dimanche 27 novembre 2016
CHAPTER NINETY-FOUR :
Today I'll start by paying a tribute to the queens and kings of the mops, brooms, dusters and squeegees who gave me their helpful housework-handy tips, and their clever shortcuts to speed up my deadly boring cleaning routine !
Thanks a lot also to those who suggested me links to cleaning blogs
(flylady.net seems to win general approval ), and to housework music playlists.
I guess i'll try all of them, even though regarding music I already know that for me it doesn't work that well !
Let me explain.
As mopping the floor is one of my pet peeves, once, to make that chore, let's say " more bearable ", I decided to put some background music on.
I needed something which would make me want to move.
Sure, the Rolling Stones would rock my mop forward and backward with such a great beat that, before I could say Jack Robinson,the floor would be spick and span !
Half-an-hour later, when the rock band stopped for a break, I was sweating and panting, but the floor was none the cleaner.
I had been jiggling around a lot, trying to mimic Mick Jager (in spite of his " You're so vain " warning song ), and all this time the cheeky mop had been taking it easy, dripping slowly but surely into the bucket !
Slower music ? Well, it would mean flicking the feather duster gently on dog paws stains, and just expecting some miracle to happen ?
Just a fairy tale ! Forget about it !
No, sorry, to keep my dance floor in good condition, I really need to keep focused on the task, so a blanket ban on any kind of music when doing that chore !
The only background music : my heavy sighs and my angry mumblings !
Anyway, with all the feedback I've received, I think I could start my own business as a housework coach. All the easier as , as the saying goes " Advice is cheap ".
So, if you need cleaning gimmicks, don't hesitate to drop me a mail*. I'll be happy to share my brand-new knowledge !
Last week, as I was feasting on your pretty witty tips and tricks to get rid of chores quickly or to wriggle out of them ( becoming a cavewoman was a real brainwave !), I spotted a mail with an attachment.
Quite unusual. Sometimes, you add links or photos to your messages, but never attached documents or files.
I know that email attachments can be harmful, but, as up to then my anti-virus software had been quite reliable, I thought I couldn't deprive myself of any good reading or advice.
For once, " curiosity kills the cat " proved wrong !
The mailI read was absolutely adorable!
Tricia said that she had always been a dog-lover, but, as she was living in a block where pets were not allowed, she was feeling kind of frusrated.
So, she was offering me her free service as a dog-walker !
Actually, the attached document was her résumé.
Her love for dogs was really unconditional : volunteering at the local animal shelter to walk the dogs in her free-time, raising funds for the shelter, getting food donated by pet-food suppliers, boy, that girl was an incredible dogs' guardian angel !!
Unfortunately, she had a job and could not dogsit for us several days in a row, so we could not make a deal.
Anyway, we exchanged quite a few friendly mails and phone-calls, cause dog-lovers always have plenty of pawsome stories simmering !
We discovered that we are both dogaholics, and that neither of us is on the way to recovery.
When I told her that years ago I was scared stiff of dogs, she said she knew, cause she had read " Flying Potatoes ( chapter 54), but she couldn't believe it .
She thought I had made up the whole of it for the blog.
Of course, not !!
All my stories are true, they are just everyday life small events, but I give you only the bright side of them !!
As she wanted to know how I managed to overcome my fear of Dusty, the English basset who turned my first stay in England into a nightmare, I told her the rest of my doggy adventure...
That very first year, when I left England, Dusty and I were not in good terms at all !
My English family was awfully sorry and ashamed, too, of their bad
boy's behaviour, but unfortunately couldn't stop his growling at me.
The year after, when I went back for a two months' stay , my decision was made : Grumpy Dusty would not rule the roost . I would get the upper hand !
Then came the queston : how ?
Petting him ? Just thinking about it sent shivers all along my spine. His sharp sparkling teeth, his lip smacking noises while gazing greedily at my fingers ? No way !
So what ?
I spent the whole crossing from Dover to Southampton hatching plans to tame the fierce dog.
Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped into the garden, they all fell through !
Dusty started humming his war song and immediately mylegs turned to jelly !
Anyway, I managed to pretend I could not care less, but in my mind I was thinking : " Here we go again ! ".
While unpacking, I racked my brain to find a peaceful solution.
What on earth could work a miracle and coax Dusty ?
Sure, my enemy number one had a chink in his armor !
And then the lady called me : " Perky, dinner is ready ! ".
