French Sabbatical

My family's year in France…

Day 263 (20 March 2011) – Let’s Get Fired Up! Hey!

As Melinda says, “Let’s get fired up! Let’s get fired up! Let’s get fired up! Hey!!” Fired up for what? Cleaning, of course. There is nothing more fun than cleaning, right?! I just finished scrubbing the third of three toilets, taking time out to post to the blog. Moving to the office, I caught Melinda mopping the kitchen floor. Of all the things to get caught at, I bet mopping the floor is not near the top of anyone’s list.

So why this blast of domesticity? Well, tomorrow morning our landlord, Madame Fieni, is dropping by. She and her husband (and teenage daughter) are on sabbatical in California this year, but Madame Fieni is back in Nantes for a week or so. She needs to swing by the house to pick up a few things. And we thought it would be nice if the house looked presentable for her. Hmm, come to think of it, “presentable” may be an optimistic word. “Recognizable” is probably more apt. You see, we think Madame Fieni is a better housekeeper than Melinda and me. Combined. With one hand tied behind her back.

So anyway, we’ve been cleaning for several hours, well, since we got home from Manon’s volleyball tournament (they finished second). That would be for about 3 1/2 hours. That’s 7 hours of labor plus whatever time Chloe and Ella contributed before moving on to do homework. Funny, their homework became much more appealing once the cleaning supplies came out. I wonder if there is a parenting tip in there somewhere…

March 20, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. I think you can thank the Boudeaus’ to have found such a huge house ! And you know, I need a house cleaner for 1 or 2 hours…(Fred.)

    Andy don’t forget to check the PH of the swimming pool !(Laurent)

    Comment by laurent BOUDEAU | March 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you, Boudeaus, for finding us such a big house, one with lots of rooms and lots of toilets and lots of white-colored things (like the carpet in our bedroom) that picks up and shows dirt so easily. Sorry we can’t help with your cleaning, Frédérique. We are still busy on ours! But I do have a shirt for you to iron.

      And Laurent, I did check the PH. It’s still low, as is the chlorine. We’re working on it.

      Comment by Andy Smallman | March 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. What I want to know is how Melinda got you to do equal time cleaning! I am trying to get Tommy to help with the cooking, but so far we only end up in a battle. I must be doing something wrong – well, or he is!

    Comment by linda taylor | March 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Are you sure it shouldn’t be phrased as “How did I get Melinda to do equal time cleaning?” 😉 We joke a lot about Melinda being the one who wears the pants in the family. And I always have said I’d make a good housewife. FYI, I make dinner pretty much every night…

      Comment by Andy Smallman | March 20, 2011 | Reply

      • How cruel to remind me that not all husbands refuse to cook. I think it is a generational thing. My son cooks too! How lucky your wives are.

        The irony is my husband is a good cook, but he only wants to cook “fancy” and wants lots of praise. Now he has even given up on those occasional dishes! Sigh!

        Comment by linda taylor | March 21, 2011

  3. So, Linda, does your husband have redeeming factors like being able to pound a nail in straight? Andy’s father is a great writer and a good cook but watch out for him with tools.

    Comment by Granny | March 22, 2011 | Reply

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