Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Le Désastre

I've had rather a stressful afternoon. I've still got a knot in my stomach and a horrible, creeping fear that I've Fucked Up and I'm in trouble. I STUPIDLY let slip to the mum of the au pair family that I wasn't going to Amsterdam this weekend, I asked her for the time off ages ago. We were all going to drive there and stay in a hostel, as tomorrow and Friday are bank holidays in France, so it's a four day weekend. But we didn't really organise anything and as it got nearer and nearer to the dates I was starting to doubt whether I could afford a weekend in Amsterdam, when I haven't even booked my flights to Ibiza yet. Also I forgot to book the time off work at the restaurant, so in the end I decided not to go and then Kayt, Olivia and Julia decided not to go either.

Anyway, the au pair family knew for weeks that I was going to Amsterdam and they had planned to go to their country house for the long weekend. But last week the mum asked me about my Amsterdam plans and like an IDIOT I just told her the truth, telling her straight away that I wasn't going anymore, without thinking before I spoke. The mum was really surprised and kept saying "You rather work than see your friends." which I thought was a bit weird, but I guess nobody in the family has to work so they don't understand Work Ethic and Obligations etc. (I know I'm a bit of a numpty but I always show up for work and stuff.)

Then on Monday the mum asked me if I would be able to go to their country house with them. I'm working every day in the resto but I told her I'd ask, because I like to be obliging and I can't say no to anyone. To my surprise, the manager at the resto said I could go, as long as I was back to work my weekend shifts. The mum of the au pair family booked my train tickets for me, returning to Paris on Friday night and leaving at 7pm tonight.

As I'm writing this post sitting in bed and not, as I should be, on a train, you can assume I fucked up the au pair mum's plans quite spectacularly. But. It really wasn't my fault. Well, it wasn't anybody's fault.

Before I had a chance to tell anyone I was going away with the au pair family for a couple of days, Kayt sent me a text this afternoon, asking me if I wanted to go and see a film about asylum seekers living in Paris in some art house cinema somewhere (oh we're very cultured darling). I told her I was going to Normandy with the family and she said:

Can you get out of it? You have to stay in Paris. I can't tell you why.

In the end she was forced to tell me why she didn't want me to go: because Amy is coming to Paris tonight as a surprise and they've kept it a secret from me for a whole month!

I was GUTTED. If only I wasn't going away with the family, it would have been perfect because I'd have loads of time off work. Kayt told me to explain to the mum of the au pair family and offer to pay for train tickets. I Whats Apped Amy and told her I knew about the surprise and she said the same thing.

I just hate letting people down and messing up plans. I want to please everybody. At first I decided that since the au pair mum had booked my tickets and was expecting me, I should just go to the countryside, as Amy is staying until Monday and I'll still have the weekend with her.

But then I realised that I'm working six and a half hours on Saturday night and six and a half hours on Sunday day, so I wouldn't actually have a lot of time with her. And considering the mum had planned to go to the countryside without me, surely if I explained the situation... There's no harm in asking, right?

I asked Kayt to write the text in French for me so there would be no confusion and sent her something along the lines of:

I'm so, so sorry but I've just found out my cousin (not really a lie as me and Amy are really close... more of an embellishment really) is coming to Paris tonight. She didn't tell me because she wanted to surprise me. Do you really need me in the countryside? I will pay you for the train tickets.

The mum texted me back something like:

Yes I really, really need you but if your cousin is coming I can not ask you to come.

I ummed and ahhhed for about half an hour and finally decided I wouldn't enjoy myself if I stayed in Paris, because I'd feel so guilty about letting down the au pair family, so I texted the mum again saying 'Ok I will come to Normandy then, my friend has said my cousin can stay with her.'

I was really miserable but once I'd made the decision, I couldn't go back on it. This all happened while I was waiting for the little girl to finish her dance class and by the time I'd picked her up and taken her home, I was feeling slightly more optimistic about the whole thing. I'd still have all of Friday night, Saturday day and Sunday night with Amy, plus I wanted to use the opportunity of going to the countryside with the family to make a decision- should I stay another year with them? (I know that staying for another year sounds like a mad thing to even consider, but I'll explain my reasoning I've got more time.)

