stationner
la fosse

tiroir

Saint-Raphaël, France (c) Kristin Espinasse Today's story begins in Saint-Raphaël...

le tiroir (teer-war) noun, masculine
1. drawer

Listen: hear my son Max pronounce the word "tiroir": Download tiroir.wav

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Expression:
gratter les fonds de tiroir = scrape together some change

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Citation du Jour:
Chaque personne est une armoire pleine d'histoires, il suffit d'ouvrir les tiroirs...
Each person is an armoire full of stories, all it takes is opening the drawers...
--Tahar Ben Jelloun

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A Day in a French Life...

At a specialty store in Saint-Raphaël I stand facing the vendeuse,* hands tapping, eyes staring skyward as I look for French words to describe our kitchen. "Provençal," the saleslady says, delivering the verdict; as she says it her face begins to twist as if she's just sipped limonade sans sucre.* Provençal, we suspect, is out. But "Provençal" is a compliment to our kitchen, which heretofore has been mostly referred to as "rustic," even "vieillot."*
"Only one person called it vieillot," Jean-Marc would argue.

One is all it takes.

Jean-Marc and I check out the kitchen store, with me admiring the deep, sectional tiroirs* which replace lower level cupboards nowadays. I run my hands across the smooth counter spaces and admire the flat stove tops. In the end, the smooth, the "pull-outable," the sleek and flat spell but one French phrase: trop cher.*

We return home to rethink our avocado, mustard and chocolate colored kitchen--aliments* I love to eat, a color scheme I'd rather not eye. Jean-Marc thinks it is dommage* to rip out a functioning kitchen. As I point out all that is wrong with our cuisine,* he begins to measure. "We can change this," he says, referring to the plan de travail* with the deep, dark grids. One day later my husband has pulled out the old gas stove, recut the counter and inserted a top-of-the-line electric range; in the process, he has reorganized all the cupboards. Still, I stare at the freestanding dishwasher which has stood out like a third wheel for the past five years, "That will go under the counter," he says, "in place of the gas tanks, which we don't need anymore."

As I watch my husband rearrange, revamp, replace and rethink ("We can paint the dark cupboards," he enthuses) and render beautiful, I am inspired by one Frenchman's verve in response to vieillot, one man's triumph over trop cher.

One is all it takes, indeed.

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*References: la vendeuse (le vendeur) = saleslady (salesman); limonade sans sucre (f) = lemonade without sugar; vieillot(te) = outdated; le tiroir (m) = drawer; trop cher = too expensive; aliment (m) = food; dommage (m) = a pity; la cuisine (f) = kitchen; plan de travail (m) = counter (top)

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