2 steps forward and one step backwards

Today was one of those days...

This morning I took the girls to school and they were having their first day in the canteen - normally they come home for lunch but today my routine went out the window and was something like this:

6.30 - wake up thinking have I actually been to sleep yet?

7.00 - struggle out of bed to sound of girls giggling and get self ready - I used to think it was lovely the way the older girls (4 and 3) would teach the little one (now 2) to speak but I've changed my mind. The titchy one is by now singing something like 'Mummy likes poo poo cake' to hysterical laughter.

7.30 - Open door to their lair with much drama to find them hiding under blankets saying "we're not going to school, it's not a school day". Yes the Wednesday no school thing means they are always challenging whether or not it is really a school day or the weekend or the mid-week weekend...aka Wednesday. Today is Thursday I tell them...get washed, dressed and ready for school please.

8.00 - The titchy one sets the table for Breakfast whilst I cajole the older ones into wearing knickers, socks, vests etc... 15 bowls on the table, numerous forks, cups etc ready for the day. She's very pleased with herself.

8.30 - Breakfast over and it's time for rounding up the sheep into their coats, shoes, scarf...no not ballerina shoes, proper shoes, fights over brown boots (the elder 2 have the same size feet - that was not supposed to be the plan...now I have to buy double of the same size), coats on - no that's a Summer coat, look outside it's Winter...

8.40 - panic in my voice - titchy needs an urgent nappy change and No 2 has just knocked another drink over herself - what is it with her and water! Argh!

8.45 push them out the door and literally push and drag them to school whilst pushing the noisiest three wheel Minnie Mouse trike I could find...if I have to endure it then so does the rest of the village - or as one dog walker said to me today when I apologised for the racket - it's ok they should be up anyway.

8.55 - deposit them at school - remind them they have their first day in the Canteen together

9.00 - relieved return to gite, tidy up and move onto paperwork mountain

9.30 - call RSI - no answer

9.40 - call RSI - press 4, then 3, then 2 then hurrah someone speaks to me - I explain to them that my electronic feuille de soin has been rejected even though I have put my carte vitale in the machine at the pharmacy to mise a jour it. They look up my details...ah yes you have changed regime. My husband used to be Auto-Entrepreneur but no longer works in France..but 6 months ago I started working as an AE so I thought they had changed my CV over to my rights. It appears not. So they will send me a new attestation.

I also need to fill out the Medecin Traitant Choix forms again.

I thought the Carte Vitale would just Mise a Jour with the change but no - alas they will send me another form for a new Carte Vitale. But will my social security number change? No. So why can't they just update the little green card? I give up.

Apparently the mutuelle no longer works either until I get a new attestation so now until this is sorted I am paying for all our treatment myself and getting nothing but paperwork back. Next week I'm going in for a ridiculously expensive root canal and crown...better tap the house savings account now - that'll be the cost of a window being removed from the house budget.

So after this delightful exchange with RSI I moved onto finding the paperwork for my afternoon visit to the Structural Engineer. I packed a bag full of breadsticks, electronic toys, pop up books etc to keep Maisy entertained - not that it was needed.

I arrived and met up with the builder. The engineer who did our plans wasn't there yet. The office was like something out of Ashes to Ashes, stale smoke, papers all over the floor, desks and piles of files everywhere.

Its the first time I’ve been there as usually they just email everything to me but they hadn’t been responsive to the builder’s questions so we went in person. Quite an eye opener.

Monsieur Engineer was a little frosty to begin with and did not take kindly to having his plans critiqued. I explained that the assurance decennale company needed clarification on certain points in the plans. He spouted off about how it's not normal, they shouldn't be asking these questions, never has anyone ever asked this before, what sort of a company was it? Ahem - Aviva only one of the biggest... he even started telling the builder (who is French) how all over Europe, UK (directed at me), Germany...no-one does that...dah de dah. At this point I was distracted by Maisy who was finding it great fun to repetitively press the button of the hooting owl on my keyring and shout 'Izzy Owl'.

Finally the builder got a word in edgeways and managed to explain he needed certain things for his estimate and eventually once off his high horse the engineer accepted some figures were missing and now changed mood completely and started muttering at the drawings engineer who had just walked in about missing off key details.

Maisy was now helping herself to a packet of breadsticks out of the bag.

Then much to my amazement, he walked out. I didn't know why. Then even more surprising, I watched as he came back in with what I can only say is the most giantest piece of paper I've ever seen and then got down on the floor with Maisy and started drawing flowers on the floor with her. He then gave her a set of engineers pens and she happily scribbled to her hearts content.![](upload://AtfiGOwASn7T1PELKS7iqQ4WjR9.jpg)In the meantime the 2 engineers and the builder discussed the modifications needed to the plans, I found out that only a third of the work had been done and that they had yet to do the execution plans. Honestly I haven't got the foggiest what goes into them, so this came as news to me.

