Flower Power, The Yellow Phase and Personal Time Off!

It’s been a moment.  Actually, it’s been longer than a moment. It’s been months of pandemicmania.  And we, in this area of Pennsylvania have now entered into the “yellow” phase.  That means more businesses are opening.

Report: Philadelphia and Surrounding Counties Soon Moving to COVID ...

Aggressive mitigation my ass.  I can’t even go inside a bank to have documents notarized. And I wear a mask!

Don’t even ask me how this “Yellow” phase is working, but the local Hallmark store opened and on Saturday, Bonaparte and I drove to his bank to have a document notarized and we could not enter the bank as only the drive-through and lobby for ATM use was opened.

Hmmmm.  A Hallmark card store vs. a Bank.  I guess it’s more important to buy a friggin’ card than it is to have an important document notarized.

Anyway, with our trip to France cancelled, I am making every effort to bring France to our humble chateau!   And that means going overboard with the flowers.

You see, at the Marché Forville, the choice of flowers available is astounding.  As are the choices of produce and tons of other goodies.  And I liken our local Produce Junction as a little Marché Forville of sorts.

Just a sampling of the flora available at Marche Forville in Cannes.  Thank goodness I took photos.  And yes. I’m getting ready for a pity party this afternoon!

And after not being able to enter the bank, we drove over so I could purchase flowers to fill our home with  lots of pretty petals and greenery!  But I’m going to backtrack a bit.

I purchased six vases worth of flowers yesterday–but more on that in a while!

We had severe storms this past week.  I think Mother Nature has had it and she let us know.  Tornados hit, which is a rarity.  Trees were knocked down and over 100,000 homes are still without power.  We were the lucky ones.

A little glimpse of the damage that was done in this area. It was horrific!

I was at work.  The power went off.  And seriously, you gotta love Corporate America.  I was given a choice to stay and wait for the power to go on or go home and take Personal Time Off, PTO for short.  Let. Me. Tell. You. There was no way that I was going to leave to take any PTO.  As one of a total of three people in the office , this was not what an executive choice I was expecting.  No.  I stayed till five waiting for the power to return and listened to music.

View from my cubicle

The next morning, power in the office was still off.  My boss sent me a text stating I had to take PTO (which was not her doing) and after a brief meltdown, simply because nobody puts my PTO in a corner, it came to fruition that I better take my anger out in a positive way.

I refuse to allow Mother Nature to dictate my time off.  That PTO of mine is sacred to me!

And so, I got a bucket. And water. And cleaning products. And got down on my 65-year old hands and knees and scrubbed every baseboard in the house.  I also scrubbed the vents and the wainscoting.  Much to my ultimate surprise, I wasn’t as sore as anticipated.

My cleaning ammunition.  It was a filthy job that needed to be done!

This ungodly and shameful chore commenced at 8:00 AM and by 10:30 AM was complete.  And when I glanced at my phone, I noticed another text from my boss. She was trying to reach me because the power went back on.

How filthy were the baseboards, and vents?  Does this give you a clue?  Shameful?  Should be but it isn’t.  It’s a job well-done!

Now, understand something.  Whilst cleaning I wore an old white tattered pair of denim shorts, a baggy t-shirt, no wig, no makeup and no underwear.  It is imperative that I am absolutely comfortable tackling a filthy, grimy chore.

Realizing that I could hurry into the office and make up the two-hour time difference rather than lose any PTO, I quickly shed those shorts to add panties. The shorts then went back on.  The baggy shirt came off, a bra went on as did a more presentable shirt.

Plopped on some hair, put underwear on, changed my shirt and flew into work!  

I plopped a head of fake hair on, slid into loafers, grabbed the car keys and sped.  In fact, when I arrived at the office, my boss’s reaction was “Did you fly here”?

My only answer was “Pee. Tee. Ohhhhhh”.  She got it.  She gets me!

What vacation?  However, my personal time is precious!

