Crissay-sur-Manse: June 6th, 2000

Saturday, 22 November 2014


If my longtime memory serves me right, 2014 must have been the dullest year in my life ... until two weeks ago. I didn't have a proper a holiday. I did take the odd week off, but never went anywhere. I think the highlight of the year was my birthday in April, which I spent with my English blog friends Veronica and Sue. We visited Leuven, had a nice lunch, climbed the clock tower of the university library and did some great beer tasting.

For the last two weeks, though, I feel like being caught in a vortex. All of a sudden my mother is entitled to a service flat. And we have to start planning the move and everything that comes with it: decorating, packing and all the red tape that comes with it. And I'm not even mentioning the actual move, which is planned for the first week of February. And then, I will have to start thinking about the house, remove the excess furniture and putting it up for sale.

And then there is this other matter that needs urgent attention!

Since last year I have been toying with the idea of buying a new car. My little Corsa is 8 years old and the automatic transmission has been playing up lately. I had the same trouble 5 years ago when the car was only 3 years old. At the time the repairs cost close to a 1,000 euros. Worth every cent as it was a relatively new car. Today, the car itself is worth a mere 2,000 euros ... so spending another 1,000 on repairs is not sensible.

I have had different cars in mind. Yet, lately I have become interested in an Hybrid (electric + fuel) car, considering I spend a lot of time in traffic jams, where a Hybrid is an very economical solution. However, the price of a new Hybrid is well over my budget. 

So, last Thursday we went car shopping and our local Toyota dealer was first on my list. Toyota has a longstanding (excellent) reputation when it comes to Hybrid cars. Before walking into the showroom where the salesmen where hovering around like vultures looking for unsuspecting prey, I told myself to be sensible and not get excited or carried away by unnecessary gadgets and accessories.

more to come ... I'm sure

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

48 hours later and in trouble

I need got get this of my chest. So, instead of telling you the second part of our visit to the service flat last Friday ... I'm going to let you in on the outcome. An outcome that was straightforward yesterday afternoon, but which developped an hour ago into something - I wouldn't call it horrific - mindblowing.

OK, yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from the caretaker/janitor that my mother, who apparently was number 3 on the list had been 'outrun' by number 1, who had said 'YES' to the flat. Apparently number 2 hadn't shown up, nor had he/she informed him of their wish to take or not take the flat. Slightly disappointed but at the same time somewhat relieved, I brought the news to my mother, who had the same mixed feelings. She said it that she had been dreading the imminent move (January 2015) and that she was relieved to have more time to sort out things in her house. We both agreed that sometime next spring or summer would be better and that it left us some time to prepare things ... hoping that another flat would become available presently.

And then, about an hour ago ... my mobile phone rang. I looked at the number of the caller and it was that of the caretaker/janitor. I took a deep breath and with trembling hands answered the call. To make a long story short: number 1 had backed out and number 2 had manifested himself but wanted a 2 bedroom flat. So all of a sudden, my mother was on top of the list!!! The flat is hers if she wants it.

I didn't know how to react as I can't answer for her. She seemed so relieved yesterday that she had been granted more time to prepare her move ... whenever that would be. I don't know how to bring her the news and I can't even imagine how she will react.

Reason tells me to accept the offer and to convince (force?) my mother to take it. My heart aches though when I think of how relieved and happy she looked yesterday. We have till Thursday noon to decide. I think both my mother and I will have a sleepless night!

P.S. Thank you all for your kind comments and acrobatic body moves. Hope nobody got hurt in the process.

(more to come ... as soon as I know what the outcome is)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

24 hours

... that's how much longer it'll take before we'll know whether my mother will become the newest resident of our local service flats. 

We visited the flat last Friday and we loved it, although it needs some freshening up. A new coat of paint in the living room and the bedroom, that's all it requires. Apart from that, it's in prime condition. Well, it should be because the complex was built only 7 years ago. It's located at about 400 metres from the house my mother has been living in since her marriage to my father in 1950. Moreover, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law live in the complex too.

They occupy a flat on the ground floor, while the flat we visited is located on the first floor. The former resident was an elderly lady who died last month at the age of 99. She was the only previous resident, which probably explains the good condition the flat is in. I didn't take any photos as we weren't the only visitors. When we arrived at ten past two, there were at least a dozen of people already waiting in the main hallway. Most of them were considerably younger than my mother and some were so young that you could tell that they were representing a senior relative who hadn't been able to come.

Close-up of the fresh roses that currently adorn my dining room cupboard.

A tall youngish-looking - somewhere between 35 and 40 - guy, bald head, 48 hour beard, casually dressed in jeans and a grey flannel shirt, introduced himself as Geert, caretaker/janitor of the complex. In a loud and clear voice he asked everybody to come up to him and mark our presence on a list. When I saw the number of names that were on it, I almost lost courage. My mother didn't stand a chance! This was so not what I had been told in August last year when I had put in our request ....

At the time, the same Geert had told me that there were over 40 people on the waiting list, but that only the top six would be invited to visit a flat when one became available. When it came to designing the new resident, the person who was highest on the list and who said 'yes, would get the flat. My mother couldn't possibly be in the top 6 after the mere 16 months that she had been on in the list.

I secretly tried to get a glimpse of the list, in an attempt to find out my mother's position. My heart missed a beat when I saw that she was actually on top! Until I realized that the names were put in alphabetical order. And as my mother's surname starts with an A ....

After some preliminaries - practical stuff about keys, security, support, dustbins, services in general, Geert suggested we'd move to the first floor and the flat. Most people took the stairs, I accompanied my mother and a few other people with mobility issues who took the lift.

(to be continued)