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Air France sucks!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

OK, it was totally my fault I left my iPad on the plane when we arrived in Paris. I was stressed and jet lagged and stressed...and I just forgot I had put it in the seat back. My fault.

As soon as I realized what I had done some several hours later in the hotel I tried calling the travel help, it is after hours on a Sunday and no one answers the phone at the after hours number. I leave a message (and 2.5 weeks later no one has returned my call!), and try again in a few hours, get a real person and she gives me an e-mail address for Air France. I shoot them off an e-mail and pass out from the jet lag.

Next day is Monday and I have a lovely automated e-mail from Air France saying they'll look into it, if you don't hear from us in 8 days we couldn't find it.

OK, an automated e-mail? Really? Why am I not feeling comfortable with this?

Monday afternoon, after perusing the Air France website, I send a message to Contact Us asking who to call for items left on the plane. Their response was to send the e-mail I had already sent.

No response by Saturday morning so since I had to go back to the airport to return the rental van I figured I'd stop by Customer Service and try to move things along in person. Finally got to the baggage department after being passed around (and to be fair these people were helpful in telling me what they could and couldn't answer and pointing me in the next right direction). Baggage claim guy says nope, absolutely can't help you, have to send the e-mail. I told him I already did on Sunday, it is now Saturday and there is no response. Baggage guy says sorry, can't help, send the e-mail; no, sorry, there is no phone number for the Left Items warehouse, no sorry, you can't talk to anyone else, you have to send the e-mail only.

And - of course - the requisite 8 days have more then passed and would you believe I never received a response?

I know, hard to believe that anyone is really doing anything to find it when all you get is an automated response telling you don't call us, we'll call you. So I sent them another e-mail...which came back undeliverable. Amazing. Do they have me blocked I wonder? Nope, on Monday this week I sent a brand new one instead of a response and it went through...and returned the same automated lie.

I tried calling the travel agency, thinking they talk to the airlines all the time, they should have a number of someone somewhere I could talk to. Nope, so sorry, you have to send the e-mail.

I've tried calling Air France in Detroit and in Paris...sorry, can't help, send the e-mail. I asked a French colleague to do the same figuring maybe it's b/c I'm an American & don't speak French...sorry, send the e-mail.

I know that no one has even tried using the iPad because it has been offline this entire time. Which tells me it is just sitting somewhere. And no one at Air France is looking for it. Or at least that has to be my assumption because I have absolutely zero response from them.

Take note Air France...automated messages that say if you don't hear from us we didn't find it are NOT A RESPONSE! And do NOT inspire any confidence that anyone is actually doing anything ESPECIALLY when you refuse to actually let customers talk to you.

What are you afraid of that you can't publish a Contact Us phone number? Hiding something like a pack of thieves taking advantage of your customers' forgetfulness?

NOT feeling in a very generous or understanding mood today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEZZIEJAMES 9/19/2012 10:00PM

    Wow. That sucks hardcore. I can't believe there is no contact info. It sounds as if you have exhausted every resource. Could you throw your weight around? Demand a supervisor every time you get someone on a phone. INSANITY.

I really hope you get it back. And soon.


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GETSTRONGRRR 9/19/2012 9:07PM

    Bummer! I'm taking an Air France flight from Charles de Gaulle to Istanbul on Saturday.

try this number 800-237-2747 or 1- 877-247-9247

Comment edited on: 9/19/2012 9:08:38 PM

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SAFARIBABE 9/19/2012 9:05PM

    WOW! That really sucks! At least when I had to deal with the cops they were somewhat empathetic. You can't even get to a real person! Hope it all comes out and you get your iPad back!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 9/19/2012 7:12PM


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DOGSTARDADDY 9/19/2012 4:00PM

    Ugh :(

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EMMANYC 9/19/2012 2:32PM

    Aargh - very frustrating for you. Did you buy it within the last six months or so? It might be covered by insurance associated with a credit card like an Amex. Or it might be covered by travel insurance (including insurance associated with the card you bought the ticket with). And if neither of those options works, you should try checking with Apple to see if they'd give you a refurbished one cheaply. While it's not exactly the same thing, I've had at least two experiences where I damaged an expensive electronic device outside the warranty period and the supplier (Sony in one case, Canon in another), sold me a refurbished device cheaply (e.g., for about 25% of the original).

