One of my sisters bought this cushion which says: “Happiness is having a large loving family…..in another city!” So true – although to be on the safe side, we’re in another country – and never more so than the past couple of weeks while that sister has been over here on an extended vacation. She’s not staying with me (thank heavens) but is just down the road in our old holiday flat which she and her husband bought from us over 10 years ago.
One of the biggest problems of living (and working) on the Cote d’Azur is that when people come to visit, as they inevitably do, they’re on holiday. Furthermore, they tend to presume that you’re on holiday too. In fact, they think you’re on holiday all the time!
The worst offenders are my family, specifically this sister and her husband. When they first bought the apartment from us, I offered to lend them a helping hand until they’d become accustomed to the way things worked in France. Sadly, because Big Sis is always available, neither of them ever bothers to sort out anything on their own. To add insult to injury, they rarely bother to follow my advice and then wonder why things go wrong. Nor have they tried to learn much French in that time, relying instead on me to translate everything.
This past week my beloved was on a business trip and I was looking forward to time on the bike and tackling my clients’ projects. Unfortunately, I’ve spent several days sorting out my sister’s ill-fated attempt to buy stuff over the internet. The last time she did this I had to accept delivery of her bed head after she’d returned home, and then pay to have it taken down to her apartment!
This time she bought a number of bedside tables so that she can finally return the ones I lent her over 10 years ago. Needless to say they are no longer in a pristine condition and I’ll have to pay to get them restored. Initially, she complained about having to wait in all morning for a delivery and had me chasing it up. I managed to persuade the delivery man to take the package up to her apartment. They typically drop off at the door to apartment blocks.
She signed for the delivery, noting that she’d not unpacked and checked it before the carrier left, as I advised. The box was damaged and so was one of the bedside tables. I immediately notified the vendor and subsequently sent photos showing the damage. Initially, she wanted to return both but has now decided to keep the one that’s undamaged. This has generated a flurry of emails which I have had to translate and then craft her response.
The other bedside tables she’d ordered cannot be delivered while she’s still over here. I don’t want to accept delivery, just in case she doesn’t like them, so we’re attempting to cancel the order on the basis that the delivery is taking a month longer than indicated when she placed the order. More emails, more translations.
I had hoped that buying stuff over the internet would avoid the necessity to go shopping with her – my idea of hell. However, now that I’ve resolved the problem with the bedside tables she’s moved onto lighting. Asking if I could take her to places that sell lighting. My sister fails to appreciate that unlike her I don’t regard shopping as a leisure activity. I’ve suggested a couple of places she can visit but I am so not going with her. Trouble is she only has the car for a couple more days and doesn’t do public transport.
I can only thank my lucky stars that I’m off to Paris while she’s on her own for a week pending the arrival of one of her friends for the final week of her (far too long) vacation. Also, thank goodness they bought their own apartment otherwise they’d be staying with me, expecting me to wait on them hand and foot and, while we might not have to worry about bedside tables, I’m quite sure there would be something else.