To Get One's Money's Worth, in French + Downton Abbey
French Toilet Paper and other disasters

Broken bones and Broken French

It was this... or a picture of a broken elbow. Read on in today's story column. And for more pictures of our garden, and these citrons and these guavas, join me on Instagram!

le nid de poule

    : a pothole, or pit in the road's surface

Un nid de poule literally means "hen's nest"

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Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in his sentence: 


Nid de poule. La semaine dernière, alors que je faisais du vélo à Marseille,  j'ai roulé sur un nid de poule, ce qui a provoqué ma chute et la fracture de mon coude
Pothole. Last week, while riding my bike in Marseilles, I rode over a pothole, provoking a fall and an elbow fracture.

by Kristin Espinasse

Yesterday I watched as a medical taxi delivered my husband home from the hospital, where he'd landed 5 days before. I stood there, perched in the driveway, feeling as though a hundred hummingbirds were holding me upright.

Posed to fly into action, my heart took on a hummingbird's beat. True, I had been doubtful about readiness and how this would all pan out--the next 6 weeks of nursing my husband, "Chief Grape."  (We don't call him the chief for nothing! Jean-Marc is a force around this vineyard, sweeping through activities from dusk until dawn. But after falling off his bike and breaking his elbow, how will he make it through the next weeks? And will I have the patience--the unlimited energy--to be his doting nurse Kristi? Will I listen sweetly to orders? Cut up his steak? Zip up his pants after a potty break?)  

Such flippant thoughts--along with a host of fears and assumptions--coursed through my mind as I watched my husband painstakingly exit the taxi.  I felt guilty not to have chauffeured him myself, but having just gotten over the flu it wasn't possible. Gripped by a fleet of hummingbirds, I stood posed like a board ready to spring to action for my new nursing duties. And then the strangest thing happened.

I watched my husband collect his bag with his free hand and walk peacefully into the house where he quietly and efficiently carried out a host of tasks before retiring gently to bed--without so much as asking for a glass of water (or the feared bedpan that I might have to empty, nightly!). 

Reaching for my nightstand to turn out the lights last night, I heard Jean-Marc's rhythmic breathing beside me. Rocked by the familiar and comforting sound, my mind played pictures of my husband's homecoming: I saw him scribbling sloppy To-Do notes, with his left hand, and awkwardly spooning chicken soup into his mouth (much of it ending in his lap). I saw myself helping him carry in the wood, and remembered how he did not ask for help building the fire--nor to unpack his bag or to rifle through the household pharmacy for the supplies the real nurse will need this week, when she comes to our house to changes our patient's wound dressings.

Lying there in the dark, I watched as my mind reviewed all it had seen, when, suddenly, my heart skipped a hummingbird beat at the thought of an injured man's dignity.


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Is Smokey trying to get out of nursing duties too? Or is he just playing hide-n-seek?

No, Smokey is just being silly, as always, comme d'habitude. Please share this post with a friend, via one of the share buttons just below. Mille mercis!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety