mercredi 20 décembre 2006
So tomorrow we are flying back to the US. I wanted to write something witty and clever, but can't come up with anything. I have had several mini heart-attacks along the way, such as what day our return flight actually is (Ie do we leave on the 4th and get in on the fifth or leave on the third and get in on the fourth? the ticket declines to specify) and where the heck our Eticket was. Each email I found from the company said "This is not your eticket". Well what is our eticket pray tell?
I feel strange to be going back. I haven't been back since moving here a year and a half ago. There is so much I want to do and see and eat, and so little time to do it in. However, at this point I will be happy with just arriving as a big snowstorm is in progress.
Happy holidays everyone!
dimanche 10 décembre 2006

Last week Alain and I discovered to our chagrin that our bedroom wall was being covered in mold. Turns out that the sealant around the bathtub on the other side of the wall wasn't exactly sealed. The previous owner took only baths, so did not have water from the shower running down the wall and seeping through. We have now removed the moldy wallpaper, and are airing out the wall with a fan.
We decided that now was as good a time as any to redo our bathroom. So it has now been moved to the top of our Things to Do list. We have pulled out the bathtub (which is now RIP in our rat-infested cave storage area in the basement). Yesterday we bought a shower basin 90 cm x 90 cm. It is now waiting patiently in one of our spare bedrooms.

Today we started to remove the tiles. I didn't like the tiles in the first place, but could have lived with them. We had to either find more of the same, or remove them all and put new ones. We have decided to remove them all. We spent about three hours today removing 1/3rd of the tiles and annoying our neighbors.
Say it with me people- it's called PAYBACK and you know what PAYBACK is?
Yeah, that's right. That is for your barking dog that drives me barking mad all day long during the week and for you other neighbors who watch your TV so loud we can tell what channel it is on.

After about two and a half hours they started banging back on the wall, then someone rang our buzzer and I am guessing Ran Away. Jeez. At least have the guts to come and knock on our door and have a conversation something like:

Neighbor - "How much longer are you planning on doing that because it is starting to get annoying?"
Us - "Hey, we would be happy to let you help if you want it to be done sooner. Believe it or not, this isn't our idea of a good time either."
Neighbor - "You are making a lot of noise and it is annoying!"
Us - "Tell us something we don't know!"
Sigh. Current state of our bathroom. On right, hookup for washer and dryer, which I would prefer to just remove, and dead plug hanging out of the wall with exposed wires. On left, cold water, hot water, drain and electrical cord. Yeah, that doesn't sound safe to me either.

mardi 5 décembre 2006
Yep. It is that time of the month again.
Time for me to complain about La Poste.
Seriously, could they make my life any more difficult?

When we were moving, the post office directly across from old place decided to close for two months for renovations (which it really really needs). So I had to shlep to the one several blocks away to change our address. You can change your address for 6 months or 12 months. Why the difference? The price of course. For six months I think it was something like 22 euros. For a year it was 45 I think. Yikes. I took the six month option. When I think of all the times I changed my address in the US- at least once a year while I was in Charlottesville.

So since the one post office is closed, all the others around it have much more traffic. The nearest to our new place is very very busy all the time. There is one a little further that is good if you want to send something, but if you want to pick up a package (since they don't bring it to your residence) you have to go to the one indicated on the slip, which for us is the high traffic one.
A few weeks ago I was in there and one lady tried to jump the line. Apparently, the ATM machine outside had swallowed her card. It was quite amusing in a way to see the Grassroots Uprising of all the other customers putting her back in her place. It made my day to see old ladies elbow her out of the way so that they could get to the counter. Then she started talking loudly on her cell phone (completely ignoring the sign saying "Please don't use your cell phone while in line). One of the workers yelled at her to talk quieter.

The two times I have wanted to use the automatic weighing/stamp distributor it first wouldn't make change (and since I didn't have exactly 1.19 I had to leave because there was no way I was waiting in line for two stamps) and the second time it was out of service. Real useful that.
A few weeks ago La Poste was on strike. Why? Because the government was thinking about privatizing it or opening up the mail system to private companies. (I didn't really care or sympathize, so I didn't pay too much attention). When it is a universally acknowledged fact that you do your job inefficiently and at a high cost, why be surprised that you might actually loose your job?

Yesterday I did the queue to mail a small package that I had sold on Ebay. After waiting 40 minutes I got to the front of the line and the lady told me it was too small to send. What do you mean it is too small? You handle post cards all the time for goodness sake! Nope, too small. She offered me the option of sending it in one of the those pre-paid boxes to send anything anywhere in France. The price was over 8 euros for something about as heavy as a letter. Considering I had sold it on Ebay for 5 euros and had estimated 3 euros for shipping, it was going to cost me more than I had made just to send it. (Lesson for the future- weigh it at the post office before listing on Ebay). I sent it in a large envelope for five euros. Grrr.
samedi 2 décembre 2006
(all pictures from previous owner)

We have three bedrooms, small, medium, and large. The smallest has blue wallpaper, a window over the back balcony, and a grand total of one plug by the door. It is currently being used as our exercise room. (Alain's bench and weights).

The medium bedroom also has a window overlooking the back and has green wallpaper. We have a large dark armoire which was left by the previous owner. It also has a pull-up bar (can you tell that at least one person in this household is into fitness?) It has a lot of stuff we don't know what to do with at the moment. It will eventually be turned into a guest room or something.

The last bedroom is ours and opens onto the street. It has pink wallpaper. We have four shelve systems for our clothes. Apparently, closets were not a big thing back in the 60's. We have a mezzanine bed which gives us more floor space. Since the ceilings are very high, it works.
We have a radiator in our room (shown on back left of picture below), but not the other two bedrooms. So, plans for all bedrooms- dewallpaper, repaint, add plugs, change light fixtures, buy more furniture.
vendredi 1 décembre 2006

From here on out, most of the changes are cosmetic. The living room needs to be dewallpapered, repainted, and have more plugs added because I don't really like having all of my electronics on two power strips on ungrounded plugs. Probably will buy some more bookshelves and a buffet. Buy a curtain rod and curtains.
Oh, and notice the nice graffiti on the church across the street through the window.

The living room and biggest bedroom (ours) are on the street side of the apartment. We have double windows (thicker for insulation and noise reduction), but it can be noisy at times. I am mostly used to it by now. But sleep with ear plugs at night. Which doesn't mean a whole lot, since I just plain like the feeling of ear plugs in my ears. Weird, I know.

There is a balcony overlooking the street, but we don't use it much. I guess I could put some plants out there. From my poorly and hastily drawn floorplan below, you can hopefully get the idea of how it is laid out. (One of the many reasons I didn't become an architect.)

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