What are the milestones of a relationship? There are the exciting milestones. First date. First kiss. First intimate experience. Deciding to be exclusive, etc. There are also the stressful milestones. First fight. The first time you spend more than 24 hours together and someone stinks up the bathroom. (Well that is a stressful one for me anyway). One of the most stressful parts of a new relationship is meeting the family!
When we last talked about things with French Charming I had to “break up” with my psycho French teacher, who was trying to become
just like me, just before going to France and meeting French Charming’s mother (would that make her Queen?).
To say I was nervous to meet her would be an understatement. I had so many thoughts going through my head. First of all, how was I going to communicate with her? She didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak French…..yet. I was going to be compared to the ex, the ex who was with him for years, the ex who gave her grandchildren. I was…..duh duh duh … AMERICAN! French Charming was sweet and assured me it would all be fine.
I went through all the preparation jitters that we women torture ourselves with. I had my hair done. I got a manicure and pedicure. I pulled out a month’s worth of clothing from my closet (I would only be there a week!). I didn’t know how I would learn any more French in the few weeks left now that my French teacher was
fired gone. I wanted to lose 5 pounds (I have that goal every day of my life – I’ve never reached it yet. It’s good to always have a goal, right?)
I wanted to wear the perfect dress to have dinner with his mother for our first meeting. I sent pictures of each dress on the hanger and on me to French Charming and let him decide.
To make things even sweeter, he flew to Houston just to turn right around and bring me to France with him. I mean literally turn right around…he landed, went through immigration, met me at the ticket counter and we boarded the plane together to go back to France.
We had one night alone together and then the next day….I would meet his mum. (Insert dramatic organ music)
We went to her home for dinner. It was super casual despite the fact that he and I had dressed up for the occasion. She was very nice. She and French Charming talked about regular stuff…I think. I only caught a word here and there. We didn’t stay too late as FC and I were driving the next day to meet some of his friends an hour and a half away. We would see her again in two days at their vacation home.
After spending the a night with his friends we took off to meet his mother at the vacation home. It was a beautiful old house that had belonged to his grandparents. French Charming and his mum had done renovations and upgrades and made it into a perfect spot to get away, enjoy the coast, and eat all the oysters you could want.
We arrived just after his mum. French Charming went out immediately to work on the pool. This just left his mum and me in the house….with little to say to each other without our interpreter.
I excused myself to the restroom.
Upon flushing, the water swirled without much fervor. You know how it is, when the piece of toilet paper just circles around and around as if it’s on one of those lazy river rides. I didn’t want to leave it this way as that just seems rude. So I washed my hands waiting for the tank to finish refilling and I flushed again. This time the water started rising and rising and nothing was going down! As I saw the level approaching the edge of the bowl I pleaded with the steadily rising water “no no no no no!”
I looked frantically for a plunger but all I could find was a toilet cleaning brush. I grabbed it and thrust it into the drain of the toilet but to no avail. The water stopped rising just before it overflowed, thank goodness. I tried using the brush again as a makeshift plunger but nothing budged. As I looked at the now mangled tissue floating in pieces around the extremely full commode I also became acutely aware that I had been pleading with the toilet out loud. I had been in there a little longer than normal and had flushed more than once. I listened to see if I could hear French Charming speaking to his mum on the other side of the door.
Silence. What was I going to say to her? I know she must have been wondering what was going on.
I searched the few words I knew in French. I didn’t know how to say “I think the toilet is broken” or “is there a trick to flushing the toilet?” What could I say?? Think!! I couldn’t stay in there any longer. I slowly opened the door and there she was standing in the living room. She had that look that says “are you alright” and “what was going on in there” at the same time.
I paused and simply said “les toilets sont mort”. (The toilet is dead)
She immediately came into the restroom and looked, but she did not know how to fix it either. Of course I felt horrible and embarrassed and French Charming tried all the tricks he knew. It drained slowly eventually but would fill up again each time it was flushed.
We made a trip to the hardware store to get a couple more things to try.
….and wine – to apologize for breaking the toilet.
Still nothing worked.
I was now known as the person who broke the toilet at the vacation home. No one could use that toilet. Instead, everyone had to go to the downstairs toilet. Seems simple enough…except you had to go outside and into the garage to get into the downstairs rooms and toilet.
Finally, a plumber with a fiberoptic camera redeemed me…there was a tree root that had grown into the sewer pipe! The pipe was fixed, the toilet was again functional, but “les toilets sont mort” still lives on every time we go to that house.