Friday, June 05, 2009

Last month, I resolved to write in my blog more often. As is so often the case with resolutions, it had the complete opposite effect. Within days, the amount of available 'free' time in my life seemed to shrink down to nearly nothing.
I think the main problem is that I didn't consider the effect that springtime would have on my life. I really find it hard to stay indoors in front of a computer while gorgeous, sunny alpine days are waiting for me just outside my door.
The flower beds are looking lovely, but need tending, watering and weeding. Same with the vegetable garden that I finally finished planting yesterday afternoon. (I'd post a picture but I'm a bit ashamed of how small it looks, after all the fuss I've made about it. It's a mere 5 meters square, but it feels enormous when I'm out there trying to chop out the weeds... )

And I feel like I've spent far too much time indoors lately, anyway... I've had to spend hours working on the plans for the small addition we are building onto our house and getting the documents in order for the construction permit. And believe me, French bureaucracy is enough to make anyone completely crazy, especially if French is not your native language.

It was really frustrating and I hated nearly every minute of doing it. It took nearly 12 hours of struggling and cursing in front of my computer to get it all done, all the while snapping at my poor children and my hapless spouse if they approached me.
In short, it was hellish.
I did it myself because we saved 3000 euros by not having an architect take care of it all.

But you know the old Ben Franklin saying "A penny saved is a penny earned"?
Completely NOT true.
NOT paying someone to do this stuff was NOTHING like me doing it and then having someone hand me 3000 euros, saying "Here you go! Good job! Buy yourself something nice!"
Nope, nothing like that.
I'm just saying.

But then, the Benny also said "Admiration is the daughter of ignorance" (What's that supposed to mean? If you admire Mother Theresa or the Pyramids of Giza, that means you're ignorant? Pretty odd assertion, if you think about it.)

Another gem is "Time is money". Frankly, I don't see much real correlation between the two. I know many poor people that have little free time, because they work constantly to earn their small wages. And some have lots of time because they have no job at all. On the other hand, not all (or even many) wealthy people work day and night to earn their loot. Plenty are relatively idle.

And don't get me started on "Never take a wife until thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in." Pretty sick...

But I guess if he's said obviously sensible things like "Admiration is pleasant", "Time is sometimes money, sometimes not" or "Never take a wife unless you mutually respect one another", his Almanack might not have been such a best-seller...


La Framéricaine said...

It is noon in my body and 3am in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave's Left Coast. Thus, Le F and I have just had some leftover AA biscuits, cows that laugh, coffee, cherry jam that I managed to sling all over my pjs while stirring, and the cherries from Le F's sister's tree that the food cops in DFW did not manage to deprive us of.

I don't blame you one bit for taking advantage of all the spring time you can get under the sun.

I thought of you every day while working 10hrs daily for two weeks to put the house in order in central France. It's superb in its simplicity and welcoming aspects. Not one bit of mold worth mentioning on any boxed item stored since 2003. That has to be a record. I thought that you and your brood would like the area and might one day visit.

I simply could not get internet easily and hardly left the house due to the work. Now it is really in great shape to begin living there and we can finish moving out of here.

Just wanted you to know that I had been thinking of you often.

Joy said...

Oh, French Bureaucracy, how do you frustrate me? Let me count the ways...

I sympathize totally with you... I think it would have been much easier for us to have a paid a consultant to relocate us to France, and find us a house and a rental car, and book our flights, and give us checklists of other stuff, but then, I wouldn't have as many anecdotes for blog fodder... *shrug*

As for the Ben Franklin sayings... Maybe his electricity experiments lit more than his lightbulb? ;p

Heidi said...

For my sayings I tend to prefer Mark Twain. As he put it, "After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her."

oreneta said...

French bureaucracy is legendary....I am glad to hear however that I am not the only person who snaps at their kids and husband when otherwise busy and occupied.

Good luck.

Michelle Hoad said...

It sounds weird, but I love hearing that you deal with the same bureaucracy that we do in the states. I always picture such an idyllic life that you must live in a romantic place like France. There is not much romantic about Texas. Unless you think cows are romantic, then this is your place.

babzee said...

Don't be so hard on Old Ben. Remember he suffered from a lack of emoticons, so you might be misconstrued his tone. He also wrote:

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.