When The Shit Hits The Fan, Happiness Will Wipe It Away!

Our trip to France has now become a saga. Thank goddess my clothing is packed.

In the span of over ten years that Bonaparte and I have been traveling back and forth to France together, we’ve never crossed the Atlantic via Air France.


We were all set to fly overseas via Air France for the first time!  

We’ve flown Air France from Paris to Nice and back to Paris while staying in Theoule and never had any problems.  It’s always been a pleasure.

This time around Bonaparte had the grand idea of flying Air France from JFK because of that new fancy-schmancy airbus with the cool and comfy seats that we would be sitting on in Business Class.


Looking at this seat, I now realize why Bonaparte wanted to fly business class. He wouldn’t have to be seated so close to me! I am more worried that my fat ass would get stuck in these little pod seats.

Our flights from JFK work out well because we drop our car at my sister’s house. She lives on Long Island—not too far from JFK. Therefore it makes sense that she drops us of at the airport.  Upon our arrival, either she, or my brother-in-law drives the car back to JFK’s short term parking before our flight home. We’ve worked this out like a fine-tuned machine!

Our plan was to get a connecting Air France flight to Nice upon landing at CDG.

Are you following?

Remember this for later. Please……

So on Thursday, I entered upon the gates of Retail Hell. Once again, I had to close. To start off, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

Add to that, a snooty customer who had bad fillers and over processed hair came in and insisted that we sold Christian Louboutin clutch bags.


This is the type of customer we had to deal with. Bad fillers and an even worse attitude!

We explained that we do not sell Louboutin clutches.

635914092748040915-368125095_customers that come in an hour before close pt 2

We all remained incredibly professional with this horrific woman.

She proceeded to tell us that we were wrong and she did, in fact, see one of his bags in our department.


No lady. We don’t sell this clutch nor do we sell this model shoe. You are delusional. Go back to Neiman’s.

What’s worse is that every time we told her we did not sell “Christian Louboutin” purses, she corrected us by retorting in the most condescending and sickening tone “I didn’t say Louis Vuitton. I said Christian Louboutin!”

Louis Vuitton ad by Jacques Henri Lartigue

Yo bitch, I know Louis V. better than you ever will!  Bonaparte’s grandfather took this photo for a Vuitton ad! Boo ya!

I wanted to say “Vous ĕtes un cochon madame putain!”  But I refrained.


These cute little cochons are a lot nicer!

It was also a lousy afternoon because the register hoarders were collecting all the expensive strays.

Then a bitch from the handbag department of a sister store called. Naturally, I always answer the phone in my executive assistant voice of “Good Evening.  Ladies Handbags.  How may I assist you?”


And I spoke in my sweetest voice. I was angelic and adorable!

And I’m greeted back with “Your department lost a DESIGNER bag that I ordered for a customer. It wasn’t shipped and it’s your fault. WHO TOOK CARE OF THIS. I WANT YOUR MANAGER!!!”

And instead of saying “ Vous ĕtes un cochon madame “. I very sweetly explained “Well, I’m working with a customer right now. There is no need to speak to me in the tone that you are using. I will look into this before I close”.

What happened next was a temper tantrum from a very aggressive sales assistant who seemed to think that her minute percentage of commission was going to place her into the one percent of our country’s earners. I transferred her to the Manager in Charge.


Can we act a bit more grown up and not like a child having a tantrum?

And all was settled when the MIC came over and took the bag that was NOT lost to shipping. It was evening. The bag wouldn’t have been shipped until the next morning…

And that left me even more pissed off.

Commission sucks. It turns sales assistants into greedy, nasty, vile people who bully others over a couple of bucks and they become aggressive and pathetic indviduals.

giphy (2)

Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. So is gluttony. Commission is two deadly sins in one!

I don’t like what commission has done to me.

giphy (3)

Thank you Gifsoup for allowing me to see what commission has done to me!

 It has turned me into a miserable being. Really. It has.


It’s true. I USED to be such a nice person. It’s not fair that I’m now so miserable. I want to return to my Mother Teresa status!

The evening turned out to be a good one, but I was rewarded with really nice customers. I like working alone. It is relaxing and the steady flow offers a chance to get a couple of decent sales.

And then the store closes at 9:30. But because great customer service means allowing the stragglers, who most likely are serial returners, to continue to shop for one or two random items, the store really closes at 10:30.

