Friday, October 11, 2013

T Minus One: Full-Bore Panic

Dang, where did all this crap come from? And why can't I find what I'm looking for?
In one week, early in the morning (well, they said 8am, which is plenty early for me) a truckload of movers from Marseille will descend on me and start packing everything I've asked them to pack. Then they'll leave, and before long the last twenty years of my life will be on a container ship bound to Houston, to arrive in a truck pulling up at an as-yet-unrented residence in Austin in six to eight weeks.

But, of course, it's not that simple. I have to fill out customs forms (fairly simple) and deal with insurance (not at all simple). I don''t know why I don't speak insurance. For a year once upon a time I paid a lot of money for some expat health insurance that I never again dealt with. I now realize I could have had my teeth looked at and had a general physical, all courtesy of the fine German health system (which isn't as good as the French one, but hey, I was in Germany). But no, I had a card in my wallet, and that was it. And I'm going to have to deal with it again once I get back to the States. But still, these forms sit and stare me in the face and will have to be dealt with. And will be.

A guy is coming over later this afternoon to take a bunch of books I've culled, as well as a lot of CDs I've burned (I have the original music on a hard drive, and now that La Poste can deliver again -- see below -- I'll have a clone of that drive with me so I can access all that music again). He told me yesterday as we were setting up the rendezvous that he's moved 30 times all over the world. I may well seek his sage advice. He kept repeating, "Just stay calm and don't panic." Which was good, since that's what I spent a lot of yesterday doing.

As I mentioned, EP brought over some moving boxes his mom had picked up at work. I filled one of them with CDs, lifted it onto a table, and one of the handles broke. This seemingly simple accident paralyzed me for several hours. There are some CDs I have to pack so that the movers can get to the rest of them. Seriously. And this was most of them. And now the box was foutou. occurred to me later, as another friend was over looking over household stuff she might want, the movers aren't going to use those handles. They hump the boxes onto their shoulders and go. And maybe they won't pack the boxes so full and use peanuts or bubble wrap to fill out the rest of the volume.

Or so I tell myself.

I still have to arrange to have the electricity and phone cut off, do a load of laundry, and deal with a bunch of appointments. A young woman I know here who has a band was interested in a keyboard I bought in Germany and haven't unpacked since I've been here, so she came over with three of her friends, and it was like a load of beneficial locusts. I found one in my kitchen, entranced by my funky dining table. "Are you getting rid of...this?" she asked. Uh, yeah. "Oh! I want it!" And she shall have it. They all found stuff they wanted. They're making up a list of stuff they want and will give it to me on Monday. They'll be back on Sunday the 20th. It was going to be the 19th, but they're going skydiving that day. So actually, the ones who survive will be here on the 20th. I hope one of the survivors is the one who wanted the table.

Oh, and what I said about La Poste? For the past three weeks, the RF chip that opened the front door of The Slum hasn't worked. Mme. Merde's next-door neighbor (who professes not to hear her tirades and bellowing) knocked on all our doors and told us, and reported that she'd told the managment company. Three weeks ago. The only way out was to push the button, as usual, but unless the door was blocked by a piece of paper or other wedge (which, most of the time, it was, but not at night), you had to throw a body-block at it to get it to open. Which Mme. Merde's kids can't do. Doorbells would go off, meaning someone wanted in, and, since my phone/buzzer thingy hasn't worked in two years, I'd trudge downstairs to let them in. Two flights down, two flights back up. Good exercise. I got an e-mail yesterday that said it was being fixed today. Which I'll believe when I see it's happened. For this I pay almost a grand a month?

And there are other niggling details: just as I have to print out a bunch of documents -- and with only a week left to own this printer, which I hope someone wants to buy off of me, since I just discovered it cost €300 or so -- the black toner absolutely and definitively dropped dead. No problem: the FNAC multi-media store has tons of printer supplies. But...not for a Samsung.

Won't someone give me a good home? I'll have new toner!

EP, decoder of all things tech, tells me that short of getting into a car and going to Office Depot, I'm screwed, which means I can't have it today, but he's taking care of it. (Oh, and add this to the list of expenditures I'll have to make back in the US...)

Meanwhile, there are as-yet-unpacked boxes from the Berlin move whose contents must be unified today so I can clear some room for the movers (and psychological space for me), and the doctor to see one last time to get my prescriptions filled (but can't call her just yet because she's out to lunch) and the mailing address to change (and just how does one do that?) and I just discovered that that portable hard drive to clone my other one is supposed to be delivered on the last day I'm here, so I'm not quite sure what to do about that, and what'll I do with all this stuff I was going to give the charity if they don't want it and why did I find a bag with a Canadian $5 bill in it and a defunct watch and an Extra Point (from my old supermarket in Berlin, the means with which I bought many a fine piece of cookware and some very nice wine glasses -- but there's no Extra in France!) and what other goodies are lurking here from my past and which of them will I need but forget and

Wait. My doctor's having lunch? I'm going to get some, too. I'm going to live through this and I'm not going to panic and it's going to work out fine.

I just wish I could push the fast forward button on next week and wake up on the train to Paris.


  1. Internet cafes always have printers. You just go over with what you need printed on a USB stick. Always cheaper than chain office stores too.

  2. A meal! A meal. That is always the short term solution! (I have too much work to do so I'm going to go buy some milk. That's my version today.)

  3. Ed

    I'm in UK 15 - 20 October so we can't have last beer..

    Bon voyage and perhaps à bientôt

    Bonne chance in the colonies



Site Meter