When we got back home, we both felt quite out of shape and went to our local YMCA to work out. It was Sunday. We weighed ourselves. Sean gained 3 pounds in Paris and I gained 1.5! So that is why my pants felt tight. Too many buttery croissants I guess. Eep!
The next day at work, I quickly faxed my new contract to Ms. S of the manicured nails so that she could see that there was no car in France. She could not believe it and said that she would try to straighten that out right away for me.
That same day, My boss, Dr. S, assigned a new Director for our group, Mr. B, who had just returned from 2 assignments in Europe. One was in Brussels and the other in Paris. I was eager to meet with Mr. B and ask him about living in Europe and my wish was granted as I met with him that very day. Unfortunately, what he had to say was quite sobering. He told me that Europeans considered things like kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, stoves, etc., to be furniture and would take them away when they moved and if we rented a house we would have to provide them. That would mean thousands of dollars in appliances that we would have to provide to live there. We could always rent these appliances, but the cost was still there up front. He also said that the company would not promise employment after the overseas posting. That is why he was our boss now. He needed a job for a couple of years before his retirement and this was all the company had to offer. He commented that in all, he loved being in Europe so that he and his wife could travel around, but it really drained his financial resources and if he hadn’t saved and had all of his kids out of college he wouldn’t have made it financially. Of course he got a car because he was at the director level and probably a better deal as well. He told me to examine my contract very carefully before signing it.
The day went by really quickly. When I got home, Sean was finished looking at the contract. His face looked bleak. I added the information from Mr. B about the kitchen cabinets and appliances. Sean just shook his head. We went though the numbers together. It was truly terrible. With the cost of a car, the underestimated mortgage coverage, the rent for the house we would need, the loss of Sean’s income, the cabinets etc., we figured that we would be out $80,000 in the first 3 months. I tried not to think about it because that would mean that we could not go and live in Paris and my dream would die.
I went into work the next day. I had a call from Ms. S of the manicured nails. She said that she has spoken to Monsieur P and that he was quite adamant that personnel at my level do not get a car in France. She did not understand why the French had to be different than all of Europe on this and would work to get it changed for me, though it might take time. I thanked her and rang off.
I held the contract in my hands and started to get really upset. What was I going to do? So, I walked down the hall to see my friend, Dr. R, the vice president of oncology. He was in and motioned me to sit down. I closed the door and burst into tears. He asked me what was wrong and I told him that my dream of working in Paris was not affordable and explained why. I told him that I just didn’t know the next step. He advised that I write Dr. A a response to the contract telling her why I cannot accept it and how upset I am. I thanked him profusely and did just that.
My memo to Dr. A began, “I am crestfallen that I cannot accept this offer to come and work in Paris…”, and then went on to specify why the contract did not cover my expenses adequately. I sent it, copying Ms. S and Monsieur P. A great weight was lifted when I sent it.
The next morning, I got a call from Dr. A. She ranted and raved about how she hates Americans and most especially me and why should she care about my needs and bla, bla, bla… on and on. I guess my memo was not received well at all. She felt that I had taken her free week in Paris and used her. I just let her rant, because I was so glad that I had not signed a contract to work for that American hating bitch. I thanked for calling when she wound down. She was just venting her disappointment after all. I was also disappointed. Sigh.
Later that month, I attended a Clinical Operations Meeting and all of the Clinical Vice Presidents were there. Dr. P, whom I had dinner in Paris was there and some other of my pals and all were sympathetic to my turning down the job with Dr. A. One VP said that if it were him, it would not have gone that way at all. Then, Dr. A entered the room. I extended my hand to her and said that I was sorry that it hadn’t worked out between us. She looked me in the eye and said that she was sorry too. We shook hands and I almost cried. Dr. P said that he was surprised by the maturity. I looked at him and said that we were adults, why would he be surprised? Dr. A mentioned that she had hired a very nice woman from the UK to do the job and it turned out it was someone I knew, liked and had worked with before. She was single, had a car, and therefore perfect for the job. I was happy that Dr. A found someone capable so quickly and said so.
Later that night at home with Sean, I was thinking and said, “I guess we’ll never live in Paris.”
He replied, “But, Susie, we live in paradise now, and we Summer Camp, our new boat. Remember, we weren’t going to go to Paris because of the boat.”
And together we said, “Boat shmoat, we’re going to Paris!”