And so, by the real closing time all the sales assistants are in a very, very bad mood. I am one of those sales assistants.

And when I got into the car, the car that Bonaparte kindly dropped me off at Retail Hell earlier in the day and then drove back to pick me up from Retail Hell, I didn’t speak. I wanted to be alone.

My feet hurt from standing for nine hours straight. My ass hurt. My thighs hurt. My lady parts hurt. My calves hurt. My back hurt. My head hurt. My eyes were so crossed that I saw triple instead of double.

We arrived home in silence.

Then Bonaparte dropped the bombshell.

Air France was going on strike.


Really? Are you not making enough money to begin with? You have great healthcare benefits and great food and great wine..and you’re on strike????


Ohhhh..it’s so hard to stay mad at the French pilots–they are just so handsome!   Aren’t they the epitome of French Style with those Breton shirts draped over their shoulders. Fashion experts need to see that! And those accents….

We stayed up very late into the evening to make a mad scramble to reinvent our itinerary.  Successfully, we booked on another airline. Thankfully there were a few seats left!


When all else fails, get an American to step in and save the day!

We received a credit from Air France which isn’t all that bad considering we can use the tickets on our next trip back to Paris. Hopefully, Air France won’t be striking on our next booking.

Bonaparte also rented a car for us so that we could drive from Paris to Theoule. It’ll take seven hours but we would have had a three-hour layover for a connecting flight to Nice from CDG anyway. At this point, what’s a four-hour loss?


Although this Citroen is my favorite car of all time, it would not be a wise choice for driving from Paris to Theoule. It would take more than seven hours!

So that’s my hissy fit…

giphy (1)

Oh yes. I DID have this kind of hissy fit!

And I remained a bit hissy until Friday.

Something great happened.

As I was writing instructions for a new hire on how to close the register for the evening, a woman appeared in front of me at the counter.

*oh goddess* I’m becoming emotional now…

It was Sharon, one of my little circle of blog reader friends. We met for the first time!

I felt as though we knew each other forever! In the short time we got to meet and speak with each other, the dark cloud that had been hovering overhead burst and rays of sunshine broke through!

Happiness is Me and My Friend Sharon D!

Sharon D. and little ol’ me!  

Happiness is meeting one of your blog reader friends for the first time—it’s meeting an old friend for the very first time and realizing that life is full of great little wondrous moments!

It is the happy that wipes the shit from the fan–and I had plenty of it the past few days!

Thank you Sharon, thank you so much for lifting me out of that place where I was so miserable and thank you for bringing me to that happy place.

Shirley Temple sang it so well–Come and Get Your Happiness!



About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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44 Responses to When The Shit Hits The Fan, Happiness Will Wipe It Away!

  1. The strike in Paris there are many strike going on now. The RER, the SNCF, garbage men on strike also. Welcome to my hell hole. Have fun in France when you get there.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Dude! We were in France last year during the infamous taxi strike! I’m feeling rather Gallic or more like a Gaulfriend now that I’m becoming used to the strikes! XOXOXO!

  2. boooo to retail hell….YAY to meeting a blogger friend 😄

  3. Haylee says:

    Aww how lovely that you got to meet a blogging friend! Customer service in general can be so rubbish – People are just rude – well done for keeping your professional cool. It’ll soon be vacation time, glad you managed to rearrange things, I’d have had a meltdown!
    I finally finished my vlog btw and answered your question! (It’s long though, you might want to fast forward most of it!)

  4. “I wanted to say “Vous ĕtes un cochon madame putain!” But I refrained.” Tres, tres drole!
    Enjoyed reading your piece today. Bon courage et bon voyage!

    • Catherine says:

      Bon Soir Maribeth! LOL. Yeah. You like those choice words? I was going to use something really really naughty. A word that starts with the letter “c” and ends with the letter “e”. Yeah. You know what I’m talkin’ about! I refrained!!! Merci!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. Olive Ole says:

    Glad you found alternative transportation! And the 2CV is a really cool car! Have you ever tried driving one? They accellerate from 0 to 100 in 50 seconds, the heater has a whopping TWO settings (cold and damn cold) and the transmission stick is emmmm interesting (?) withe the pulling, pushing and twisting action 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Olive. Oh. Bonaparte grew up with that 2CV. I’ve never drove one but I’m sure that it would be the perfect car for me. Clumsy and a bit less-than-perfect! I think that’s why it is my dream car! XOXOXO!!!

