14:15. Today is Friday; self-appointed Good Housewifing Day. (Shall I employ proper capitalization throughout this post? Yes. Let’s stick with blogging inconsistency.)
Husband T gets home for the weekend. I like the house to be as clean as possible. However, although I’m usually a whirlwind on Friday’s, I haven’t been that good of a housewife yet today. And now I’m blogging instead! Poor guy. But at least the fire is going, the kitchen/living is tidy and that’s the first room he’ll see. I can do the rest while he’s here. Right now I’m kid-free.
Some ice on the lake yesterday and this morning. And hoarfrost in the fields.
Yesterday, got some necessary banking stuff done. I dread going to appointments like this but somehow they usually turn out to be lovely.
Yesterday I’d forgotten about the appointment, but luckily my second son reminded me when I was picnicking with him and his younger brothers at the lake. (School lunch breaks are long here in France, so sometimes I pick the kids up.)
I had just enough time to race home, get the necessary documents, change out of yoga pants and runners into jeans and boots, drag my really in-need-of-a-wash-looking hair into a bedraggled ponytail and rush back to town for the appointment. I was four minutes late and looking frazzled, but luckily for me, the bank lady was busy talking to a colleague.
So I had a few minutes to chill, and feel ridiculously pleased with myself.
Please note, I had missed last week’s originally scheduled appointment! How ridiculous is that!!!! Seriously, I used to be the queen of organization. Not sure what happened over the past five years or so. Let’s call it creative menopause. Even in sobriety, I seem to at times be more low-functioning, in terms of everyday household tasks, than when I was a party-loving gal.
Finally the bank lady’s colleague exited my bank lady’s office, saying hello to me on the way out, and the bank lady, who we’ll call Sylvia, invited me in.
She had a new haircut, short and choppy and super cute, and I told her I loved it. I think that’s a bit abnormal here in France — to compliment total strangers on their appearance (— Anne — can fill us in?—) but it’s second nature to me, being west-coast Canadian.
Sylvia accepted the compliment very graciously, as do most people I firehose them out to. Then she confided that she’d regretted it so much — she’d cut it so that it could be lower maintenance, but of course it’d turned out to be higher-maintenance.
I commiserated. I’ve chopped my hair off before, only to find out that cowlicky bedhead is not in any way chic. Thus, it’s every single morning with the g-d blowdryer. (I remind myself of this because fall is shedding season, on the wilds of my head, and I’ve been getting a bit scissor-dreamy.)
As Sylvia opened the two new accounts for our eldest sons (they will finally have their own online banking accounts, not possible until now; the bank has changed its policies since the last time I tried), I admired her neat-as-a-pin office, and started to feel very nostalgic for some of my old jobs as receptionist, book-keeper, client services rep and ethical-funds transfers proofreader. Such tidy work, being in an office. You go there, you do the work, you leave, and you leave it behind.
I wondered if there were any jobs open. But I am way too shy to ask, or know how to ask, and anyway I didn’t think they wanted to hire haggard old faded blondes with imperfect French, who somehow forget their original appointment times and then rush in with sawdust from the woodpile all over their winter coats.
But Sylvia was very friendly; actually the most personable and kind and interested person I’ve ever met at that bank, and she was asking me various polite questions and so I volunteered that I admired her setup, and since now the kids were all in school full-time, I sometimes fondly remembered the “good old days” before I left my single life and started working for my husband’s company. I said I imagined it must be quite stress-free. You know how you just babble those stupid little things out of your head before you think? (Oh you don’t? Right, that’s just me then. Oof.)
“Euh, niveau de stresse… je ne sais pas trop,” (“I wouldn’t say that, about the stress”) she said, with a conspiratorial smile. She really was so kind! Then I remembered what it could be like. Certain customers, the ones that think that you are to blame for the corporation’s policies, or at least ones who like to take their anger against them out on you. Yes, it was coming back. “…And then there are the higher-ups, management, all that…” she further hinted. And then suddenly brightened and said, “But you should apply! Just before you walked in, my manager came in to inform me that they would not be renewing my contract.”
I wish I could say that left me speechless but me being me, it didn’t. I was shocked, nearly outraged actually, and said so. “Why?” I then asked. “Because I didn’t check the box that said ‘willing to move’ on my contract renewal request,” she answered. “I recently bought a house here, and I can’t just sell it and move up anytime they ask. If you check the box, you have to be willing to pick up and leave within very short notice, possibly within a week or two, and possibly to a location on the other side of the country.”
This was crazy to me. I know a bit about business — you do NOT let go of a person who has worked with you for at least a year (I remember her from the last time I visited) — whom you’ve trained, who looks and acts professionally — so much so that she maintained total composure through our meeting, *even* after finding out that she’d essentially been laid off — only to start all over again with someone new. In a very small town with slim pickings. What on earth?!!! Client reps are the face of the company. And this particular lady was so friendly, professional and awesome!
Why am I mentioning all this. Not sure, except perhaps to show the awesomeness of people out there. This bank lady not only handled my new account setups perfectly and professionally, but suggested that this raggedy-looking client apply for the position she’d been laid off from, moments before that client walked in.
And WTF is up with corporate?
I don’t know, but I admit, something tells me it might beat real-housewifing…