Depression Has Taken Over in the Worst Way

I haven’t been able to write for a while and with good reason. Dude and I are at our breaking point after this past week. It has been devastating to us. The house situation has turned from bad to worse.

Here is how it has been:

On Wednesday (remember rushing home in the rain to fix the roof)once we were able to get the plastic on the house, the damage to the 3rd story stopped, but there is still damage non-the-less to the work we have already spent countless days and weeks on. The ceiling in the hallway and one of the bedrooms has water damage now and that is something new that we are going to have to repair in addition to everything else.  To top it off, the torrential storms that we have been having has caused a lot more damage to date. Now the window in Tinki’s room is leaking and we just made a new wall there, so that will have to be redone.

On Thursday morning we awoke to water being everywhere in large pools on the floor in the one room that we are living in. It’s coming from the second story roof (which we have no access to) and we can’t cover it at all. As a result, we have towels and buckets everywhere to catch the water. It is also coming through a large crack in the side wall of this room and pretty much the whole wall is soaked with water. The back part of this room, which is connected to our bedroom wall, is leaking also which means all the work we did in there will be destroyed, as well. That room took weeks upon weeks to fix in the first place. It has also been dripping on two old and heavy pieces of furniture that are impossible to move so we have just put a bucket on top of them. We are now going to have to knock down the main wall that is leaking and rebuild it.

On Friday evening we went downstairs in the apartment, which is housing every belonging we own while the main house is being remodeled (it has boxes and furniture from floor to ceiling) and found that due to all the rain, the toilet had been backing up for a while and there was sewage and water all over the bathroom floor and in the bedroom. As a result of this, some of our furniture was damaged and so are the walls and bathroom floor and because the whole house is connected on one line, we have not been able to use any of the bathrooms in the main house. This means that we haven’t been able to use any sink, toilet or shower since Friday night. We’ve had to be very inventive on going to the bathroom since we can’t flush and on getting clean since we can’t use the shower. Dude and I have tried to snake the drains and use chemicals but nothing has worked. We even went outside and dug up some of the pipe in the yard and drilled holes in it to see if we could find the issue and snake it. Were we could dig up the pipe, we found that the issue wasn’t there which means that it runs along the house under our nice concrete slab or under the ground in our neighbor’s yard. Due to the severity of the problem and where the problem potentially lies, we haven’t been able to fix the issue so we are still without a bathroom as I am writing.

The other unfortunate thing was that on Friday night when I went to get the pipe snake and chemicals, it was raining very hard. When I got home Dude needed my help quickly and when I drove up to the gate he had me roll down the window so he could tell me where he wanted me to park the car so we could work on the drain. It was pouring and in my haste to help I left the car window down. Five hours later when I went to move the car into the driveway and then the garage, I found the inside of the car to be flooded with water.

We had to get what little towels we had left (since most are on the floor upstairs where the leaks are) and dry out the car as much as possible and then we left the doors open and the windows down and a fan blowing directly on it to dry it out as fast as possible. Before going to bed that night I found that the back window didn’t roll up any longer cuz the motor for it was soaked. The next morning when I went down to try it, though, it had dried out and was working. Wow, one thing gone right, at least.

This morning we had the agent who sold us the house come over and we showed him the problem. He is having a plumber come out, but I haven’t been able to find out when that will be. Dude and I are worried that it could be a really big issue and we might have to redo the main line which will cost a ton of money that we don’t have.

Then Saturday morning came around and we had some severe electrical storms in the area. A lightning bolt hit a line not far from us and we lost power for a bit. It ended up blowing the breaker. When we were able to get power back we found that it fried our cable box and since Saturday we have had no television, no phones and no internet (hence no posts).

Our area has had substantial flooding and some of it is in our yard. We can’t seem to get the water flowing away from the house so as not to cause more damage. We have been out in the rain for days just trenching the yard to get the water to move out into the street. There were a few times that the lightning was so bad that I ran back in the house because it was just too close. There are also many roads that have been closed and it looks like the surrounding valleys are giant pools.

So our weekend has done Dude and me in. We just sat around in the dark, with no phone, no internet, no television, no bathroom and leaks dripping everywhere around us.

Normally I have something sarcastic or funny to insert, but this time, I don’t. This has really taken its toll on us and to be quite honest it’s hard to get up in the morning and yet, I have to cuz I have to go to work. We feel overwhelmed and just can’t seem to get done any project on this house. We still have no floors and no kitchen and are so far from ever accomplishing that part of the whole remodel that I fear it will never happen.

I am not mad about buying the house (Dude has terrible regrets now). I am, however, angry at the old owners because we asked them to be upfront about the work that needed to be done so we could budget for it and make sure we did it in the right order. If they would have been honest with us about the severity of the roof, we would have done that first off. After all, we acquired the house at the end of July and we weren’t even living in it for the whole month of August not to mention that September and October were gorgeous here. We would have had plenty of time to fix the roof and not be worried about making it through the winter and how we are going to fix it when it won’t stop raining long enough to do so (it seems that we have several more days of lightning storms, high winds, and rain in our area). We also wouldn’t be pissed about all the work we have done so far getting ruined and it costing us more time and money.

