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I COULD WRITE ABOUT CHRISTMAS MARKETS, BUT HAVE DECIDED ON LAUNDRY, INSTEAD and HORSEMEAT

YEAH, I know…..it’s that time of year that everyone visits the fabulous Christmas markets in Salzburg Austria, Lille, France, Nuremburg Germany, La Defense, Paris, Alsace-Lorraine (She just won MISS FRANCE, btw) but

I’m not talking about these, –  yet.  This is a diary.  And today it consisted of none of the above, but it did consist of LAUNDRY and IRONING and as much as I’ve turned most of you OFF, I’m going to write about it.  How interesting is that I decided to stay home today and do mundane chores, eh?  But, it was the LOUVRE the other day, so hey, why not?   Besides, TUESDAYS are our “SATURDAY” after a marathon of working with business English adults etc and so if you  are to look your best, SOMEONE (moi) has got to do the LAUNDRY.

First, there are no dryers here so your clothes hang wet.  But every bathroom has a TOWEL DRYER so you can put your clothes on this huge thing and they’re dry in about 5 mintues.  No kidding.  And if you hang the rest to dry on the suspended racks across the bathtub, then they’ll dry in a few hours.  It’s amazing how these tight little spaces are conducive to wet clothes  or wet shoes from the rain, drying very fast.

Today David did not know how to get into the Washing Machine.  I just looked at him like ‘How did you not know this?’  The owners had explained once how to do this with a very large screw driver because the proper handle is missing and I can imagine it’s just not worth the time or the money to replace this part.  So, I washed the clothes, (2 hours here in France for a wash) – I know it can be shorter but haven’t figured out how to make it shorter thus far……opened the door and saw from the cup dispenser that the soap had not “projected” into the washer thus, they had not been washed.  Hmmmm.  Another 2 hours.  Never mind, so I repeated and this time tossed the large soap tablet right into the washer on top of the clothes.  I had always done this before, but thought, wow, such a cute little soap dispenser thingy, I’ll use that this time.  Wrong idea.

Ironing was the next thing so I struggle with the humongous euro-ironing board and got it out into the living room right in front of the TV, POIROT (in French) on at the time,  and then set up the HUMONGOUS steam iron contraption that is almost heavier than the ironing board.  It has a large receptacle that holds distilled water and a cord coming out of that into the iron, so in essence you are ironing with a very professional steam iron that is pretty amazing.  However, I was out of distilled water and the owners told me to use “Distillee eau” ONLY  for the “repasser” (iron).  Okay.

So, I get my jeans,  shirt and boots on and head out in the cold.  For DISTILLED eau.  The first place I go is the PHARMACY as they have all sorts of lovely,  very expensive items for your baby’s buns, baby’s body, baby’s drinking habits, then also for a woman’s face,  arms, legs, your bowels, anything. I thought that because of the above they might have distilled water.  Wrong.  Non!

But!   “You can find it at the local Auchan,” she says.  Well, Moi  – was just there yesterday and it’s a little far by bus and so I went home to iron with out any water.

That’s okay. The iron works without the water as long as you don’t hit that little button.

The freshly ironed clothes came out looking like NEW!  Now I know this is not the slightest of interest or importantance to most of you, but after 2 months of washing clothes and having no means at all to iron them and wearing them mostly ugly wrinkled, it was joy to my soul to have beautiful crisped ironed clothes now, my heart tells you true.

The thing is, that when the steam works next time, it’s going to be even more fun and a lot better looking, cause I’ve tried it once. Amazing contraption.

When the clothes were finished (for the 2nd time) in the washer I had to show my husband how to use the really large screw driver to catch the latch and open the little door.  I said to him, “ I could be laying in a hospital somewhere and you would have these wet clothes sitting in here for weeks on end and unable to get them out of the washer because you didn’t listen to the instructions of the Madame on how to open this door!”    😉

They smelled so divine.  LIke I said, since there are no dryers ( to speak of) in France,  there are no BOUNCE sheets.  Last night I bought (what I thought was) fabric softener because once again I didn’t understand the words, but I SMELLED it and it indeed smelled like Fabric Softener.  This would make me again very happy because it’s important for clothes to smell nice.  So, in the washer it went and out came the freshest lavender smelling clothes and  why is this so important?  BECAUSE,  I have washed in strange washers since I’ve been here and dried a lot of our clothes to where they looked liked they had come out of the garbage.  Those little “niceties “ that we take for granted in America are HUGE in a country that minimizes, economizes, saves, does without.  We are a very very clean society in America.   It takes a lot of money to be so clean.  I understand exactly where the French are coming from in this case, because all of this takes money, energy, and is a “luxury” where luxury is not in their vocabulary when it comes to CLEANING .   Luxury goods, on the other hand – is a whole other animal.

While all the above was being accomplished I had simmering on the stove my first “meat  dinner”  in TWO months, as I found GROUND beef in the frozen section at Auchan, that was actually affordable.  I know, I said we were becoming vegetarians, but from the amount of beef compared to the cut up veggies in this dish – it was almost vegetarian.  But as the funny looking squiggly beef things were being cooked I thought that they not only looked strange but smelled strange. “WHAT IS THIS?”  I said to myself.  “Horse meat?”  Ahhh, but Non!

It was pure beef, now that I’ve tasted it, but at first……….it was a question.

Another thing that is most important here is the saving of all the things you cut up.  Well, almost.  You know how most of us take those little stems out of the beautiful mushroom caps and toss them to the garbage or (in my case- the COMPOSTER?)  Well, you USE all those stems in France.  Everything is tres cher and you do not waste a thing.  It is a good practice – a good lesson.

The spagetti meat sauce came out beautifully with all the fresh veggies added, the shallots, garlic, teeny diced celery, carrots, peppers, fresh tomatoes.  I threw it over some curly pasta, added some basil pesto to top, then some wholegrain French bread with D’Isgney butter………. a little bit of heaven…..all in a days work in “Marti’s Laundry”. Oooooh, isn’t there a famous restaurant in California called the FRENCH LAUNDRY?!?!  I think I’m on to something!  🙂

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