Blog Archives

French Wiring Makes No Sense To Me

I found out today that I don’t like running flex. I already said I hated to hang drywall studs and rails, well I hate flex, too. They have the dumbest stuff here. Everything electrical is run on this stuff that you would put only in your car in the states. What’s more, you can’t pull it through the studs because it gets stuck! We spent so much time finishing up the master bedroom and kitchen that the day was passing us by. Dude and I still hadn’t had time to figure out what we were going to do with the kitchen.

See, all our cabinets are going to be put in later, after we move in, but in order to run the electrical you have to plan out what you want so you have all the lights, plugs and switches in the right areas. I’m having a huge issue with the kitchen because I absolutely HATE everything that France is throwing at me in the way of cabinetry. It’s all this modern junk that just won’t work in my ancient style house. I definitely want to be modernized, but I don’t want it to LOOK all modernized. This is a problem and Dude keeps harping at me to hurry up and figure it out.

Well, I told him that I knew what I DIDN’T want, did that help? He said, “No!” So he ran the all the lines according to what he thought is should be and I guess we will just have to work around it and find something that will work for us. I can do that……I think.

Once the flex was all run in both the master bedroom and the kitchen we got to run the phone lines. So now I felt all professional and stuff. I was really getting my construction on these past few weeks and learning a lot. I had no problem with the learning aspect. The problem that both Dude and I were having was that everything we did was taking too long. We had to do things and then REDO them a bunch of times because some of the materials were just crap, some of the things we wanted just weren’t working out and of course, there was only the two of us. If Extreme Home Makeover were here, they could have busted this job out in no time. Unfortunately, they aren’t in France. We just had to keep making do.

The phone wires had to be fished through the two rooms and then all the way through one of the flex lines down into the garage and across the ceiling of the garage to the other side where the main panel was going to be. What a pain! Luckily Dude has this awesome item called Fish Tape.

This thing is the bomb and he brought it from the states. They don’t have it here. Tant pis for the French, seriously. He was able to put the Fish Tape into the end of the flex and send it all the way up the “autoroute” to the master bedroom. This is where he attached all the phone wires. While he was in the master bedroom, I was in the garage pulling on the Fish Tape which was bringing all the wires down to me. This worked like a dream and there is no way we would have gotten those phone wires through that stupid little flex they have here without it. Thank goodness for some great inventions and Dude’s insight to bringing it with us!

Next was the hanging the drywall in the kitchen. This went okay, the problem came after we hung the drywall. With the wall closed up, we couldn’t see where we placed all the flex for the electrical. They have the stupidest system here! They don’t have electrical boxes that hang on the studs and then you run everything and THEN you hang the drywall. Oh…NO…. They do it all backwards and crazy. First you run the flex, then you close up the walls with drywall, then you have to play hide and go seek to find your flex runs, then you guess where the holes for the boxes are going to be, then you cut the holes in the drywall and hope you found the right spot (cuz that’s where the boxes sit-not screwed down to the studs like they should be!), then you have to try and find your flex lines to put them in the boxes and then you run your wire.

Now I am not an electrician, but this is the stupidest, time wasting, piece of junk that I have ever heard! It’s all backwards. Luckily for us, Dude told me to take pictures of the wall before we covered it with drywall or we would have never remembered where we ran the lines! How lame is that??? What would we have done if I was not so snap happy???!! We would have had to tear out all the drywall, is what we would have done. Then Dude and I would have been in the paper the next day cuz we would have jumped from our third story window out of total frustration for the construction stupidity that goes on here.

Well, thanks to my photos, we figured out where to cut the holes for the electrical boxes, but then we still had to fish around blindly to find the flex to put into the box! Another problem… the holes for the boxes were so small that we couldn’t get our hands in them to find our flex! Dude was sooooooo pissed by now, cuz he is an electrician by trade and knows how it should be to make life easy and the job to flow, and this was not the way. We were battling with another time wasting issue. Also, you can’t cut the holes in the drywall any bigger to reach your hand in them cuz then your stupid little box won’t fit! Ahhhhhhhh!

So now because we couldn’t find our flex lines we had to invent a tool to drop into the holes to grab the flex and pull it out. Then when going to put the flex into these rinky dink boxes, there was no way for the flex to stay put. It just hangs in there ready to fall out of the box at any moment! There is no such thing here as flex connectors to keep it in! That is a safety hazard right there, folks. If my house was made out of wood, every night my prayers would start with, “Dear Lord, please don’t let the flex fall out of the electrical boxes and catch this house on fire…..” I am dead serious about that, too.