      • Olive Ole says:

        A neighbour had one back home when I grew up. She was a mucician, played in the philharmonocs. Most every day she would drive past us with the bass sticking out the window of the car, and of course she had curtains and fake flowers in the rear window. The car was supercool!

        I think a car like that would look good on you, mind you, they are less than pleasant to drive 🙂

  6. painterwrite says:

    This is too funny…sorry if I’m laughing at your expense. I narrowly dodged a Tube strike in London so I completely sympathize with you on the Air France strike, although not being able to go on vacation is far worse than having to find alternate routes when already on vacation so I should just shut up.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Painter. Don’t even worry about laughing at my expense. It’s pretty damn funny if I may say so myself. And–true to form, the weather report for the day we leave is rain. FML. I have YET to fly over to France or anyplace else when the weather turned to either rain in the warm months or snow in the cool/cold months. Amazing. Simply Amazing!XOXOXOXO!!!

  7. Sharon Daly says:

    It was a delight to meet you Catherine and find you just as warm and real as in your terrific blog.
    I’m so glad I could brighten your day a bit.

    BTW, I was in a meeting once with Mother Theresa,
    and, believe me, she was one determined lady.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sharon! I’m still on cloud nine. We need to get together again and spend more time together! Oh. Mother Theresa was one strong lady!!! XOXOXOXOX!!!

  8. Nancy says:

    Not sure how I was lucky enough to find your blog but I love it more than I can say, get so excited when I see a new post is up…def. brightens up my day and my mood.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nancy! WOW! Thanks!!!! I’m thrilled that you are enjoying the blog!!! I’m working on a few more fun goodies before I leave for vacay!!!!! Thanks again! XOXOXOXO!!!

  9. Bun Karyudo says:

    I understand your feelings about working on commission. I’ve never liked it much as a customer because it encourages the person serving me to say any old nonsense just to get a sale. (It doesn’t happen so much with clothes, for me, but with things like computer peripherals and electrical equipment.) It actually has a bit of a deterrent effect in my case because I distrust everything I hear. Some sales assistants are wonderful, genuine and honest, of course, but that’s despite the commission, not because of it.

    I’m sorry to hear the French pilots went on strike. I’ve only ever used Air France once, as far as I can remember. I was traveling cattle class, as I always do. The airplane was almost empty, so I got to stretch out across an entire row and actually got some sleep on a flight, which is very unusual for me. I remember having a long, pleasant chat with the flight attendant, a young man as it happened. He said it was a very easy flight for him because the plane was so empty. He added that ordinarily a flight with so few passengers would be cancelled, but there was an important vacation period coming up at our destination, so the company needed to have airplanes there. It was one of the best long-haul flights I’ve ever had.

    Anyway, I loved the way you ended your post with your meeting a fellow blogger. It’s so great that you hit it off in real life too. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bun! That’s why my sales aren’t the greatest. I refuse to pressure anyone into buying. My thoughts on that are that I am helping you to either buy or NOT buy a bag. As a customer, I cannot stand pushy sales people. It turns my stomach–it really does. But then again, as a shopper, I know what I want. I shop for a purpose. That’s it.
      My favorite flight was an Aer Lingus flight back when Oona was competing. We flew into Dublin and the plane was nearly empty except for a handful of Irish Dancers and their moms. We were all able to spread out and sleep. It was great! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        Well, if it’s any consolation, you definitely sound like the kind of sales assistant I’d prefer: knowledgeable and sincere.

        The flight on Aer Lingus sounds rather similar to my flight on Air France. It so nice getting an entire row! 🙂

  10. gk says:

    It isn’t an easy job you are doing, but you are so upbeat and positive that I bet you are spreading good vibes to all those cranky peeps!
    Very happy your flights were sorted and you had the opportunity to meet a blogger friend. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks gk! I certainly hope I’m able to spread good vibes! My vibes now are in need of finding my digital camera. I put it somewhere and can’t remember that “somewhere”!! I’m praying to St. Anthony! XOXOXOXO!!!

  11. I’m glad you’re feeling so much more positive now 🙂

  12. Bernadette says:

    How much fun to meet a fellow blogger. How did you know each other?

  13. Catherine says:

    Hi Bernadette. We only knew each other from engaging in comments! It was pretty amazing! XOXOXOXO!!!

