Apartment view in Paris
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My husband, six-year-old and I spent a month in Paris. The best part was learning to live what the French call a "quotidien" life (just the day-to-day goodies) in the City of Lights.

Since there was no washing machine in our Parisian apartment, we did laundry down the street. It was my husband's job. One day, I went to check on him, only to find him standing sheepishly in an inch of water.

Somehow the machine he stuffed a week’s worth of clothes into wouldn’t open and had exploded water everywhere. Imagine that.

Added to the stress was the laundromat’s caretaker. He attempted to pry the machine open with a screwdriver while mumbling “mierda” and Spang-french, which nobody could understand. My hub fled the scene.

I thought I detected a bit of Spanish in his ramblings, so I asked where he was from. Spain. Of course. So I began my broken Spanish conversation and told him we were headed to Barcelona the following day. It’s our first time. It’s Dia de los Tres Reyes, no? That will be good for my son.

I could see his blood pressure dropping. Finally he got the machine open. By now he was feeling oh-so-courteous to me, so told me to wait rather than putting my soap-laden clothes in the dryer. I should wait to wash them again. Heck, he’d even pay since it was the machine’s fault (not his opinion just 20 minutes ago).

Finally, my clothes safe in another washer (stuffed by him, I might add. Clearly the stuffing of 47 articles of clothing was not the cause of the issue), I returned to our apartment. When I went back to collect our clothes, I brought him a bottle of wine.

Es para usted. Por su ayuda.

Like any polite Spaniard, he refused twice, then greedily took the bottle to his back room (did I hear a clink? Like there’s multiple bottles back there??) and came back to help me with my laundry.

Something told me I had a new friend and a great place to do laundry.

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