So, once again, after using what we learned from MacGyver and wasting away more hours, we finally finished the ONE wall we had to do in the kitchen.

All the while, I am hearing Father Time ticking away and now we have only two weeks before the big moving day and a house that is nowhere near being finished 😦

If you want to see the photos of our house renovation , they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.

The Gopher, Clean-up Supervisor

Today was the day we really went to town with punching holes all over the dang place in this house. The house needed to be upgraded somewhat with some new electrical, phone and data lines, and Dude wanted wiring for surround sound, too. Oh why not have it all when you pretty much gotta start from scratch anyway. We needed to run everything from the garage and go up through the ceiling of the garage into the second story and keep going up to the third story.

After that, all the wiring needed to be run in the kitchen, master bedroom, library and Tinki’s room.

This meant that we drilled large holes in the ceiling of the garage which leads up to the master bedroom that now how a large hole in the floor, up through the ceiling of the master bedroom which now also has a large whole, and then finally ending up in Tinki’s room which now has a large hole in the floor, too.

After that we proceeded to run the flex line through the “hole” autoroute we just drilled for. This was no easy task since we had to get a lot of flex lines into each of the holes and we had to keep going back and forth drilling (we found more uses for that Metabo) and chiseling and making the holes wider so that we could run all the lines we needed. Everything is made out of concrete, rock and large wooden beams so this was a big pain just like all the other tasks we have had to do.

When the lines were finally ran we were able to get to work on drilling holes in the wall that separates the Master bedroom and the kitchen.

So now, besides the holes in the floors and ceilings, we have four large holes in the wall separating the two rooms so we can run the flex lines through them from the master bedroom to all the stuff in the kitchen. I sure hoped this house was going to make it through all the holes we were creating. We had enough stupid cracks in the structure already and didn’t need any more!

I was pretty confident about the floor holding (with all the glue still on them), but with the walls, I was a little unsure.

Before we could finish running the flex lines, however, we needed to go frame one wall in the kitchen. Just like the day before it was loud and noisy with the metal studs, rails and drilling. This time, though, we were prepared thanks to keeping all the tools and supplies together (you’re welcome Dude) cuz mostly that’s my job. My new name is “Gopher” cuz that’s pretty much what I do all day. Oh, and I’m the clean-up crew, as well.

I did get to drive a few screws into the framing, but it was difficult so I petered out and let Dude continue on with it. I am too much of a wimp for stuff like that. I prefer to watch him do the work while telling him how to do it. I figure I am a pure genius at that so I will stick to it as much as possible. Might as well do what you are good at, right?

Once we were done with the framing, we had to go upstairs to snap a line (look at me go with that construction lingo). We needed to know where we were going to place the large rods for hanging the clee on the side of the house to pull it together and hopefully stop the crack from getting any larger.

How we got stuck with this job is cuz Mr. Professional gave us a bid for 10 000 Euros to do it way back after we signed the “compromis”, but before we signed all the final paperwork and we were like, “Heck no!”

Dude said he could do it himself and we were not gonna spend that kind of money. Now, the reason I believed Dude could run a 12 meter long rod and tie a clee to it (and told him he had my permission to do it) is that he has been in construction longer than we have been married (which is a long time) and he can do just about anything when it comes to the construction trade even thought he has never done it before. So I said, “Go for it, Dude. I will supervise.” Remember, that’s what I’m good at.

If on the other hand, Dude had never picked up a tool in his life I would have said, “Get out your check book and pay up cuz you’d screw it all up big time”. I would have really said that to him too, cuz I am someone who just tells it like it is. If you ever meet my brother –in-law, George, just ask him. He will say it’s true cuz he always comments to me that I do that.

Anyway, there we were in the library and Tinki’s room snappin’ a line to get ready for the next big day of drilling. Dude was so worried about the huge holes he was going to put into the side of the house that he couldn’t stop talking about whether it was a good idea to do it or just leave it alone.

Between you and me, if I had to snap that line then he needs to just get over it and make the big decision. I’m the supervisor and I just tell him what to do AFTER he makes the decision.  See, that’s how it works here. That way, I don’t get in trouble only he does 🙂

So after we snapped the line, guess what?? You got it! We drilled another large hole in the wall. This time it was the wall between the library and Tinki’s room cuz that was where that large 12 meter rod was going. I hoped that I wouldn’t come back the next day and the house was in ruins.

Well, another day of work was finished and we kept telling ourselves how behind schedule we were. I don’t think I want a schedule any more. It’s not working anyway……






%d bloggers like this: