I got a slip in my mail box the other day for me to go to the Post Office to pick up a parcel and yay, the two sets of The Complete Far Side that I'd ordered over a month ago finally showed up! Jordan had mentioned to me how much he likes my Gary Larsen set so that pinged an idea into my head to buy both the boys a set for Christmas! Turns out they're pretty hard to get hold of (and pretty darn expensive - over €200 each!!!) but at least they got here eventually. I was a bit ticked off when the lady told me that there was a tax to pay on them though because I'd ordered them through Amazon, France, and didn't see where it indicated that the sender was located in the U.S., so I thought damn, this is gonna be expensive! One time I ordered $110 worth of patchwork stuff from the States and ended up paying €60 in import duty, so never again. Likewise I no longer order anything from the U.K. because I'd now be liable to pay taxes on that too as we're no longer part of the E.U. Still, I thought I'd just have to suck it up, buttercup, and pay whatever it took. Turns out it was ok in the end as it only cost me €15 but phew, I was expecting a helluva lot more than that!
Then last week Amazon finally reimbursed me the €700 I paid for the phone that went AWOL so I decided to take a look at what kinds of deals SFR - my phone carrier - had on their site. My two-year contract with them ended in May and I always allow it to run out because they are usually willing to make some kind of concession to get you to sign back up with them. Well lo and behold they were offering an iPhone 11 for €1 if I signed back up for a two year contract!!! That's a big saving over €700 isn't it! So I went online to fill in all the required info, stating that I wanted to keep the same number. Trouble was, when I tried to input another required code it wouldn't go through, so I ended up calling them. And wouldn't you know it, that offer was only available to new customers! Damn! The young woman told me she could indeed get me an iPhone 11 but not at that price, so I thought "oh here we go, how much do they want now"? Well it turns out they wanted the grand sum of €9, plus having me sign up for a two year contract at €40/month. Well that's pretty much what I pay anyway so I told her I was happy to go for it - and then she said "oh it's your birthday soon, how about I knock €5/month off that amount and throw in a free phone case at the same time"? Ha, so now I'm the proud owner of a much better phone than my old one, which is on its last legs anyway. Not that I really need a fancy phone because basically all I do is call, text and take photos, but at that price I'm not going to argue with them. So yay me!
In other news Jen's mom called me recently asking about my Monday morning yoga class, which is just round the corner from the new apartment she will be moving to in December. I told her how much I liked the teacher, what the cost was and that I was pretty sure she could have a couple of free lessons to see if she liked it - but she should be sure to tell the teacher that she has back problems, just in case. Anyway, she came with me a couple of times and is going to sign up as she felt it did her back the world of good. I mentioned to her the first week that I wanted to stop over at Jordan and Jen's to see Charlie as he doesn't go to day care on Mondays so we called Jen and the two grandmas got to play with the babe for a couple of hours. Jen suggested we get take-out from the little restaurant in town so now we've made a date to stop over every Monday/most Mondays to see the babe and eat together. Sounds good to me!
Then on Thursday I drove down to Annecy to meet up with my friend, M, who I haven't seen in about three years. She's American (and also French, through her late husband) and after her husband died about five years ago she moved to Ireland with her son when he got a job there. She's a fairly reserved person so ended up not liking Ireland at all, although goodness knows the Irish are a friendly bunch and easy to get to know! They lived in Cork and she never bought a car so I think her world kinda shrunk once they moved there. Anyway, since her son, his new wife and step-daughter wanted to move back to France (as did M), they set the wheels in motion to transfer back here and she's been in Annecy since July of this year. It's sad really because she and her husband bought an apartment in the most perfect spot in Annecy so that they could retire to it - and then her husband died at 59 and they never got to live out their dream retirement together! Just her, although since her husband was the love of her life I'm not so sure she now sees herself as living the dream!
