Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ring the Alarm

My friend called this evening and asked if she was interrupting. I told her I was just relaxing. I've been reading this book about King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitane. It's a good book, but long and I've been reading it every chance I get. My sister had just arrived from out of town and that means... take out. So my husband had just been sent off to procure the food and I was reading. My friend says, "no, you aren't." She assumed I was preparing for the big dinner tomorrow for 10 people (5 kids). Nope. I really was quite relaxed knowing the turkey was being brought home cooked. She, wisely, was completely organized for her group of folks to come over tomorrow. And I believed her. Last year, I understand her dinner was a great success, not just that the meal was delicious, but that she found a interesting way to keep the kids busy...gingerbread houses (one per family) to build and decorate.
After I hung up the phone with her I got nervous. You know how that happens. So I just finished baking two desserts for tomorrow. I guess I do feel better knowing that's out of the way.
My friend was not calling to raise the alarm, however. She had an important question. Apparently, the pompiers/firemen, garbage men, and letter carriers were coming by tonight (one at a time, presumably) to collect money from the good people they serve. I guess they do this once a year around the holidays. She asked how much to give all those folks. My sister, who was here, recommended 10 euro per person. My friend said she just didn't want to face these people and turned all her lights off that face the street. She and the kids huddled in the kitchen until they went away. Not because she didn't want to give them money. It's just all so awkward. It's all in French and really, how much is the correct amount? Sometimes this stuff seems overwhelming.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
9:21 PM



You can look at :

For me, I think it's too generous but this is my opinion. They are paid for their work.


# posted by Anonymous : 4:26 PM  

For the sometimes sporadic and poor service in the US (San Francisco) my DH still wants to tip the postal person at the holidays. I was surprised a couple of yrs ago to hear from a Parisian (7th arr) that yes, the French postal carriers (at least) come ringing your bell for their "holiday tip". This Parisian was not at all surprised at DH's tipping. You just added another dimension to the French cultural habits - the firemen and garbage people!

# posted by Anonymous : 7:27 PM  

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