Archive for the ‘Braces’ Category

Here's hoping the Secu will give me some Euros for my piggy bank

Having read several posts over at Traveling Amber regarding her battles with various French administration departments during the late stages of her pregnancy, I decided to follow her advice and start tackling some of my administration problems now, rather than leave them until later on.

Ambers’ tales have left me weak kneed about what’s to come and have made me realize I seriously have to get my act together. So I have listed everything that’s not right with my relationship with the French Social Security people and have tried to start attacking my list as best as I can:

With the impending move, its best I get everything sorted now; otherwise a change of address and department will make things even more complicated than they already are.

I did start trying to sort things out this summer and things came to a head in September when my Doctor disappeared (read post here). After writing this post, I waited a while in case my Doctor showed a sign of life and come mid-October I still hadn’t had any news either from my old Doctor (who really has disappeared off the face of the earth) or from the lovely people at the CPAM (social security).

In order to achieve any result in France it’s best to think like a French person and act as they would. In this case sending a registered letter should do the trick. So I wrote to them, in my best French, explaining my situation and including as much documentation as I could.

They also still owed me money for the month I had off work in February after my fondue fork stabbing incident and a whole months salary is not a little amount. I reminded them in my letter that I was still waiting for this payment to come through and again I included documentation supporting my case.

Feeling pleased with myself for having attacked the problem head-on and in due form, I posted the registered letter and sat back and waited for a response, certain that everything would be resolved in a timely manner.

That is, until today. My kind Outlook calendar burst into action and reminded me to check my bank account for payments. I dutifully did so, rather hoping to have received a windfall (I’m owed a couple of thousand Euros), but niltch, nada, nothing.

Feeling really peeved I called the CPAM (social security people) and tried to find out why over a month and half after doing everything they told me to do nothing had happened. My situation is really complicated and I could hear the woman on the other end of the phone switching off as I tried to explain.

My braces were shredding at my tongue and my cheeks and I was in agony as I applied as I applied my very best French accent (not easy these days since I’ve had lingual braces fitted) as I outlined everything that was still wrong with my health cover and payments.

Rather amazingly, the lady managed to summarize what I had spent the last five minutes trying to say in a couple of phrases (does this mean this type of problem is common?) and told me that she couldn’t help! WHAT? I had gone to all that trouble for nothing, steam was coming out of my ears!

She took my telephone number and said that she would pass a message on to the appropriate service. When I enquired as to when I can expect a call she informed me 21 days!! How pathetic is that? I told her that I’d already written in well over 21 days ago and that I hadn’t heard anything. All she could say was that she was sorry and that she couldn’t do anything more.

I know it’s not her fault so I really did manage to reign in my anger and frustration but I was absolutely livid. This is a lot of money we’re talking about and at this time of year after all the taxes etc have wiped out my account and with all the baby stuff we need to purchase, I really could do with getting what I have contributed into the system for as per my rights.

Afterall, if I stopped contributing they would soon stop paying but they’re not even paying when I am contributing! What to do?

I’ve decided I’m going to give them another 10 days and then I’ll be sending another registered letter with copies of previous correspondence, details of calls and I will also be addressing a copy to a mediator or something (gosh, I hope one exists, any ideas?).

Until then I’ll be keeping a close eye on my Carte Vitale (the essential French healthcare card which contains all my social security details and is required at every medical occasion) so not to lose it and further complicate matters. Unfortunately my brilliant pregnant brain is playing havoc and I keep loosing it. The Carte Vitale is the size of a credit card and only this morning did I risk loosing it again by absent mindedly putting it in yet another car parking payment machine.

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For all good news I believe there is bad news, so let’s get my weeks bad news out of the way first.

The last couple of days I have been suffering from the world’s worst headache (in my humble opinion) that not even a 1000 mg dose of paracetamol or sleep will cure and I daren’t take anything else or too much paracetamol because of being pregnant.

I managed to identify part of the cause of the headache as originating from my braces. I had noticed that part of the wire’s had popped out on the bottom set of braces, thus causing a major tightening of the wire and pulling my teeth. I got that sorted and my head feels less like it’s on fire but I’m still suffering and cannot bear to lie down or watch TV. Any suggestions to remedy this would be most welcome!

