Sunday, January 03, 2010

Just like Paris!

Baby, it's cold outside!  And the 3-bedroom farmhouse that I am renting in Virginia had a teensy little problem while I was away over Christmas. The furnace broke, and I won't bore you with the mechanical details but they're not pretty. Suffice it to say that I now find myself residing in the local Holiday Inn until the sweet adorable charming intelligent handsome heating contractors find the right part for the burner and restore toasty warmth to my below-freezing abode.

Reflecting on my 5 days of hotel-dwelling, I realized how Paris apartment living prepared me for this.

1. Space. Living in 26 square meters is No Big Deal. Granted, my Paris apartment was larger. But having  lived in a relatively small space for years, this is almost second nature.  I can pace around in my hotel room, talk on the phone, use the internet, and watch TV without getting antsy. Then I can exit quickly to forage for acceptable take-out food, do errands. Tres parisien.

2. Noisy neighbors. Ah, it's just like the good old times in Paris, where I knew exactly what my neighbors were up to. And when I cross paths with them in the hallway, being all grown-up, pretending not to acknowledge anything that I heard last night.

3. Hearing French on TV. Okay, this is a stretch. I'm watching HGTV on location in New Orleans and they are saying "parterre" "looks like Versaille" and "ooh la la magnifique." My ears perk up when I hear the TV host saying (no joke) "Polly-vous francais?" No, of course he wasn't referring to me -- he was attempting to speak French. Of course HGTV isn't quite the same caliber as Le Grand Journal. Or as much fun as those French home TV shows such as Recherche Apppartement ou Maison or C'est du Propre!

4. Riding the elevator. Yes, just like in Paris, I'm on the third floor and take the elevator to the lobby. Just like Paris, there is a lady on the ground floor who greets me and observes my comings and goings. The difference is that the hotel elevator is the size of some Parisian studettes.

5. Storage. A little closet with 8 hangers. Four bureau drawers. Just like Paris apartment living!

But there are significant differences between all-American Holiday Inn and living in a Parisian apartment. Unlike Parisian plumbing, the hotel shower is a dream. I could live in this shower.

And then, there's the ... the... the... hotel coffee.

At least they claim it's coffee.


Deja Pseu said...

#5 is why I always travel with my own coffee, at least in the States. Mon mari thinks I'm nuts, but I find most hotel coffee to be the strength of dishwater.

So sorry to hear about your heater, but glad it's fixed!

Anonymous said...

For the nearly two years, from November 2007 to July 2009, we lived in an old house in Mareil Marly without heat. For the first few months, we believed our landlords: It was the thermostat, the thermostat was replaced, then the radiators had to be bled, but the heat did not work, two radiators burst, etc. etc. etc. On top of that, our EDF bills were in the stratosphere from a furnace that was on high all the time, huffing and puffing but never putting out any of that four letter word: Heat. Our three daughters dressed for school in the morning in the kitchen with the oven on high and the oven door open. Did I mention that we were paying exorbitant rent? (No French story is worth its salt without the exorbitant rent.) Okay, long story short, on the last day of February 2008, five plumbers arrived at 7:00 a.m. in the morning and worked for about ten hours--not including a two hour lunch--to repair the furnace, the radiators, etc. Spring came and then summer, and somehow we came to believe that the five plumbers had actually restored heat, and we decided to stay on for another winter (also our children were in the local school, and we had made friends in the neighborhood, etc. and we happen to be optimistic people who have not had that much experience with evil landlords.) Here it comes: There was no heat. We wore coats, hats, gloves, and boots in the house. Going to bed was an ordeal. We slept in our clothes. Our hair froze after showers. SO we got smart. We moved--to another place not very far away. And we have heat, glorious heat. Sometimes I take off my sweater and giggle like a maniac. We have heat. In France. Amazing. Thanks for listening, Polly! Hope you are warm! With love from Patricia

Harriet said...

Good luck with your furnace! We're having unusually cold weather here in Charleston, but thankfully, we're toasty warm in our abode.

Still waiting on that list!

Ken Devine said...

I enjoyed the wit!

Jean in MN said...

I'm thankful that my 100 yr old farmhouse here in Minn. has a new furnace that works as it is below 0 today. My French mother-in-law always had the heat off to save money-only turning it on in the room she was in. BRRR. Bonne Annee, Polly.

Starman said...

Dahlink, if you like the cold, you should definitely be in Paris right now. It has been below 0C for the past three weeks. I'm looking out the window of my rather large apartment and watching it snow.

Zhu said...

I'm pretty sure getting used to the size of the average Parisian appartment is the toughest thing for North Americans. On the other side, it took me a while to get used to live in a house, in a very quiet neighborhood. It was almost scary at first.

I have never heard New Orleans' French, I have to find a sample online!

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