Monday, 26 May 2008

On being a French housewife

Now that the apartment is officially gone and all our belongings are now in the house, I'm starting to settle into the ways of a French home-owner.

One of the great pleasures of living in our new neighborhood is the stores. You know the stereotypes of the French with their straw market bags going to get French produce and baguette under the arm every day because their fridges are too small to stock too much and things are so much better fresh from the stores every day? Well, that's me. Our neighborhood is not only known for the thrice weekly market, but for some of the best family run stores in the city. At the corner of our street alone, we have the best fish monger and the best beer store. And don't start me on the cheese store or the (way too expensive) green grocer that sells the most perfectly beautiful produce. I've taken such great pleasure over the past 2 weeks in going to the get a single item to complete my dinner...and it only takes 5 minutes tops ! Except that I get side tracked and end up buying 10 things but still...

I'm also still getting used to living on multiple levels which is really annoying when you're putting your child to bed and she asks for a drink of water so you have to go down 3 flights and then back up. Chalk it up to weight loss techniques.

One of the down sides of the French homeowner thing is the actual French part. Remember that the gas company finally came to hook up our gas line after calling in the big guns? Well, the cobbles they took out of the street and their barrier, orange cones, and sign are still sitting in front of our door despite many phone calls.

And, we don't have garbage to Jerome's total embarrassement, I've been sneaking out at night to slyly dispose of our garbage in our neighbors' cans. I called the city who told me to call the plastic company who came to assess my garbage (?!!) can needs. They claim we'll have our personalized garbage cans in less than 5 days (from last Wednesday) but I tend to think we'll be using our neighbors' cans for a while still.

And then there's the actual house which is great. (I know, people have been asking for pictures!). But one of the first things people ask me is "what about cleaning 4 floors?" The answer: cleaning woman. Not only is it cheap in France, costing about 16€/hour, but we'll get half of that back in the form of a tax break.

So, the bottom line is that being a French housewife (read: a married woman owning a house in France) is great! And will be even better once that ground floor is done and we stop tracking dirt all over the place, we get used to the sound of rain on the roof, the nightly cat fights and the squeaking of our neighbor's blinds at 7 am (even on Sunday).

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