And I spent a pleasant day at work knowing that I didn’t have to take any personal time off.   But she also reminded me about  the “Yellow” phase.  In other words, she reminded me my pandemic office honeymoon was about to end.  More coworkers will be arriving.  I’m distraught!

I’ll tell you. For the most part, the people I work with are good eggs. But there’s that minute contingent I refer to as “groundhogs”. The ones who pop their heads up from their cubicles to “watch” every move others make.  The little snitches.  They snitch if someone laughs. If someone talks too loudly.  If someone isn’t being nice to them.  If someone is eating. If someone is breathing. 

You know the person I’m referring to. They can’t keep their eyes or mind on THEIR work so they have to play the role of office snitch! Little groundhogs sticking their faces over their cubicles. Get back you rodent!

If you work in or have ever worked in an office, you know the type I’m referring to. My workcation is about to end!

So, back to the flowers.

I was struck by the incredible number of white flowers that were available at Produce Junction and was immediately brought back to those times at Bonaparte’s aunt, Danièle’s apartment in Paris.  She loved white roses and she loved her orchids. The apartment was always filled with flowers.

The table in Daniele’s living room was chock full of orchids.  Ahhhh I miss this view!

Suffice it to say I went a bit overboard.

I couldn’t help myself…

….flowers just make me happy…

….and I’m saddened by the fact our visit to France this summer was cancelled..

…and strategically placed throughout the house..

..they bring a smile to my face!

It didn’t stop there.  We bought plants for the deck.  It’s odd how this year there appears to be a shortage of geraniums, which I love for the outdoors, and the ones available were inches from death.

Seriously.  Bonaparte purchased the last of the remaining “good” geraniums!

I went with an assortment.

We’ve got some Lavender..

…and Rosemary and Begonias..

…and I took the Poinsettias from indoors and brought them outdoors…

…and we’ve got a Lilly

….and I did the dirty work (as usual) while Bonaparte cleaned up after me (as usual)!

All I want is to be reminded of the terrace at the apartment in Theoule we’ve rented for years.  We had it for this year and I was looking so forward to waking up and having breakfast overlooking the Mediterranean. 

Flowers on the terrace at Theoule. Oh I miss this view in the morning!

And in the evening, I was looking forward to sitting down and spending hours over dinner.  Watching the sun set upon the sea, listening to Bonaparte complaining about the large cruise ships destroying the beautiful vista.  I just miss it so much.  And part of that is I work so hard all year round.  At this stage in my life, I always envisioned a retirement of pleasure so that I could enjoy the years that remain.

I miss those delightfully lingering dinners on the terrace!

Why, I even miss the way Bonaparte complained about large cruise ships ruining his view as we sat down to enjoy the Mediterranean!

But I’m trying to do my best by setting a nice table for our summer dinners on the deck at home!

Can I click the heels of my Tropezienne sandals three times and be back on the terrace at Theoule?

Alas, that is not to be and I’ll be working till my last breath.  And that is why my personal time off is sacred to me.

Yeah. I’m crying because there won’t be ANY travels!

Later on, I’ll venture out to another plant nursery to find some plants that’ll hang loosely as they grow.  I want to sit on our deck during the remaining warm months before the sun sets earlier and earlier.  I want to squint my eyes and pretend that the rooftops across the way are the Mediterranean Sea with tiny whitecaps.  I want to look at the plants and pretend I’m back in Theoule.

This view just ain’t happening this year!

And while sitting outside, we’ll listen to a compilation of French pop music that I added to my Spotify!

This is an actual playlist from my Spotify!  You can tell I’ve been on Spotify for a long time–it’s in my pre-Lartigue last moniker!  But I’ll tell ya, there’s some great songs on this playlist!

Tonight, we will watch a French movie starring Danièle and the actor of the best speaking voice of all time—Charles Denner!

Daniele co-stars in this film. And it’s got subtitles!!!