Dinner ? Bingo !
Dusty was always peckish, and at meal times he was in agony !
Whatever the scolding or the punishment, he could not help begging for bits of what we were having. But my hostess was strict : she wanted to keep the leadership, so the poor starving little thing was not allowed anything, not even the tiniest breadcrumb !
He was given his food only once the table was cleared !
Well, if bribing him during dinner was absolutely forbidden, in the feeding rules there was no mention of " after dinner ".
I had the solution ! I was saved !!
I would prepare his food bowl, and become his favourite waitress !
As soon as we sat down at table, Dusty started turning around my chair, begging for food, scratching my leg and growling sneakily.
He was not the least upset by his mistress's threatening " Stop it,
naughty boy, otherwise...".
Dusty was grumpy, but pretty clear-sighted : threat ? Much ado about nothing, just hot air !
He knew he was his mum's sugar baby, and nothing wrong could happen to him !
Once more my hostess was sorry and apologized, but dinner was over, I stood up and said :
" Don't worry, I will eat him ! ".
She stared at me, horrified ! Her cute little dog turned into a hot dog ?
She knew French people were said to eat snails and frogs, but she had never heard about dog meat on sale at the butcher's !
Had her poor doggy got on my nerves that much ?
As she was still staring at me, I suddenly realized I had confused " to eat and to feed ", or to be honest, the verb " to feed " did not belong to my poor vocabulary yet.
As Hungry Dusty was getting fed up (but not fed yet), I rushed to the kitchen and came back with his bowl and his favourite dry pet food !
He wagged his tail, smiled at me (come on, I'm kidding. Just my vivid imagination again), and followed me cheerfully to his dinning-mat.
Then, all throughout my stay, I was the one in charge of filling his bowl (and his stomach, as well), and that's how we became good buddies !!
And, also, how I learnt that the verb " to feed " means to give food !
Well, thanks again for your feedback : you really spoon-feed me, and it gives food for thought !!
That's all for this week, everydoggy !
Have a nice week and don't forget : be perky !
dimanche 20 novembre 2016
CHAPTER NINETY-THREE :
Hello all of you,
First of all, thanks a lot for all your feedback. You're absolutely awesome ! When scrolling down my inmail box, I realize that, whatever the topic, you never hesitate to drop me a few lines ! Your comments are often spicy, your questions sometimes nosy (come on, I'm pulling your leg), but always blog-boosting !
You know what ?
I enjoy reading your mails so much that this week I can't help asking you another question !
As usual, nothing to do with current hot issues,politics, economics and all that jazz. One click is enough to get overwhelmed by information about all that stuff !
And you know the old saying " Stick to what you know ", so forget about any serious matter in this blog.
Then what ?
Sports ? Except walking and chatting (it isn't a sport ? Well, for the women in my family it is !), I am not good at any. Just have a look at
" Woman overboard " , and you'll see what a poor athlete I am !
Arts ? Same thing ! Too many bad memories ! When I was in primary school ( An artistic calling nipped in the bud),and when I took my high school diploma in literature,too. The essay question was
" What is art ? ". I guess I didn't write anything relevant or witty, cause I got a very poor mark ! So, no need to rub it in !
I'm just a perky busy bee, and I won't pretend to be a nerd. Then, no brainy question, just a very down-to-earth one !
Bid Farewell to your Dreams, your bucket lists, and your expectations, here it comes :
What is the home chore you hate the most, I mean, in the endless list of unrewarding housework to be done, what is your pet peeve ?
Don't shy away ! I know, choosing the worst from the worst is no picnic,so for fear you might be on the horns of a dilemna, here is a list to pick up from :
. Making your bed.
. Planning meals.
. Taking the trash out.
Quite short but long enough to ring a bell, isn't it ?
I'm already looking forward to your answers, and I'm sure we'll share quite a few bad feelings towards brooms, mops,dusters and all their relatives !
In the meantime, let me tell you what sort of " domestic goddess " I am. Don't laugh, please !
Taking the trash out : even if it is heavy or bulky, I don't mind, cause I usually put the bag into the car boot, and when going on a ride, we stop at the nearby container to throw it away. Lazy of me ? Remember, the roads are rather steep around my place ( " Trivia quiz "), and what's more, I'm a poor lonesome pedestrian (" Urban or urbane" ).
As I am sometimes sidetracked, instead of being given a lift to its destination, the bin bag happens to be shown round the area ( no matter, cause it is worth sightseeing !).
