Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Random Culture Shock

It never goes away. So, we live in this teeny apartment underneath the roof in the outskirts of Paris. During pregnancy I would seriously cry because it was so small and I didn't know how I would be able to cope. Let's just chalk it up to hormones...the biggest actual inconvenience is the fact we only have one bedroom; the rest worked out pretty well. Our changing table, for example, is a miraculous creation by my husband involving recycled shelves from his dad's garage, recycled ice cream containers and a 6 euro IKEA changing mat. It's portable but for the most part stays on our bathtub.

Aside from the baby, we also share our life with a cat. I love her but don't think she's especially bright, so we also had to cat-proof the windows to prevent her from climbing onto the roof through the skylights. She managed this once, but also came back so maybe I should be more relaxed about it. Here's where the culture shock issue comes in -- we don't have screens on our windows. It's different apparently down in the south where they have mosquitos, but here, at least, screens are not a given. I cannot understand this, as not only are they useful for keeping wayward cats inside but they are also useful for keeping misguided flying beasties out. It's a win-win situation, right? I mean, seriously, I don't see them restricting air flow or whatever.

So, this morning during the 20 minute airing out of the rooms (suggested by the suspicious yet hilarious hygiene article I mentioned earlier) a stinging flying beasty managed to fly in our window that doesn't have screens. No problem, right? All I had to do was leave the window open and let him find his way out. Well, that may have been possible except that he made his way to the damn skylight, where my husband had also installed another of his miraculous creations involving mosquito netting, velcro, string, staples and nails. The bee/wasp/thing was on the screen with no way out, unless I got close enough to the netting to undo the velcro, hold the netting back, and hope the bee was smart enough to find his way out through the obstacle course. I won't tell you how long it took or how many times I screamed, but we are finally stinging beastie free. I long for the days whereby screens were on all windows...

4 comments:

Reb said...

You know why there are no screens in France? Because you're not supposed to leave windows open. Open windows mean "courrant d'air" which are known to cause colds and cold air is bad for people. tsk tsk. (can you read the sarcasm there?)

The Late Bloomer said...

Yeah, the French and the courants d'air -- they drive me crazy with them! I agree with Reb... What's with the obsession with drafts? Yeah, I get that sometimes you can catch a cold if an apartment or home is drafty, but people here overdo it...

And I agree -- the whole lack of screens thing is a HUGE inexplicable problem. If there were screens we'd sure have a lot less mosquito bites in the summer and also spend a lot less on those supposed mosquito repellents that you plug into the walls...

Deb said...

I can't stand being screenless! I enjoy the fresh air as much as the next person, it's the blood sucking mosquitoes I'm not so crazy about!

Pardon My French said...

Well, that makes sense...hadn't thought about courants d'air. I guess the article on hygiene really is needed.