Thursday, February 25, 2016

When It Rains – Erich

They say, “When it rains, it pours,” and don't ask me who they is. It rained last night. That was only the beginning of one of those days. You know the kind I mean. The kind where it seems like so many things all go wrong, like they've been waiting so they could all bunch up on one day.

Statistically, I could just say, “Well, that's the Poisson Distribution. Random things tend to clump.” But it doesn't make it all better. (Now, if I could quote math instead of stats, I'm sure everything would be rosehip tea and lemon cookies. And no. I don't know why I have chosen those two items, neither of which I am likely to ingest. Particularly since I don't like tea.)

We woke up super early. Why? Well, the internet here is funny. We are so far from a city that the only internet one can get is through satellite. And it seems that in the morning, it works reasonably well. But in the afternoon and evening, you are lucky to get much bandwidth at all. Probably because you are competing with so many more subscribers in the region once they get home from school or work.

We wanted to Skype with Grandma and Grandpa. But with a six hour time difference and our need to do so in the morning here in France, it made it challenging. So we got up super early to Skype at 5h00 our time, or 23h00 the previous day their time.

Skype went fine. But we were up early and tired. And then the sky fell. Okay. Not really. But it did rain in the morning. So something fell out of the sky.

Because of the rain, one of the horses was shivery, didn't eat well, and she was clearly in a bad mood. She didn't want to be touched or even looked at. Because we were dealing with her, we didn't get one of the prep items taken care of that we needed to do for the evening feeding. (To cut the suspense, we did get her dried and walked and she is feeling much more herself now.)

Also, when there is rain in the night, that means there is a lot more poop clean up. Why? Well, the horses like to spend time at night outdoors, usually. And so their poop is way off in a pasture and need not be shoveled. But when it is cold and rainy, they spend a lot more time in the barn. And this means that the proportion of their outdoor defecation decreases, thus, indoor waste disposal needs increase.

In the middle of the day, after all the manure was hauled away, we went to Le Grotte Prehistorique du Cognace. It's a cave with ancient cave paintings. Sounds cool. We had checked the website to make sure of their hours and everything.

Unfortunately, when we got there, there was a handwritten sign on a piece of white paper that stated that from some day in November to some day in April, the site was only open, by appointment, for groups of 20 or more. All the technology available, and they didn't update the website. They just posted a sign on the ticket counter window.

Alrica said this was a lesson. We should call first. To which I replied “And hear the answering machine message in French that goes so fast there's no way we will be able to translate what it said?”

Being weak in the native tongue has a few other disadvantages. I consider myself someone who is reasonably comfortable with technology. And yes, I am getting older. I'm probably not up to date on all things. But I'm no shlub either. (I'm not sure if that is spelled shlub, schlub, or if it is a nonsense word that I made up and somehow think is a real word. Maybe the latter because spell check doesn't like either of my other choices.)

So it is embarrassing when I can't master appliances. I'm not talking about computer systems. I'm talking about appliances!

In Marrakech, we had a washing machine that sometimes would just run for hours. And you could manually stop it, but then the door wouldn't unlock and you couldn't get your clothing. You had to unplug it, turn it on, turn it off, and repeat this several times until for some reason it opened. Now, the washing machine itself didn't have words in any language on it. Just pictures. But it did tell you the brand name and model number. And we looked up a user's manual on the internet. We could have purchased the PDF of the user's manual in French had we so chosen. We did not so choose.

Here in France, if I want to use the microwave, I have to cook things in 30 second intervals. Because the only function I can figure out how to use is the “add 30 seconds” technique. And sadly, you can't boil a chicken in a microwave, even if you could figure out how to choose a time you wanted.

Why do I mention boiling chicken?

Well, the dogs normally get boiled chicken as part of their meal. And I boiled the chickens yesterday, but apparently not quite enough. So their meals were delayed. The missing prep work in the morning meant that the horses' meals were delayed. And as I type this, I am waiting on my own dinner, which, due to the delays along the line is, unsurprisingly, delayed.

Plus we are all tired and cranky. And the only silver lining I can see is that it puts me in a perfect mood to write a rather kvetching blog post. (And my spell checker likes the spelling I used for kvetching, so this time I suspect I got a real word.)

Maybe one day we will look back on this day and laugh. But, I suspect not when it rains.

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