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What Do Bikini Clad Show Girls Have To Do With Home Improvement?

Last Saturday, Dude and I headed over to the stores near Toulon to see what we could find in the way of flooring. We’ve been taking a little break from the house remodel to skip around Provence and do some sight-seeing, but this weekend Dude said he wanted to get our bedroom finished and that meant a trip to some home improvement stores.

First stop was Castorama. It turns out that they were having their anniversary weekend so some sales were happening as well as the fact they were going to be open on Sunday. Wow, bonus for us just in case we needed something last minute on Sunday. Try as we might, and we did, nothing in the way of flooring popped out at us. We looked long and hard down every aisle and just couldn’t seem to agree on anything we liked.  I did find something called “Floor in a Box”, but figured that was a bit on the cheesy side so it was decided a no-go for us.

Looked easy, though. I wonder if they sell this stuff at Wal-mart?! I’m guessing that, yes, they do 🙂 That’s probably where this stuff came from!

This particular day was a strange one for shopping at Castorama. Throughout the time we were there someone was constantly doing these crazy announcements for items on sale in different aisles. It turns out that there was some guy in a suit walking around the store with a microphone hosting his own “Let’s Make A Deal” show right there in the store! This happened once before to me several months ago while I was in Carrefour doing market shopping. I kind of think this is weird. It makes me feel like I am back in the 1970’s in the USA cuz we did stuff like that there when I was a kid. I was all ready to bust out my Blue Chip Stamps and hand them over to the guy in the tweed suit! I couldn’t stop laughing as Dude and I were in the checkout line (buying the few odds and ends we did find). It just made me giggle thinking how in the here and now, these French stores are doing what we did in America about 35-40 years ago! It even made my day when I saw a lady in the store totally wearing this retro outfit of tiger-striped, form fitting, stretchy pants and matching boots. Please Doc, set my DeLorean back to 2012!

Out in the parking lot we continued to hear the guy making his announcements. Apparently they had rigged the parking lot speakers for him, too!

With Castorama a no go for us, we headed down the street to LeRoy-Merlin. Lucky for us, the two stores are only about 5 minutes from each other (45 minutes when all the French are out shopping at the same time…..tells you a lot don’t it). It just so happened to be the dejeuner bewitching time though, and since we don’t have the same time schedule as the French, not that many people were out so we made it in roughly 10 minutes.

LeRoy-Merlin was super crowded. So this is where everyone and their mothers had gone! (I guess they had all forfeited lunch today). This place was a mad house and for some odd reason they didn’t have the air-conditioning on. After only 10 minutes in the store, I had to go out and take a breather.

The aisles were jam-packed with shoppers. It turns out that LeRoy-Merlin decided to pull some punches at Castorama and they were having their own Fete de la Maison. There were specials galore and with the Carte de Maison we found out that we were going to get an extra 15% off! I love it when that happens, but darn, now I had to go stand in line to get the dang card if we found something we wanted to buy!

Off to the flooring aisles we went. But wait, what was that sound? Why are there drums and loud music being played in the middle of the store? Why are there all these people gathered around in the main aisle of the store and blocking everyone else from going by??!! I didn’t have time for this. I need some flooring!

Well H-E-L-L-O, this is why there had been a crowd

Check out the guy on the left and his look. Priceless. Oh and the kid has the best angle I can see. Boy, his teen years are going to be interesting. Better warn his future wife about what she’ll need to buy.

As far as the crowd goes, you guessed it peeps, it was mostly men blocking the way. What in the heck do scantily clad show girls have to do with a home improvement store?? NOTHING? And if you were to say everything, as Dude did, well fine, but where are my scantily clad show guys?? HUH??!! I want some fairness when going to get my materials, dang it.

What is becoming of these stores, I wanna know. “Let’s Make A Deal” in one store and show girls in another!! Come on, people. These guys (gals) were so thrilled to be there all dressed up (or hardly dressed) that they even posed for a photo.

By the way, I was not the only one who was taking pictures. The look on people’s faces as these guys were waltzing through LeRoy’s was priceless. Smiles on the guy’s faces and bewilderment on the girl’s faces!

