Les Incompetents Vol. 12 – Don’t Forget Your Train Pass

He left for work and forgot his wallet (with his public transport pass inside).  Wouldn’t you know it, that was the day the TPG (Geneva Public Transport) decided to check passengers for their passes.  In Geneva, you don’t have to show a ticket to get on a tram or bus.  Periodically, TPG officers will board busses and trams to check tickets.  They issue steep fines to riders without tickets.  Riders without any form of identification (to properly issue the fine) are taken into custody!

He had enough identification on him to allow them to check and see he had a TPG pass.  He received a fine that he will not have to pay if he brings his pass to the TPG office.  Of course, this being Switzerland, you still have to pay a small fee.

On a side note, I heard a hilarious story about one of the TPG checks.  It seems to be some sort of urban legend here.  Who knows whether or not it is true?  A woman took the only available seat on the tram next to an immigrant.  She began complaining loudly about immigrants, how they should go back home, and how generally horrible they were.   TPG officials boarded that tram and began checking tickets.  Immediately before the officials came to check their tickets, the man about whom she had been complaining grabbed her small paper ticket out of her hand, popped it in his mouth, quickly chewed and swallowed it.  When the officials came, she was without a ticket.  Proclaiming her innocence and claiming the man next to her ate her ticket was not enough to prevent her from being issued a fine.  Everyone who witnessed the incident remained silent, having been so offended by her behavior and remarks.

Les Incompetents Vol. 11: Our First Trip To The Hospital

From Doe Cooks Stag, who undoubtedly got it from Saturday Night Live and NBC

This morning, I cut the dickens out of my finger while making breakfast.  After applying pressure I lifted the towel to see how bad it looked, blood started gushing out.   I went into the bedroom where he was still sleeping and said “you need to get up because I think I need to go get stitches.”  He jumped out of bed with a look of extreme panic and fear.  Poor guy.  If I ever doubt how much he cares for me or my importance to him, remind me of that look.

Remember the old Saturday Night Live sketch where Dan Aykroyd parodies Julia Child continuing to cook while bleeding profusely from a cut on his hand.  Picture that instead off me posting disgusting pictures of my mangled paw.  To watch the hilarious clip, click here.

I had him take a look at my finger to see if I needed to go to the hospital.  He took one look and said yes.   I snuck a quick glance and almost fainted, literally.  I don’t like blood and I immediately sat down to avoid hitting it when I passed out.

After lying down on the floor for a bit, we walked to the tram with a towel tourniquet and my hand over my head.  We went to a nearby hospital.  They were great and couldn’t have been nicer.  They had me in and out (and in possession of all 10 digits) quickly.  The Swiss healthcare system is fantastic (our friend wrote about having surgery here if you’re curious).

Just like George Costanza in Seinfeld, my career as a hand model is over (check out a clip here).   I should walk around with oven mitts.

  • The E.T. point from E.T. The Extraterrestrial
  • You can pick your friends an you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.  Well, it least you can’t with such a large bandage.
  • “It’s just a flesh wound” à la Monty Python
  • “Nobody makes me bleed my own blood” from Dodgeball
  • He’s now calling me Captain Hook.

Sad, I know, but I took a painkiller so I’m giggling.

Captain Hook

Captain Hook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Les Incompetents Vol. 8 – Inappropriate Attire For The Slopes

We are going skiing in Italy this weekend.  After our first time skiing here, it became clear that I could use a lot of practice and more than a few lessons.  Last week, Hokie, Wildcat and I snuck out of Geneva on a weekday for a lesson.  We wanted to take advantage of the quieter, less chaotic slopes to get some badly-needed practice.
Thanks to The Huges’ for documenting stupidity on the slopes.  I suppose these folks from Mammoth Mountain were embarrassed by their attire too.
Although you see people walking around Geneva in ski attire, I didn’t put my ski pants on over my tights until we arrived.  I was afraid of roasting and waited to don my ski pants until we arrived.
We rent our skis and keep our other gear in a giant bag filled with ski accoutrements like helmets, gloves,   etc.   To make it a bit smaller, I removed his things and left them in a pile on the hall floor.   When we arrived at Les Contamines, I threw on my pants.  At least I thought they were my pants.  They weren’t they were his.  There is more than a foot and at least 90 pounds between us.  My children’s 12-14 ski pants are a much better size for me than his giant man pants.
At that point, there was nothing to do but make the best of it.  I tightened the waist and rolled them up at both ends.  Let’s just say that while it was a great day on the slopes, I looked like the biggest nincompoop out there.  Oh, well.  It wasn’t the first time and it probably won’t have been the last.
In fact, I didn’t have to wait long to embarrass myself.   Check me out in the photo below.
P.S.  It is a really good thing that I took the lesson because I clearly needed practice with the equipment.  I fell off the tow rope.  Cut me some slack, it was my first time.  I also caused the chair lift to stop when I saw a giant precipice and alps 20 feet after decent from the chair lift and gawked instead of scooting my tuckus forward.

Les Incompetents Vol. 7 – Locked Out!

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Apartment doors here automatically latch shut when they close.
Right after we moved, I heard a story about a poor lady who was 5 months pregnant getting locked out at 8:00 a.m.  They were so new, she didn’t know her husband’s work phone number and had no money on her.  Luckily, she got some assistance from the American Women’s Club and made it through the day until her husband returned home that evening.
Yesterday, I went for a run.  I walked out of the apartment and shut the door…with my keys still on the table by the door!  I was locked out.
Some people look cute when they work out.  Check out Jessica Biel above.  She definitely looks cute on her runs. I do not. I wasn’t wearing any makeup. I had on running tights with a burgundy dry fit top.  My clashing red sports bra was visible.  My blue gloves and white hat (covering up my greasy hair) didn’t exactly coordinate either.
This is perhaps the only running gear that is worse than what I had on.   Normally, I just don’t care what I look like when I’m running.  Once the door locked, I regretted my apathy because it meant I had to run across town to his work to get the keys.

