Qu’est-ce qu’on fait cet été?

Well, summer has really kicked in now. As in, it’s 83 degrees out and I’ve got all the shades down to keep the house from turning into an oven. I’ve started to really accomplish a few things on my to-d0 list this summer.

1) Have mono. Okay so this wasn’t on my to-do list, but it happened nonetheless, or so it now seems. The Monday after the last Friday of class (June 25th, that is), I started to feel weak and tired in the evenings, and started to have a bizarre problem behind one of my teeth. I went to the doctor for the tooth business and she thought it was a wisdom tooth growing in so she sent me for a dental x-ray and gave me some anti-inflammatories. That problem went away and the x-ray showed no sneaky wisdom teeth, but it may have been the beginning of the problem, who knows. I started feeling worse and worse in the evenings, even had quite a bit of trouble keeping my energy up on our trip to Paris, and I usually had a fever at night which meant night sweats (=gross). I spent the days resting because I was usually just too tired to do anything productive on my awesome summer to-do list.

Eventually the lymph nodes in my neck swelled up and I went to the doctor, but because it was a Wednesday, I didn’t go to my médecin traitant. Doctor #2 diagnosed me with bacterial tonsillitis and sent me on my way with six days’ of antibiotics. Six days passed, and the tonsils were still swollen and white, and it still hurt to talk, though I felt a bit better. So I went back to doc #2, who gave me antibiotics for another seven days. The tonsils seemed slowly to be getting better and my throat hurt less and less. Nonetheless, bacterial tonsillitis (typically strep throat) should go away after six days on antibiotics, not thirteen.

This past Sunday I woke up with a rash ALL OVER MY BODY. Mostly on my arms, hands, and legs. It was gross and it itched. I called the médecin de garde who said to take antihistamines and that I could stop the antibiotics. I took benadryl and it knocked me out, pretty much eating up my Sunday. I went back to my real doc Monday morning and she said the following enlightening thing: If you have tonsillitis from mononucleosis (a virus), and you treat it erroneously with antibiotics, you can break out in a rash. She did a strep test that came out negative (though it’s not entirely conclusive since I had been on antibiotics for ten days). She gave me cortico-steroids for the rash and sent me off for a blood test for mono. The rash is pretty much gone (thank God, it was gross) and I’ll have the results from the blood test next week. Conclusion to be drawn from this: ALWAYS DO A STREP TEST. It takes like three minutes and can save you an unnecessary gross rash. (Did I mention the rash was gross?)

I’m feeling ten times better now and really hope the mono is on its way out. Of course I don’t know for sure yet that it’s mono but it really makes a lot of sense. Who knows where I got it, since symptoms can start up to six weeks after exposure, and since the French all taste each other’s cocktails using the same straw.

2) Redo the kitchen. This was one of my big goals for the summer and it’s coming along especially now that I’m not tired or gross from probably-mono. I’ll do some simpler before-after pictures once it’s all done but in the meantime here is how things are progressing.

The state of the floor in the other half of the kitchen was, how can I say, NOT GOOD once I took off the old lino.

In front of the sink, closer up


As soon as I started vacuuming I realized the coating (which in French you call enduit) was coming off in pieces (it’s old hardwood underneath). So I took to it with a scraper and called my in-laws to see if they wanted to help.

BIL passed me FIL who said, “Ah yes, I suspected as much” when I told him that the enduit was pourri and would have to be redone. This was followed by, “Do you want me to come look at it?” which was swiftly followed by, “I’ll have a look and keep you posted.” I wasn’t sure what “have a look” meant but apparently it meant going to the store to buy a bag of enduit powder. FIL and MIL arrived about an hour later, bag of enduit and tools in hand, and we took off all that we could of the rotten floor coating. Then FIL set to work on the new enduit, which was sort of a one-man job, so I just watched and documented.

Mixing the enduit

Here, side by side, is how it looked before and after:

The directions on the enduit bag said to leave it for between 9 and 24 hours before putting flooring down. That thirteen-hour window of choice seemed vague to me, so we’re leaving it for 24 hours, and FIL will probably come back tomorrow with his electric sander to make sure it’s all even before we put down the new lino.