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NINJA_SMOO 9/19/2012 10:25AM

  Ack, talk about frustrating! I hope they find it / get it back to you soon :(

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-POLEDANCEGIRL- 9/19/2012 9:53AM

    How horrible!! Keep contacting them. Im sending positive vibes :)

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STARLIGHT615 9/19/2012 9:48AM

    Oh I am so sorry!! I would keep sending them emails after emails, if anything try to contact their corporate office but at first dont tell them ur calling about a lost item till u get someone in corporate on the phone! And then Blast them!!!

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RUNNER12COM 9/19/2012 9:40AM

    Oh, that stinks. I hate losing anything, let alone something that has such practical and financial value.

I hope it shows up for you.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 9/19/2012 9:28AM

    So sorry. I intimately know that sick feeling when you leave something in an airport. Happened to me in the Paris airport too.

My watch (did not clasp it properly after going through security and it fell off while sprinting to the next terminal. Did I mention Charles DeGaulle Airport is a nightmare to get through?)

And on the way back, a lovely hat I had bought in Regensburg Germany. It must have gotten caught in the x-ray conveyor and when they pulled my carry on aside to inspect it, I just did not think about it and sprinted off again to catch my next flight.

I cried because both had sentimental value.

You have my sympathies!!!

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GARDENCHRIS 9/19/2012 9:03AM

    so sorry.....hope you have a good outcome! you could try customer service when you get back to the airport. and insist on speaking to someone in charge.

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/19/2012 8:48AM

    Seems like the way of the world these days with automated systems everywhere. Hope it comes back to you. Major loss.

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CODEMAULER 9/19/2012 8:42AM

    I agree - you may need to make a pest of yourself in order to "inspire some action." Good luck and go get 'em, Tiger!!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 9/19/2012 8:29AM

    How very frustrating! Customer service these days is really lacking and I absolutely HATE automated response systems. Where are the real people.... I don't want to talk to a machine.

Stay on it.... I hope you get some kind of hopeful response soon.

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AZMOMXTWO 9/19/2012 7:52AM

  I would keep on them and keep sending e-mails at some point they will have to do sonething i would hope

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June / July / August Goal Results

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Better late than never!

1) Maintain my weight at +5 / -14 pounds
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I’ve been maintaining at about +6-10 lbs from goal weight…which is OK. My “real” goal weight was 140 anyway, not the 134 on my original ticker…I just thought a 70 lb loss goal sounded a bit better than a 64 lb goal. Staying between 140-145 is fine with me because it was my original intention anyway. Although I think I’ve started getting down closer to the stated maintenance range in the 130s lately based on the way my clothes are fitting. I won’t have my scale until the very end of the month so I’ll have to wait and see how September goes. I know I’m not gaining, so I’m not worrying overmuch about this goal.

3) Do some sort of housecleaning or maintenance daily.
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5) Finalize my budget by the end of Jan and stick to it to pay off at least 3 loans by Dec.
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Debt #s 4 & 5 paid off! 2 more budgeted to be paid off this year and that will be the last of the odds & ends bills. 2013 will see the larger ones start getting paid down.

6) Ready to test for black belt by end of June:
6c) Make terminology flashcards by end of February; review weekly until testing
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Did a crash study over the 48 hours before testing, but passed!

6d) Assist in 4 classes per month (20 total required)
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Was ahead of schedule until the very last required session, which I ended up finishing the week before testing

6e) Learn and master sais kata
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Need to upload the video to YouTube

6f) Keep running so as to maintain ability to run 2 miles in 18 minutes
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Kept running but missed the timing...and then found out at testing that the run is handicapped for age and b/c of taking place after several hours of strenuous physical testings...ended up doing the run at testing in 21 minutes exactly

6g) Be able to do 55 pushups in May; 60 in June
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Knocked those out at testing in not much over a minute!

