After a couple of weeks of being lazy as heck, I finally found my "oomph" coming back last week, thank goodness. I hate being lazy but I suppose it is winter and maybe it's not such a bad thing to just "chill" sometimes. I reverted to my old stand-by of setting the timer on my phone for an hour and it really has helped me get back to being somewhat productive. It's amazing what you can get done in an hour - or even 30 minutes - if you just set your mind to it! So I've been moving furniture (eeww, all that dust) and sorting and cleaning, and while there's still tons to do it feels good to see some progress. Or even just to know that there's progress because I cleaned behind that furniture!!!!
Jen told me the other day that she wanted to try and pick her English back up and asked if I would help her. No problem there, although while my grammar is good (our teachers were really strict), sometimes, when it's your native tongue, it's not always easy to explain why you say things a certain way. I also don't have the mind set of a teacher or communicator, but the other day we went through a few exercises and I was able to help her practice. Actually I think she will pick it up more and more as Charlie starts babbling too! She told me that while it can only ever be an advantage for her to speak English, she has been thinking about it more and more because if Macron gets back in and remains hell bent on his "Great Dictator" trajectory, they might start giving serious consideration to leaving France - even though that's not what they want to do! How sad is that! She has a couple of months left on parental leave but last week she met up with her director and a few colleagues for lunch. She took Charlie with her for 15 minutes and then Jordan went and picked him up so she could stay longer and chat. Before her maternity leave the unit was supposed to comprise 12 nurses but they were only eight, so already stretched. Two nurses resigned after the vaccine mandate was introduced and of course Jen went on maternity/parental leave, so they were down to just five. Now with the booster being mandated by 15 February, three more nurses are refusing to take it and a fourth is only considering it - so that leaves one nurse out of unit of 12! I guess if this continues she won't even have a job to go back to as they will have to shut the unit - hence the thoughts about leaving France! The irony is that France suspended 70,000 healthcare workers for refusing the vaccine mandate in a field that was already short staffed. Now many more are refusing the third jab so who knows where this is going! The even greater irony is that her hospital has asked staff who have tested positive for covid but are asymptomatic to come in to work! The world has gone totally mad! I certainly don't want them to leave, of course, but the situation in France at the moment is, I guess, just a question of waiting to see who blinks first!
On a slightly happier note, both grandmas and André are invited over for a fondue on Sunday, to be followed by a few board games. Jen was telling me that as she is an only child and her mom is an only child, she loves that my family have always been very family-oriented and she wants Charlie to have the same experience (how lovely is that)!
Then I was chatting with my friend the other day about maybe taking a few days to go up to that roller coaster/railway in June when it opens and she is totally up for it. There seems to be a lot to do in that area but when I looked at the prices of hotels nearby - crikey - I had forgotten how expensive Switzerland is!!! Still, I haven't been anywhere for three years so who's counting! My friend then told me that she'd been chatting with another neighbour who said that she'd been in her car leaving the supermarket parking lot the other day when a woman tapped on her window asking for directions. The woman drew her attention for a few minutes and then an accomplice (not sure if it was a man or a woman) opened the passenger door and stole her purse!!!! Now I know this has always happened but I would be in big schtuck if my purse was snatched because - money aside - I usually have my passport and resident's permit in there, as well as credit cards and so on. But ladies, we all do it don't we - handbag plonked down on the passenger seat! Anyway, when I went shopping yesterday I just took a bum-bag with me, but I can't say I like it! I guess some people will do anything rather than work though, right?
In other news, on 6 February Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Platinum Jubilee - i.e. 70 years on the throne - and I saw a news item that really tickled me. Somewhere (in China I guess), a company had been churning out (unofficial) commemorative mugs, but had unfortunately gotten the English wrong, so now they have a whole bunch of mugs for sale with "in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jublee"! Ha, I would love one of those if I can get my hands on one!
And finally, when I was over at Jordan and Jen's the other day Jordan asked if I had spoken to his dad lately. I told him that I don't call him but I call Ammy (grandma) a couple of times a year. My ex has a brother who must be around 53 now. He was recognized as (slightly) mentally disabled many years ago and receives a small disability allowance. I'm not sure how well he can read and I know he has difficulties with money and so on, but many years ago, in his 20s, he had a job cleaning at Walmart, social services found him a small place (that he kept spotlessly clean) and he had a social worker to help him manage his finances and other administrative matters. It was a nice little set-up! Now my ex was hot-headed, but this brother was my ex on steroids, so mom and dad had to back away from trying to "help" him and let social services take over as he was forever cussing them out and could be very intimidating. Oh they saw him every week and he was invited to all the family get-togethers but they had to let social services handle him and that stinking temper of his. Anyway, one day he (yet again) decided that his manager at work "wasn't gonna tell him what to do" and stormed out - and I'm pretty sure he hasn't worked since (so that would be around 20 years now)! Around that time he got together with K (who may or may not have been special needs - I don't know as I never met her), but she had been married and had three grown up kids. Trouble was, M and K can only be described as "bringing the worst out in each other" and they ended up moving in with her grandparents as neither of them were working. Then social services intervened and took grandma out of there as the place was filthy (dixit my ex-MIL), so that left grandpa paying the rent and M and K pretty much living in a doss house, spending half their time at the bar or wherever it was they went each day. Anyway, last week M woke up to find that an apparently healthy K had died in her sleep at the age of 53! To say it was a shock would be an understatement, I guess. I don't know what the upshot of it all was but as they weren't married and he didn't get along with her kids I'm not even sure if he will ever know what happened. Anyway, my ex spent all last weekend ferrying M's stuff out of there and back up to grandma's, and man oh man, that is NOT going to work. They have been talking about having him start job hunting, but both grandma and my ex live out in the boonies and M doesn't drive. Eighty-six year old grandma and M living at home together will be a disaster (she once told me she is actually afraid of him), so where does that leave everybody? They have a sister who lives nearer to the city but I'm pretty sure she's not going to want to have M moving in with her and her family either. What a bloody mess! Years ago my ex told me he was "thinking about having M come over here to France and move in with us so he could 'sort him out'"! What a joke, my ex couldn't sort his own life out let alone M's. I pointed out to my ex that M had no right of abode in France, no skills, would have no income or health insurance and he didn't speak French so what on earth made him think the French would give him a visa! I also told him straight up that if he tried to bring M over here I would take the kids and leave - so that thankfully put paid to that hare-brained scheme! Hell he was in his 20s, had a job, medical insurance and an apartment and we were supposed to take him away from all that in order to "sort him out"???? But again, what a bloody mess! I don't envy any of them trying to deal with him, but I have to admit that I am selfishly so eternally grateful not to have to deal with this new situation!