Again

 

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I’m sure I will eventually call this post, “What we’re we thinking?” and when I told a friend what we were thinking of doing she said, “Are you sure? Why don’t you go back and read your blog about building your house in Provence or renovating your apartment?” But we are going to do it anyway–do a little more renovating of our apartment. It is very small, by American standards, and the living room is now what was a bedroom before we took out a wall and it is tiny and can barely hold a couch and coffee table so we decided to remove yet another wall, this time to our bedroom to enlarge the living room. This means that we have to move into the last remaining bedroom, once our guest bedroom and, before that, it was the original living room. There has never been a dining room here-just a space against a wall where we put our table and chairs.

 It was hard, by the way, to find someone to do this job. We finally got one man to come out and give us an estimate and it turned out that he was a Russian who, back in the USSR, was a veterinarian. What strange and unexpected changes life can give you. Maurice’s daughter was having some work done on her apartment and we finally settled on the guy who did the job for her. I suspect he isn’t French either although his French sounds like it is without an accent to me. The guys working with him all have accents that even I can hear, probably Hungarian, I think.

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 Before the work can even start, we had to start moving and rearranging all sorts of things. We piled the twin beds, one on top of another against a wall in what will be our bedroom (anyone want to buy them?), moved our queen sized bed into the same room and then we were left with this huge armoir that we bought right after I moved here. Maurice was determined to move it. It must weigh a good 200 pounds. It is taller than the door way and, we found out, there is a decorative section on top with some lighting that makes the armoir wider than the door, so that had to be removed. Somehow we got the armoir on its side and, with some throw rugs underneath, were able to slide it across the hall into the bedroom and, I don’t know how, we got it upright and into place. Why one of us didn’t hurt our backs is a miracle.

 So, for the next couple of weeks we will be living on our bed in the bedroom. I have my computer and we have the TV in here and it is close quarters, I have to tell you. I know there will be dust all over the place and that my cat, always terrified of everything, will be totally traumatized. He usually goes into our only closet when guests arrive and I imagine that he will spend the next couple of weeks there. I know it will be a total pain, but it will be nice when it is all over and the dust, literally, settles.

Update:The work was supposed to start today, Thursday, but they weren’t finished with another job and didn’t arrive until 4:30 PM with some equipment to start the job tomorrow. The empty rooms are cold and echoing. We left two guys here to await the equipment while we ran to the grocery store. When we returned one of them was smoking! The nerve! My French failed me but I made a motion with my hand as if I were firing a gun at him and I think he got the hint that he won’t be able to smoke here. I’m sort of used to smoke having lived here so long but I don’t want it in my own personal apartment.

8 thoughts to “Again”

  1. Good luck. You will be happier after going through all the mess. Í know that you will share the photos of the new renovation with us.

  2. Good luck. We are deep into renovations now on the house in Brittany. It seems we’ve been at it forever, but really only two months. About 2400 square feet is relatively new housing three bedrooms and three baths, kitchen diningroom, conservatory and two lounges. An additional 1400 square feet consists of rustic buildings with lovely hewn beams on the order of 300 years old that have usually housed cows or pigs and have the dirt floors to prove it.

    We began renovation by digging a foundation where there had been only packed earth inside and pouring concrete over rebar. There are schematics drawn for electricity, and elaborate drawings for central heating, new doors, windows, walls, ceilings, bathroom, closets and roofing. It takes days and multiple varieties of saws and sledge hammers to cut through 300 year old solid stone walls and create doorways and windows. As each opening is cut through immense oak lintels are lifted in to hold the weight above. There are certain unpredictable elements to this method. Our most exciting day was last Friday, when we heard a crack, rumble and then a horrific BANG!! I saw nothing extraordinary at first, except a workman sprinting across our field with an enormous cloud of dust behind him. The entire story and a half gable end of the ancient grenier [barn] had fallen into the field! Fortunately beams and floor joists inside were supported on “acro bars” and the rest of the building didn’t join the stone wall out in the field. I don’t remember reading anything by Peter Mayle that talked about these possibilities. Anyway Linda, I’m thinking almost anything you do can’t be so maniacal as this. But then again I’ve never renovated a Parisian flat several flights up!

  3. Hopefully it won’t take long and you’ll be happy with the end results.
    My kitty hides in the closet too when people come over. Funny.

  4. I laughed out loud at work when I read about you finger-shooting the smoker. This whole process sounds very un-fun, but hopefully worth it in the end right? If I were you I\\\’d spend my days in a cafe, drinking something hot, staring out the window and writing… oh wait. Back to reality, I\\\’m in Arkansas.

  5. Back in France. Like the Paris photos and congrats. on 8 grandchildren.
    I do know how awful the mess is with these kind of jobs. Wonderful when finished though and at least you have your computer still running.
    Smoking gun – it worked!
    Have posted 2 more chapters(don’t know where you are up to) and a giveaway.

  6. Just catching up on all of your terrific news!! Apartment renovations, son and family moving to Lugano and two new grandchildren. You are truly blessed Linda, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

  7. Oh LInda, I feel for you, I truly do. Keep a journal of every day! It was great being able to go back with my blog and pictures to show them everything they did wrong! Always be ready. I would NEVER do this again. Perhaps in France they actually take pride in workmanship. Sending hugs. You’ll need them!

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