7) Goal revamped – finish mailbox / light switches / outlets / floors / doors / ceiling fans / curtains before I move, timing TBD
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Curtains did not get done, but there are the existing blinds on all the windows. I had planned on these for purely esthetic reasons. My Dad came up in August & finished the doors, floors, and trim/moldings; I had a handyman put up the ceiling fans, and all the switches & outlets are done (except for the outlet I found inside the bookcase as I was packing).

9) Other goals as they occur to me.
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I’m sure I had them but I just can’t think what they were. I moved!

10) Have fun and stress less!
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August was very stressful with testing, packing & moving

11) NEW GOAL - weekly pushup challenge
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2) Become a half fanatic by the end of August
4) Break my dependence on Splenda
6b) Ni kyoso suro no kata approved in February; Bassai kata approved in March

8) Postponed to 2013 - Run my first marathon by October 21
My priority is black belt testing; I will aim for the Paris marathon in April 2013.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRI_BABE 9/17/2012 11:42PM

    I WANT TO HAVE A NEW GOALS LIST TOO!!! You've inspired me emoticon

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KAREN_NY 9/17/2012 12:34PM

    As always, you are one fabulous WOW!

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STRIVER57 9/14/2012 2:31AM

    extremely impressive!

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MCJULIEO 9/13/2012 10:14PM

    Wow! What a woman! You are my hero!

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SAFARIBABE 9/13/2012 8:52PM

    I'm still impressed that you managed to pack, move and get all the other stuff done without losing your mind!!! I would have been a basket case so all your accomplishments are that much more awesome!

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    emoticon emoticon

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BESTMEICANBE51 9/13/2012 1:43PM


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JJAQUES41 9/13/2012 12:04PM

    Great going on your goals and updates. A move is always stressful, sounds like you powered through it!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 9/13/2012 11:28AM

    Congrats on a much filled goal schedule!! You are AMAZING!!

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NINJA_SMOO 9/13/2012 10:30AM

  You've sure had a busy few months :)

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/13/2012 9:54AM

    Good job!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 9/13/2012 9:10AM

    With all the moving.... it looks like you had a great summer! Keep up the good work!

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BOILHAM 9/13/2012 8:20AM

    Doing 55 pushups is not easy. Great job on all the other goals, too.

My pushup story: when I was in boot camp the company commander disciplined me and told me to "drop down and give me 50" which, at my then weight of 120lbs I did easily. So, the bastard said "you did those pretty fast, boy. Now give me 50 more!" Which I did, but not as easily.

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/13/2012 7:44AM

    Considering how stressful to another country is, you did amazing well! Congratulations!

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CODEMAULER 9/13/2012 6:50AM

    What a terrific mix of healthy goals!! I love the variety and the way they all lead to something bigger; very organized and paced.

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Inaugural run

Sunday, September 09, 2012

I went for my first run here in France this evening (not counting the runs from when I was visiting, now it's real.) I broke in my new shoes with a just over 5 mile run out and back down a country road. I found a grocery store closer than the one I had been going to, and a garden store. It was closed but it might be something like a Lowe's based on what I could see. And I realized that I do live out in the middle of farm land, fields of something that looks like huge overgrown dandelion leaves alternating with whatever was cut down into straw bales. There was an actual wall of straw, it had to be a good 20 feet high and half again as long on the side of the road. And cow fields, including the ones in back of my house.

I had bought new shoes last week on the Friday before we left. There was a huge running store just off the Michigan State University campus that I stopped at since I was in East Lansing to have the USDA vet sign the pet papers. It was good to learn that I have been wearing the correct shoes for my feet but they recommended a Brooks Adrenaline instead of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8 I had been running in. So I'll see how these work with my feet. The Mizunos would last only about 300 miles before my knees would start to hurt and get twingy and by 350 miles my ankles and shins would start hurting. I also had to wear an orthotic in them because of ball of foot pain.

I won't have real internet connection until the 18th (I'm bootlegging off my phone signal right now) so tomorrow during lunch I'll look up potential marathon training plans. The hills I ran today were pretty gradual inclines and weren't the problem I'd expected, and I went further than I had expected to be able to so I haven't lost too much conditioning this last month. There is a 10k race in Compiegne on October 7 that I'm thinking of registering for, my first in France. I did last year's Turkey Trot 10k in 1 hour and right now I'm not even close to that pace - my 5 mile run took 1 hour - but I should be able to get pretty close to that time by the time of the race. Plus it's fitting that my first race be in (or at least very close to) my new home town.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMMERJESSE 9/10/2012 4:28PM

    It's enjoyable to share your adventures in France.

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DOGSTARDADDY 9/10/2012 4:08PM

    Good luck with everything!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 9/10/2012 2:10PM


Bon travail!

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CBAILEYC 9/10/2012 12:44PM

    Excellent getting out there and learning your new running grounds!

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BESTMEICANBE51 9/10/2012 9:32AM


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DOODIE59 9/10/2012 8:39AM

    Way to go -- take control of your surroundings, and make it your own:) Running's a great way to do that. Enjoy France.

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JUNEPA 9/10/2012 8:19AM

    Do you like Galloway style running? I highly recommend it for effective and injury-free training methods

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INIT2LIVEIT 9/10/2012 6:03AM

    emoticon The area must be so beautiful. One day you will have to take a video of your run and load it to spark for the rest of us ;-D
Brooks adrenaline get rave reviews consistently on runnersworld

As you mentioned in my blog, ordering online is always an option. However, it is not a 100% satisfaction guaranteed as sometimes you can get them and even though it is the exact same model it just doesn't fit right. Always best to be able to try them on. Perhaps planning a weekend to the U.K. for sneaker shopping is an idea. They are big marathoners too and will have a larger selection of sneaks. Ohh maybe you could run the London marathon while you are on this side of the pond!
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GETSTRONGRRR 9/9/2012 7:47PM

    Congrats....nothing like getting out on foot to spot cool little things like grocery stores and hardware stores!

Good luck getting ready for the 10K....and 26.2 next year!

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CODEMAULER 9/9/2012 4:37PM

    This is really neat and great news. I'm glad that you are finding ways to keep your fitness and goals moving forward!!

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    It is lovely to read you enjoyed a good run in your area today! There are so many pretty villages around Compiègne! Great idea to register to the 10K in October! Please let us know how it goes. :)

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KAREN_NY 9/9/2012 4:13PM


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SAFARIBABE 9/9/2012 4:04PM

    Compiegne is where Claire went on her hike today. LOL It's a small world. Glad to hear you're settling in and getting the lay of the land.

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MCJULIEO 9/9/2012 3:54PM

    You are doing great! I know that you are going to ROCK this!

Oooh La La! (all I remember from college French, except for the technical stuff)

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New Goal

Friday, September 07, 2012

I am a very goal oriented person (sharing mind space with a world class procrastinator which creates some interesting discussions with myself!).

Now that I've earned my black belt I want a new major goal to work for. I don't need it now, but I know myself and without something further off to work towards I will slowly backslide into old habits, negating my work the past 18 months.

So I am going to run a marathon. I had intended this to be a 2012 goal, to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October, the day after my birthday. But because black belt training was delayed a month and then the job transfer and move the best decision was to postpone this goal.

As soon as registration opens I will register for the Paris marathon on April 7, 2013. Which means I need to start training now. And I have barely run any miles the last month, and nothing in the last 1.5 weeks. This weekend is supposed to be nice and sunny and I bought new shoes last week before we left the US. So no excuses, I will start running again this weekend. There are miles (sorry, kilometers!) of bike/walking trails here in Compiegne and I have yet to explore my new village (although there are hills so I'm not too keen on getting right into exploration, I'm not too fond of hills).

