Smokey in his Speedo for the ALS Ice bucket challenge: Le defi du seau glacé pour ALS.

Drap: On teaching your kids last-minute lessons


While out on a scenic walk with Smokey, we spotted this watercolor artist and his lazy hammock. But cloth swings aren't the topic of the day... sheets are! So read on....

un drap (drah)

    : sheet

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc Download MP3 or Wave file

Plier vos draps-housses au lieu de simplement les ranger tels quels est un moyen pratique d’organiser vos draps et de garder un maximum de rangement. Folding your fitted sheets instead of simply putting them away "as is" is a practical way to organize your sheets and to save a maximum amount of space. -Comment Plier Un Drap Housse

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Passing my daughter in the hallway, I notice she is carrying a bundled sheet. I watch her open the nearby buffet and cram it in among the stacks of bedding stored there.

"Pas si vite! No so fast!" I say, wagging my finger.

"But it's clean!" Jackie argues. She's only used the drap housse two nights--when she and her best friend took over her brother's new studio in Aix.

"Yes, it is, and you are right to put it back," I say, congratulating my teenager on her consideration. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when I would deliver a stack of freshly-washed and line-dried clothing to her room only to find it back in the laundry basket after the clean clothes ended up on the floor--mixed in with the rest!

Thankfully those days are over. Only now Jackie needs to learn how to fold a fitted sheet. "I'm going to show you an astuce!" I say, bracing for my daughter's resistence. But before she can roll her eyes, I play the sentimental card:

"...Your great-grandmother Audrey taught me this one...."

My student is now willing, if not super enthusiastic. "Here take this," I say, shaking out the bundle. "Now find one corner and poke your index finger in its seam!" 

Jackie is less triumphant when she locates the stitched coin, but I won't let her boredom dampen things. "There! Now, in the same way, reach over and locate another corner seam. Then join your fingertips!" 

I manage to drop the sheet during the demonstration. Reaching to pick it up, I hear my daughter rouspéter with impatience.

"Jackie, this trick will come in handy one day. Imagine two years from now when you are in college....

My girl is not sold on the homemaking tip so I add some key words.

"When you are in school in Boulder you'll have a little place rien que pour toi. Then you'll be happy to organize your living space and this tip will help." I shake out the fallen sheet, but my daughter groans. Apparently a sheet-folding demonstration is as painful as a tooth-pulling!

Normally at this point I give up and do it myself. But this time I take a good long look at my almost seventeen-year-old. Her grumblings turn to silly faces as she tries to coax me out of a serious mood.

Gripping the sheet the words pour out of me. "Jackie. LET ME BE YOUR MOM.... I have so much catching up to do. So many things to show you before you finish growing up."

My eyes begin to sting and, blinking them, I feel my daughter's arms around me. Her tender voice is a lullaby:

Maman, pleure pas....

*    *    *

It's a day later now and, after the tears, c'est le sourire. Do you know, dear daughter, that when your brother was little, he used to say the same thing only with difficulty? 

"Peur pas!" he would say to you, his newborn soeurette. And now you are almost grown. Big enough to stay overnight in Aix at your brother's new digs! Max will be leaving home in a few weeks, taking over the apartment permanently, and I wonder how things will be then? Will we feel the void?

Peur pas! I hear Max's little voice. I remember it so well! And now I imagine his current 19-year-old voice: "Pleur pas, Maman. I'm leaving you my sister. And my laundry, weekly."

My nostalgic daydream bursts when I remember the 10-pound laundry bag delivered just this morning. Well! If he thinks I'm going to continue to be his personal laundress he's got another thing coming: Mom's Sheet-folding lessons. The full, unedited, teeth-pulling version!

French Vocabulary

une astuce = a tip, trick, trade secret
le coin = corner
rouspéter = gripe, grumble, moan
rien que pour toi = all for yourself
le sourire = smile
la soeurette = little sister
peur pas = fear not

sunflower seeds growing in the backyard
 After posting here, I love to go over to Instagram and upload the latest photos of our home and garden. You'll see Smokey, Chief Grape, the "kids", Jules, and the local environment here on a vineyard near Bandol. Click here to see the latest images.

Readers Comments

This comment from Cathy, in response to my covoiturage post, made me smile. It might encourage you to check out BlaBlaCar when next in France.

Having read concerns people have posted I have to say that what sold me originally on the service was that I was able to read reviews. Reviews of both drivers as well as of passengers. You can see how long someone has been a driver, what kind of car they drive. Drivers can check out passengers. I will always choose a veteran driver if I have a choice. I chose my first driver because he had positive reviews and one said he had transported their rabbit. Haha! That's who I wanted!! Turns out he's a Marseilles detective that lives in Perpignan do transits twice a week. So doing some research in advance and you can avoid a lot of surprises. Yes, it was a bit odd to climb into a car with three strange men at 1:30 in the morning at a parking area at a highway exit. But that miracle ride took me directly to Barcelona airport for a 6 am flight. Hip hip hooray for Blah Blah Car and the people who use it!

    To read the covoiturage post, click here.

Enjoy many more photos of France at Instagram

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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