Stepmother or stepmom in French
October 9th meetup + joie de vivre

Handy tool in every French home

House in cassis

Visited Cassis last week with my belle-mère and my father. At La Plage du Bestouan we saw this charming home perched over the sea. More photos and videos of this past week's happenings--at Instagram.

la serpillière (sair-pee-yair)

    : floor cloth, mop, swab

une pompe serpillière = utility pump for draining flood water
la serpillière gaufrée = cloth with a deep waffle pattern, handy for soaking up water

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc Download MP3 or Wav file

Serpillière. Pour éponger l'eau de l'inondation nous avons utilisé des robes de chambre, des serviettes de plage et des serpillières. Floor cloth. To soak up water from the flood, we used bathrobes, beach towels, and floor cloths.

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

No Time for Jetlag!


Every since my Dad and my belle-mère left on Saturday, I've been remembering scenes from their visit. For when my family is near--even a stormy day is bright... et c'est le cas de le dire (and you can say that again!)

After Dad and Marsha's arrival and a good night's sleep, we were having café au lait near the kitchen, gazing out the window at the gentle rain when the weather suddenly changed gears. I remember sitting there, hoping for a second cup of coffee instead of a reality check, when my Dad voiced my troubled thoughts: "Do you think we ought to look outside the kitchen door--and check the evacuation drain?"

Opening that door caused one of us to begin running around the house, shouting a French version of  The Sky is Falling. Meantime my belle-mère Marsha spoke calmly. "Do you have a roasting pan?" 

(A roasting pan? To catch the sky?)

With no other bright ideas, I followed Belle-mère Marsha's example. The oven doors flew open, two roasting pans were yanked out, and we went to work sweeping the flow of water into the pans and emptying them into the kitchen sink. 

 An hour and a half later, with the help of my dad, my daughter, and a modest pile of absorbant flood tools (bathrobes, beach towels and floor rags) we managed to drain the kitchen of floodwater.

As Marsha swept the last of the water into the tilted roasting pans, and Dad and I took turns catching it, my belle-mère suggested we might invest in a utility pump for the future.

"You mean they make those?" Why hadn't I thought of it before? Something so powerfully... absorbent!

Wet dog
Old photo of Brez and Smokey. They're much bigger now, with fuller coats...

As if on cue, our two golden retrievers returned from the safety of higher ground (we'd moved them to an upstairs room for safety). Looking at all that golden absorbent hair, I finally had a bright idea of my own. Next time we wouldn't need a fancy pump! A couple of giant yellow sponges that could ring themselves out each time... ça c'est du pur génie! Pure genius!

 *    *    *
Update: Yesterday we had another storm when I was here alone. I had been monitering rainfall all afternoon, anxious that the flood doors would open the moment an important visitor was scheduled to arrive... See the story updates when you scroll down my Facebook page

Flood tools I wish I had!

Dad grele

La grêle! Just after the flood, when the sun broke through. We discovered just what kind of storm was going on outside while we were busy with the flood inside.... Here is Dad measuring the hail! To comment on this post, click here.


Smokey Golden retriever

Smokey's store is open! Today he is selling the Love You More pillows and these citrus trees--which make a home brighter. No matter which pillow or tree you buy at Amazon, when you enter the store via this link your purchase helps support this free word journal. Merci beaucoup! 

Promises to keep by Patricia SandsIn books: have you read Patricia Sands "The Promise of Provence"? The sequel is out: Promises To Keep.

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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