Good grief. To top it all of, the lady that I saw at Castorama (you remember), the one with the tiger-striped, form fitting, stretchy pants and matching boots, well there she was right in front of me at this store, too! Only here, she didn’t really fit in, if you get my drift.

Man, get me to the flooring section, paleeeze!

Finally, after the ‘show’ was over, Dude and I made it over to the wood flooring (all the way he was asking me how come I don’t dress like those girls……really??).

We originally were thinking about going with tile, but in the end, decided that wood flooring would be the way to go. We struck gold at LeRoy-Merlin. They have a much larger selection of wood flooring than Castorama and almost right away we found what we wanted. Bonus, it was on sale, double bonus we also were going to get 15% off! Yes- I love that.

We needed to get one or two more things and then off to the front of the store we went. I went to stand in line for my coveted Carte de Maison while Dude went of to go look at the tools.

It took some time to get the card (of course it did). There was a line forming and only one lady working the counter (big surprise). After a bit of a wait, carte de maison in hand, off to the check out we went.

As we left the store, I couldn’t believe that we actually achieved something for the house that we set out to do that day. That usually doesn’t happen to us. Once we figured out how to put 11 boxes of flooring in our Renault (along with the other odds and ends we bought) we set off towards home totally feeling like low-riders and hoping our car didn’t bottom out on the way! Good news, we made it just fine. Bad news (for Dude) I am not buying one of those show girl outfits….he can just forget it.


More Toilet Talk

Now you all know how I’m takin’ with the toilets in France. There is just something fundamentally funny to me about the stuff I’ve seen here, that I’ve never seen in The States. So far, all the blog posts I’ve written that has to do with something about a toilet or toilet seat in France have yet to be found in my home country. For some odd and demented reason, I am fascinated by what I can buy or find here in the way of these products and I can’t resist taking a photo and writing about it. It just boggles my mind (I have to let you in on a secret…..see…I’m simple minded). Now does it make sense to you? I just happen to be one of those people who get a kick out of simple and crazy or dumb things. I know you all know someone personally like me so no judging.

I think this must help me somehow psychologically. How?? I’m not exactly sure, but it gives me a chuckle and everyone knows that laugher is the best medicine when you’re feeling down. So I guess that must be it. Yup-it’s quite possible.

You see, when I’ve been in Castorama or LeRoy-Merlin or some other store for house renovation materials and I am going on hour number 4 (in the same store) looking at all the same stuff I looked at last week and hoping that this week something new has come in and then finding out it hasn’t, and then suddenly I find something that takes my mind off the hardship of non-acquirement (is that a word?), then I just gotta snap the shot. (I think that might have been my longest sentence, yet). For some odd reason, this has been in the area of the toilets.

I swear that this stuff can’t be found in The States. If it exists there, then no one has come forward to let me know.

Well, my latest find is, ta…da..


The toilet where you can wash your hands with the tank water!

This is pure genius. Not only is it a space saver but it’s also double usage for toilet water!! What could be better? I’m thinking about buying stock in the company who is producing this. I have a feeling it’s going to be really big someday. I can totally see it in dorm rooms across America.

Now, I’m betting this hasn’t gotten to The States, yet, and the reason I think this is because my daughter was in a dorm and had a very (I mean microscopic) bathroom and she still had a tub, toilet and separate sink! This could be the wave of the future for dorm kids. Guess what?? It can even triple as a drinking fountain if you pick the right faucet! I’m sold. Done.

I’m thinking about buying one and shipping it to my son for his birthday. Then he will be the toast of the town and all his friends will want one. Then I can make a deal with the company who sells it and be rich, rich, rich….. mauhaha….!

Wow, okay…getting a little ahead of myself.

But seriously, is this a great idea or what? If anyone in The States has come across this fantastic item, either in a store (or better yet, installed in a home or office) please send me a photo or tell me about it. I’m dying to know if I’m behind the times on this or there is still hope to corner uncharted territory in the USA!

Saturday Kind Of Sucked

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.

Some Luck Comes Our Way

We finally had some more luck come our way today. Yippey!

There’s this electrical store just down the street from where I work and at lunch time (well a bit after that since you can’t interrupt the sacred lunch hour) Dude and I went to scope it out. He was looking for tracking and wire channel so he can get our ancient electrical system all up to modern day acceptability. (If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the way our electrical is run in the house, I will just tell you that it was done in the time of Roman rule).

Right now we still have all kinds of flex tubing that Dude recently put in, hanging down in the garage. There is also an old panel on the garage wall that he’s changing out. Dude needed to have some way to hold the flex going across the top of the garage and down the side walls for our new electrical runs and make it all neat and tidy and have it go into the new panel. Believe you me, running new electrical in a 300 year old house is not an easy task. Although, I just get to watch and supervise, Dude has to do all the work. There are some things I will help with and some I won’t and the electrical stuff falls into the “won’t” department. I’m a big chicken with that kind of stuff.

So back to the store part. Before going to this electrical store we tried our old stomping ground of LeRoy-Merlin. They had some of what we needed but they didn’t have the accessories to go with it. How ya supposed to complete the job without the rest of the goods, I ask you?

So today at this electrical store he was able to find the goods. He even found a guy there to help him and who spoke some English (score three points for that one). There was one down side, though (I guess that means we have to take away a point), the enormous costs of the stuff. The one thing that’s always a big shocker to us is the price. We thought the stuff we found at LeRoy-Merlin was fairly decent in price, but sheesh! This electrical store was outrageous. If you learn one thing about Dude in all of this, make it the fact that he doesn’t like getting jacked around! It seems that there is just no way to get around saving money on certain materials here. He always feels like he is getting jacked around on prices for tools and materials. This stuff isn’t even the cream of the crop so even though we came away with what we needed, it still leaves you a bit unfulfilled when you hear the money getting sucked out of your account!

On a lighter and even happier note, I am also happy to report that Sara, over in Le Petit Village, passed on her Happy Accident to us because right next store to the electrical place we found this guy who makes all great things out of metal (gates, tables, décor, etc.). Dude had this great idea to pop on over to see if we could find our elusive UPN for the side of the house (you know the one that the guys at Point P had no clue about and we’ve been trying to hunt down for a weeks). Guess what?? This guy had a piece! Well it was an IPN not a UPN, but that was good enough for us cuz it’ll work. The man at the store was really nice and patient with us as we mangled the French language trying to explain what it was that we needed. He eventually went into his back room workshop and rummaged through all his scrap pieces and voila, he found one! He was even nice enough to cut it in half for us and it was only 36 Euros. Mais oui, I would say that was a happy accident that we had today. Thanks for the good karma Sara 🙂

So now we get to drive all the way home (one hour) with this stuff sticking several feet out of the trunk of Benoit. The electrical stuff is too big for us to close the back hatch so this should be fun. I hope it doesn’t rain (it sure looks like it’s going to) and I hope that everything that’s in the back of the car ends up at home with us and not littering the road or someone else will have a Happy Accident (well maybe not). I guess that would all depend on if they find it or hit it!

PS-I forgot to tell you that today is our 1 year anniversary of landing in La France! What a crazy year it has been!

Extreme Materials – Amongst Other Things

Today was the big day. By that I mean, big truck, big materials and big money spent.

We started the day out by picking up our large truck from ADA at 10:30 am. I know, late start, but hey, we’re on Latin time. The nice lady at ADA new exactly who we were cuz she said she recognized my accent. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, but she at least understood what I wanted! We inspected our ‘camion’ and signed our life away for it. Thing to do number one……..check.

Off to LeRoy Merlin. Now, I know that I said I was much happier at Point P. The thing is, Dude was happier with the prices at LeRoy. He said by buying our items there we would save a few hundred dollars. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great thing indeed, but it was still a problem for me cuz I hated giving my hard earned cash to non-helpful people. If I was rich, I would have just gone over to Point P and given those helpful guys my money. I was in a pretty bad mood at LeRoy’s and it got worse when we were trying to get all of our items and still, no one would help us.

We drove our truck around the extreme materials section and proceeded with the loading. We needed 17 sheets of regular drywall, 3 sheets of hydro (greenboard) drywall, 50 metal studs, 20 rails (the studs and rails were for framing the drywall), lots of insulation, 8 large bags of morter, 1 bag of regular drying joint compound, 1 bag of fast drying joint compound, 1 tub of topper finish coat and 52 large bricks.