Ironing : I wouldn't say it is my cup of tea, but I find that activity quite ressourceful. First, because, as soon as I pop out the ironing board and let off the steam, I start mapping out a chapter of my adventures. One crease out, one line in ! A good way to keep up to date with crumpled linen and my blog,as well.
Ressourceful,too, cause ironing gives me the opportunity to exercise. Standing upright, tucking in my stomach, tightening my thighs and buttocks,wow, that's pretty good work-out !!
Hoovering : a pain in the neck, and a pain in the back, too ! But, two dogs at home means a lot of hairs and sneaky dustbunnies in every nook and cranny, so...
Oh, by the way, in " Urban or urbane ", I told you that the only things I can drive are stroller, shopping-carts and wheelbarrows. Well, I must add the vacuum-cleaner. At least one who knows I have the drive !
Planning meals : a real headache, but as I am often peckish, I need to know what ' today's special " is , otherwise I can wolf down anything lazing in the fridge. Even worse, if I skipped that chore, I guess I would binge on pasta everyday, and I don't want to turn " The Adventures of Dany the Perky Busy Bee " into a spaghetti western !
Making the bed : if it means , just tucking the sheets tightly round the corners of the mattress, and spreading the duvet evenly over the bed, no problem !
But when it comes to changing the duvet corner, that's another kettle of fish ! All the trickier as we have a super king size bed !
I've tried all the tips and tricks I could find on the web, and, boy, there are quite a few !!
Unfortunately, even after watching countless numbers of videos, I must face the facts : I don't have the know-how, and what's worse, I'm rather clumsy.
You remember how in " Changing looks ", I turned a nice pencil dress into an awful straightjacket. Well, not long ago, I got the same nightmarish experience while changing the quilt cover...
I thought that perhaps holding the duvet tight against me and slipping with it into the cover would ease the battle . No sooner said than done.
I laid the cover on the bed, grabbed the upper corners of the duvet, and started crawling inside.
A few minutes later I was stuck in the darkness, still clutching the precious corners, but unable to find my way out.
The more I twisted and turned, the more I got entangled into the fabric .
I wish I had been Steve Mc Queen in " The Great Escape " !
Unfortunately, no light at the end of the tunnel !
I strived to stand up, and just when I was about to succeed, Nosy Canaille pawed the door open, didn't recognize the ghost of his Mum, and jumped on me.
I was back to square one !!
Lying emprisonned in my fabric jail, and on the verge of death. Come on, I'm joking, but yet, about to surrender.
If I survived I would call for a blanket ban on duvets at home !
At last, Dearhubby, alerted by Canaille's barkings, turned up and got me out of the trouble, or, I should say, out of the duvet cover !
So, now you know why making my bed is my biggest pet peeve.
That's you turn to tell me what chore you hate the most.
But, whatever it is, don't forget : be perky !
Oh, by the way, the proverb 'As you make your bed, you must lie on it ' is not always true, otherwise I'd be doomed to awfully uncomfortable nights !
Perky Busy Bee, your under cover agent in the Far-West.
dimanche 13 novembre 2016
CHAPTER NINETY-TWO :
Cold calls : does that ring a bell ? Sure,it does,cause not that long ago we were permanently harassed by their ominous ringings. I even think those damned callers had managed to fix spy cams in my place,cause they used to call me whenever I was on a tight schedule. One of their tricks to break me down ? Perhaps ...
Anyway, was I preparing a " must-keep-an-eye-on " recipe, and they would phone and urge me to come to the nearby town to be shown the perfect fitted kitchen ! Time to sayI was not interested and hang up, and my expectations of a yummy meal had stuck to the bottom of the pan !
About to wriggle my toes in a relaxing bubbling bath ? A few rings would ruin my dip ! No time to blot myself dry, I would drip to the phone and be offered to invest in solar panels to reduce my electricity bill !
Once more, I would say I was not interested, I would hang up, drip back to the bathroom to find out that the sneaky bathtub stopper had let half the water run away !! With a bit of luck, next time I answered the phone, I would get a good bargain for the Rolls Royce of the bathtub plugs ! Who knows ...
As days went by and cold calls kept increasing,my nerves were getting on edge.
Then guess what !
An understanding telemarketer suggested me to change my complementary health insurance for something more ' customized ' !
That was the last straw !
