Working While I Wait

Posted on 09 April 2010

I have nearly finished house work. All the artisans have come and gone. If it weren’t for three items, I would be done.

First of all, I await a refrigerator (the other died in the fire.) The windowsill has sufficed for milk, eggs, and butter but I long not to have to run to the grocery store every day. A new one was ordered over three weeks ago and I have been down to the store three times and each time, the woman behind the counter checks and says “it may come today, perhaps tomorrow” (though in French) and I smile and thank her.

I’ve learned the French do not hurry (a generalization, I know) and if it were only the refrigerator, I wouldn’t be upset but everything I’ve had to do has taken too much time. I’ve tried sending emails but French people don’t relate to computers (another generalization.) I’ve made phone calls but French people don’t keep promises made on the phone… As a last resort, I jump in the car and go from office to store to insurance office, begging for a response.

The second item I’m missing is the sofa cushions. When, I unwrapped them, the two seat ones were covered in mildew. I delivered them to the fire cleaners. They said they’d do their best with them and though that was over two weeks ago and I’ve sent three emails and two telephone calls, I have yet to reach someone who can tell me whether they’re usable or not. (If not, I’ll have to find an upholsterer. I dread the thought.)

The last item that is missing is money. The insurer explained on February 23 that they would send us 80% of the money immediately to pay for the restoration, and when the work is finished and the bills are submitted, we would receive the balance within three days. And though they gave us a small sum to cover accommodation, and another small sum (probably to shut me up,) I am still waiting as are the artisans who dropped other work to do ours.

I didn’t mention that when two floors of the house were destroyed and had to be rebuilt, we decided to bare the woodburning stove wall and build a hearth, as well as replacing the ancient kitchen floor with wood. To make this affordable, I agreed to do the whitewashing and finishing of the dining room and kitchen floor. When this was done, I unpacked our worldly goods and put them in place.

I am happy with all and soon, I hope, I will be able to relax and enjoy.

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