Archive for March, 2009


Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Sitting here waiting on the landlord to arrive to fix the ceiling that fell in the basement. Heard a car… looked out the window and it was a big white van. Chronopost. The overnight mail service in France.

My passport is here! One week after I sent away for it!!!!

welcome charge!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The American embassy in Paris has charged my credit card.. that’s a good sign!

Hopefully the passport won’t be too far behind the charge.

I mean… Lands End doesn’t charge you until they ship your clothes!

frayed nerves all around

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

When Bill got home from work he was visibly shaken.

Turns out the text he sent me that said “things getting tense” was the understatement of the year.

The protestors came face to face with the employees in the hallway of the office building. The 10 security guards versus the hundreds of angry protestors was not ok. Their attack dogs and tear gas weren’t enough. One of the employees had a panic attack that triggered an asthma attack. When a protestor realized what was going on, he stepped forward to help her… which only scared her even more since she, understandably, saw him as a threat not a helper.

When I was putting Kaitlyn to bed, I realized she’d been paying a lot of attention to the conversation over dinner. The same conversation that upset me naturally upset her. She wanted to know why those people were destroying daddy’s office. Which floor is daddy’s office on? Why did daddy have to run from the building through a door where there were people over his head? (His escape route was directly under a fire escape type landing filled with shouting demonstrators). I think we’ve gotten her calmed down. I don’t know if I’ll sleep much tonight.

now it’s gone too far….

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Bill isn’t going to work tomorrow. He doesn’t feel safe. I’m glad he came to that conclusion on his own.

Today, the protestors built a mound of tires across the road in front of the office where Bill works. When they set it on fire, the fire department came and put it out and told them not to do that.

So the protestors broke down the gate surrounding the plant and proceeded to hold a giant family barbeque in the parking lot.

Then this afternoon, all the employees were gathered in the hall to be led out by security. But security couldn’t lead them out, because they were dealing with the protestors who’d broken into the manufacturing plant and were destroying things. (Excellent way to keep your job!) Bill said the security team had dogs… and was using gas to keep the protestors back… and that it was “tense.” Duh.

He made it out, but apparently not everyone did.

I realize I’m not a corporate big wig. But if I were one, I’d be spending the night burning the midnight oil doing whatever paperwork was necessary to shut the plant down here permanently. Maybe that’s why I’m not a corporate big wig. But, to me, when your employees who are trying to work and keep the company in business are being threatened… and when the union making it impossible to lay people off and cut costs is now adding to your cost immensely by vandalizing the plant…. the bottom line says pull out.

all nighter?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Bill went into work this morning with the help of a security escort. Everyone did. The union is staging their biggest protest yet today in front of the office. Bill packed some food, because they were told to figure that the canteen won’t open up. And he packed his toothbrush, because they were told to figure on spending the night.

He said this morning there were about 150 protestors outside, and that they’d built a huge mound of tires (to burn). I haven’t gotten any updates in a while.

Strange days…. strange days…

never ending passport drama

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Ok, I’ve thought of little but my stupid passport ever since mailing it off Monday.

I’ve tried tracking my application on the state department’s website, but it’s not in their system. I think that if you apply at an embassy, you aren’t going to be able to track it online.

I could track the Chronopost envelope that I sent it in. It arrived at the embassy in Paris yesterday. No one signed for it, even though I thought I’d checked the box that said I wanted a signature. (Looking now, I didn’t.)

Then a few minutes ago, I had a horrible realization. I don’t think I paid for the return postage. Just sending the stupid thing was like 45 Euros. Which certainly sounded like enough for both directions. But, thinking back on it, I don’t think the postal clerk stamped the second envelope. Great. I hope the embassy can just add it to my credit card. Otherwise I don’t know what happens. Maybe I’ll end up taking a train to Paris to pick the stupid thing up. What a nuisance this has truly become!

passport on the way

Monday, March 16th, 2009

First thing this morning, I went to the post office to get my passport in the mail to the Embassy in Paris to be renewed. Time is of the essence, since I’m really hoping it can be back in 3 weeks so I don’t have to cancel our trip to Germany the beginning of April.

