Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Universe

It's been a long time since my last post. I told you I was going to be busy this week and I have been, not only with the Paris Reunion but also dealing with every fucking little fuckery that keeps occurring in my Cinderella Room- things exploding/breaking/emmitting blue sparks. The Universe is trying to tell me that I'm not meant to live in a Parisian apartment building, with water and electricity and gas- The Universe seems to be telling me that I belong under a bush, on the edge of a muddy field, in Wales.

I suppose it all started five weeks ago when my lightbulb went. As I had already broken my beside table lamp, I thought I was doomed to live in darkness forever, but then I was struck by a bolt of Genius and invented the Collander Light. My space age kitchen appliance-come-lighting apparatus served me well for a couple of weeks, until that bulb blew as well... I don't know why I have such an aversion to buying lightbulbs, but I'd rather live my life in the flickering shadow of two tealights than spend an hour in a hardware shop, agonizing over which is the right bulb to buy. Luckily, I found a spare bulb for my Collander Light in the Magic Cupboard next to my wardbrobe. I only discovered the Magic Cupboard about a month ago, before that I thought it was just a fusebox, but it's so much more- it sometimes provides me with Useful Items, such as matches, Fabreeze and pens, at the exact moment I need them, conjuring them out of thin air when I'm not looking!

Anyway, I had my Collander Light and All Was Well. Until one day I looked up from my book to see grey smoke curling slowly towards the ceiling... the collander had slipped off the special Collander Supporter I had fashioned from a metal tealight holder and it was touching the hot light bulb. There was an ugly, oozing hole in my collander and there were lumps of burning plastic glued to the lightbulb. I manged to salvage the collander and luckily the lightbulb still worked, but now it meant that whenever I fancied a bit of light, I had to suffer the smell of burning plastic in my nostrils and also, without the plastic collander acting as lampshade, the Collander Light was literally just a very bright, bare lightbulb positioned at eye level... There were times when I couldn't read my book because of all the white spots dancing about in front of my eyes.

Then I had a Horrible Nightmare with my shower. It's been draining really slowly recently, but I just kind of ignored it... Until last Friday, when I was running late to meet the girls, I got out of the shower and saw that the soapy water sloshing around my feet had finally gone and done what it has been threatening to do for weeks- it had overspilled into my bedroom. I had to rush around picking up shoes and books and extension plugs whilst struggling to hold my towel in place.* My shower drain had decided that it wasn't going to Swallow anymore, so I spent the evening scooping big panfuls of water out of my shallow showerbase.

But although I had no shower, everything else in my room was ok. Although... there was a Horrible Moment when I stood on my phone charger one night, which was plugged into an extension, and all the electricity went off in my room. Thankfully the fuse had just blown, and when I pressed the big green button in my fusebox, everything came back on again, apart from one plug socket which is now fucked forever, it would seem.

So, shower fucked, electricity fucked (whenever I plug something in, white or blue sparks spit at me) and then...

...drum roll please... Collander(less) Light decided to stage-dive to it's untimely death. The lightbulb and it's weird, red plastic holder (don't ask me how it works or what it was originally for, I just found it in the Magic Cupboard one day) literally leapt off the shelf and into the air for No Reason. It landed a few metres away, in the annoying gap between my bed and the wall, and everything went dark. That bulb was dead before it hit the ground.

I decided to stay at Kayt's for a while...

Last weekend I was really busy working at the restaurant and trying to fit in seeing the Paris Reunion Girls, so there was no time for me to sort out my shower or light problem. I took to putting my make-up on by candlelight and not washing very often, two things that actually complement each other rather well. But on Sunday night I knew I couldn't face another week living like a squatter, plus Amy would be staying at mine every night this week, as she is filling in for Emma's nanny job while she's on holiday.

It was time to be a Grown Up and sort out my Household Issues.

I went to the supermarket. I bought two bulbs. I bought a bottle of drain cleaner. I took them home. Miraculously, the bulbs fitted in my light (the Big Light- no more melting, blinding Collander Lamps for me), then I poured the drain cleaner down my drain, opened the window and left my Cinderella Room for the night.

The next day I went home to discover that the drain cleaner hadn't worked. Everyone told me to put more down there and leave it for a bit longer, so I did as they advised and finally, on Tuesday morning, I tested the shower to see if the water went down the plug properly and it did! It had worked!! Yey! I had light and a shower!

On Tuesday night, me and Amy had our tea at Kayt's and then came back to mine, because it's closer to where we both work. I turned on the shower to show Amy how well the drain cleaner had worked. She agreed it was a Miraculous Thing. Then I tried to turn the shower off, but no, no- not so fast, bitch.

The hot tap has always been stiff and there's been many a Horrible Moment where I think I can't do it, but then I always manage it in the end. Well not this time. Me and Amy both had a go and it was definitely stuck. We put the shower head in my sink and I climbed in to the shower, putting my full weight behind a massive, tightly-gripped twist. It turned. And then... It just kept on turning.

'Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' it went, wizzing round and round, with no friction to slow it down, loving it's newly-found freedom as me and Amy stood with our mouths hanging open, not quite ready to believe that it was almost midnight and my shower was broken and we had no idea what to do about it.

"Ring Kayt." Amy said.

Kayt told me to ring the mum of my au pair family.

"Can you explain in French?" she said sleepily, after I had gabbled on at her for about five minutes.

I tried to explain as best I could in French and her response was "Ask your neighbours."

