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Now We Are Roofers

On Saturday, Dude and I took a mini trip over to Point P. I still wasn’t feeling good so he promised to keep it short and simple. We needed some tiles to go on the very top of our roof. You know that part that comes up at a peak like the angle of a triangle, yup, that’s the one. That is where our leak is originating so we need to hurry up and take care of it lickity-split before the next storm.

Since this is the first time Dude and I have done roofing here, we weren’t sure how to go about this the best way. We definitely want to make it look good and keep the rain out, but we also live in the region of the Mistrals and need to be sure we get them on good so they don’t blow off one day during a horrendous wind storm and fall into the neighbor’s yard and kill them while they are trying to rake up their leaves or something. Goodness knows I don’t need that on my conscience!

So at Point P, we took a look around and found that there are a bunch of types of tiles you can use around here. Who knew?? We finally found one that we thought might work, but needed to verify this. We ended up just buying one tile, taking it home and trying it out, and then running all the way back to the store 15 minutes before they closed to buy 17 more and a bunch of tile glue. I really didn’t want to spend my hard earn money on glue. I figured we could just melt the stuff we’ve been scraping off the walls and then just use that to help keep them down.

Since Dude bought 4 tubes of tile glue, I figured my idea was a no-go. He said we were also going to cement them down.

That was pretty much all I could handle for the day, so we took off for home.

On Sunday, Dude proceeded to climb up on the roof (pretty much 4 stories high) and clear off all the old tiles that have been causing us issues with leaking and then throwing all the junk away. It took a lot longer than we thought because Dude also discovered that the whole entire roof (that was originally concreted down probably 30 years ago) was now coming apart. In a sense, the cement that has been holding the tiles down has all turned to sand and now our entire roof isn’t really stuck on, it’s just staying in place due to the weight of each of the tiles on each other.

Another bad discovery was that the original ridge beam was way too low so now he had to fix that problem or else we didn’t have a place to set the tiles. So all day Dude cleaned up the roof by removing the old tiles, the old cement and sand, and trying to figure out how he was going to fix the ridge beam problem so we could make the roof normal and function right.

At the end of the day, we had a ton of roof crap in our yard for the trash man.

On Monday we headed over bright and early to Point P to pick up some more roof tiles since we were now going to have to have some regular ones (under/overs) to put in just below the new tiles we bought for the peak. They were going to go on both sides of the roof. Dude estimated that we needed 100 of them. We were able to get 50 into the car and while I paid bill Dude drove them home, unloaded them, and then came back for the other 50. We had to make a third trip for more cement and then off to work I went.

That evening we made a stopover at LeRoy-Merlin to pick up some wood so we could fix the ridge beam. We had to buy two pieces of wood that were the same size in order to put the added beam in. Dude also found some brackets to use to help hold it in place. They aren’t exactly what we were looking for, but when in France sometimes you just got to System D it.

On Tuesday I got lucky cuz here in France it was a holiday which means instead of going to work at the office I got to go to work at home. That just means one thing. It’s not really a holiday!

First off was putting in the new ridge beam (which really just went on top of the existing wood that was there). This was mainly Dude’s job as I was scared to death to go out on the roof, being that it is slanted and you are around 4 stories up. Listen people, I’m the bread winner in this family so that mean extra precaution.

That day my middle name was pretty much “can you go find” or “can you go get”. That’s right. I was the gopher girl. I actually like that job unless I can’t find it then I just get pissed off and have a meltdown. Just kidding. Well about the meltdown part, not the pissed off part J

After Dude finished putting in the first piece of wood, he found out that he actually needed my help because doing it all by himself wasn’t working. It was too hard to make it straight. So guess what?? I actually had to go out on top of the roof! I was so scared that I was actually shaking in my boots and it took me a bit of time before I could drum up the courage. Finally I climbed out. We have this little hatch on the roof of the top story and it kind of reminds me of a submarine hatch. That is how we access our roof. So up through the hatch I went and straight to the peak I crawled. Yes-you got it, I was on the roof crawling cuz there was no way in heck I was gonna stand up.

When I finally made it up, I was able to help Dude with holding the wood and checking to see if it was straight. Then we put in the second piece of wood. It took forever to get this done cuz the first beam down inside had termite damage and it was hard to screw down the brackets to it, plus to get both pieces of wood straight was just a nightmare. In the end, it turned out okay, but one of the pieces of wood we couldn’t actually ever get really straight. It’s good enough though.

I was then able to crawl back down the hatch to safety. It actually wasn’t too bad up there. I kind of got use to it after a while, but I was never able to stand up. It has a great view!