I had all my paperwork and pictures ready to go. I knew that the Embassy wanted it sent via Chronopost…. which is France’s overnight mailing system. And I knew I was to include a self-addressed Chronopost envelope for the return.

I was so proud of myself for getting this done. Then on my way back to my car I realized: I’d left my French ID card (which shows I have permission to live here) inside my passport. Which was inside that envelope. Which was destined for Paris.

I rushed back in and explained it all to the postal clerk. She opened up the envelope, took out the Carte de Sejour, and sealed the envelope back up. No problem. You’d never get a postal clerk in the US to open up an envelope you’d just mailed.

Now it just has to get there… then get back.

the winter that won’t go away

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Woke up this morning to another blanket of snow. I admit… it’s better than the grey, soggy, mostly-but-not-quite-all-leaving-nothing-but-blackened-gross snow that we had when I went to bed last night. Still.. I’m tired of it. Granted, it’s hard to complain when you’ve chosen to live ON A MOUNTAIN. IN THE ALPES. But the last two winters weren’t like this. They weren’t so… well… white.

Kaitlyn wore her snow pants and ski jacket to school. Turns out, you’re supposed to have that on in order to play outside at recess. She hasn’t mentioned this to me any of the previous times it snowed. I didn’t want to let her wear her good ski outfit. If something happened to it (like getting lost, torn or muddy), I’d be pretty mad. So I dug out two year old ski pants and pulled those on her over her jeans. (She had to wear pants with pockets so she could take her teeth to school to show her friends. Gross.) The ski pants are a wee bit short. They barely cover the top of her snowboots. Still… they do cover them. She can change into dry socks at lunch.

I looked around and realized I own four pairs of boots. Four. I’ve never been someone to wear boots. And now I live in them. Now I understand all those magazine articles in spring about the thrill of wearing sandals.

chez le dentist

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Kaitlyn now has a big, toothless grin… after her first trip to the dentist.

She told me last night when she was going to bed that she would do her best to be real brave today. And she really was.

The dentist took x-rays to look at her adult teeth. He said it seemed like a good idea to pull the tooth that’s been loose but won’t fall out.. the one that keeps getting hit then bleeding. And he said while he was at it, he could go ahead and take out it’s neighbor since the x-rays showed the adult tooth for that one is ready to start pushing its way out, too. So he numbed Kaitlyn’s mouth (I couldn’t watch that part. Eeew.) And he pulled out her teeth. (Ok, I didn’t watch that part, either. At one point, he told Kaitlyn she was being braver than her mom.) They put her teeth in a little bottle for the tooth mouse. She is so excited. She said she thinks that’s worth a good 4 dollars… or 4 pennies… she couldn’t be sure. I suggested 4 euros…. they’re worth more.

more passport woes

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Today I got an email from the agency that takes care of all of our official French government paperwork. They cannot get me a new carte de sejour (the French id card I must have to live here) because my passport expires in June.

I’m going to London next week. We’re going to Germany 3 weeks after that. We’re going to Italy two and a half weeks after that. We haven’t gone anywhere outside France since November. It would have been really nice to have known that my passport expiration is too close for the French government’s liking.

You cannot expedite a passport application from here. The consulate says it takes 1-2 weeks. That’s already faster than the estimated time for an expedited passport within the United States. Oh, sure, you can lose your passport and go and have an emergency temporary one issued. I know someone who’s done that…. (see entries for 5 july 2007)

I guess I’m going to send in my paperwork (and my current passport) the day I get back from London… then cross my fingers that the new one arrives in time for the trip to Germany. I’ll be afraid to leave my house and miss the delivery. It’s gonna be a long 3 weeks.