Monday, October 25, 2010

So, did you hear there was a strike?

Heh. Sorry about the long time, no post. October kind of got away from me, thanks to the pressure of getting my first guided tours under my belt. I finally did them at the end of last week, and apart from some gentle corrections on pronunciation they went just fine.

Work has been ok, I'm completely torn in my feelings about it now. On the one hand, I really am absolutely thrilled to be working there, it's such a great chance to work for a historical association and the work isn't difficult and it's lovely to talk to people that visit us from around the world. I've talked to some Americans, British, Australians, Japanese, Russians, as well as the much less surprising Belgians, Germans, Italians and Swiss. However, my colleagues are not always super awesome and that is really sucking a lot of the pleasure out of work. When your colleagues are constantly griping about each other and complaining to the direction about ridiculous, petty stuff, it's just not a good time. The best I can do is just stay out of it as much as I can and just do my job.

In other news, you may have heard something about the strikes happening in France. I won't get too much into the politics of it but it's basically a reaction to the retirement reforms, which many people feel is the straw that broke the camel's back in a long parade of reforms, which has lead to the people in the streets and the oil refinery blockades. The lack of gas has hit us here in Champagne, especially in Troyes but even here in Tiny Town, where gas has been rationed at 25€ per transaction. Since they raised the prices, 25€ doesn't go as far as it did a week before, and it certainly won't fill up an empty gas tank (maybe a third, with the raised prices). I was lucky and still had a good bit of gas before I filled it up at the beginning of last week and only drove to Troyes for work last week. I'll be going to the grocery this afternoon and will mostly likely fill 'er up again, since things still seem to be going slowly on the refinery front.

This week and half of next week is the Toussaint (All Saint's Day) holiday. Fry and I were meant to go visit our friend in Zurich again for a couple of days while Stéphane ripped the kitchen apart but with the uncertainty of the gas situation we canceled, much to my disappointment. We were afraid that this would even affect whether or not we'd redo the kitchen at all, since we need to rent a truck to pick up the kitchen from IKEA, but in the end we decided to go forward. Stéphane is, right this moment, doing a bit of plumbing work replacing a leaky copper pipe in the laundry room (he had shown his soldering work to the guy that did our electricity, who said it was good enough that he would hire him!) and tomorrow he and a friend will break out the hammers and crowbars to destroy our cement cabinets. This behemoth is terrifying - it was poured into place when the apartments were built in 1970 and is two meters long with a stone counter top. One of Stéphane's colleagues lived in these apartments many years ago and yanked out his cement cabinets as well and gave us some great advice and I think Stéphane is more than ready to swing that hammer around. Thursday we'll head up to IKEA and buy our kitchen (and I will restrain myself from buying the entire toy section for Fry's upcoming birthday!) and then the really fun part begins.

And finally, as an aside, today is my Dad's birthday and he would have been 70 years old. I remember the first time I saw him after he's been diagnosed and even though he knew the cancer was terminal, the doctor was hopeful that they'd been able to prolong the inevitable. "I might even make it to 70," he said with a smile. I sure as hell wish you had, Dad.


Anonymous said...

My dad passed away a few months ago- alzheimers. I can't believe how hard it is. I can really empathize with you. He would have turned 87 on 9/18. I, too, think about him every day. I wish there was something I could have done. Now I am taking care of my mother full time. She has what I think is early alzheimers. I am with her 95% of the time and go home to my husband 1 or 2 nights a week. I am cherishing every minute with her.
And you have lost both of your parents...and they were so young! I really feel for you, Vivi.

Clare said...

We've got fuel! This time last week it was touch and go, but on Tuesday the tankers arrived and everything is fine, although no jerry cans allowed, not that the French obey the rules! I think there is a maxiumu of €30 per car, but there are no queues at the pumps. Even our postman worked on strike day last Thursday. DD has been en blocus at Lycée too!

Have fun at IKEA. Just love that shop!

laura said...

I live in Lille so we've been sneaking off to Belgium to buy gas. It's pretty convenient! Also IKEA is amazing, have fun!