In the meantime, I managed to repaint the kitchen cabinet. My old friend and roommate Marie painted this back in the days of the coloc, before I arrived, because I would NEVER have suggested painting it in fluorescent green and dark purple. I mean, eugh. Pictures coming soon once I finish painting the handles and put the thing back together with doors and drawers and everything. I also repainted that wall on the left in the kitchen pictures, which was all streaky and smudgy as though someone had leaned some dirty furniture up against it very hard.

See to the left: white streaky bits.

You’ll notice in the above pictures of the enduit that the white streaky bits are gone. Hurray for me. You can also see a tiny bit of the ugly cabinet I’ve repainted.

3) Buy and do dorky teacher things. I know, this post is getting long, but this is the fun part, I promise. (Er…) On my list of things to do this summer was to prepare my iPad for heavy use in the classroom this fall. I bought Keynote and Pages, as well as an app called Penultimate that looks like a notebook and in which you can save different notebooks. My mom gave me the video projector cable for my birthday. And I recently ordered this new stylus for iPad. Apparently the problem with modern tablets is that they’re all made for fingers, so styluses have to be big and rubbery. This one has a different strategy:

The purple is pretty isn’t it?

It’s still honestly a bit tricky to write with. The hand resting on the iPad can write its own streaks, plus my handwriting is a bit weird with the stylus. It’ll take some getting used to.

I also bought these awesome self-inking rubber stamps from http://www.teacher-stamps.co.uk/:

Since I’ll be doing 5e this year I’m hoping to incorporate more of what we call “rituals,” including checking some or all of their notebooks during note-taking time at the end of class, and putting a stamp on the neat notebooks, hence the one I like to call Very Neat Mouse. Wow Whale and Brilliant Bee are obviously multi-purpose. And who knows, maybe the BTS (post-high school) students will find them funny. I think the 3e and the 2e will probably think they’re too old for them.

 I’ve also been reading sort of haphazardly Les Années-collège by the child psychologist Nicole Catheline.

Middle School Years: The Great Misunderstanding

Catheline came to talk to us in our pre-rentrée training last September and was pretty interesting. She makes adolescence sound incredibly confusing. I guess it was. Do we just all try to repress those memories?

So, that’s what I’ve been up to, all in spite of the bizarre mono. Sorry for the super-long post, but I had lots of things I wanted to say for once, which is new since the end of the school year (posts have been much more frequent). I promise I left out a bunch of boring stuff: cutting off our gaz de ville subscription and switching to a bouteille; convincing the water service not to charge us for traitement des eaux usées since we have a septic tank; changing our renters’ insurance; J’s new car (a 2003 C5); the theft of J’s bike (a very nice bike, and he had just started training daily on his bike to get into better shape for escalade, so he almost pétéed un cable as the French would say) by quite possibly friends of our neighbors; the summer tutoring I’m doing with BIL this summer before he starts lycée this fall. Oh, and my titularisation is good to go: I can be a teacher for life now if I want. Scary but relieving.


4 thoughts on “Qu’est-ce qu’on fait cet été?

  1. Laurel says:

    Ugh mono!! Thumbs down. I hope your recovery is speedy. That aside about the French sharing cocktail straws cracked me up though.
    Awesome work on your kitchen. I’m loving following along with your remodel liveblog.

  2. Zhu says:

    Poor you! My sister had mono when she was a teen and I remember her being exhausted at the time. That sucks. Hope you can get your energy levels back soon!

  3. Congrats on the titularisation! Hope you’re feeling 100% soon, you make me feel guilty getting all that done with glandular fever (what we call mono in my parts – mono was a complete mystery to me through many years of reading the likes of Judy Blume!)

  4. Laurel: Glad you’re enjoying the updates! I’m certainly finding it interesting.
    Zhu: Thanks, I think it should be gone soon!
    Gwan: Glandular fever sounds so much scarier than mono!

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