More surprises in the cast!  Yves Robert, Daniele’s husband and the singer Sacha Distel.  I’m guessing he’s not gonna sing in this movie!

Hmmm. I wonder what Charles Denner is holding in his hand and I wonder what Daniele is sidling in over!

As we near the different phases of this pandemic, I wish to remind all to not have a false sense of security. Please remain safe and well!

Stay safe. Stay well.  It’s time to buy more plants!

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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18 Responses to Flower Power, The Yellow Phase and Personal Time Off!

  1. Ilyse Smith says:

    Oh so true about the geraniums! I wanted my usual hot punks but had to settle for white, and they are bedraggled too! Your arrangements look beautiful – you’ve inspired me to go out and get more for our patio. Yes, trying to make the most of it – you are lucky to be working! That wig is ADORABLE on you? Which one is it?

    • Catherine says:

      HI Ilyse! Yeah! What is it with the greaniums this year?? I’m quite upset because potted geraniums have always been a favorite–they last well into the fall too! I’m so glad I’ve inspired you to get more plants for the patio. I’m on a roll! Ohhh the hair is Athena by Bobbi Boss wigs. A steal at around $30!!! XOXOXOXO

  2. Joan Brown says:

    You are so amazing. Someday when I am visiting my two adult daughters and their families in Quakertown, I wish our paths would cross, even for coffee or lunch. I have so much in common with you and love your sense of humor.

  3. I’m so sorry about the storms, it sounds scary. Is this your house with the fallen tree? It looks so French!
    We’re not visiting my parents in France either this summer, which is tough as we only go every two years as it is, and we are so much closer than you are. I haven’t yet thought about how I can make up for it for the girls who were looking forward to a proper sunning on the balcony – they’ve finally reached the age when they agree with me that a house is not a home until you’ve got a balcony (not that I have one here in the UK but one can dream). It’s been non-stop baking in my house during lockdown, using a French pack of mix to make crème patissiere/flan patissier that’s been as good as the real thing. Who said French people cooked everything from scratch?
    We’ve been learning how to grow things instead of buying plants this year, I’ve always been terrible at growing plants and convinced myself I never would but the windowsill is getting full of seedlings of daisies, green beans, tomatoes, spring onions and habanero peppers and I have some herbs in the garden, which has been terribly exciting.

    Keep well and safe, Pauline xx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Pauline! You keep safe as well. I feel for you, It stinks so badly that our plans have all been destroyed but look at it this way, when you do get back to France it’ll be that much greater! Ohhh I’ve seen those French mixes at Geant and Carrfour and am sure that whatever the outcome, it’s a million times better than the boxed mixes we get here in the States. There’s such a chemical aftertaste! Keep growing that produce! I’m hoping that my Rosemary thrives.
      And that isn’t our house. It’s about a mile away from us. I felt so bad for the owners because the home is quite lovely! XOXOXOXO

  4. vavashagwell says:

    Wow, that was quite the wind storm!!! Your video is amazing!!!
    Totally agree about PTO. It should be used at your discretion, not the business. When I was working and things like this came up, we were given administrative leave not forced to take vacation time. I hope before long you can retire, you’ve certainly worked hard and you deserve it. And yes, those coworkers who spend more time monitoring everyone else are so annoying. I certainly don’t miss working, and I’m not exactly sure I even miss most of the coworkers!!! haha.
    Flowers are gorgeous!! Way to go! I love Spotify too, I’m a huge rhythm and blues, swing, soul music fan. Lately we’ve been listening to a Best of the 70s playlist while cooking and having a happy hour and it’s bee fun.
    My best friend is planning a trip to Cancun in a few months and I don’t really think that’s a great idea. I hope she doesn’t get Covid-19, she is at a higher risk than many. But she’s determined to go. I think you were wise to postpone your vacation to France. Take care!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Vava! Yeah. That was some outrageous storm. We had tornados too! Still, I pause for disappointment at the fact PTO had to be taken. Corporate America sure has changed since I worked down on Wall Street in the 70’s and 80’s. Back in those days there was loyalty on both the employer and employee. We were treated wonderfully. Now we are mere numbers . It’s just sad!
      Please tell your friend to stay home!!! it is wayyyyyyy to early to have that false sense of security! XOXOXOXO

  5. Juliet says:

    Those flowers and plants! Lovely. That storm – was it even safe to have attempted to leave, Im glad you stayed I would have done that and I know what you mean about the office pests, only our pest is also our boss – he is constantly up and out of his desk to try and join in – hijacking many a conversation about music, books, local stuff etc with a “look at my cute kids” doing stupid things – we know his wife is perpetually angry with him and he has no social life unless she lets him out etc etc – but his choice and we are so tired of his nonsense. If we dont immediately respond to his child photos (and some of our team dont have kids so why would they be interested) he goes and sulks and then gets vindictive and tries to give people his work. He is an utter nightmare – I tell you this working at home has been wonderful as we havent had to put up with him jiggling our chairs or demanding constant attention.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! Yeah. By the time 5PM rolled around, it was much safer to go home. Luckily for me, I have a great boss. She and my direct supervisor are so good that I won’t even consider working for anyone else. Thankfully both leave me to my own devices. LOL! XOXOXOXO

  6. doodletllc says:

    Fun post Catherine…love when you take matters in your own hands and just cut to the chase…so sorry about the missed trip to France…we are in the same no-trip-to-France boat too…this is the 3rd time we have had to cancel…I never would have dreamed the cancellation would be because of a pandemic. But I guess no one could guess that. Stay safe and well!

    • Catherine says:

      Jeanne. Cah you believe it? Last year’s trip was cancelled due to Oona’s wedding, which was a great reason for cancelling but a pandemic????????? I am so with you on that! Be well and you and your daughters and husband stay safe! XOXOXOXO

  7. It’s really odd. Normally at this time one falls all over over the tourists. Now there are none up here in AK. So weird.

    • Catherine says:

      Right? We are going to drive to NYC to pick my son up so he can relax here for a week or so before returning to work in July, I am NOT expecting the normal NYC traffic. It is strange indeed! XOXOXOXO

  8. lois schafer lisowski says:

    I understand completely the sense of mourning over the loss of time in France. We had 3 trips planned- the first was on March 12 to inspect a little cottage we had made an offer on and that we’ve been dreaming of for 20 years. Well- that sure didn’t happen. The trip and the cottage were cancelled. Then- we had another trip scheduled in April for Paris and then on down to the south a bit. That one went away too. Our last booking is for Mid August to mid Sept. and I am certain we will be getting yet another credit on Delta. I am just about your age and I feel that clock ticking ever louder…. Enjoy your flowers and the quiet time you may still have at the office. Stay safe!

    • Catherine says:

      Lois. I can’t even. I’ve been sitting here all week thinking about the fact we SHOULD have been in France right now. This entire year has been so alarmingly awful. I’m still depressed about my brother. The pandemic. Cancelled trip. It’s as though nothing is making sense this year—HOPEFULLY, we will be back in November!! Ugh. I feel so badly about that cottage. But, I’m sure something even better will pop up for you. Keeping my fingers crossed! XOXOXOXO

  9. patricia blaettler says:

    Housekeeping tip: Order up a pack of 6 ply diapers and use them for cleaning. They do a much better job than paper towels. Very absorbent, and you can keep them for a long time.

  10. love those geraniums. Lousy office to blame you for the power outages. I’m missing my art opening in up state New York. They’ve delayed it a year!! i hope I’m still here. We were going to go to London afterwards.Nope. We’re staying safe and staying home. I’m sure your husband needs to be careful. You did a great job on the base boards. Isn’t that satisfying? I know you’ll be doing lots of great cooking this summer. Does your husband need to be on a special diet or can you cook what ever you like? Always fun catching up.

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