Here Again

A photo from Paris from a few years ago. I especially like the light. It was taken from the metro as it crossed the Seine. No photos from AZ at the moment.

I am back in Scottsdale with my Mom after a quick trip to los Angeles. It is back up to 110 degrees or so every day which just kills my spirit and I don’t get outside to take photos. My only excursion is in the car to drive to the mall to walk and I often make a stop at the grocery store on the way home. Mom’s doctor wanted to do two procedures on Mom but she only, reluctantly, agreed to one-the subcutaneous Loop Heart Monitor, which keeps track of her heart 24/7. Once a day the whole record is sent in via the Internet to the doctor’s office where they check for various things. If she should have another episode, they can see if it was caused by her heart. She is one of many who have atrial fibrillation where the heart beats irregularly which is the leading cause of strokes. It was a quick procedure done in the hospital. We were almost ready to be checked out when a nurse ran by as the patient next to us coded and suddenly there were twenty people in the room trying to bring him back. We don’t know if he made it or not. He was intubated and being helped to breath when they took him out of the room. Mom can’t walk well but she sure looked healthy compared to him. She told me she doesn’t want me to leave. I did point out to her that I have a life in France to return to-and believe me, I am very ready to return. I think she will hate being alone again but I have found an agency which will send someone to check on her once a day and do various things for her. Progress.

Mom and I were both born in Houston, Texas so watch the news about the hurricane very avidly. I have a cousin who still lives there. I wrote the day before the hurricane was due to land and asked if he was leaving but he said no and that, in fact, his wife was getting her nails done. The next day he said they had very little rain and that what was being shown on the news was “fake news”. The next day I saw photos of his pool which had turned green and was overflowing and what he called a lake in front of his house but he still wasn’t leaving. The day after that I called and he said his son was coming in a boat to get them and that there was two feet of water in his house. Both of his cars are destroyed. He headed back a few days later with his son and friends to start ripping out walls and start the repair. He had flood insurance for 22 years and finally stopped it thinking it was a waste of time and money. In the meantime, in Dallas, my son and daughter can’t get gas. There is sort of a panic run on gas stations as everyone is afraid there won’t be any left due to the damage to the suppliers in Houston.

I’m looking forward to seeing Notre Dame again.

J’ai Chaud

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View of a wheat field near our village with rolls of hay waiting to be used when winter arrives.

Along with America, Provence is now hot. We had a cold May, a cool June, July was warmer with some cool days and, now, August has arrived and brought hot temperatures along with it. I usually don’t mind. Our house is really well insulated and in the mornings we open the sliding glass doors to let in the cool temperatures-it gets into the 60’s at night-turn on a ceiling fan and it is very comfortable until two in the afternoon or so when we close the shutters part way, close the doors and turn on the air conditioning until the sun goes behind a nearby mountain about eight.

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Of course there is always something to spoil things. About a week ago we got into our car and the air conditioner was blowing hot air. This being August when most of France is on vacation, we couldn’t get our car into a place to have it looked at for a week. So we used what my son calls “red neck air conditioning” and rolled down the windows. It’s not too bad that way, not miserable, unless the car has been sitting in the sun in a parking lot somewhere, but still. We took the car in finally to a dealership and sat in their unairconditioned waiting room for well over an hour. By then it was almost 100 degrees outside. I could see air conditioning units in various places around the place but they weren’t turning them on. There was a fan that they finally plugged in which helped some and I glugged down a Coke which I haven’t had in years to try and cool down. When I lived in the States I remembered that almost always, when there is a problem with the air conditioner, it is usually the compressor which, in other words, means big bucks to fix. It turned out that this was what was wrong with our car. Did they have the parts needed there? Of course not. Could they find the parts in Aix, Marseilles or even Paris? No. They had to be ordered from the maufacturer in Germany. We were told it was rare to need a compressor which I find hard to believe but, whatever. So now we wait for over a week before we can go back.

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At least we can go back home and get in our swimming pool, right? Wrong. We have slowly been loosing tiles and Maurice, in a fit of perfectionism, between company visiting, had to empty the pool so he could reglue to missing tile-the whole surface is covered in these small blue tiles-then regrout and much as he could. His obsession, of course, means work for me as well as I was out there helping with the part where you take a wet sponge and wipe off the excess grout. In the process, I now have scabs on my finger tips. We had to get up at 6 AM two mornings in a row to escape the heat and work six hours or so until the pool felt like an oven. Now he is letting the pool sit for a few days for everything to dry well before refilling it with water.
We are so spoiled with our air conditioned cars and swimming pools. I remember not having it, especially when I think about a trip as a child in an unairconditioned car from New Mexico to Houston, Texas to visit my grandmother. All she had were fans in each room. Our house in our home town must have been very hot too-but I don’t think any place can be as hot as Houston- but I don’t remember it being so.

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So I plan to take it easy and stay indoors as much as possible. By the way, when you are hot and want to say so in French always say “J’ai chaud” which means, to me anyway, “I have hot”. Don’t say, “Je suis chaud” which means I am hot in a, well, slutty way. Don’t ask me how I know this.