Yesterday we went looking for a new bathroom window. As usual it took practically all afternoon just to try to accomplish one thing. I swear France is the only country this happens in and I know I’m not making it up since I hear complaints about this ALL the time!
It started out with trying to visit a window and shutter store. I had seen the store off the auto route one day and logged it away for future reference. Since we have an old house, Dude and I are pretty much thinking that it might be hard to get a standard size window off the shelf from LeRoy’s or Castorama so I had wanted a backup just in case.
First thing in the morning we just dawdled around when getting ready (we tend to do that on Saturday just to feel like we got some relaxation time in, plus we are a bit burned out). Then we took off for the store. I had tried to look it up before we left, but couldn’t find it online. Since I knew exactly where it was we took off anyway. We made it there only to discover that the store isn’t open on Saturdays. What the heck is with France and their idea of goods and services. There we were right in front of this enormous store (and I mean it was huge) and it was closed…..on a Saturday. N’importe quoi!! How the heck is anybody supposed to get stuff done around here when nothing is ever open and when it is, they close so dang early that you can’t get enough time in after work?! Therefore, you got to go to the few places that are open on Saturday and you end up being there forever and a day cuz everyone else in France is there too trying to get something accomplished since they have the same problem of never being able to get something done. Yes, that’s another gripe.
Well, Dude and I headed off towards LeRoy’s to see if we could get some idea of how we were going to get this window. The one window we are most concerned about right now is on the first storey. The existing one has a round vent in it that broke a long time ago and now is stuck in the open position. As a result it is sucking in the cold air from the outside and causing the house to be really trapping the cold air.
We still only have one small portable heating unit and it’s in one room so we are trying to keep the house as “air tight” and warm as possible. This particular window is contributing to the issue of us loosing heat all the time. Right now, Dude has covered it up with tin foil and a band to hold it on, but that is not too ascetically pleasing.
The issue with this particular window, though, is that when you measure the window frame from the inside it is 80cm, but when you measure the window on the outside it is 73cm. This is due to the way they stuccoed the house. So it’s sort of an issue in trying to find the best size to put in the space.
Also, we have kind of decided that since we have not yet painted or put the floors in, it might be a good idea to redo this one bathroom and get all the dirty work out of the way before we move forward with the finish work. This way we aren’t ripping the bathroom apart and working around newly painted walls and tiled floors.
Once we made it to LeRoy, we were greeted with the other bazillion people trying to get something done on a Saturday. We headed over to the windows and Dude took some measurements, but nothing was the right fit. We then head to the customer service counter and we did have some luck in the fact that we found someone who spoke really good English to explain our little window issue. He was very helpful and asked us all kinds of questions and Dude was able to tell him what the situation was. Unfortunately, they said the window would have to be special ordered to the tune of nearly 400 Euros. Just one window at 400 Euros! Who the heck in France has the money for this outrageous prices they charge! On top of the fact that it would take 5-6 weeks to get it (of course it will, this is France). So we told the guy there that we needed to go back and really verify the measurements cuz if we did end up ordering this thing and it didn’t work, then we would have waited 5-6 weeks for nothing and spent 400 Euros for nothing and be right back to square one. Also this is going to hold up our bathroom job and now our house is still going to be left in the unfinished mode. All because of one stupid window! Dude is going to go back to the drawing board and double check everything (but in theory he does that anyway so I know his measurements are most likely spot on). Then we will make another stab at it.
After LeRoy’s we headed over to IKEA (yes-I broke down and went, but just for a looksee). I was pleasantly surprised that they had some free standing items that we could consider for the kitchen. They were actually made of real wood and had a more classique/traditional look which is what I would really like. We took measurements of everything we liked and tried to see if we could somehow mix and match to get things to fit. Unfortunately, nothing they had would fit into the spaces we have. The big issue with our kitchen is that the whole thing is a shell with the exception of the sink. The old owners put in a sink (that is quite big and rather nice), but they built it into the kitchen with a specially made cabinet and some concrete. We are trying very hard to work around this because if not, we have to do more tear-out. I really don’t want to do this cuz then we just have to go back and repair and this is continuously putting us behind in the remodel process. Another thing is that there are all these doors in the kitchen to protect the house against the cold. Working around these has been a bit of a pain, as well. It limits what you can put where.
