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What a week!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It actually started about a week and a half ago. My new car was supposed to be available on the 10th but the dealership never called me. Which was OK because I hadn't transferred the down payment to my French account yet. On Monday the 12th a coworker passed me a note that the salesman needed me to come in, there was some problem with my name on the papers (she had also just bought a car from him and had picked it up on Saturday). So I got the name problem updated, and they needed more papers to prove I actually live at my address - my temporary residence permit not being enough apparently, I also had to show an utility bill and rental invoice.

So - finally - on Friday the 16th I go to pick up my car. Everything goes smoothly, the salesman shows my my name on the sign in front of the car and then uncovers it. It was supposed to have white seats based on what he told me at the beginning and these seats are black. I'm actually happier with the black seats, I only took the white because the car that was available soonest had white. He shows me how everything works & hands me the keys.

Except...I don't have insurance yet so I ask if I can leave it in the parking lot for a few hours until the insurance is taken care of. Not a problem he says.

My worry had been being able to get approved for the lease since I am not a French citizen and do not yet have a permanent residence permit (or permanent for 3 years anyway). That didn't even cause a blip.

Apparently getting insurance is a whole different ball game. The first company we tried (a coworker was making the calls for me) initially said it was OK that I wasn't a citizen and didn't have a French driving license. They just wanted proof that I have had insurance in the past. So I wait until 3 pm until my insurance company in the US opened, called them, they faxed over my insurance history by 4...and then the games started.

I could only show 4 years of coverage history...that wasn't enough, they wanted 5 or 6 years or they would have to charge me more. I said fine, charge me more, I need the insurance now and if I can find additional proof of coverage we'll talk about lowering the rate.

Then they claimed because I had a small accident 3 years ago that I was ineligible for coverage. My coworker had some back and forth and they finally agreed that 3 years was long enough and I could be covered.

Then they said I couldn't be insured because I have a Michigan license. Now France has a reciprocity agreement with Michigan and I can just exchange one license for the other...once I get my residence permit. But legally in France I can drive on my US license for 12 months

Not according to the insurance company! So sorry, the lady said, it is a new regulation that only people with French licenses can be insured. This is the law and applies to all insurance companies, not just theirs. Call us back when she gets her French license.

The next company we tried just said flatly that they don't insure foreigners. The 3rd company was closing for the day and wouldn't talk to us - it is almost 6 pm Friday by this time. The 4th company was OK with the foreigner bit but gave us the same story about the license.

So I'm screwed...brand new car and I can't drive it. Because if I drive it without insurance I WILL have an accident...I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law and His Corollaries.

But I have no choice; I have to get home, the office is empty and my coworker is already half an hour late to pick up her children. So I risk it and drive home, a basket case the entire time but I made it without an incident.

Saturday I risk it again to drive the 5 miles into town to pick up a rental, and park my car in a lot. My coworker was picking me up Monday morning and I had no way to call her to tell her it was not necessary. I didn't want her to go out of her way to come to my house just to tell her I didn't need a ride so Sunday I drove the rental back to town & parked it, then ran home.

Monday I start calling HR to see what they recommend since I am not the first foreigner to move to France; they have an option. I also called a company I found on the internet and e-mailed the dealership.

All 3 options opened on Tuesday and are French insurance companies. Strangely all 3 are able to offer me insurance despite my US driving license. They never heard of such a thing!

Which is what I suspected, the local companies just didn't want the hassle of dealing with the American so made up a story to get me to go away.

By Wednesday night I had insurance - yay! - but still drove the rental home because it was a late night and I didn't feel like switching cars. But by Thursday night I finally got to drive my new car (although, as my daughter pointed it, it is still not really mine since I am only leasing it). Whatever, it is mine for the next 3 years and I like it!

While all the car drama was on-going I also had 2 full days of training to conduct for my new colleagues from Russia. This is the first time I ever had to arrange something like this so I was stressed about that, and having to put together an agenda and coordinate with the other presenters. And take them out for dinner one night. So I missed all my training runs during the week.

AND...we are having a global department meeting on Tuesday/Wednesday this coming week, and I am one of the presenters, so I have that presentation to finish. I dislike PowerPoint, I forgot the animations/transitions on the first submission, added them in only to find out they don't work on the admin's computer because I have the newer version of Office. So I had to redo everything in the 2003 version, which is a major pain.

And I still haven't done my French homework for my class at 8:30 tomorrow morning. But I don't care, it is something I already know and we covered in 2 classes already so I am going to skip it.

This coming week I have to go to Paris for a 5 pm meeting on Monday so it will probably be 10 pm before I get home and then I have to be up early the next day to get to the hotel - just outside Paris which is an hour away by car - for the dry run of the presentations. Tuesday afternoon is the start of the meeting so I have to stay late and have dinner / socialize instead of going for my run. So maybe by Wednesday night I'll be able to run. I know I can't keep doing my training runs back to back on FRI-SAT-SUN like I've done the past few weeks.

In any case I will still be busy for the next few weeks until my vacation starts on December 19th. And I don't have to go back to work until Jan 8th. I am SO ready for a vacation!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You did have a doozy if a week,to me your handling your business. When your vacation starts r u going home to Michigan? Good luck with your presentation!

    1914 days ago
    My goodness! You certainly got the run-around without even being able to run!
    At least try to get plenty of rest to combat those stress levels.
    Take care!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1915 days ago
    Y'know, I didn't believe that any country would have stupider bureaucracy than ours. Congratulations on dealing with it without killing anyone!
    1915 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    And yet you're still sane:)
    Congratulations on sticking to it, and not letting the bureaucrats drive you nuts. Things will calm down after Christmas. Once you come back from your Christmas break, things will seem more like you're returning to routine, rather than still new and stressful. And I do know that if anyone can do it, you can.
    Take care
    1915 days ago
    Yeah, I like the stupid dog stories too. Wow, what a week! That's a nice long vacation to look forward too. You most definitely will have earned it by then.
    1915 days ago
    Um, no Chubby Dog update?


    Just teasing. As I mentioned before, I am living vicariously through you... oh, the envy!

    (It's like a beret, right?)
    1915 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    Glad you were able to get thru all that. Not sure I would have managed all you had to deal with. Good luck with your presentations. emoticon
    1915 days ago
    How frustrating to be dealing with some of that stuff, especially having the insurance folks lie about the coverage requirements because they didn't want to deal with it. Way to go in keeping at it and getting things taken care of. Yay!
    1915 days ago
    Very cool that your tenacity paid off. Wishing you many happy trails in your new ride.
    1915 days ago
    Whenever anyone starts giving you a run around like that. Ask to speak to their Supervisor or Superior. Every time I have done this the problems dissolve as tho never there.... emoticon
    1915 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    What a crazy run-around! I thought dealing with laws between the states was a hassle - I've never had to deal with laws as an expat. Earlier this year, I spent a couple of weeks on the phone with various state/county DMV offices as my company was buying a fleet of cars that were being deployed in places I'll never get to visit. My head hurts just thinking about those conversations! Glad everything carwise has worked out. You have a stressful period in front of you - hang in there and take care of yourself!
    1915 days ago
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