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Diggin’ Ditches and Pickin’ Cherries

Today was the day we really got down to business digging the trenches in the yard.

First stop was to the local material store to pick up some drainage pipe. Benoit had to tough it out and help us along with getting the stuff home. Our poor car has been through the ringer since we moved to this house. He’s had to do more than Renault ever expected him to do.  As always he was a trooper and we made it home, materials and all and didn’t even get a ticket for illegal use of a car :). Good thing we only needed 4 tubes or we would have had to go back for another pickup.

Once home, Dude and I got to work digging the trenches. We are running two of them down the sides of the yard and they are going to tie into each other and then tie into the drainage pipe that the city comes to put in.

Who knew you could do so much with these three little tools.

Dude’s job was to use the pick to break up the top layer of the drive way, turn the dirt up and get the rocks out. Then my job was taking the trenching shovel and getting all the dirt out.

While Dude was busy doing his part of the job, I went to work picking the delicious cherries off of our tree. We have so many that there is no way I will be able to get them all. Lately the birds have been stopping by to feast so I figured that we should try to get our fair share before they’re gone. I ended up picking almost half of a bucket today and that was only off of 4 branches!

Then it was back to scooping dirt for me.

We were able to get all the trenching done today and tomorrow we just have to fine tune it and then level the driveway out. I’d say we were pretty successful. Let’s hope tomorrow our luck holds out.

Oh, and by the end of the day, Dude was done in.

Successful Day Two

Today was day number two in the new roofing chapter of our lives (does anybody hear a soap opera tune playing in the background and are you seeing an hourglass? Hmm-Maybe that’s just me). The team that showed up yesterday showed up again today and brought a friend with them. Yessss! I like helpers!

This morning when they showed up, they brought with them some more equipment, a cement mixer, some large orange tubes, tools, etc. After unloading everything, they proceeded to do some more drilling. At this point Dude started getting antsy cuz he thought they were drilling more holes in the house to put up more scaffolding. So what does he do? He says to ME, “Go outside and see what they’re doing! I don’t want more holes in my house!” So, I went to investigate and it turns out that those plastic orange tubes they brought were for making a long tube to throw the tuiles down off the roof. They were drilling holes in them to clamp them together to make the chute. All was good. Maybe he would be able to relax now.

I pretty much thought that once they were done with getting the rest of the stuff set up, they would be done for the day since the roofing materials had not appeared, yet. See, I hadn’t taken my car out of the garage this morning in order to leave for work since yesterday one of the guys told me that it would be no problem to do so. They had put up the scaffolding in such a way that we were able to make a clean exit if need be.

So, taking that into account and the fact that no materials were still in my yard this morning, I figured that once they dropped off the rest of their equipment, I could make a clean get-a-way. Wrong, while two of the guys finished the work here, one of the guys went off down the street to get some of the roofing materials, so I was still stuck.

When worker bee number three came back, they parked the truck right in front of my garage to unload all the materials.

Then, just when I thought they were again done for the day, they proceeded to put up the chute.

Remember the orange tubes for the tuile chute? They attached the top part to the scaffolding and the bottom part to the bed of their truck. Do we have something like this in The States? I’m sure I’ve seen a regular chute made for this kind of work, but one made out of orange tubes?! I don’t think I’ve seen this before.

Here what it looks like:

Now, do you wanna guess where their truck is?? Yup, that’s right, parked in front of my garage. Since they had everything all tied down I didn’t want to tell them that I needed to leave so I just let it go and continued to work from home today. I’ve made a mental note to get my butt outta bed super early tomorrow and get my car out of the garage so I can make it to work!

After a bit of time it suspiciously got quiet outside so I thought maybe they had left and maybe the bucket tie down was just to be sure it was going to work and they had already untied it and drove away. Nope, they were just taking a lunch break. Once that break was over, wow, the racket that they made was ridiculous! Workers number one and two were up on the roof getting all the tuiles then handing them over to worker number three who was throwing them down the chute and into the bed of his truck. The sound of the tuiles hitting the truck was so loud that a few times it caused me to jump (the echo through the town must have been awesome for our neighbors). This noise continued on for about 3 hours until they finally knocked on the door and said that they were finished for the day and would be back tomorrow. They were heading to one of my favorite places, the local dump, to get rid of the old roofing material.

Once they left I took some shots of what was still remaining on the roof. As you can see, they did leave the tuiles on the ridge and the ones just below so that if it were to rain we would be protected. These are holding down the plastic cuz this is the area that leaks the most. They also left the tuiles around the side of the roof. I suppose this is to hold the fiberglass material down. What you see in the pictures is what’s left of the old cement, which is pretty much sand now, and the stuff that it’s resting on is the old fiberglass roofing material.

At least we have something up there since they said it might snow tonight. I totally can’t believe that cuz today we actually hit a high of 10C!  Wow, sun was shining AND work is commencing. Day number two was pretty much a success. I really would like to keep this ball rollin’!

By the way, does scaffolding held up by three, small, stacked pieces of wood seem safe?


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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