guess. Back to my books of Patent Case Law, which would be dull in any language, but in French I want to pull my teeth out just to pass the time.
See you in July!
see: Everything but the...
(before, when we moved in)
He installed the sink the next day. It looks great but I am now officially paranoid about actually cooking in the kitchen. I don't want to get water on the wood countertop (which is protected by several layers of resin, but still).Plus, our kitchen was built for Swedish giants.
It is really really high.
Anyway, our dishwasher arrived the week after our return from Bretagne, and was installed just fine. Took us awhile to figure out how to use it, (turns out that those power ball things are not actually the "Sel" that is needed).
It turns out that the King of Dishes is reluctant to use the darn thing.
I thought he would be all over it, but no. I have to forcibly remind him "Put the dishes in the dishwasher."
Our cooking/eating habits are, for the moment, incompatible with the use of a dishwasher. It seems that when you do the dishes by hand, there are about two of everything (plates, cutlery, glasses) that are in constant rotation and never actually make it from the drying rack back to the cupboard. Now we actually have to use all of our plates/knives/forks/etc. before the dishwasher gets run. Ah well. I'm sure we will adjust.
So, I am now officially calling it..
The Apartment Renovation from H--- is Finished!
Three years and many fights later, we are ready to move on.
Now to the annoying part of getting rid of all the extra building stuff and organizing. Maybe we can actually start living now.
It is amazing how much actual space we have when three room's worth of stuff isn't shoved into the living room + sacks of concrete and bits and pieces of wood and boxes of broken tiles and power tools and all the rest.
We made several trips with carloads of stuff to Alain's parent's house, so they were less than pleased to come back from two months in Bretagne and find their garage overflowing with stuff.
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