I showed up at his very busy office building 45 minutes later looking like a hot mess. I was mortified. Compared to me, Snookie is looking good for a workout

Unfortunately, he was in meetings so I had to sit and wait in the lobby while people walked by.  It was worth it though because I was able to get the keys from him.  Once I had them in my hot little hands, I got the heck out of Dodge and ran back home.


One Reason Why Everything Takes Longer Here

Check out the keyboard.  Look at the Z and the Y.  Try to find the $ sign.  Which “Shift” key works for which of the two signs on the top row?  Where is that stupid question mark?  Try logging in somewhere when you can’t find the @ sign…  

Murphy’s Law: The less time you have, the more difficulty you will have finding what you need in the above.


Les Incompetents Vol. 6 – Not Properly Pumpulated

Remember Hanz and Franz?  They knew their way around a gym.  I, clearly, do not.  We joined a gym.  On my first visit, I accidentally went into the men’s locker room.  It wouldn’t have been too bad if I could have escaped unobserved.  I didn’t.  People (yes, there was more than one person) who work there saw me and came running after me to stop me.  That didn’t attract any attention (note the sarcasm here).  Oops.


Les Incompetents Vol. 5 – Ordering Drinks at the Fête de Carouge

We went to the Fête de Carouge, a 10-day party to celebrate the neighboring town of Carouge’s 250th birthday. Carouge is great any day, but the Fête was very impressive. There were a lot of people out to celebrate. While we were in line, I chatted with the nice Peruvians in line next to us. He got up to order and asked me what I wanted.  I said “red”, without thinking. I meant a glass of it. They gave me a bottle. Oops. I should have been paying attention rather than letting him order unsupervised. Luckily, people arrived to help me drink it.*
Cool huh? Definitely better than your average barrier
They had cute platers filled with veggies and herbs all over the place for decoration.
All of the trees were decorated with cool lanterns.
They built a palace out of plywood
Everyone came out to enjoy the fun. They had three stages with entertainment.
Since the town has Italian roots, the plywood palace was filled with Italian food and craft vendors
The food smelled amazing and you could watch them cook it
When was the last time you saw stone carving?
* Yes.  You can just walk around with bottles like that.  People would look at you funny if it wasn’t a special event though.

Les Incompetents Vol.3 – I Used To Be Able To Get Gas

I noticed that the gas was empty in the rental car.  I don’t think the light had been on for a long time, but wasn’t really sure.  I had to navigate the narrow one-way streets of an old town to find a gas station.  When I pulled in and saw the pump, I panicked.
I realized that I didn’t know what kind of gas the car took (he got it without me) and couldn’t call him (no phone yet here). I pulled out the Owner’s Manual and uh-oh, it was in German.  My super nice passenger found the French one. It listed the possible types of gas this car could take, but not what this specific car required. I couldn’t find anything that said whether or not it was diesel. My super nice passenger also suggested we flip open the gas cap and see what it said.  She is brillant.  It said “Unleaded Gas Only.”

I reflexively pulled out my credit card to pay at the pump.  There wasn’t anywhere to put it.  What the heck?  Do I pump first?  Do I have to pay first and get in trouble for pumping first?  Overwhelmed, I went to my “go-to” move. When in doubt, I go to someone who works there, explain that I am an idiot in my best French, say that I am new here and ask how it works.  They laughed at me in the nicest possible way and explained that you can pump first.  To allay my fears, I confirmed the type of gas with them too.

I went for it and…success! When I went in to pay, they made sure I know the correct way to exit the station. Thank goodness they advised me because I would have totally screwed that up.

Oh, one last piece of gas station procedure, don’t try to pay with a bill of over 1000CHF ($1,261)!


Les Incompetents Vol. 2 – Being Taken at the Museum of the Alpine Cow

Okay, I think it really translates as the Museum of the Alpine Pastures of Cows but that is beside the point. Since he is from a cattle farm, when we passed this museum we had to stop.  We were so excited that when we pulled up to the old barn containing it, I went straight inside and asked the old gentlemen sitting there (in my best French) what the price of admission was.  There was no sign for prices.  They said 12 Euros. I think it was free and should have kept my big mouth shut.

Enjoy the pictures of cow bells.  They had lots.  I wouldn’t necessarily have made the trip across the pond for it, but it was interesting. Nevertheless, I showed them. I took pictures before I realized you weren’t supposed to do so. Double oops.

Les Incompetents Vol.1 – The Alarm on the Stove

I’ve decided to start a new, unfortunately all too regular, type of post called “Les Incompetents”.   No translation necessary.
This is our stove. It looks pretty straightforward, right?  Nope.  It is my nemesis.  Our first night here, it began beeping loudly at midnight. I pressed every button on it trying to make it stop and it finally did.  Unfortunately, it started again at 1:00 a.m. just after I’d fallen back to sleep.  There was more button pushing and some cursing (bilingual in both French and English) this time.
He wanted to unplug it.  As you can see, it is built in.  Since his first day of work was the next day, I think he was seriously considering ripping it out of the wall.At 2:00 a.m., the beeping started again! At that point, there was nothing else to do but sit down and read the instruction manual.  I had been trying to avoid this because it is only in French and well, it didn’t exactly look like a good time.  desperate times call for desperate measures.  I spent the first night in our apartment on the kitchen floor reading our oven’s instruction manual in French.  I succeeded in stopping the beeping that night and have been hesitant to use the oven ever since.  I fear that pressing too many buttons may restart things. Les incompetents!