Monday, January 31, 2005

A day in the life

Lest you think my life is completely glamorous and filled with non-stop adventure, there are plenty of days like today. Shopping is virtually a daily requirement and of course there are many other errands. Today I finally decided to go to get a copy made of our cave/basement key as requested by the landlord. Given the size and age of the key, you don't just pop into any minit-key shop and wait for them to make it. We have been to probably twenty places and finally was directed to store that doubles as a metal work shop. Remembering that the store opens at 10:00am I resolved that today, after four months of this and that, I would get the stupid key made. How did I know it was open at 10:00am? I'd ALREADY been there once at 2:00pm but it was closed for lunch until 4:00pm. Now it's not exactly in the neighborhood but I had time, so I hiked down there. Don't you hate the feeling as you are walking down the street toward the store and it looks dark. Hmmm, is it because the sun is shining outside? No. Maybe they are late opening up? No. Hmmm ... lights really are off because the store. is. closed. on. Mondays. Ugh. Sometimes the craziness of being open 24 hours a day 7 days a week like in the US is appealing.

So I walked home. I'm told when I move back to the US, one of the things I'll miss most is walking everywhere. I don't remember walking much when I was growing up. We'd take the car pretty much everywhere we needed to go. In Paris, it's the opposite. I walk everywhere possible, only taking the car when necessary.

Having said this, I must admit, I do miss the car for grocery shopping -- which was next on my list of tasks. People ask me why my daughter still uses her stroller. Here is the answer:

I finished up and had about five minutes at home before I had to pick up the kids from school. So what did I do in those five minutes? I called my husband and told him it was his problem to get the cave key made.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:12 PM



I love the photo! I do miss my stroller, which I also used as a shopping cart, frequently loading so much stuff onto the handles that it tipped over, baby and all.

# posted by Lisa : 11:25 PM  

Yes, strollers are multifunctional (I used to use ours for the laundromat.) Well I guess you won't have to worry about being blocked on the street and it's definitely more manueverable than the Smart car. And, you can keep it closer to you at all times, fits on narrow sidewalks, no emissions, no gas to buy. A very good use.

Hope you get the cave key made soon w/o more frustration.
Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 12:07 AM  

Oh I remember those days shopping with the stroller!! As my boys are 20 months apart, I had a double stroller - therefore could fit more groceries.

# posted by Pat : 12:08 AM  

Hysterical photo!! I still remember those days too. Strangely I miss them---excecpt of course when it's raining! When it's pissing down rain here I often think---how the hell did I do that in Paris???

# posted by Anonymous : 1:31 AM  

LOL! I had the best jogging stroller for shopping with. It had bike size wheels and tons of space....ahhh the old times.

# posted by BohemianMama : 4:32 AM  

Since I am not working, I am often out attempting to do my errands in the middle of the day. That, also, happens to be the time when the bakery and other smaller shops close for "lunch." Regardless of how many times I make the mistake, I can't seem to remember it the next time.

# posted by Anonymous : 10:09 AM  

Grrrrrr--- I growl in empathy with your aggravating Monday. But here's good news: today is a new month! January is over. Bring on the pink of February. ANd walking? Am SO jealous---- but then, you know that. ~bluepoppy

# posted by Anonymous : 2:31 PM  

Being able to walk everywhere is one reason I love living in a city. We have a car (a very very small car - especially by American standards), and I do like using it for grocery shopping. However, I also bought a cart that I can take with me to the grocery store in order to help me with the load home. I don't have a stroller (no kids yet) to use as a "cart". But now I know that strollers are handy things to have!

# posted by pismire : 7:41 PM  

Grocery shopping without a car....carrying heavy plastic bags in hands is just like torture!! I used to do so, though. About raising a kid, life is so easy here in the States. Anywhere by car. In Tokyo area you can see women on the bycicle, with small child's seat(s) front and/or rear, and grocery bags in the carrier. Such heavy load...it looks just dangerous to us! At least put helmets on, please!!!

# posted by Teriyaki : 9:20 PM  

Walking in a city like Paris is so much fun. I remember weekends spent flying to Europe and doing nothing but walking around the cities, checking out museums, and sitting in cafes.

Why don't you take the car grocery shopping. You get a week's worth of groceries (even if you had to go to an outlying market) and then free up more time for pleasant walking errands.

# posted by Philip : 9:26 PM  

Lisa, I'm almost embarrassed to say how many times my stroller has tipped backward because of the weight of all the bags. When my daughter was younger, and lighter, it tipped with her in it once or twice (she was fine)!
Terry, I can't explain how proficient I am with my stroller... I can talk on the phone, hold other children's hands, look for stuff in my bag all while pushing that stroller.
Pat, A double stroller on the streets of Paris. You are a brave woman!
CMAC, Yes, the rain with the stroller is really a hassle... especially if the kids demand umbrellas. It's quite a fiasco at that point.
BM, I never see jogging strollers here, probably because no one jogs.. but the stroller would probably make for a very smooth ride on the Paris streets!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:46 AM  

A, I suppose it's possible to get used to the fact that stores close for lunch, but really... is it necessary to close for 2 or 2.5 hours ... while the kids are at school and I could actually get some shopping done quietly?
BP, If I didn't walk around Paris I think I'd weigh about 20lbs more than I do!
Pismire, That's great you use a cart for grocery shopping. I hope I live somewhere that I can occasionally do the same. I really enjoy walking.
Terriyaki, So true. Those cheap plastic bags, the heavy groceries.. I hate carrying the bags home for 3 long city blocks.
Philip, What you say makes sense, and I do order online for groceries to be delivered every 8 weeks or so, but the apartment is smaller, and the refrigerator is much smaller and there are no closets... you just can't buy too much stuff at one time. Additionally, I'm convinced that the French have a lot less preservatives in the food. Carrots only last 4-5 days in the frig. Stuff goes bad faster here.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 10:06 AM  

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