Bloody TomTom GPS broke down again, just 5 days after I picked it back up from Darty after they supposedly repaired it. This will mean another trip to the huge shopping centre which makes me faint (I nearly passed out there last Friday) to take it back again. I am not a happy bunny and am going to be making some enquiries into French law and things being fit for purpose before going back. Navigating in the dark through the French countryside is not funny or easy and as many of you will know, the French aren’t too hot on signposts!

Anyway, enough moaning. Or maybe not…

In the time it took me to go food shopping the other day, I returned to the house to notice that our wheelie bin had been nicked. Mr Piglet, usually quite the pessimist, tried to convince me that someone had borrowed it and was more than likely to return it and tried to coax me back inside. I think my hissy fit and the scene I was creating by marching up and down the street inspecting everyone’s bins was maybe a bit too much and he wanted to get me indoors before I started insulting people or worse, throwing things!

So I realize my bad news pales in comparison to some people’s and it’s not really bad news at all, but the pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc in my body and I have spent most of the week on a rollercoaster rolling around in joyous laughter or in hysterical tears of despair.

Now, on to the good news:

The Compromis de Vente for our city pad will be signed this coming Tuesday. I will finally be able to sleep at night, especially now that we also have possible second and third offers on the table. This means a lot to me as the stress of keeping this place going with the mortgage once mini-Piglet arrives was giving me nightmares (you can figure that I have been getting a lot of nightmares lately).


I am finally beginning to look like I’m pregnant rather than like someone who ate all the pies.


Baby Bloat or Baby Bump? 17 weeks + 2 days


I had my fourth month pregnancy follow up visit with my nice midwife on Wednesday and was supposed to have heard mini-Piglet’s heartbeat. I cannot honestly say that I heard anything and after five minutes of trying to get me to hear it, I told the midwife that I believed her and to leave it at that. It was stressing me out more trying to hear it than than the re-assurance it should have been giving me!


Finally, yesterday, we spent the day viewing houses and after seeing a lot of RUBBISH (Twitter followers would have sent my rants yesterday) have quite possibly found “The One”. It is almost perfect for what we are looking for in every way other than price and the fact that it is missing that outside wow factor, but even so, it ticks enough boxes to make me think that I’d be happy to live there. We’re not making any rash decisions yet and are going to continue visiting but it is nice to know and be reassured that good properties that meet our criteria do exist and only slightly over budget.

Master Bedroom

With some softening this could be THE place

Now, it should be my old fave time of the day, Wine O’Clock but tonight I think I’ll treat myself to an Orangina!

Bon weekend!

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I am officially having a pure, Ugly Betty moment. The worst is that it is not just a moment but is going to be my life for the next two years. Worse still is that I have chosen to live this… what can I possibly me talking about?

Ugly Betty and her braces

Braces! That’s what!

I’ve never been happy with my teeth or dents de bonheur as I’m told they’re called in French (teeth of happiness) because of the large gap between my front teeth. I did wear braces when I was younger but the orthodontist messed up and then lost my files when my parents queried why my teeth were still gappy.

A few years ago, I was told that I would have to wear braces on my bottom teeth as they were turning in on each other or risk loosing them as I got older.

So this year I decided to grab the bull by the horns and get my teeth all sorted, in search of a Hollywood Smile.

Today was the big day and I had one set of braces fitted behind my top teeth. Esthetically they’re great as you cannot see them, but practically they’re a disaster as I cannot eat or talk.

Do you notice how you run your tongue around the back of your teeth? Well I never did and now that I can’t I find it impossible to eat. Not to mention chew. I cannot chew because of the spacers they have stuck to my bottom and top teeth to stop the two sets touching and thus ruining all of the dentistry I’m having.  This is already seriously hampering with my food intake meaning I can only eat things like mashed potato and soup. I have to admit that it’s an excellent remedy for dieting but for once in my life I was not trying to loose weight!

In less than a month I will turn 30 and yet here I am sounding like a 12 year each time I open my mouth to speak. Apparently I don’t sound as bad when I speak in English, but when I speak in French it is la cata!

The funniest thing is that I now eat like a granny and speak like a pre-teen!

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