It took a while, but on Tuesday, May 3 - exactly four months after arriving in France - we were finally fully moved in. Tuesday was when we finally got our poubelles. In Bordeaux, the city supplies a garbage can and a recycling bin (jointly called poubelles) for putting out on the street. These seem to be the proper way to get your garbage picked up.
It took us nearly a month to find a house to live in. We started to get settled and then went to Ireland for two weeks. So, it was about two months after we arrived when I finally phoned the central office to request poubelles. Unfortunately, all I got was an automated system that I couldn't understand. I randomly pushed buttons on my phone until it let me leave a message. I don't know who I left the message for, but he did not bring us any poubelles. Jerk!
A couple of weeks later, I went to the central office. It was a huge administrative building - they do more than just poubelles. Inside the main door, the security guard took my ID and gave me a temporary visitor's security pass. Then he walked me across the wide open atrium to an isolated desk with a receptionist. She heard my sad story, wrote a letter on my behalf and told me I would receive poubelles within 72 hours. No such luck.
Six weeks later, we returned from a week in the Pyrenees and found poubelles inside our locked gate. The gate and wall are six feet high, so I'm not sure how they got in. We rejoiced and started using them.
A few days later, a poubelle agent came to visit. Apparently, these poubelles weren't for us, but were for the new neighbours who had moved in while we were away. Eventually he left.
A couple of days later, the woman next door knocked, suggesting that we might have her poubelles. I gave them to her and she offered to phone the central office for us. This was terrific. After a few minutes she said the bins would arrive before the weekend - or Monday at the latest. No such luck.
On Tuesday they did arrive. Hurray!
When we read the labels on them, we noticed that the labels include our exact address and our name. And I'm sure the neighbours' poubelles had their address and name too. Whoops!