I don’t like Mondays

“I Don’t Like Mondays” is an old song by Irish band The Boomtown Rats about the 1979 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in San Diego. My Monday wasn’t bad enough to take such measures though I’m just going to vent a bit here and then I know I’ll feel much better.

I don’t mind Mondays usually but the one last week started badly and just got worse. We had a flight back from Barcelona and wanted to get to the airport early as my beloved had received an email from BA advising the flight had been cancelled. However, checking the airport site, all seemed well but, just to be on the safe side, we wanted to be timely.

We woke at 04:00am, an ungodly hour at the best of times, and drove swiftly to the airport using Google maps on my iPad. The hire car office wasn’t open, so we dropped off the keys and the duly annotated booking paperwork in the letterbox provided and proceeded to departures where all hell appeared to have broken loose.

Our airline uses DIY labeling and printing of boarding passes. We managed to navigate the tortuous procedure but others were not so fortunate. We were soon thankfully seated eating breakfast in the lounge. We could only assume that the email had been some sort of computer glitch at BA. They’ve had a few of those recently. As we boarded the bus for the plane I reached into my bag for my iPhone to put it on “flight mode.” It wasn’t there!

I visualised what I’d done with it after I’d last used it and could clearly see myself switching off the Google route nap and putting it into its pocket in my bag. I also recalled hearing a metallic clang as I got out of the car but, at the time, had dismissed it as the seat belt springing back into place. It probably wasn’t. It was more likely my phone falling from my bag and into the well of the passenger seat. I tried ringing the hire car company while on the bus but the office was still closed.

I contacted the company as soon as we landed, after successfully navigating their answering system. Press the wrong button at your peril! I was advised by the call centre that they’d email the hire car office in the airport and get back to me shortly. Two calls later in the day and I’d been twice advised that the procedure was to get back in touch with the customer within the hour.

It was now well past any deadline so I decided to cancel my phone which you can only do on-line but there was a problem with the system and, despite my best efforts, nothing happened. I tried ringing Orange which has an automatic answering system whose main goal is to prevent you talking to any humans and I was quickly going round and round in circles, orange ones.

My beloved sensing I was on the edge of a precipice kindly suggested dinner out. A large glass of chilled rose, a generous salad and I was feeling much better. Still no word from the hire car company but my beloved had received confirmation of my line cancellation. An early night followed as we were off to Amsterdam the following morning. I decided to email the hire car company in my very best Spanish. Twice. Still no reply.

My phone is insured so I can get a replacement but I need the hire car company to confirm they can’t find it. Given that I know where I misplaced it, if they can’t find it, has it been stolen? In which case, I’ll need to contact the Spanish police, report the theft and get a reference number for it.

Finally, today I sent an email of complaint to Avis HQ and received an automated response – progress. I have peered into my crystal ball and I foresee a possibly frustrating trip to the Orange shop. Start praying for me now!

I’m not on holiday, I’m working!

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.