In moving news, we are getting settled into the house. We spent Sunday night in the hotel and on Monday I bought 2 air mattresses and some pillows & blankets so we have been living in the house all week. We have no refrigerator yet, I will try to buy one today. I tried to order it online yesterday since I can read French better than speak or understand but the website insists that my address does not exist. So I will have to go to the store. Coworkers have offered to help but I want to try to do as much on my own as I can so I don't over-burden them with having to take care of me too. But I now have a coffee maker at least, a Tassimo. It is OK, but honestly I'm not impressed. There is hardly any variety in the available drinks, coffee and otherwise; I also looked at the Senseo which has the same problem. I really miss my Keurig!

Jacq was supposed to start school on Tuesday, and actually did go to take a test or her level of French (almost non-existent). But even before she took the test we were told she is to stay home this week and come back on the 11th. I'm not sure why, the teacher did not speak much English and I do not speak much French. So I'll take her back Tuesday. In the meantime she has been stuck in the house alone all day with no phone, no TV, no internet. I have to take the van back to Paris tomorrow morning so I'll take her with me to shop & buy some school clothes.

Next weekend I will be able to start the major shopping for the items that were not left in the house (much different than from the US) - washing machine, dryer and light fixtures (the appliances I can understand but the light fixtures threw me for a loop. I am very fortunate that the cupboards, stove, oven & microwave were all left by the owners which would not have been the case in several of the houses I had looked at). And then the items I need to buy - TV, towels, cleaning supplies, lamps, dining table & chairs, plates & dishes & glasses & silverware, and just the little things to add some personality to the house. I have to be careful to remember, though, not to go overboard since I am only renting and can't do any changes without permission - and I don't want to spend a lot of money on anything I won't be able to take with me when I leave. The shipment with our possessions should arrive by the end of the month, or early October, so we will have our furniture and everything else.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VYVIENN 9/13/2012 1:59AM

    Welcome to France! Hills are your friends, especially in marathon training. Not only are they MAJOR calorie blasters, they also give you a distinct advantage once you race on a flat surface. You'll be zipping by all those people too scared to train on hills like it's nothing!

But, whoooooa, lady! You're in Europe, and you're drinking cheap a** coffee out of a CAPSULE??? And this from someone who brings her own bags to the store? I am, well, hm... surprised. Get a real drip coffee machine (dirt cheap) and buy some good coffee. The flavour is heaps better than those... (insert gagging sound)... "concentrates".

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MCJULIEO 9/7/2012 7:10PM

    Fantastic plan! You are SO going to ROCK this!

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JUNEPA 9/7/2012 4:20PM

    Do you have a training plan?
The Galloway plan is awesome



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    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAJTMS 9/7/2012 11:10AM

    You can do that marathon! I did what I call "couch to marathon in 5 months" 2 years ago and finished my finished my first marathon feeling great. What a great goal!


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CK-DUBYA 9/7/2012 10:51AM

    I've been MIA lately, so I didn't hear that you earned the black belt. CONGRATS! That is an amazing accomplishment! Good luck with the marathon training. My goal is to run one next year as well.

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EMFRAPPIER 9/7/2012 9:38AM

    Great new goal!! I used to hate hills, but I've actually come to enjoy them. I saw a shirt once that said "It's a hill, get over it", and I use that as my mantra on days when i really don't feel like doing hills.

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GETSTRONGRRR 9/7/2012 7:56AM

    Sounds like a very cool goal....and you're right, training starts today! And yes, hills are good for you....especially when you get to mile 22 and start seeing that looming incline!

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CODEMAULER 9/7/2012 7:36AM

    Hill training will make you a rock star compared to the route for the Freep Marathon, so you'll have that going for you.

I realize that you don't want to burden your co-workers, but maybe having them help with 1-2 purchases would be a way to get to know your new team? Just an idea from a newly graduated management student.