For all of this loading , it was just me and Dude. Seriously. No one came over to help. Here’s one guy and a lady and not one of these guys could say, “Could I help you?” What the heck do these workers do all day! At Point P someone would have helped.

Now ladies (and some guys out there) have you ever had to lift, carry and load full sheets of drywall before? These things are seriously heavy and Dude and I had to lift them off the shelf, carry them to the truck and load them in one at a time! This took forever because my name is not Wonder Woman even though I would like it to be.

Then we got down to getting the metal studs and rails. The studs were hooked together with metal ties and I needed someone to come over and cut them so I could get the amount I wanted. You have to be really careful around these things because they are super sharp and will really slice your hand up. So I walked over to Mr. NonHelpful and let him know what I needed. Do you know what he did? Instead of grabbing the special cutters needed and following me out to do the job, he just handed me the cutters and said when I was done to bring them back! That is a load of junk, I tell you! A woman with no gloves and needing assistance to cut metal and he just hands me the cutters and goes back talking to his coworker, Mr. NonHelpful 2. What ever!

So after that, Dude and I finished getting all the materials we needed and we headed over to pay the big bucks. I have to hand it to Dude we did save quite a bit of money, but I was still mad about giving it to these guys. By now it was nearly 1pm (that’s how long it takes when you have strong man with weak woman and no Mr. Helpfuls around). We were behind the schedule that I had set out for us that morning. Oh well, at least we got everything we needed. Thing to do number two……..check.










Off we went barreling down the country road with all our goods. When we made it to the house we were like the unloading bandits. You should have seen us in action. We were obviously better at unloading than we were loading. The only really hard part came when we had to take the sheets of drywall (one by one and each weighing a ton) up the stairs. I thought I was gonna die, no lie! You can’t hold them flat you have to turn them on their sides and that folks makes them quite difficult to carry when going up steep stairs. We ended up taking 10 up to the second story and leaving 10 in the garage for another day because by now we were running behind my schedule again. See the rental car place closed at 6:30pm and I wanted to have the truck back to them that night just to make it easier on us. Well, the unload was now complete, at least. Thing to do number three……..check.

We needed to run over to Point P to get some more joint compound and some roofing material. We headed out and found that they were temporarily out of the joint compound, but they did have the roofing material we needed so we bought 9 sheets of it. This is for a little section of roof just above the apartment bathroom that no one sees so we weren’t about to go all luxurious with it. It was here that we ran into a little snag. Michael’s bank card and mine decided not to work anymore. I got nervous thinking that possibly there is a daily limit to what you can spend and we surpassed that with getting the truck and materials at LeRoy’s. Good thing Dude has a spare card for emergencies (which he considered this to be) and we got our goods. Thing to do number four……..check.

Back to the house to unload more stuff and to use our rental truck  to hall a bunch more crap we needed to get rid of to the dump. Yay, another fieldtrip! You would not believe the amount of junk we needed to throw away due to this major remodel job. We had old carpet, old wood, old appliances, old metal, old furniture and Dude broke apart the wooden wall of the shed cuz he is going to make a new one out of the bricks we just bought. So that went into the rental, too. We had that truck filled pretty good by the time we were done. I just hoped we could clean it out really good before we gave it back! By now it was 5:00pm and we were a half hour behind schedule. Get in and go! That’s what we did. Thing to do number five……..check.

So now, we are barreling down the road heading towards the dump. I called the rental place to double check what time they closed. The nice lady said 6:30pm on the dot. That didn’t leave us much time to unload all this stuff, clean out the truck, put gas in it and get it back. Dude started driving so fast that I was actually hyperventilating. I got really scared and held on so tight to the door that I seriously had white knuckles. These little country roads are small and windy and I am not ashamed to say that I was terrified.

We finally made it to my favorite dump without an accident. (You go Dude. A+ driving.) This place is cool and the people are nice. We sorted all our stuff into the appropriate bins and left all the stuff that needed to be smashed and burned for the end. That’s my favorite part. It’s actually really cool to see. Once all of it was unloaded we got to work on cleaning out the truck. It was a complete mess in the back and I wanted to leave no traces. We swept and cleaned and actually got it looking pretty good. Off we went to put some gas in it. Thing to do number six……..check.

