Catastrophes: Settling into our French Flat
5 Catastrophes that we can laugh about
The French have a wonderful way of explaining when something goes wrong that it is a "catastrophe." Usually it is not that bad, but the way they pronounce it CAT IS STROPH says it all. Within the first week of acclimating to our new flat we have had our fair share of catastrophes. The good news is we easily slip into the French philosophy of "Ce n'est pas grave." It's just not that serious."
#1: Day One - Zoe and I get stuck for 45 minutes in the apartment elevator because (they say) our luggage was too heavy. Is this a sign to travel lighter next time? Our new neighbor who saw us get in the elevator was kind enough to wait outside and told us to keep drinking water-- help is coming. Zoe-Pascale was busy trying to figure out if there was enough air in the elevator to last us and did new air come in anywhere? After talking to the technician on the phone we settled in for the wait and read a chapter of our book, sipped water, and laughed at our predicament. Needless to say, Zoe refuses to go in the elevator anymore.
#2: Day Three - Our apartment had been remodeled but needs some final finishing. One of these items is the placement of doorknobs. Our friend, who did the remodeling told me to be careful as a few of the doors needed to be shaved and without a handle you could get stuck inside. Low and behold, I hear a knocking, "Hello, Hello" from the back bedroom. The door had slammed shut with a sudden breeze and Jean was stuck inside. "Push with your shoulders" he said. And so we did. I pushed, Zoe pushed against me and nothing budged. Our height was prohibiting us from pushing at the top where it was stuck. I climbed the ladder but could not get leverage and pushed. We pushed with our feet, no leverage, we tried the screw driver -- nada... Finally Jean said to find the handle (we were going to screw i place) and put it through the door and see if it would turn. Voila, it worked. Motto: Door handles do truly serve a purpose and are important in life!
#3: Day Five - Our hot water pipes are leaking. Another neighbor downstairs came to tell us (not happy, but nice) and hence a catastrophe. Luckily we have another neighbor (did I say that the people are friendly here !) who is now our new best friend, a retired airplane mechanic and was more than helpful at figuring out the problem if not solving it. The plumber comes Friday.
#4: The new Fiber Optic has become so popular in France that they say it is a 2 month waiting list. Panicking at not having internet access and having to go to Wifi cafe's the rest of our stay, we found an option -- ask the neighbor. Our air mechanic and his wife have been kind enough to let us rent their wifi for the time being. it took a bit to get the wifi to work but voila it does and I am content.
#5: We bought some new white couches and realize even though it looks good, we will need to buy another darker cover for daily living. The towels spread on top just don't do it!