  14. Goodness. I’ve never seen a plane seat like that. But good for you, overall. You were in control. Tho…maybe you should’ve rampaged. Just once, mind.

  15. spearfruit says:

    What a wonderful ending to a terrible start! I am thankful the travel plans are all worked out. And meeting Sharon, I am sure was a real treat! Thanks Catherine, hope today is good to you! 🙂

  16. mareymercy says:

    It does sound like you definitely are in need of a vacation! Hope in spite of the craziness it is still wonderful.

  17. calensariel says:

    That’s just the best, isn’t it! Every epal I’ve ever met has felt that way! I’m so glad your “saga” took a turn for the better! 😀

  18. Betsy Busch says:

    A friend just told me about your blog. I started to read it and was struck by the similarity of our lives. I’m a NYC dame married to a Breton dude. We spend six months a year in the city and the rest of the year at our house in Brittany. It’s like “Green Acres”. We shlep everything back and forth across the Atlantic and all is semi-organized chaos. Nice to know someone else est dans le même bateau!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Betsy! It’s so good to welcome another NYC broad (such as myself) into the circle of friends here! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh…I’ve been dying to go to Brittany but Bonaparte is hesitant about it because “zuh wezuhr eez renney”. I’m beating him down though because I keep telling him that Brittany would be just like being on Long Island beaches–only in France! I look forward to three hedonistic weeks! I love your liking it to being in Green Acres. What a hoot! It’s also nice to meet another woman with a Frenchman!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Betsy Busch says:

        Brittany must’ve pissed the deities off in spades. We don’t have the deluges they’re having in much of France but a day of full, bust-out sunshine is as rare as someone with a full set of choppers! It/they exist but keep such a low profile my vitamin D levels are as low as my arches! We’re across the street from one of the last cow pastures that hasn’t been purchased from developers for starter homes that look like Jones Beach bath houses. In NYC, we’re face the Museum of Natural History. Culture shock on both sides of the Atlantic. One minute I’m making homemade jam and artisanal hooch, the next, I’m waiting on line at Zabar’s. What a woild! An internet failure eez cause for deezahstair, as my man would say…eef he could utter more than “appy burthdaay” and “geef me brek”(the latter, one of the phrases he usually hears from me)! Off to a p’tit dej of…”cruffins”, a new recipe I glommed from the internet. Not bad for instant croissant dough baked in muffin cups!

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Betsy. You are making me homesick for the Upper West Side. I lived there for years. First across from the Dakota and then on Riverside and 94th. I spent many rainy days at the MONH with the kids! I spent many mornings and afternoons running across town to bring the boys to school at St. Ignatius Loyola over on the UES! Fun times!
        Yeah. Bonaparte is always complaining that about the weather in Brittany being less-than-stellar, but everytime someone returns and I see pictures of SUNNY St. Malo, I give him an eyeroll. He’s already stressing about the weather reports in Theoule. I cant even……..XOXOXOXO!!!

  19. Betsy Busch says:

    Living a similar life. Six months in NYC/six months in Brittany with my Breton husband and our son, the Shih Tzu. Life is organized chaos on both sides of the Atlantic. A friend told me about your blog and it reminded me of my adventures in the land of cunning scarf-folding. Glad to have found this and look forward to another episode.

    • Catherine says:

      Betsy! Our “son” is Chippy–our rescue pup. In fact, my three grown children refer to him as “The favorite child”! I’ll be writing lots more about our adventures in the land of unpasteurized cheese and good wine!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Betsy Busch says:

        Children? I forgot to have a biological horloge. I did remember to take the cannoli..er the Shih Tzu! Unpasteurized cheese almost compensates for a dearth of takeout and a twenty-minute car ride to the nearest Leclerc for some item I forgot to stock in multiples. Our life is like a mash-up of “Green Acres” meets “I Love Lucy”! Can’t wait to read more about yours! XO/Bises from the tiniest village in La Bretagne!

