I got a call from the fuel people last week to say that they would be delivering on Wednesday morning "somewhere between 7 and 10 a.m.", so I rolled out of bed at 6 a.m. to get showered and dressed so he wouldn't catch me in my jimjams if I was the first delivery that morning! Damn was it cold! When I went outside to move my car so he could pull his truck onto my driveway, it was pitch black and freezing and once again it brought home to me how eternally grateful I am not to have to do that any more to go to work!!!! I always get a quote on the price per litre before they deliver and since fuel is what I would call a "miscellaneous" expense (rather than a monthly recurring expense) I keep track of those kinds of bills to know where I stand. But get this, I just so happened to order 1,300 litres of fuel back in June and again ordered 1,300 litres this time. In June my bill was €998 and this latest bill for the same quantity was €1,506!!!! Now I know there's always a price difference when ordering in summer as opposed to in winter but damn, that's a 50% price increase whichever way you look at it!
In other news, I had offered to Jordan to start getting the paperwork together for Charlie's US citizenship, since I know Jordan hates this kind of thing and in any case I have the time. When I looked on the US government website how to go about registering him, as I had a question I shot an email off to the consulate in Strasbourg. About a week later I got a response relative to a "US citizen child who routinely lives outside of the US" and directing me to a completely different link. I don't think it should be too difficult but they are asking for more information about my ex, as the American citizen grandparent. Well he's supposed to be coming over in March to meet Charlie so I gave Jordan a list of papers to ask his dad to scan before he heads over here. I have a scan of his passport (and maybe also his birth certificate) but as they also ask for proof of periods spent residing in the US I told him to ask his dad to either scan his latest tax returns or go to a notary and get some kind of attestation. My heart always sinks a little when I have to count on my ex to do something because so many times he would screw up and not do it "because he forgot" or because .... well who knows why! I used to refer to myself as his chaos janitor (but no more thank God), so I hope he doesn't let us down on this! And talking of family State-side, Jordan was telling me that things are not working out well at all now that the brother, M, has moved back in with grandma. That's no surprise to me, as I mentioned before, but I genuinely feel so, so sorry for her to be dealing with M and having to be his chaos janitor at her advanced age!
I must have been on something of a roll because after that I started trying to upload more paperwork onto the new site in connection with my request for French citizenship - and that was a collosal fail! My resident's permit has three different numbers on it and when I try to create an account it doesn't accept any of the numbers. Then when I try to go back into the old system (as they told me I could), I couldn't get any further than where I left off 18 months ago. So I contacted the Prefecture responsible for naturalisation requests and at first they tried to tell me it was because "my personal situation must have changed in the last 18 months". When I told them that I had divorced 10 years ago but other than that the only change to my status was that I had to apply for my resident's permit after Brexit, so I didn't really know what else to try. In the end they got back to me and said it was a "bug" they were aware of and were working on. I hope that's true because I'm getting nowhere fast right now!
On a positive note, Switzerland lifted 99% of covid restrictions on 17 February, the only remaining restrictions still in force being a requirement to wear a mask on public transport and in medical facilities. No problem there! No more having to show a pass to go to the cinema, the restaurant, to a hotel - nowhere! Thank God! France are tiptoeing around possibly lifting a few restrictions on 15 March, but I think the pressure is on now as more and more countries in Europe are doing away with the restrictions altogether. And of course we have elections coming up mid-April so I reckon he will have no choice but to declare that he's personally beaten covid and could we all just go and vote him back into office next month please!
Saturday morning I went to the market in St. Pierre as I wanted to try to catch the lady who makes the wicker baskets. As luck would have it she was there so I bought myself a new "I'm off to the farmers' market" basket, my current one being 12 years old and starting to show some wear and tear. We got chatting and she was telling me how hard things have been for her during the pandemic as she was not allowed to work for three straight months, so she is another person who will be more than glad when all these restrictions are lifted. After that I met Jen at a vide-grenier (jumble sale) where we picked up a few next-size-up clothes for Charlie for next to nothing. When I got home I decided to walk back into the village to try out our one and only restaurant, which is under new ownership. It used to be called La Fertire, but the (brave) new owners spent a couple of months renovating it, putting in a whole new menu and changed the name to The Variant (!!). Good luck to them. I'm not sure I would want to sink money into a restaurant venture in the current climate. The food was good I have to say and nobody asked me for my pass (although they should have), but I think I prefer the more traditional local cuisine rather than the fancier stuff they are offering. Either way the place was full yesterday lunchtime and I hope it works out for them!
Jen's mom drove up north last week to pick up her dad (grandpap) as she had work she wanted doing in her new apartment and, from what Jen told me, grandpap and grandma need "some time apart" as they have been getting under each other's skin recently! Grandpap is a pretty sociable chap (unlike grandma, who is - shall we say - "difficult") and he very kindly invited us to a restaurant for lunch today so we could all meet up. Despite being way past his nap time, Charlie was an absolute sweetheart, flirting outrageously with a much older lady at the next table and has grandpap absolutely smitten. I tell ya, when the little ones are good it is an absolute pleasure!
And finally, I got "smart" this week and instead of wasting hours sitting watching stuff on my computer first thing in the morning, I picked out a longer video every day and decided to do some yoga while watching it. I have never been one for "meditation" - indeed I usually end up making my shopping list when our teacher tries to get us to "concentrate", so it really didn't bother me to do the exercises while watching/listening to a programme. I felt so good after each session that on Thursday I decided to go back to the gym after goodness knows how many months. It must be nearly a year, since first the gyms were all closed during the various lockdowns and then, not having the pass, I wasn't allowed to go anyway. So with some trepidation I went and I loved it. There was just one man downstairs and another man in the weight room upstairs so I virtually had the place to myself. I took my time and started back up with the programme my trainer had set up for me many moons ago. And it was wonderful! I thought I would pay for it the next day but it really was pretty much ok. Oh I had a few aches in the ol' bingo wings, but other than that, nope, nothing, nada! Maybe it's the fact that spring is just around the corner, but I'm hoping/planning to go back again tomorrow and to start going twice a week thereafter. I'm sure it'll do me the world of good after so long. Who knows, maybe I'll be looking like Miss Ernestine by Christmas (but I wouldn't put money on it)!
|Ernestine Shepherd, aged 85!