And to be honest I found her sad, still grieving for her husband and since she's so terrified of this virus she's isolating herself even more. She asked me if I would agree to take a lateral flow test when I got to her place so I said "sure, no problem, let's both do them". Apparently they are available for free in the U.K. (or at least in England) and her daughter bought a whole bunch with her when she came over from London not so long ago. Well, you've never seen anything like it! I had to laugh in the end because M had on a big, industrial-strength mask and rubber gloves - I told her she looked like she was preparing for a moon landing - and she burst out laughing, which was good to see. When I handed her my swab she made such a pig's ear out of it, mistakenly trying to get two drops of solution onto the kit from the swab rather than from the solution bottle. I reckon she contaminated my test with all that fiddling around because absolutely nothing happened. Not positive, not negative, nada! I swear we both had a better chance of showing up pregnant than getting a covid result from that! With her own test the colours lit up immediately and then just left one line - thus proving she was negative. So I told her to give me another test and I'd do it myself this time and of course it came back negative because I don't really mix any more either. So after that she took off the astronaut's mask and we ordered in Moroccan food, and sat on her balcony with a couple of glasses of wine yacking away - as you do when you haven't seen someone in years! And it was great, although like I say, I found her to be "fragile" - for want of a better word. I guess losing her husband and then withdrawing into herself during the pandemic really did a number on her! She's also got hip problems so I told her we'd go out cruising and I knew loads of walks we could do on the flat because, as she said, when they lived around here they never went out exploring like we did. It's odd but my other neighbour said the same thing and yet my ex and I were constantly out looking for new places to explore - that is until the marriage blew up, but that's a whole other story. So I told her that I can either pick her up or she can catch the train up to me and we'll go out exploring together before the bad weather kicks in. I'll even get myself some lateral flow tests each time if she would be more comfortable doing that, so it looks like we have a date! She also lent me her copy of Thoreau's Walden, which I've wanted to read for ages. She said it's pretty heavy going and looking at the miniscule print I'll have to see how I get on, but it's one more book to add to the growing pile waiting for my attention!
Oh and I just finished watching Clickbait on Netflix and thoroughly enjoyed it, after giving up on The Queen's Gambit. Of course it was pretty far-fetched but very watchable and more-ish and I was convinced I'd figured out who the bad guy was by the last episode. But guess what, I was wrong, just like all those years ago when I would read Agatha Christie as a kid and feel sure I knew who the villain was - and then get it wrong every time. In my defence, Agatha Christie was a clever writer and I was a kid - but yeah, that's the best I could come up with!
And finally, just a quick shout out to Tania in Essex. I see that your blog is currently unavailable so I hope everything is ok with you and yours! Take care hon!
First off, Happy Birthday for yesterday! I usually check your blog most days but I've been busy the past couple of days and you go and do two posts one after the other! lol. Good news about your phone. I'm currently investigating my best option for gas and electricity as apparently thats the next big calamity here in good old Britain!! My current plan is finished in November so I'll need to see if it's worth changing but its not helped that a few suppliers have gone bust into the bargain!ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear your friend is very fragile. I'm sure you'll help her enormously if you can get her out walking in your beautiful countryside.
Mondays sound like they'll be fun for you. What a lovely plan you have.
As for politics from you last post - money is the root of all evil and all politicians seem to be in the pockets of various large corporations. It's a sad state of affairs but probably nothing new. x
I reckon you've been busy working on that wall right? I've seen the mess that's playing out in Britain with the petrol shortages but I hadn't heard anything about gas and electricity. Gosh what a bloody mess the country is in. We don't have mains gas in my village so I use bottled gas for my stove top - costs me about €40/year so I'm good with that. As for electricity we don't have too many options but I'll see how it plays out now André has moved out. And as for politics - you're right, I reckon most politicians are in the pockets of the large corporations. I'm not sure how you can fight back against that though sadly!Delete
I always wonder about people with no curiosity. Why not? I am endlessly curious to see the world around me.ReplyDelete
Hopefully moving back to France will help your friend.