Once that was done, it was time to put the tiles on the roof. Tinki, Dude and I had an assembly line going so we could get this done. Night was approaching and the tiles needed to be laid out in order to make sure all would fit together nicely. They did look good, but a problem came up that will transpire in the future when we go to redo the rest of the tiles. Since this is the very top part we are redoing, once they are cemented down it will be impossible to move them to lay the other tiles under them. Still not sure what we will do there.

Today I had to go back to work and the roof is not done. The weather report said no rain until Thursday but guess what?? It’s raining. So I think we are in trouble.

Tonight when leaving work we made another quick pit stop at LeRoy-Merlin to pick up some plastic so we could put it down on the roof under the tiles to keep the rain from coming in. Once on our way back home we found ourselves in the midst of a torrential downpour and getting more worried by the minute. We were super worried about the state of the house and how we were going to get the plastic on the roof in complete darkness and rain.

When we finally made it home, Dude went straight up to the roof. Luckily there was a break in the rain so he was able to put on the plastic and fix all the tiles. The roof was too slippery so I didn’t go out on it.

I was the one helping out and breaking some rules. I am not by nature a rule breaker. I like to play things by the book. This way no one gets hurt and no one gets in trouble. My motto since I was a kid. Well there I was standing on the top part of the ladder (where it says not to stand or you risk falling) with my whole self out the top hatch, holding an electrical light so Dude could see, and hoping it wouldn’t rain so that I was safe from being electrocuted and falling of the top of the ladder. Along with a prayer for the rain to stay away for a bit, I was also praying that I wouldn’t see lightening. A crispy critter is not exactly what I aspire to be.

Well our luck held and Dude stayed out there for a little more than an hour getting everything squared away with only a few drops hitting us. It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that the rain started to come down harder.

Tonight we’ll see if it holds. I hear it’s going to be windy tomorrow. Hopefully our tiles will still belong to us and not our neighbors!

Solliès-Pont Chateau

While out and about one day we happened upon a chateau in the village of Solliès-Pont which is located near Toulon.

This chateau is actually easy to miss if your happen to not be looking out your side window (as I was) while driving by. In this modern day it’s surrounded by commerce, apartments and houses.

I love to go chateau hunting. It happens to fill me with the greatest excitement ever. It’s history happening right before my eyes and all other things around me just disappear. When I find a chateau or the ruins of one, I study everything about it. I love to walk around and touch the walls and feel every part of it. I will literally close my eyes and image what it was like to be there when it was in all its glory hundreds of years ago. I can visualize the people, the furnishings, the surrounding area and I marvel that such a thing could still be present even if it’s just the remains that are left.

On this day and with this chateau, I was able to see it as it almost was when it was built in the 16th century by the Forbin family. People like Charles IX, Catherine de Medicis and Louis XIV (who I am quite fascinated with) graced their presents here. Granted the chateau is not in the exact state it was when it was built. It had to be rebuilt after local citizens and others from Marseille set fire to it in 1792. After that, it was left in a state of disrepair. Of course today the chateau one sees has been modernized and is constantly maintained.

Nevertheless, it has stood the test of time and has its stories to tell. Whenever I have the chance to visit sites like this I really do wish walls could talk so they would tell me all that they have seen and the history that has transpired.

In April 1998, the community of Solliès-Pont purchased the chateau and park. Nowadays the chateau is host to the Office of Tourism, the police station and an art exhibition gallery amongst other things. During the month of July it is host to many outdoor concerts as it is situated on a beautiful park of several hectares. There is also a nice pond towards the back of the park that you can leisurely stroll around.

If you happen to be in the area, stop by for a visit. There is a terrific spot at the backside of the chateau to have an afternoon picnic on the lawn. This is by far the best view as you get to see the chateau, the park full of beautiful trees and the pond.

It’s a great way to spend the afternoon with family and friends and to show off the fact that you get to live in a country that has something like this!

If you want to see more photos of the Solliès-Pont Chateau they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.


What Idiot Did This?

When we bought our house, it came with some furniture, some of it great and some of it not so great. The not so great stuff either got chucked out the window and the bits and pieces taken to the dump or we put it out front for passer bys to take for free. The decent stuff we kept.

One of those pieces happened to be a nice, big, wooden, antique buffet. It has a really beautiful pattern etched in the doors and a gorgeous dark berry marble top. I loved this piece the minute I saw it. Of course I had to see beyond the junk the old owners had put on it, but never-the-less, one could tell it was a nice piece. They said they were leaving it because it was too big and too heavy to move. I consulted a few of my friends who confirmed that with old furniture, many  French families have taken to selling it with the house because their new styled houses or apartments are too small for the stuff and all the French are now into the more modern look.