Good news was that they removed some extra elements of underpinning which were only there apparently because we were originally going to have a pool next to the house.

So we left contented with them updating the plans, Maisy extremely happy with her afternoons' work (and covered in what I am guess are non-washable pens).

I was really pleased as the meeting had turned from ice cold to warm and sunny in a matter of an hour and I felt progress was being made but then I got home and spoke to other half who asked me when they would send the plans over...oh damn it. I forgot to ask that. One can only hope that the thought of me returning with the hooting owl and breadsticks might hurry them into delivering without delay. Otherwise that will be another cold phone call next week

4.10 - collected girls from school - playtime in the very welcome evening sun then home for supper

6.30 - meeting with plumber to discuss plans so he can finish his estimate.

7.00 - Maisy comes in to living room with a piece of toy money crunching into pieces in her mouth. After removing all pieces I give her a drink and continue the meeting. 4 years ago I would have gone panicked and gone straight to A&E... anyway this signals the meeting is over and off goes Mr Plombier with a promise to send it to me before end of next week.

7.30 - round up kids and try to get them to bed...

8.00 - finally got them in bed and back onto the paperwork - I really don't feel like doing it tonight...so here I am instead.

Tomorrow I am showing people the old tiles to see if they are interested in them, meeting with electrician and I need to review the ventilation plans to get that finalised.

So as I move forwards with both feet on the house renovation, unfortunately on the French admin side I have to retread paths along which I have already spent far too much time trekking...

The paperwork can wait till tomorrow I'm off to bed!

No Vic, the rubbish has to be left in tidy lines to degrade naturally. Watched over by the forestry department, more fonctionnaires

They are cutting down trees all over the place near here, to keep the fonctionnaires in business!

Maisy has just brought me a plate of 'saucisson' AKA toy money. Now I understand where the drive to eat it came from yesterday. Its the same size as a slice of chorizo...hmm I think toy money will have to be put away for a while.

Perhaps I could turn them back into wood and live off that to run my heating?

Ditto the question. Given the amount RAM/RSI vomit out, vast forests must be cut down each year to supply the paper alone. Perhaps the secret is that many of the new public buildings in France are recycled letters ;-)

One question though - where on earth do people store all the damn paperwork? 5 years of so many letters...my desk is groaning under the weight of it all, the filing cabinet is bulging and I already have 2 massive boxes in the garage full. I think I need to start putting a 'burn date' on them once the 5 years has passed.

I know - for now I am collecting the reject letters into a neat pile (hoping they don't get scribbled on) and then will send them back off to Ram Gamex once I have received my attestation...I have to say though I did expect wonders of the little green card...I thought it would all be automatique...How long have I lived here? I should know by now that even the same organisation RSI Ram Gamex can't join it up.

Aha! Wrongggggg! health and bureaucracy are strange bedfellows. Your CV is not the panacea to all evils. We have had no problems but the amount of paperwork and checking money is rebated and when not... Par to the course here though. Once you get on top of it you will groan quietly, do it and move on :-)

Brian :)

Don't get me wrong, I'm in a very good place at the moment, things are moving forwards which is fantastic but I thought the whole French healthcare admin thing was long since sorted and one less thing to worry about. Maisy has just come out in blotches all over her cheeks and her hands which I think is an allergic reaction to the streaming cold she has so taking her to the Dr's for some anti-histamine. Not sure whether to bother using the Carte Vitale or not though...I am pretty sure 'computer will say no'. :)

Know what you mean. One of ours has to be up at 0600 because the taxi that collects her arrives at 0700 (yes, dreadful long day for her too), then the other has to be roused immediately in order to be out just after 0800 to be driven to school (20 mins each way). Wednesdays both off school, BUT the first goes to a special service because she has learning difficulties, so taxi at 0900. Before the 0800 school run the dogs need a preliminary 10 minute walk round the field, that is better than the risk of cleaning indoors. A couple of times a week I have to go to my physio, so a bit under five minutes from the school drop. I frequently have doctor appointments for checks and new prescriptions which I have to add to the school run or after physio. Home between 0900 or 1030. Sometimes I am on here from my laptop in the car when I have waits in between, so appearances can be deceptive. Anyway, other onerous duties such as shopping and so on added. Wednesday pick up because the taxi does not return our daughter here at 1420 (usually late, but if I show up late...). School pick up at 1635, always up to 15 minutes late showing. A dash home then for other whose taxi brings her home about 1700. Then two sessions of judo and riding lessons for one each week. Next year number two moves on to college, choosing one that is about 45 minutes each way.

So, why am I 'moaning' my way through this? Well, she indoors has to work and is mostly out from around 0830 to 0900 until after 1700. If not we have no income.

Long way of saying it, but I understand and metaphorically speaking am holding your hand in deep, deep sympathy. Having said that, I am supposedly working on a book but today it ain't doin' too well!

C'est la Vie!!