Every day we are afraid that something else terrible will happen and we just don’t have the money or energy to fix it. Both of us are really depressed. This is really wearing on us mentally and emotionally.

Tonight we are spending the night at my office. Even thought we have to camp on the floor, it’s at least dry and warm and we have a bathroom and internet.

I tried to call SFR tonight get my new cable box and after being on the phone with them for 1 hour, I accomplished nothing. The guy said someone would call me back within 48 hours and for what, I don’t know. I explained to him that it was fried and just to send me a new one, but no, he had to give me the run around as usual. Now it will probably be another 2 to 3 weeks before we can have our phone, internet and television back.

To top it off, the French administration told me on Thursday that I have to redo all my immigration paperwork simply because I moved to a new department. Whatever. I didn’t even have the energy to argue with her.

I am afraid to see what this week has in store for us.


About backyardprovence

I was finally able to realized my dream of living in France when I moved here in 2010. I love to read,I love history and road trips. I want to be doing anything outside in the fresh air. I want to have an entire room devoted to a personal library.

Posted on November 7, 2011, in The House of the Farmer and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I was watching the news tonight and thought about you guys. The flooding in the Var has been so bad. I am sorry that you have so much to deal with. I hope some good luck comes your way soon. Bon Courage.

    • Meredith-
      Thanks for the bon courage. We really need it. I have never seen flooding so bad. The vineyards and farmland are all underwater and so many roads have been blocked. We didn’t buy a house with a pool, but now we have one and it was free.

  2. So….

    In other words….

    Things can only get better?

    All the best


    P.S. I recommend a Good night out in a low life dive (check the jukebox – if the most modern thing is Iggy Pop or Lou Reed that you’ll have got it about right? In fact, if the jukebox doesn’t have anything by Lou Reed or Iggy Pop, move on till you find one that does!) Drink more than is healthy and eat all the wrong stuff. Put up with the inevitable hangover and then, if things don’t look better, at least they might look a bit different?

    P.P.S. Tell the Dude that life always looks better if you’re wearing/carrying a MAN BAG!

    • Keith-
      Thanks for your comment. It made me smile which is what I need about now. I will tell Dude about the goodness a man bag brings (maybe he could carry all of his tools in it)! I would love to drink myself into oblivion and forget my troubles, I haven’t done that yet. Since we are spending the night at my office we did go out for a nice bite to eat and yes I did eat all the wrong stuff:) I feel the worst for our daughter. This year has not been good for her. At 15 it was already hard to move here, but now my heart goes out to her. I sincerely hope your right about things only getting better, I would hate to see what worse is. Maybe the whole house falling down? Well, I guess we will find out either way.

  3. So sorry to read all this bad news. It seems that everything that could go wrong has done so and all at the same time. I hope that things can only get better for you and am crossing my fingers that this will be the case. Good luck and keep plodding along. It will be worth it.

    • Piglet-
      Merci for sending good luck our way. Right about now, Dude and I seriously believe that God hates us! This year (not just the house part) has been so difficult. I guess everyone is right by saying “When it rains, it pours” and believe me the pun is intended! I hope this week has us seeing better, but so far the weather doesn’t seem to be cooperating. Looks like more rain and wind on the way. We can’t do anything until the weather clears up so we just sit around and wait. By the way, I missed the big lunch with everyone in Avignon due to all this stuff. I hope you all had a great time:)

  4. Oh dear Ashley…My heart goes out to you and Dude. I would be soooooooooo depressed. The positive thing is as Keith says, I have to believe that things can only get better for you. I hope and pray!

    • Michel-
      Thank you for the prayers. I am praying, too, ever chance I get that things will turn around. It seems everyday brings a new disaster. I am think about writing my own book called, “An awful year restoring a house in Provence.” Do you think Peter Maylee will mind?! I, too, hope that Keith is right. I know things could be worse, like not having any food on the table or living on the street so I feel bad complaining because there is always someone more worse off than me. It’s just in the moment when you feel all loss of hope, one can’t help but complain. I do have Dude and our daughter and for the moment we are all healthy and I am so thankful for that. There is just that little bit inside me right now drowning in hopelessness cuz of all the stuff in the last three days we got bombarded with. It’s hard not crying.

  5. Ashley,
    My husband is a plumber and electrician and everything else to do with the home. He does it all. I talked to him and he said we can come this weekend and help you. He doesn’t know what you need or what he can do, but we want to help. He said he can at least come look to see what needs to be done. He’s concerned about the electrical with the water there. He wants to survey the damage. If you can make photos or a video of the problems (he said take photos of everything, not just electrical and plumbing problems; include the kitchen and bathrooms) and send it, he said that would be helpful, because if he needs to bring some things, he can. We live just south of Arles, so it’s not too far.