So basically we ran around all day trying to get to the next step and came home with nothing except two light bulbs. This doesn’t really make for a fun time.
I have to be honest and say that Dude and I have hit a wall of depression on this. Not because of the house itself, but because in France it’s so difficult to get anything done and what you can manage to do just costs too much. Inflating prices (for crappy materials) and the fact that you just can’t get stuff you need to work is really taking its toll on us. I am starting to think that we will be in just one room for a long time. The problem with our one room is that it’s the only one in the house not insulated against the cold.
We got set up by the second day although it isn’t the most ideal situation. At least we have some clean areas of the house to be in. We have one bathroom that is in semi-working order and the other has a usable shower so at least we aren’t killin’ the neighbors with workout B.O.
Tinki keeps complaining that Dude snores and it’s keeping her awake. I swear her room better be the first one ready or she’s gonna lose it soon.
We were able to buy a little hot plate so now we kind of have a make shift stove. It’s been working out pretty well, as long as we don’t use any other appliances at the same time were good. Dude said that we would fry the electrical if we did. Ok-I think I’m able to follow that rule (if not you guys will know about it 🙂 ).
Dude was also able to set up the internet, phone and T.V. We can now get back to our normal lives of ignoring each other. This works well when you have a teenager in the home. I tell you, give my kid a computer and I won’t see or hear from her all day! At least for now she isn’t complaining that we dragged her unhappy butt to France. Like I said, that room of hers better be done soon before she comes out of hibernation!
Along with the camping stove we got the fridge all plugged in so we could finally go the market and get some food. Oh man, were we ever happy to be able to have some food around. The first night was tough, but I found an Asian restaurant in town and we lived it up.
Dude is still on me about the Ikea kitchen. Dang I don’t want that! He’s trying to get me to make a trip there “just to look”. Please. I know all about that. What a ploy! He thinks I’m going to leave that place just loving something. What I’m worried about is leaving the place having bought something and then going home and throwing up cuz I just spent a ton of my hard earned money on something I didn’ t really want and now my 1700’s house has a too modern kitchen it. Ahhh!
I hate not having a kitchen, but at least an empty one didn’t cost me anything.
The other thing we need to figure out is the wiring. The living room has no electrical and no phone so right now we are System-D’ing it. We have run power strips all over the house and they are hooked into other power strips or extension cords. Then into the power strips we have tri-taps so we can plug even more stuff in. We have the television, the cable t.v, a transformer, a fan, the washing machine and the microwave all plugged into the same strip and the cord runs from our bedroom, through the hallway, into the kitchen and then out into the living room. We’ve had to tape everything down so that we don’t trip over anything. Here again, we have to be careful what we use at the same time.
Then on the other side of the kitchen we have the camping stove, blender and coffee maker plugged into one power strip. We started out with the microwave on the table, but it took up too much room so we moved it to the other side of the kitchen. The table is used not for eating, but for preparing food so we needed a little extra room there.
Then we have another power strip that is running across the kitchen and into the living room for the fridge, the internet, my office phone, our house phone, all our computers, our charges for our phones and we also use this power strip for the vacuum cleaner.
I am not exactly sure that this is code worthy legal in France, but then again, since we are in France we could actually be bordering on legal. All I know is that if the NEC people in the states saw the get-up we had going here, they would shut us down and fine us. I guess it’s a good thing we aren’t in the states now isn’t it!
I think tomorrow we might take it outside for a while. The weather has been really nice the last couple of days and the garden needs some clean up. It will be nice to get out and get some fresh air and still feel like we are accomplishing something.