All those cheeky harassers were playing with my mental health and thought I was doomed to surrender !
Well, if they expected me to wave the white flag, they were barking up the wrong tree !!
For fear to smash the phone into pieces next time it rang, I registered on a do-not-call list.
Then, the phone went so quiet, that I happened to lift the receiver to check the dialling tone.
I felt so relieved that , last week when, upon answering the phone, I was invited to participate in a survey, I accepted cheerfully.
After all, why not ?
No offer of double-glazing, life insurance or any kind of once-in-a lifetime deal !
Just a few questions !
What about ?
Drivers'behaviour. You know , " do you rage behind the wheel ? do you play pole position ? do you drive speed limit ? " , and all that jazz.
When I had gone through all the quiz, the man congratulated me and said that, unless I had lied, I was the most respectful driver he had ever met !
I hung up and hurried to announce the good news to Dearhubby !
He put down his newspaper, stared at me and said :
" Let me remind you, Perky, that you don't have your driving licence ! ".
Damn it ! He was right ! No driving-inspector had ever been kind or careless enough to give it to me !
Even worse, I still remember a scared-stiff instructor who warned me that it was a matter of life or death : either I stopped taking lessons or he would resign ! You see ...
Don't worry : you can cross the street carefreely ! As years go by, I have given up the idea of someone telling me " Baby you can drive my car ".(do you remember that song ?)
The only things I am good at driving are strollers, shopping- carts and wheelbarrows !
I have to face the fact : I'm just a poor lonesome pedestrian !
As you know, drivers and pedestrians usually don't get on well. The same people sometimes, but not the same behaviour, depending which side of the windscreen they are !
Well, as a pedestrian, I'm quite strict about my rights, and I happen to be rather rude when they are not respected. I know it's no use, but flaring up and letting off steam sometimes do good !
Last time it happened, I was on my way to a dinner-party.
I was a bit late and ,I guess, a bit distracted, as well...
So, I had crossed half a busy thoroughfare, when the light turned green.
Instead of stepping onto the refuge island, I kept walking forward.
A driver honked his horn at me so loudly that I jumped with fright, stopped dead, and burnt him with one of the worst insults I know.
I won't tell you which one, but " asshole and jerk " are just small potatoes compared to my curse ...
The driver just smiled and waved an apology.
Half-an-hour later when I arrived at the party, the hostess inroduced me to a couple of friends of hers.
Before I could say Jack Robinson, the man exclaimed :
" I think we have already met somewhere. Your face is familiar to me !"
Jeez !! I turned as red as a beetroot ! The man I was shaking hands with was the driver I had called names !!
He gave me a knowing smile and continued :
" Heavy traffic tonight, isn't it ? ".
I could just utter a weak 'yes '.
All throughout the dinner, I did my best to behave as a well-mannered girl, but whenever our eyes met, it seemed I could read my insult in his mocking glance !!
When the party was over, and all the guests about to leave, he came to me and said :
" Can we give you a lift ? It's late and streets aren't safe, are they ? ".
If he kept on rubbing it in, I would tell him a few home truths !!
Fortunately, I pulled myself together, turned down his offer politely, and said :
" Thanks a lot, but I enjoy walking in the streets at night. Far less traffic, far fewer impatient drivers, far fewer honks, just quietness and peace ! "
A word to the wise is enough ....
That's all for this week, dear drivers and pedestrians !
Enjoy your rides, enjoy your walks, and don't forget :be perky !
FEEL FREE TO SHARE !
lundi 7 novembre 2016
CHAPTER NINETY-ONE :
Last week, after pumpkin carving and candies binging, I was feeling a bit washed-out, and, I must confess, a bit sick, as well.
Don't get me wrong ! I had not been round, playing ' Knock,knock, trick-or-treat ', but I had bought far too many candies for the few little monsters, witches and ghosts who visited me !
Then, guess what happened to the Halloween treats left in stock ?
Perky Greedy Busy Bee couldn't help fluttering around them, and resisting their sugary fragrant was beyond her strength !!
So, three days later and one belt loop looser, I was stumped in my armchair, knowing that I should publish something, but unable to decide on what. An insurmontable hurdle for my poor sugar-coated brain !
My sweet craving had numbed me.
I had Friday on my mind. Sure, I wouldn't be able to respect that deadline to finalize my new chapter !!
Thursday was on and the fear of the blank page was about to get the upper hand !