We now had 40 minutes to get gas and make it to ADA and we were exactly 40 minutes away! I hoped there would be no hang-ups at the gas station. Wrong. When we arrived, there was a line! I told Dude that we had only 20 minutes to get gas and to get to ADA. We were still quite a ways away. So while Dude was filling the tank I was preparing to pay. What a team. Now, with the rental your only suppose to put in the amount of gas that you use. This stupid truck didn’t tell you the truth and we were sitting there just guessing. Then Dude accidently turned on the truck while he was filling it with gas so he could check the gauge and it jerked forward and scared the bageemies outta me! We finally just decided to call it quits, paid and flew outta there like a rocket. Thing to do number seven……..check.

Every 3 minutes I was telling Dude how much time we had left and he was seriously haulin’ buns by now. In between the times I was telling him that we weren’t going to make it, I called the bank to find out why we were getting jacked around with our cards not working. The bank lady assured us, in a very nice way, that all was good. It was the stupid store’s fault! I swear nothing like someone else trying to give you a heart attack for no reason. I can manage just fine with that by the enjoyment of eating unhealthy foods. At least I had a great time while waiting for my heart attack to come on!  Well, we finally made it to the town where we rented the truck and we had only 5 minutes left. You aren’t gonna believe this but we slid in the gate with that thing at 6:30pm on the dot! Go team! Even ADA was impressed. Thing to do number eight……..check.

We felt so good about our day that we decided to continue it and made another stop at LeRoy Merlin to pick up some plastic wrap and a few more items before they closed for the night.

Then we headed over to the market to do some grocery shopping. That was awesome since we were both dirty and sweaty. I felt the waters part as we walked down the aisle throwing items in our cart. I figure that might be the way to go if you are in a crowded store and you want to get out in a hurry. Just go smelly and dirty and you might get her done in record time.

By the time we got home it was nearly 10pm. Boy were we exhausted, but we felt great because we finally got a bunch of things accomplished all on the same day! Freakin’ miracle I tell you. Finally something went right for a change 🙂

Non-Helpful, Helpful and This Is Icky

Dude and I spent most of this day at a couple of hardware stores. He had been busy gathering a list of what we were going to need in order to get this house useful.

So after much thinking (on his part cuz he’s the brains and I’m the beauty of this mission impossible) we decided to head over to LeRoy Merlin and get some idea of the prices that this money pit was gonna do us in for.
I find that the people who work in the tool department to be very helpful, indeed. I truly like them! The people who work in the extreme materials section are altogether a whole different ball of wax. They have to be the most unhelpful workers EVER! Maybe they only get minimum wage or something. If not, then they should be cuz they don’t do anything.

When we got to the extreme section, we couldn’t find prices on the things we needed and if we did, they weren’t even labeled right. Dude started to go ballistic because nothing was labeled and he needed to hurry up and stop wasting time in order to get the info for this so-called budget of ours.

He took some notes down and found a few prices, but we also had two extra irritants. The material names and packages looked nothing like we were used to in the states and we didn’t know what brand or type was best so we had to guess (since no one was being helpful).

Then, we found that some of the items we needed weren’t even in stock.

I went over to Mr. NonHelpful worker cuz he was the only guy around and asked when a certain item would be in stock. Do you know what he said?? He said, “I don’t know, maybe Friday or sometime next week.” Then Mr. NonHelpful worker just walked away. JUST WALKED AWAY! I couldn’t believe it. Way to go King Merlin (cuz that’s LeRoy Merlin in English).

So we were left again to fend for ourselves. We spent way to long there in our opinion so I had the brilliant idea of heading over to Point P to see if we could find what we needed there and get some comparative prices.

When we got there, I was pleasantly surprised by the helpfulness of these guys. They told me where I could find everything I needed. Dude and I walked over and found what we needed and guess what?? Mr. Helpful worker walked right up to us and asked us if we needed to find something specific. We showed him our over-budget list and he showed us where everything was and he was even patient enough to listen AND answer all our “I am a dumb American who bought an old house here” questions.

We thanked him and started doing our price comparisons. As we walked around and gathered our info, we happened upon some other things we might need in the future. You know what? Mr. Helpful came back over to see how we were doing and said if we needed anything to just ask.

I love this store!

While shopping around Dude and I started to get a little dazed and confused because the French put everything price wise into increments like per meter (regardless if you can even buy it that way). Why the heck would you put a per meter price on something when you can’t buy less than 3 meters of it? Just put the freakin’ price on the thing people! Why do these stores make you do the extra math to find out the prices! Hate it! You know why? Math is my worst subject so I just stood around checking things out and let Dude take care of that math stuff.

When we were done, we took our list and prices in to the store to have Mr. Helpful the second give us an accurate breakdown. He did it, too!

We left happy about the help, but not so happy about the prices. For what we needed it was going to cost a small fortune.

By the time we got back to the house it was getting to late to start any projects so Dude said he wanted to clean out the ducts above the kitchen vent. This should be good.

I ran for my camera cuz who knows what you’re gonna find in a house this old. As it turns out, Dude had me in stitches with his comments. What he found was a little gross and to hear a grown man say the word “buggies” just cracks me up.

Well, I think he is going to have to crawl up there to see what else he can find. I’m not doing it! As least we felt a little cleaner after that. He was so grossed out that he was the most willing person to take an ice cold shower (since we have no hot water in the house, yet). I forfeited cuz cold showers are not my thing.

So, I started to go downstairs to clean up and found this little guy hopping around near the top step.

I couldn’t believe he actually made it that far since it would have been quite the climb for him. As I went to get something to put him in to take him back outside, he decided to go visit Dude while he was in the shower. Little pervert. I scooped him up and took him back outside. Guess what?? He immediately hopped right back into the house and up the stairs! This time he was scooped up and taken way out into the garden. I haven’t seen him since, so I hope he is alright.

Next up for us is spending money. But first we need to go rent another truck because Benoit was not going to be able to help us out with getting the extreme materials to our house.

Day Two of Punishment

The second day of the remodel turned out to be harder than the first one. We started by assessing the house and deciding what to tackle first, the glue on the floor or the glue and paper on the wall.

In the end, we decided it was gonna be to get the glue up off of the floor. Dude said it would be best to just start scraping it, so he set out to do just that. He sported his knee pads, his goggles and his breather and got to work using a crowbar. Check out my man at work.

After a couple of hours of this, it was just not happening. The glue was too stubborn to be scraped up. We had done some research the night before (just in case) and found that pouring boiling water over the glue would help break it up and we would then be able to scrape it off easier. Well, in any case, the person said it has worked for them, might as well give it a go, ourselves.

Luckily for us, the owners left their old stove (which we hadn’t tossed out the window yet) so I set to boiling some water.  We got some towels, I put on my own mask (which is not nearly as cool as Dude’s), and I found another scraper so I could “try” and be of some assistance.

I brought up the boiling water and Dude started pouring. We let it soak in so that it would possibly break apart the glue particles and we could just run the scraper over it and viola, easy as pie. Right?? That was a big, fat, WRONG! It didn’t work in the least bit. The water just ran right over the top and then dried up, cuz it’s so dang hot here. Even with a little wetness on the glue it wasn’t any easier to get up.

We then decided that this was maybe glue that liked cold water instead. I went back downstairs and filled a bucket with cold water and we tried that. No go, as well. Apparently this glue doesn’t like any type of water. We now had to think of something else. Dude decided that we would go by LeRoy-Merlin the next day and try to find something there that would help us out. In any case, we were out of commission with the floors today so we moved onto the kitchen and the removal of the glue and paper on the walls. With this, Dude is a bit of an expert because he actually has done this before. I had him do a little Tool Time video to tell you guys all about it. Look what a natural he is. Tim Allen’s got nothing on you babe 🙂

Guess what?? We got right to it and it actually worked. I knew I had that man around for a reason 🙂 The outside wall that Dude started on was the hardest. I don’t know if it is because it is an exterior wall and with the sun beating on it all day the glue adhered to his better or not, but it took a great deal of time to get that one done. The inner walls seemed to go much quicker and I got to the point of being able to peel large strips of the paper of after wetting it and then Dude came by with the scraper and finished it off. We were able to finish ¾ of the kitchen that day, which was more than I thought we would.