      • Catherine says:

        Betsy! I’m always comparing our life together as a Gallic version of “I Love Lucy” Instead of Ricky yelling “Loooooooseeeeee”, Bonaparte just yells “Cassssssss-eeeeeeee”! You should have heard him when I expressed the desire to get my nose pierced and a small tattoo! (And no–it didn’t happen!)XOXOXOXO!!!
        Here’s a post from last summer for ya: https://atypical60.com/2015/07/13/the-return-to-paris-and-the-canicule-some-sleep-with-the-fishes-i-sleep-with-the-ice-cubes/

      • Betsy Busch says:

        Hilarious, Catherine! Loved reading this. Glad you nixed the piercing and tattoo notions. Nothing worse than tatt remorse and when the parade passes on, as usually it does, you’re left with permanent vestiges of body alteration that look more charming when one is twenty than decades later. I always wonder how those young, tattooed lovelies will feel when the ravages of time catch up to them and they look like geriatric carnies. If you must do something transgressive, try a tress of ultraviolet among your locks. I painted my toenails green, yellow, purple and turquoise a few years ago. That was as far as it went.
        I’m lobbying for a change in our routine. My Breton views food other than basic peasant dishes with suspicion and fear. If I propose going into the exotic area of artichokes or, heaven forfend, chopped liver, he looks at me as if I’ve suggested un diner de verres de terre! This, on both sides of the Atlantic. I’m thinking of striking for more interesting ingredients for our meals. Stay tuned.
        Vis à vis your rental ennuis over a bit of sand, this is the way I work it: I ask to speak to the manager. I explain the situation and tell him that if his company decides it’s necessary to charge me for a bit of sand, I will bring their business practices to the attention of social media. The flak from that will have a deleterious effect on their business, causing many to lose employment. Their workers could find themselves piping cunning heart into latte froth if they fail to listen to reason. I tell them that I might be one drop of water but enough dissatisfied customers could turn into the Atlantic Ocean and if they don’t want their business rated like a restaurant on Yelp they’d do well to drop the charges. This never fails to work. I usually follow up with a letter to the president of the company,asking him if he really needs the negative publicity. Finis. Off to fret about politics, artichokes, cabbages and kings. Betsy

      • Catherine says:

        Betsy. We luckily had that charge of sand waived. Trust me, I would have gotten my “fuckin’a pissed off New Yawka” on and that would have been the end….But it’s funny. Bonaparte’s family, when he was growing up in Paris, had the luxury of help to cook incredible meals. We had my mother. I enjoy a good Pot-au-feu” (I’m too lazy to check the spelling) and I would rather learn how to make a good Far Breton than make the clafoutis that are regulars in our home. My kids are thrilled that I even met Bonaparte because they love the way I’ve learned to prepare the fancy schmancy French cuisine! It’s fun though! I gotta get ready–last minute preps! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Betsy Busch says:

        Glad to hear they waved the “sand charges”. Funny that you should mention Far Breton. My husband loves that but I think it has the texture of solidified Elmer’s Glue and can’t choke it down. I do make fabulous clafoutis. Otherwise, Breton cooking doesn’t float my boat. I do lots of Asian,Mexican, and Indian food over here. I usually come over with an entire suitcase of condiments so I can cook whatever I fancy over here. I don’t know about Parisians but the Bretons aren’t know for being culinary adventurers. When I make something for our friends it’s usually met with a squinch of the nose…as if I were passing out sautéed worms. For a people who gave us soixante-neuf, they sure are picky about what they put in their mouths! Complete disconnect. They have no problem eating snails,blood sausage, and bunny-wunnies but a bagel or chopped liver…nay! I frequently get in the mood to make stuff we can’t find over here. Nobody’s ever heard of sweet pickle relish in Brittany. I had to glom a recipe from the internet and now I make dozens of jars of my own. It’s fabulous-I almost feel like manufacturing it but I love being retired and doing whatever the frig I want…whenever the mood strikes. I also started making my own liqueurs some years ago. Dee-vine, though the pharmacies over here have started to crack down on selling food-grade alcohol so I don’t share my booze with anyone but moi. I miss the convenience of take-out in NYC but love the country, the clean air, and the quiet. We live across the street from the Museum of Natural History. I don’t know if you’ve heard but the Museum is in big talks to enlarge the entrance that faces Columbus Avenue(our side), and the project is slated to take several years. Dirt, construction noise and traffic jams are in our future. Off to watch tonight’s movie. So much fun knowing another New Yorker/Française. Bon nuit et a la prochaine!

  20. Mike says:

    “Three cheers for Catherine!!” … And may you one time get to experience ‘the pod’…(without getting stuck… I’m sure you won’t 😉) … Hope weather improves for you… We’ve had lots of rain the past week again, not as bad as during the flooding, but still…. Enough to feel like we may soon start sprouting moss!

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