What was I thinking getting a new puppy, lol?
My nights are now broken in many little peices, as Auguste whines, barks at a shadow, or scratches at the door. No one else really hears – I’m just a very light sleeper. But the puppy is being awfully good. No damage done – just little puddles, lol, and that I can live with, seeing the house is all tiled floor.

But I have been waking up so early every morning. It’s nice. Across the street is the restaurant, Le Jument Vert, where we ate dinner last night. In the morning, they are already up too, getting things ready in the kitchen. I can see the lights on and hear the sound of pots and pans. Then there is Farmer Duval, who comes up every morning early to open his aunt’s shutters and check that she’s all right. (Georgina is almost 100 and bedridden, and her mind sometimes strays. She thinks there is a German hiding under her bed most days, according to Cathrine, the nurse who goes to visit her twice a day.) The delivery trucks come early to the restaurant, and on Tuesday there is the garbage truck with the three workers who always wave and call out a cheery ‘Bonjour!’

The garbage men, the firemen, the police, and the postman traditionally go door to door each year for their Christmas bonus. We give about ten dollars to everyone. Some people give more, some less. They offer little calendars in exchange. The police, the postman, and the firemen have no trouble going door to door, but the poor garbagemen have to first drop off a paper with their pictures, names, and the heading “We’re coming by for our Christmas bonus soon – Wishing you Happy Holidays”
This is because they are north Africans – very black and very tough-looking. Plus they don’t have uniforms, only orange overalls. This year, their paper had a cheerful frame of jack-O-Lanterns around the men’s pictures. It made the paper look less like a ‘WANTED’ sign, which is just what it has looked like these past few years. The police usually show up on a Sunday, the firemen at night, and the postman on his day off. The garbage men come during the day – around noon – with their stack of calendars and pumpkin papers.

Anyway, it’s nice to see them in the early morning, they are always smiling and polite. So is Farmer Duval, who goes to the Jument Vert for a cup of coffee after he checks on his aunt. It’s very dark out, so I stand there with my flashlight and wait for Auguste to finish his business (it takes a while, he has to explore the garden a bit) and I’m glad my daughter told everyone in the village we were getting a new puppy, because otherwise I don’t know what the neighbors would be thinking about me, standing outside by myself so early, saying, “There now, go pee pee!! Good boy!!”

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