Dude said he thought that we would have finished the whole kitchen so he was a little disappointed. I told him that he would have been in a better mood if he thought like me!

So we packed it in for the night and made plans to head to LeRoy’s in the morning. Next day’s objective: to finish the kitchen walls and get that dang glue off the floor.

If you want to see more photos of Day 2 remodel, they appear on Flickr in the set named “Moving and Renovation of the New House”. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.

Saturday at LeRoy-Merlin

Today was not what I would exactly call a fun day. What started out as a side trip to our normal weekend road trip, turned out to take the entire afternoon. Tinki and I were not too happy, to say the least.

Dude decided he wanted to go to the “centre commercial” and hit up LeRoy-Merlin. You see, we are in the midst of buying our first house in France and it’s a real fixer-upper. We know absolutely nothing about the construction products that are available in France, what they are or what brands are good and what brands to stay away from.

Since the “escrow” is due to close in a few weeks and the house will officially be ours, he wanted to get a jump on the research to figure out what we are going to need and how we will go about getting it.

Off to LeRoy-Merlin we went, the Home Depot of France. This place is actually really cool when you’re in the mood to go. The problem was that I wasn’t in the mood today. I was all set for my Saturday to begin with some fun sight-seeing and Dude just sprung it on Tinki and I.

Lesson #1-Don’t listen to Dude when he says he wants to take a quick look at something in LeRoy-Merlin before going on with the rest of the day.

Lesson#2-Don’t agree to go with him after you have ignored Lesson #1.

Since I didn’t learn either lesson until today, Tinki and I went along.

LeRoy-Merlin was really crowded due in large part to the fact that Saturday is the only weekend day that the French can shop there since the store is closed on Sunday. Can you imagine Home Depot being closed on Sunday? No way, it would never happen.

Unfortunately, it was also extremely warm in the store because the French don’t really understand the idea of air-conditioning, yet. Like I said, the store is supper fun when you’re in the mood, but not on a hot day on Saturday.

We began our shopping spree on the exterior, side lot. Here is where they keep the gravel, pipes, rain cutters, dry wall, wood and all the large outdoor goods. Thankfully there were some areas of shade because Tinki and I were beginning to melt out there. Someone could make a mint if they had a little ice cream and soda cart and just walked around this outdoor area selling refreshing goodies. I know, cuz I would have paid a hundred Euros for an ice cream cone right about 15 minutes after we got there. That’s how hot and nasty it was!

Finally after a little complaining on my part, and Tinki’s, we ventured inside. Even though it was still warm, as least the sun wasn’t beating on us. First stop was the paint aisle. I picked out a nice purple paint with texture, cuz purple is my favorite color. Michael likes raspberry so he wants to go with that. For Tinki’s room she wants green walls and purple carpet. Luckily, we found both.

Next up were some neat stones that Dude and I are contemplating putting on one of the bedroom walls. I love them. They will go great with the style of the house and most likely, his raspberry paint. I think the purple paint will be for my library (which I am SO stoked about)! Flooring was next. We found a great deal on some hardwood floors that we are thinking about putting in upstairs. I also found some great grey flooring that I would like to use on the first floor hallway, master bedroom and bathroom. Then it was onto the tubs and showers (for Tinki’s bathroom) then the electrical gadgets.

By now, Tinki and I were famished and really done in by the heat. Yes, I do admit that I am a weeny. I HATE the heat. We decided to leave Dude to continue his looking around and we went out to the car for some lunch that thankfully, we had packed before we left.

While we found a somewhat cool and shady spot, Dude was trying to figure out the electrical stuff. It was quite interesting getting strange looks from people while we ate out of our car in the parking lot. I think it was mostly because we had some really great looking food and cool drinks. Everyone was super jealous.

After filling our tummies, Tinki and I headed back in to find Dude still in the electrical aisle trying to figure out how he was going to relearn all the items that he already knows about in the states, but now cuz we’re in France he has to start all over again. No bueno.

We hung around a little while longer and then Tinki and I were done. We needed to get the heck outta there.

By now it was like 5pm and we never got our Saturday road trip. Tinki and I were disappointed. Homeward bound we went. Next time, I will remember Lession#1 and #2 and if I happen to forget, Tinki will surely remind me.

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