    We also have a very old home and had some water coming in, but nothing like you have had.

    And I understand being in a strange country. It’s wonderful; but when things go bad, it feels overwhelming. He’s French, so he’s at home here. He speaks English well.

    You have my email address. Let me know what you think. Don’t want to intrude; but want to help. This is a bit selfish, because it would be good for me, too. I’ve been a bit depressed and missing American friends. Maybe we can cheer each other up.


  6. Oh, and to be clear, he’s not offering services for payment: it’s gratuit.

    • Toni-
      You are so lovely! Thanks so much for offering to help out. We do have a plumber who is suppose to come out on Wednesday. Who knows though! Let your hubby know that their is no risk with the electrical. My husbands an electrician and all the electrical in that area is up high so that is a big plus. It is mostly the walls and floor and our furniture. I can definitely take photos and send them to your email. I won’t be back out at the house until Wednesday so I can’t take them until then. We are staying at my office for a night or two just to have a bathroom and be dry! There are a lot of photos of the house on my flicker page and you can access them just to the right of my posts. That will give you some idea of what we have been doing. All the photos are in an album called “Moving and Renovation of the new house”. I still have to upload some of the latest, but that at least will give you an idea. Tell your hubby that I said many, many thanks for your kindness. I too am missing my American friends and would love to meet you! Let me get back to you after Wednesday when I send you some photos. I hear it is still going to rain some more so I am not sure if the weather will be on our side for work this weekend. We shall see. I will keep you posted and again, I can’t tell you how much it means that you would offer to come and help us!

  7. Blimey Ashley,

    I thought we were getting bad weather here in the UK. But it isn’t a patch on what you guys seem to be getting. My heart really goes out to you guys. I really don’t know how you have stopped your selves from packing in. Chins up you two, it can only get better surely. If I lived in France, I would come over and lend a hand.
    All the best.


    • Stephen-
      Many thanks. If you lived in France, I quite possibly would take you up on that. I just had another person say that her and her husband would come help us this weekend. Nice people are such a gift from God, I tell you. I wish the world was full of nice people. Selfishly of course, but also for everyone’s sake. If only the genie in the bottle was real 🙂 About the packing in, my husband seriously was ready on Friday night to skip outta town. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. I really love this house and want to make it work. I am hoping against all hope that it does and that we don’t get buried financially. That is his biggest fear. At our age we can’t afford to start over again. Did you every see the movie “The Money Pit”? Well, I think we got the French version.

  8. Jeez Ashley! So sorry for you guys. Don’t know what I can say to help…if I were down south I’d be happy to lend a hand. We’ll be waiting for better news in the coming days…just remember that in the Money Pit that house ended up being the bomb! Best of luck and hang in there.

    • Corey-
      I sincerely hope that my house ends up being the “French” bomb. Thanks for the offer to lend a hand if you were here. I appreciated it! The weather is still not on our side as the forecast calls for rain until the end of the week. I really hope for several days of sunshine when this is over so we can get to work. If it is only one or two days in between rain then we can’t even start a project. We shall see!

  9. Oh Ashley, I was thinking about you guys when I saw the weather down there and I’m so sorry. I agree with Keith that things can only get better, and I hope they do very soon. Sending you some virtual Cheddar love, take care, Jacqui

    • Jacqui-
      Thanks for the virtual cheddar! At this point the one in my fridge might not be good anymore. If we keep having to shut down the fridge during these electrical storms it won’t last much longer. I really hope things do get better. This weekend will be the test since that is when it is suppose to clear up here for a bit. Thanks for thinking of us!

      BTW-I still can’t post on your blog! I have comments to leave for you! 🙂

      • Ashley and Dude
        I Was shocked to réad such a séries of disasters and i would feel down thé drain if I were in your shoes. I am glad your blog has a lot of sympathetic readers willing to help. Add me to thé list if I can bé of any help in thé near future although i got no particular talent in DIY but you can always use two hands. As for thé house, you were not told thé full story about it. You are supposed to know thé extént of major work needéd before buying. If you were not aware, this could bé a case for going to court. You do not buy a house as is and try tour luckat it. You are supposed to know what needs to bé fixed in advance. Takecare

      • Hi Bernard-
        Thanks for wanting to give us an extra hand. Yes, I am so amazed at everyone who would be willing to help us out here! Nice people make the world go around 🙂 Once this is all said and done, I think we might have to go to court. I am bracing for other major issues that we weren’t told about. We new everything we were able to inspect visually and that Dude was familiar with and then they warned us of lead paint and one other thing, but the roof and plumbing were not told to us. The whole thing has just been ridiculous. You said it best, down in the drain is exactly how we feel and where we will be literally, too!

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