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STRIVER57 9/7/2012 4:59AM

    once when we were looking at apartments (to buy) we saw one where they had literally taken the kitchen sink!!
(though actually i now have a great sink & can imagine taking it with me if i ever move again. which i hope not to do).
the Paris marathon is the same day as the Firenze half marathon, so i probably won't see you then!

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CSDAYS 9/7/2012 4:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Monday, September 03, 2012

We arrived in France yesterday, 9/2. Got the house keys & deposited the cats and spent the night in a hotel since we don't have beds or furniture for a month yet (when my shipment arrives).

Today we'll go get air mattresses and some basic essentials so we can start living in the house - I can't face the thought of living in a hotel for a month and having to eat out at every meal and take the dog out on a leash all the time.

The school has not yet confirmed my daughter is registered - and she is supposed to start tomorrow! So I need to get that taken care of too. And by Friday we have to apply for our residence permits, we have to do that in 1 week from arrival in the country.

The actual moving & leaving had some small snafus but nothing major. After all the vet visits and expenses and back & forth to get their documents in one ever asked to even look at the paperwork! But I'm sure if I had not had it ready they would have demanded it. The car rental company in Paris tried to give me a car about the size of a Taurus station wagon...when I had reserved a "full size" van (about the size of a Town & Country mini van in the US) AND confirmed it last week. There was no way we would be able to fit everything in a car. National tried to tell me that the car was all they had available and after some "discussion" finally gave me the van.

But we are here, including all the pets, and not too much worse for the experience. Except for my iPad, still no real response from Air France, just the automated "we'll look into it, don't call us, we'll call you" response.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNER4LIFE08 9/4/2012 11:15AM

    Best of luck to you!

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GINNJEN1974 9/4/2012 7:18AM

    Glad you made it safely even with the snafus. Seems you cant move without them anymore. Wow a month in a hotel that is awhile but I know you will manage.

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DEZZIEJAMES 9/3/2012 10:24PM

    Glad you are there safely!!!! Keep us posted!!!!

P.S. Will you have cable? Walking Dead starts in not too long.....

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MCJULIEO 9/3/2012 10:06PM

    So GLAD that the pets made it too! We're rooting for you!

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CODEMAULER 9/3/2012 10:32AM

    Considering all that you've tackled in a VERY short amount of time, losing the iPad seems manageable. Having a problem with a family member - furry or otherwise - would be much worse (in my estimate). In other words, I think you've had a pretty good run of luck so far.


Here's hoping that you all settle in very quickly!

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/3/2012 10:25AM

    What an adventure! Wishing you the best.

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KAREN42BOYS 9/3/2012 9:25AM

    This is very exciting to read pf this ocean crossing adventure you six are undertaking.

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    Good luck! I hope you'll enjoy life in France.

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GETSTRONGRRR 9/3/2012 8:03AM

    Well congrats on everything (minus the iPad). Big lifestyle changes like that are never easy. SWMBO and I move about every 3 years or so and it's always challening.

But enjoy the hell out of it! Sounds like you're company has realized your worth and has given you this opportunity.

Let us know when we can come visit!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 9/3/2012 7:05AM

    Glad to hear you landed on your feet!

Good luck and keep Sparking!

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STRIVER57 9/3/2012 6:50AM

    it is going to be difficult. but worth it. good luck to both of you (and the cats!)

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SAFARIBABE 9/3/2012 6:12AM

    At least you all arrived safe and in one piece. Having recently "lost" my iPad I can completely empathize with you. It's amazing how much I rely on that little device. If you're hooked up to iClous you can deauthorize it and even ues the Find my iPad app to locate it. Hopefully things smoothly at your daughter's school! Good Luck!!

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MUTEDPROPHET 9/3/2012 4:59AM

Hope you enjoy your time in France. I lived in Grenoble for a year, and had many unique and unusual experiences. It took me about 6 months to START to feel comfortable there, and to grasp the language. Now I live in Italy.

If you ever have any questions or just need to vent about life in France, please drop me a line. emoticon

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