Thanks, goodnight. Cheers.

It was too late to knock on for the gardienne and all my neighbours are old ladies who leave me nasty notes about banging the doors after 8pm...

Me and Amy stood in my room, watching the boiling hot water raining down the sink, a feeling of horror creeping over us like a shadow...

I heard movement in the corridor, so I threw the door open and saw the Barvarian lady from next door carrying a bundle of washing. I explained to her what had happened and asked her if she knew how to turn the water supply off. She came into my room and looked around, but said it was different to her room. Then I spotted a small metal tap next to the boiler and pointed it out to her. She tried to turn it but said it was too stiff. I had a go as well and it was impossible to turn- I was starting to wonder if it was a tap for the gas or something. I tried one last time with a tea towel for extra friction and THANKFULLY it worked. The water stopped coming. Phew.

The next day the au pair mum sent someone round to fix it and he replaced both the taps. I've not actually seen the mum yet, I'm going to work soon so we'll see if she's horrible to me about it or not.

For fuck's sake. I've spent nearly two hours writing this blog post, because my laptop is being sooooo slow. It's on it's last legs. Everything I own is broken or breaking.

Sorry to have ranted on about absolutely nothing, I know I don't have any real problems and I'm not complaining, honestly. I've got lots more to say but must be getting off now, so will write another blog post tomorrow.

Oh, before I go, I have a little story to share...

Kayt went to the swimming pool this week with the kids she works with and she got chatting to a Scottish au pair. Kayt said "Have you seen that blog-" meaning What Parisiens Like, which has now been turned into a book that someone bought for Kayt, so she's raving about it to everyone, but before she could finish her sentence the Scottish au pair said:

"Left Bank Manc?"

Ha! That has really cheered me up. Recently I've been feeling as if my blog is really shit and nobody reads it, but Scottish Au Pair said her and all her friends read it. She even said to Kayt "Are you kayt with a 'y'?"

So thank you Scottish Au Pair, keep reading please.

I promise I won't leave it eight days without a new blog post again!

*There was nobody else in the room, but I couldn't let the towel go, because in a small room full of so many mirrors, I couldn't risk accidentally catching a glimpse of myself as I darted around, panicking and dripping water everywhere... I was so panicked already that the added distress of seeing a naked, fretting wet person, even if that person was myself, would have tipped me over the edge.


  1. That last bit made me laugh for about 30 seconds non stop!

    1. I guess naked, fretting wet people are kind of funny, as well as distressing... Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. Oh dear, hope that's the end of things functioning. Also, this is going to sound hugely patronising, but do you clean the hair out of your drain regularly? When I moved into my new flat, everything was more-or-less squeaky clean, but obviously the former inhabitant hadn't clocked on to the whole "cleaning the drain trap" bit and the whole thing was absolutely choked with someone else's hair. Just about gagged...

    1. Ha I actually wasn't cleaning out the hair, I mean I didn't let it sit on top of the plug hole like a nest, but I never really got right in there and 'investigated'. I am definitely going to start doing it regularly now, lesson learnt!

  3. End of things NOT functioning!

  4. This is about to happen to my shower drain too... I try to clean the trap on mine but its all clogged up with foul gunge from god knows how many au pairs before me. So what's french drain cleaner called then? Someone has solved the mystery! My french is terrible and I can never find it! Then again I couldn't even find the flour last week. And there are far too many weird men hanging out in supermarkets waiting to pounce on confused-looking au pairs so I never like hunt for too long.

    I love your blog by the way. It helps to make me feel a little less inept at life. Things like confusing stairs and improvised collander lightshades always seem to happen to me. I am not alone!

    1. Draincleaner is called 'destop soude' in French. Don't ask me why. Thanks for commenting, I'm glad you enjoy my blog, I know what you mean about supermarkets, but real markets ar even scarier aren't they? All those red-blooded males, trying to sell you whole rabbits with the fluffy little tails still attached...

  5. Yay! So, I'm not the only one with shower issues! I complain about the water not draining and all she tells me is that it's the way the pipes are. They don't angle downwards, instead it's more of like a steep hill going down (so I'm told) -- if that makes sense?

    I recently suffered from emitting blue sparks from my lightbulb. What a fucking shock.

    And awww for you. I woulda had a massive grin on my face for days on end knowing that someone recognized my blog. I know that must've brightened up your day :-)

    1. Hey thanks for commenting, leave the link to your blog in a comment if you like, I would love to read it!

  6. Hey! Hope you're okay chick, sounds like a nightmare-ish few days! I had the same problem with the drain so I had to pull my hair and other unidentifiable gunk out of it at least once a month - it's not pleasant but it does the job! I have to point out that I did it regularly just so you know I wasn't a trampy au pair!
    That sucks about the taps. I hope P isn't mad at you, although I can't see how she could be - these things happen! You should also tell her about the blue sparks - I'm worried you're gonna electrocute yourself!
    Take care of yourself, and hopefully see you soon, Chloe xxxxxx

    1. I am going to start doing it regularly, it's fine now, thank god. P wasn't mad at me and someone is coming about the electricity on Friday, so hopefully I'll survive until then! Hope London is going well xx

  7. Are you really that freaked out by your own body? Yep, you're crazy, but us loyal readers like you just the way you are. - AW

    1. HA! I'm not crazy... maybe a little bit. My own body doesn't freak me out, but naked panicky people generally do, thanks for reading and being a loyal commenter!!