Anyway, the mum came home about five pm and I was panicking a bit because my train from St Lazare was at 7pm and I hadn't packed or washed my hair or anything. I jumped up to go as soon as she arrived but she said "Sorry, but I have to do something, just five more minutes."

I figured out I'd still be all right for time if I stayed an extra half an hour, which is how long I ended up staying. The mum seemed really stressed out and I could hear the dad saying irritably in the kitchen "Is it real, her reason?" It pisses me off when he speaks about me in French which he's done a couple of times, within earshot. I actually don't care if he's talking about me, just don't do it on the assumption that I won't understand because you're speaking in French; I do understand French and you're being RUDE.

When the mum said I could go, I was about to ask her who was picking me up from the train station at the other end when she started talking about plans she'd made and subsequently had to cancel, about how it was 'too bad' but it was what it was. I stared at her for a moment before realisation dawned... She thought I wasn't coming to Normandy!

"I'm coming!" I said, getting my phone out to show her the message that for some reason she hadn't received, "I felt really bad so I sent you a message to say I would come."

She looked at the message and then started swearing, pissed off all over again because she'd cancelled the train tickets. I said "I'm really sorry, see you on Monday then." before running out of the house as quick as I could.

I was freeeeee!

But the elation I expected to feel didn't come, because I felt all worried and stressed out. I hate people being angry with me, I can't stand it.

It's just too easy to get sucked in when you work so closely with a family and their kids. Logically, I shouldn't be bothered at all. All I'm making them do is take THEIR children to THEIR country house. They didn't even think I'd be coming until Monday night anyway. Pfffft. My friend (I mean, er, cousin) is coming to see me and I want to spend time with her.

It was hard going to work when Lauren was here, who left this morning by the way. I felt really sad and yesterday I was a bit sulky in the restaurant because I knew Lauren was only here for one more night and I resented spending time away from her. It was so nice to see her, I can't believe she was only here for two days. By a stroke of luck (sorry, only dickheads and Enid Blyton characters use that phrase) I wasn't on the rota to work in the resto on Monday, so we had a whole day of shopping and eating.

I finally got my new bank card you see, it's the BEST THING EVER!!

I bought some white cotton hot pants (which sound horrendous but I have been dreaming about such shorts for over a year now), some mad purple trousers (which also sound horrendous and I suspect they probably are a little bit but I LOVE them), a couple of tops and some new leggings, which were long overdue as anyone who follows me on Twitter and saw the photo of them ripped away from my thighs will know.The sad thing is, after weeks of stressing out because my bank is closed for refurbishment and they won't let me get money out in any other branch because French banks are STUPID, me and Lauren went to have a look at it on Monday and the entire bank has just moved next door temporarily, so I could have got my card three weeks ago.


Anyway the point is, I've got my bank card back. Careful, careful...

I just wanted to share my angst-ridden afternoon with you. It's over now and the family are long gong to Normandy, so I'll just try and forget about the whole thing. Until Monday. Oh God. Anyway, Amy is coming tonight and even though it's not the dramatic hands-over-the-eyes surprise everyone had planned (I don't know whether they specifically planned to do that, but they should have done because that would have been amazing), it was still a surprise to find out she is coming!

She also said she has 'the best gift' for me...

I don't want to get my hopes up.

But I have an inkling that it might be... No I can't say it. Let's wait and see.



  1. You had put your plans aside for hers, so it was just too bad she didn't get the text. It wasn't your fault - you sent the text and I'm so glad you showed it to her! As you say, poor things have to look after their own kids - well, boo hoo for them.

    1. You're right! She saw the text so it wasn't my fault... Today I saw the family and they seemed to be fine about the whole thing, so phew! Thanks for the moral support and thanks for reading! x

  2. this might make you feel better - - not sure if you've seen it already. so fucking great.

    1. Wow no I hadn't seen that! I LOVE her, thanks for the link! And thanks for commenting! x

  3. It's not your fault, you did send a text saying that you would go with them. I understand they could be upset because now their plans have changed and obviously they need a lot of help around lest they have to take care of their own children... But in all reality they should be able to handle their own children for a short period of time. Poor people do it all the time! I am looking forward to your adventures with Amy!

    1. Yeah I think it's easy to forget when you are an au pair that NORMAL people look after their own kids... I think they were fine in the end, I am going to do a huuuuge blog post about Amy's stay, stay tuned... Thanks for commenting! x