Once a year, I do admit, that I wonder whether the simple life... is a life without books (there, I said it! read on, in today's story column...). Photo taken in the Croatian town of Rovinj.
recouvrir (reuh-koo-vreer) verb
: to cover (a book)
There are many more senses to today's verb. We'll focus on only one for today, in keeping in theme with today's story. However, please feel free to add more meanings to "recouvrir" -- by adding additional definitions and examples in the comments box. Merci d'avance!
Protégez vos livres scolaires: recouvrez-les!
Protect your school books: cover them!
Verb conjugation: je recouvre, tu recouvres, il recouvre, nous recouvrons, vous recouvrez, ils recouvrent => pp = recouvert
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A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse
Normally this time of year I am recovering from recovering: recovering school books, that is, with a roll of slippery plastic protective wrap. Instead of going into a boring technical explanation on How to Cover a Book -- and how unnerving it can be when using plastic -- I would like to challenge you to cover a book today. If you do not have the special plastic book wrap, pas de souci,* you can recycle a plastic shopping bag.
One of the first things you'll notice, having set your book down, over the plastic cut-out, is how everything starts to shift and slip, and how your au pif* calculations are, somehow, amiss (this, you'll discover later, on trying, in vain, to close the book and, conversely, to open it). Why is it that the book remains obstinately ajar?And, on closing the book -- after you have recalculated and re-taped -- why is it that the book won't open? Instead, all of the pages are locked-in -- or bound at the top and bottom -- just like the book's spine! I give up: ask an origami expert or a mathematician.
Back, now, to that slippery, impossible-to-fold the plastic: having been, plus ou moins,* wrapped around the book, it must now be fastened, only (here's the glitch) not to the book -- or risk une amende!* For this, you'll need an acrobatic arm in time to hold down those stubborn folds and wrestle with the tape dispenser, which gives out the @#itty self-sticking tape, the tape that's now got the fingers of your formerly free hand stuck together.
To give you an idea of the anophelosis* inherent in covering a book -- a tradition in France that was invented to flummox and frustrate even the most composed and elegant of Frenchwomen, see this French commercial. (If you are reading from the newsletter, please click over to the blog. Note: the first five seconds are most relevant -- the rest is an advertisement for a book-covering machine; indeed, who wouldn't buy a pricey contraption in order to avoid this madness?)
Note: I used the exact same plastic wrap that the lady used in scene one... only I can throw it farther than she can.
Postnote: As I said "normally this time of year I would be recovering from recovering". Only, this year, as you know, I am on a not-so-rigid self-improvement regime which includes the goal of learning how to delegate (and so I relinquished control and perfection and let the kids cover their books this year!). Amazingly the books turned out just fine, if a bit bumpy inside the covers....
Secondly, the kids informed me that we ended up paying the ten euro amend anyway (after I covered their books last year....)
Finally: did you know they sell pre-made book covers? I found this out much later, after we ran out of plastic wrap; that's when Max informed me that he had a leftover cover from last year (I don't even remember buying it! Perhaps the teacher took pity on him for the chaotic covering on his books and gave him the protective slip-jacket?).
Oh, the trouble we put ourselves through... in the end, it is we who are all wrapped up in the sticky tape! Just we, and our straight-jacketed stubbornness -- for isn't it craziness to always want to do it rigidly right, and only by ourselves? Aren't we sometimes better off with just a little bit of help?
Your turn. Tell us about your book-covering (or similar) capers. Are you the type to pull out the tape and scissors and cover a book yourself... or would you buy a pre-made book cover, if one existed? Thank you for using the comments box to respond to these posts.
pas de souci = no worries; au pif = "by the nose" (by guesswork); plus ou moins = more or less; une amende (f) = fine; anophelosis (an English word... I had to look it up -- for what other word could describe this particular "morbid state brought about by extreme frustration"?
Second day out for the pups, who turned three weeks old, Saturday night. That's my brother-in-law "Uncle Jacques" a.k.a. The Puppy Whisperer. Jacques has a seventh sense when it comes to animals. I'm so thankful he's here to help us (he even came over in the middle of the night to assist our nurse (his brother, or "Chef Grape"), deliver the pups. The kids and I were too freaked out to be of any assistance.
This next photo is blurry, but too sweet to leave out:
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety