Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Minor details

Lest anyone thinks our plan to drop everything, pack a back pack, some books and a few toys and head to France for a year is some kind of a fairy tale, let me offer some details.

I'm not generally a detail person. Many wives/mothers would have already grilled their husbands about the particulars of their impending new living quarters long before they put their own home up for rent.

As it stands now, we're planning to live in the France house as it's being renovated. The fact that there are two buildings, the main house and an outbuilding that wants to be transformed into a guest house (or caretakers cottage, as I like to call it) will make this feasible.

All I've known up until now is that the main house is "rough but habitable." I also know that, of the two bedrooms, one of them requires going outside of the house and climbing some exterior stairs for access. Quirky, but fun. Well that's how I'm choosing to look at it for now.

It only recently occurred to me to ask Ian to provide some more pertinent details about our living arrangements in France, the kitchen in particular.

"I suppose it would be silly of me to imagine there will be a dishwasher in the kitchen," I said one evening as I happily stuffed our super-efficient Maytag with another day's worth of dishes.

"No there's no dishwasher," he answered. "But I'm pretty sure there's a sink."

"Pretty sure there's a sink?" I repeated.

"Well there's got to be running water in the kitchen because that's where the shower is."

"The shower's in the kitchen?" I repeated.

Then, a few days later, while at a dinner party at the neighbors', I learned a bit more.

"Is Betsy going to have to go outside and pump water from a well, then heat it up on the woodstove to bathe the kids and do the dishes?" our neighbor joked.

"No," Ian laughed. "There should be hot water."

"Should be hot water?" I repeated.

At that point, I reminded myself, and everyone in the room, that there will most certainly be plenty of good wine. And it will be cheap.

For whole other kind of conversation about dishwashers, click here.


Joy said...

Betsy, you crack me up! I can't imagine being unconcerned with every last detail so bravo to you for jumping in with both feet. I'm sure your family will have an adventure whatever the circumstances of the shower-filled kitchen.

LisaTaz said...

Betsy, I totally admire your adventurous spirit! My sister lives in southern Chile in the country with no electricity and only sporadic running water. I love to visit, but I couldn't live there (especially with kids!). Your family will look back on this adventure for the rest of your lives. Enjoy yourselves and try not to stress about the little (or maybe not so little) stuff!


Emily said...

What an adventure! How lucky are you guys to be able to do this? I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good, reliable renter! And mum's the word, I promise!

Clare said...

Sounds like you might need a lot of that good, cheap wine! :) What about school for the girls - did you know that in France kids start school at 2 or 3? My Elliot goes 4 mornings a week (no school on Wednesdays), and he will be 3 in February. Might be a good opportunity to meet other people...
Oh, and there's also the good cheese!

Clare xo

tdlep said...

The adventure and camaraderie with your family will likely far outweigh these initial upstart unknowns and headaches. Inevitably, some things may be unsettling at first, but think of it as just part of the whole experience. I hope you will be writing about your observations and insights because I would love to read about it. Best wishes to you all on your new journey!

Jolyn said...

Oh, yes, it will be quaint, it will have character, and you will need wine!

Betsy said...

So many of you have blogger blogs which I cannot, for the life of me, comment on. What is that all about? Anyone know? It's truly frustrating.

Brooke Groelle said...

Betsy - you are such a TROOPER!! Good for you ;) It will make you appreciate all of our modern conveniences that much MORE when you return! And just think, you will have so many other cool things to appreciate while you are there. Good food, cheese, culture, beautiful scenery and like you mentioned WINE!!!!!

Alevin and Company said...

If the shower is in the kitchen, where is the toilet? Or dare I ask. You will be urban camping. It will be an adventure for sure. Thank God for the wine!

mooserbeans said...

You are so much braver than me. I am too type A for any kind of adverture. You should see me pack for a vacation. It's ridiculous. Think of all of the blogging you can do. Could be great book material if you are so inclined. Speaking of blogging; there should be internet access, right? We would miss hearing from you.

Kim Moldofsky said...

Again, wow. I can't wait to read about your adventures!

Juliana said...

At least he is pretty sure... right?

I'm sure you'll be fine! But it might be nice to find out what you should be expecting before you actually go!!

Wish I could pack up and move to a foreign country (if I could I would chose Germany too, its the only language I ever learnt at school!)

Ali said...

just think that you'll get the chance to be a little more like Caroline Ingalls than you ever imagined. Can't wait to hear about it! Also, back to the Obama thing, there is a wonderful post in the NYT with beautiful drawings you must look at.

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Betsy, I think you meant that you're glad there's not those crazy "billboards in FRANCE". Screw Vermont.

And I officially hate you. Because your life is far more exciting than mine is.

I take it back. I love you. I want a free place to stay when I come out there for my 40th. Let me know when the hot water is flowing, baby! I love you, but not enough to bathe in cold.

Unless you have wine.

I'm losing my mind.

good bye.

Betsy said...

OH Andrea, aren't we all losing our minds. Don't hate me cuz I'm crazy. Honestly, "exciting" is a relative term. Some people find driving on the LA freeway exciting! And you get to do that regularly. No?

Elllie said...

Wow! this will make an exciting blog. My mother tongue is french (i'm from Quebec) and I would feel quite a cultural shock in France. Expect an uncomfortable but short winter. The old approach was to ''tough it out'' (and not spend any money). I do recommend you find an Assimil book to start learning french. And something for the girls, too; my girls spend the summer in Italy and do not speak a word of italian yet (''nutella'' doesn't count)

Kingsmom said...

At least the shower is inside!

Please keep us posted.

9ndhouse- Katie said...

Oh, Wow!! and I'm worried about moving to Wichita!!! You are so wonderful to be so wonderful about this France house! You must truly be an artist :-) and I can't wait to read more of your Grand Adventure! Hugs to you and your sweet family!

-alex said...

I hear you on the minor details. We moved back to Japan a year and a half ago. Our company apartment had no running hot water, an overabundance of mosquitoes and a mildew problem. We moved to a nice new condo and two weeks ago, I got a dishwasher! (This was after a year of strep throat, flu, noro virus, herpangina, and multiple colds. Nothing sanitizes dishes quite like a dishwasher.) Good luck with the adventure and I envy your access to good wine!