From the outside, it was a gem to us.

When we acquired the house we started to move things around and really check out the furniture.  This is what we discovered inside my beautiful antique buffet.



What the heck were these guys thinking?? Do you see the wall paper in the background of the first two pictures? It’s exactly the same stuff! Why would anyone wall paper (and I mean these guys went all out on it) the inside of a beautiful piece such as this?

This is the same dang wallpaper that was like pulling teeth to get of the wall with the glue and left over residue and second layer and all that. I was so pissed that they would do this? Is there nothing in this house that doesn’t have glue and paper and crap on it that needs to be scrapped off?

Now we had another issue cuz there was no way I was gonna leave this ugly stuff in there. Dude was back to scraping because, as usual, when we tried to peel it off only the top layer came up and it left the bottom layer of paper with glue all stuck to the wood! This was going to be a more delicate situation that getting glue off of the walls. At least we could get the walls really wet so the paper and glue could be scrapped off easier. This was WOOD! Dude was wondering how to do this so that it would come off without warping the cabinet. Oh man, I was pissed! I should leave that in the present tense cuz I still am.

Ahhhhh! I’m so sick of stupidity when it comes to this house! It’s just as easy to do things right as it is to do things wrong when it comes to your house and furniture. So why don’t people just do it right??! I still can’t understand what would posses someone to go and mess up furniture like this especially in one of the most stupidest ways possible!

I keep trying to imagine what went through these people’s minds. Did they just start wallpapering their kitchen and have some extra left over and loved it so much they just had to use the rest? I just can’t come to a conclusion but it’s most likely because stupidity never makes sense.

I just can’t stop being mad because it took Dude around 2 to 3 hours to get this stuff off and it still looks terrible inside. He couldn’t get every last piece of glued on paper and he said he has to sand the rest. I just don’t want the piece to be wrecked beyond repair. That’s that part that makes me angry, not so much the work to fix it, but the fact that their lame brained idea could have potentially destroyed a nice piece of furniture. Now I don’t know about you, but I personally can’t go down to the local furniture store and pick up another identical piece. I don’t even know when this piece was made or where it was made for that matter.

So by that point Dude and I took to drinking. Yup, folks, we pulled out a bottle of wine and kicked back on the sauce. We had our not so fancy glasses (cuz those are still packed away), we drank in our not so fancy kitchen (cuz it’s still not finished) and we toasted to our not so fancy buffet (cuz the people that did this were idiots).

It seems like every time we turn around, we find something else crazy that these guys did with this place. I don’t even know why I’m surprised anymore. By now I guess I should be shocked if anything were done correctly, not the other way around!

Post A Week 2011 Challenge-I’ve Got To Be Crazy!

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve gone and over extended myself. For those of you who know me personally, that is the story of my life. For those of you who don’t, here is a quick excerpt:

Marriage at 18, followed by 4 kids (boom, boom, boom, boom), coupled with Dude having two jobs to support us through the majority of our marriage, me getting first college degree and graduating while 6 months pregnant with our third child, buying a total fixer-upper that Dude had to remodel while working two jobs, selling that remodel to move to a bigger house (once kid number 4 came along), then having a baby for my brother-in-law and his wife (proud to say I gave birth to my own niece!), going to college to get two more degrees when our youngest was 5, selling that house in 2003 to up and move our whole family to France for one year to study which turned into two years of study cuz I loved it so much, moved back to the states to finish up my degree (meaning driving to college 3 hours round trip per day 3 days a week to take 6 college classes), all while doing two internships and taking care of 4 children who happened to be going to 4 different schools at the time and involved in every sort of extra-curricular activity possible, followed by graduation, part -time work turning into full time work, getting laid off, moving our entire family to San Diego for a new job, followed by moving to France with Dude and Tinki for work, followed by purchasing major fixer-upper in Provence while trying to run an office here.

Now aside from that being the longest sentence in the world, there is so much in between stuff that would take a novel to write about! Even reading the highlights back makes me tired.

The over extension part this time comes with me taking the “Post A Week 2011” challenge by The Daily Post. They also have a “Post A Day 2011” challenge which I could have very well signed up for, but thought that I would take it a little slower (which as you can see is so unlike me).

I think I’m up for the challenge and it seems like fun. We’ll see what happens for next year, maybe I will upgrade to the next challenge! Now THAT would be like me!



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