I'm the same Pixie - always was, always will be, hence all the travelling I did pre-covid. Still I guess when you are in the thick of it raising kids life can be overwhelming at times and all you want to do is veg in front of the TV!Delete
Oh, I'm sorry for your friend. Two of my "birth" friends have lost husband's so young. One has since remarried, but still too soon for the other. I worry my husband will suffer an immediate retirement death- he works so much it may be a shock to his system when he stops. It's wonderful you have a good friendship with the other grandma. It makes grandparenting together more fun I imagine.ReplyDelete
M's husband always said he wouldn't make it to retirement and sadly he didn't. He had a VERY pressured job and, with hindsight being 20/20 of course, I wonder if it's worth it. But I'm sure you and your hubs have many retirement years to look forward to - you're almost there anyway right!Delete
My brother just got my dad a way better plan and phone for about $60 Canadian a month! I am going to try it out when my phone stuff expires in December! I am so glad you and Jen's mom are getting together with baby and Jen on the Mondays :)! Love that. As for your friend M, I hope she comes out of her shell soon. My aunt was widowed in her early 50s as well, and he was the love of her life. She has gotten to a different place in life without him, but they were of course looking forward to a long life together too. I hope M joins some groups, and in time builds a new type of day to day with some joy. Enough time with you will see her doing that I think :)!!!ReplyDelete
I don't know when your birthday is but if you can let your contract run out AND look into it around your birthday they might surprise you. I didn't do it for that reason but it worked out well in the end because they're always looking to give you a "free gift". As for M, I'm not sure she will sign up to many groups, although she had mentioned she looked into Tai Chi pre-covid. Her husband was the sociable animal and she is more reserved so they worked well together. As for the grandmas, we are both alone and we get along well so we can spoil that little boy to our heart's content. Jen is also lucky to have us both around if they ever need a baby-sitter I guess - something I never had and I realize how much easier that makes it. Plus Charlie will get spoiled something rotten!Delete
Belated Happy Birthday! I'll be joining the "63" club" in a couple of weeks. You're the third person who has mentioned "Click Bait" so I'll have to give it a shot.ReplyDelete
63 isn't bad at all. In fact the 60s have been great. Might have something to do with quitting work but so far it has a lot going for it. And do try Clickbait. I really enjoyed it after The Queen's Gambit, which I found as interesting as watching grass grow. Oh it's pretty far-fetched all in all but I definitely wanted to move straight on to the next episode and in the end there was a sting in the tail!Delete
I've never had a problem with Amazon, and I do buy a lot from them. There are people who just don't deal well with death, my Mom was like that. Her idea of heaven was an eternal family reunion. Ugh.ReplyDelete
I buy a lot from Amazon too and on the rare occasion I've had a problem they've dealt with it very efficiently - that's why this situation seemed weird to me. Still, I wasn't prepared to let €700 go either and it all worked out in the end. And I know a few couples who can't live without each other - not many admittedly, but a few. My brother-in-law's parents were like that and when mom developed Alzheimer's I think dad couldn't live without her and allowed himself to die. She, on the other hand, was totally unperturbed because - well Alzheimers of course. When my BIL took her to her husband's funeral she asked if she could sing really loud (of course) and thanked him for a wonderful day out! Ah, god love 'em!Delete
I’m sure your friend will soon start to feel more confident and less isolated if you can keep meeting up as planned. Our LFT instructions are quite something and a definite palaver, but over time I’m getting used to that eye watering sensation (although a PCR test is on another level - having your brain prodded isn’t quite my morning cup of tea).ReplyDelete
I'm sure my friend will pick up now she's settled back in France, although the arrival of the winter doesn't do anybody any favours does it (and to think we used to be ski bums)!!! For this LFT test you had to stick the swab in your mouth and then up your nose and my sister was telling me that some people made the mistake of doing the nose first and then went .... duh! Just as well they aren't anal I guess!Delete
Sounds like you have all your ducks lined up in a row and life is good:) That is great to see after such a difficult couple of years xxReplyDelete
Like everyone I'll be glad to see the end of this pandemic but until then we have to make the most of it don't we. Thankfully I don't mind being alone, as such, and will happily take myself off walking for the day. I'll probably be a complete neanderthal by the end of this pandemic though!Delete
I don't understand people who don't go exploring. I am still like a little kid pointing out things to people I am with. They don't look around at all!ReplyDelete
I don't understand it either but what can you say. We had one particular member of my ex's family who slept all the way through Spain, France, England, Germany and Switzerland. It was quite a feat!Delete
I think you are going to love your new iPhone.ReplyDelete
I'm not at the moment as I can't transfer all my data from my old phone (but that may have something to do with my rubbish wifi right now). Still, I'll take it down to the shop tomorrow and get them to do it! Old dog, new tricks right!Delete