There was no getting away from it : I absolutely needed to pull myself together !
So, before that awful white space flew out of the screen and engulfed me, I clicked on email@example.com .
Sure, I'd get by with a little help from my friends, I mean, you, mydear readers.
Bingo !! Once more the old saying "A friend in need is a friend indeed " proved true !
I had received a mail saying :
I live in Scotland, in a city whose nickname is "Auld Reekie " (I guess you know it !). It's a great city to live in, but over the last few months I have been feeling the urge to be closer to Mother Nature, I mean, to move to the countryside. As I am a home-based worker, it's something I can decide on and achieve pretty quickly.
But, I 'm a Libra, and, as you may know, making decisions is not Libra people's strong suit.
Last week, while scrolling down your blog to change my mind off things and to have fun, I came across chapter 68 ' Hunting Season ', and the very first lines caught my attention . You wrote "..When we settled down in Charentes, we didn't have the foggiest idea about what living in the countryside all year round meant ...''.
So, I guess you are the one who can help me take the plunge.
Honestly, dear Perky, what is better, living in the city or living in the country ?
Thanks in advance for your feedback.
Dear Matthew, your question came just at the right time. I was a poor stumped blogger about to give up, and then, no sooner had I read your mail than my hands were on the keyboard, ready to type a new chapter .
Don't get me wrong. It is nearly impossible to find a good answer to your question.
What is good for one person might not be good for another.
Even though I am not a Libra, making the decision to leave the hustle and bustle of Paris to settle down in a village in the middle of nowhere was not that easy.
We spent time weighing the pros and cons, but eventually we found as many advantages as disadvantages, so we tossed a coin over our departure.
Come on, I'm kidding !!
Anyway, the crux of such a major life decision is really personal, and it's uo to you, dear Matthew ...
But your mail jogged my memory, so this week let me tell you one of my adventures as a new country-dweller.
The very first year we settled down in Charentes was full of twists and turns, and sometimes ups and downs, too.
' When in Rome do as the Romans do ' was our motto, so we slowed down our fast-paced and hectic life, and learnt to loosen up and take it easy. Some shots of Pineau made it easier ...
Three months later we were quite in the mood, and had even managed to pick up a few Charentais words and phrases.
Autumn was a bit rough. The Hunting Season (chapter 68) played havoc on my poor animal-lover heart. As for my neighbours' wild mushrooms treats, they were simply stress-triggering : poisonous and edible mushrooms often look alike, don't they ? So, were my neighbours clever mushroom gatherers ??
All throughout Autumn and Winter my stomach remained on the alert and I kept the poison-control number at my fingertips !
Fortunately Spring came, and the fishing season gave us the opportunity to appreciate the outdoors, enjoy the serenity of water and greenery, and even win the title of ' Pranksters of the year '( chapter 72 Funny Fishing Net) !
And then Summer was back with its blue sky, its scorching sun, and more often than not lazing on a sunny afternoon was the main occupation.
Life suddenly seemed at a standstill.
The village would have been a little piece of heaven, if some noisy trucks driving through had not disturbed our Carpe Diem Summer way of life.
By the end of August they were more and more numerous, and noisier and noisier !
Where on earth were they taking their gravel loads to, and what for ?
Too many for roadworks, but perhaps for a huge buiding site in the nearby town ??
It was boring, but comforting for a perky busy bee who always looks on the bright side, cause it is well-known that when the buiding trade is thriving, everything is thriving !
Anyway, after wondering about the whys and wherefores, I asked my neighbours if they had any clue about the gravel destination.
Curiosity kills the cat ...
They burst out laughing. They were in stitches and kept repeating " the gravel, the gravel ! ".
As I was looking more and more embarrassed, they calmed down and explained :
" Perky, since you settled down here, you've learnt a lot about countrylife, but you've still plenty of things to discover. Actually, what you take for gravels are sunflower seeds ! They have dried down, so it's time to harvest them and take them to the cooperative and then turn them into oil ".
They were right : I was still a newbie in the country !
Well, my neighbours could not help sending the word round, and the following days, whenever one of the lorries was driving through the village, there was always one ' good soul ' to shout :
" Hey, Perky, the delivery truck is coming, do you need gravel for your path ? ".
I didn't mind, cause taking a joke has nothing to do with living in the city or lving in the country, does it ?
That's all for this week, folks !
Enjoy your reading, and don't forget : be perky !
FOR SHARING !