Blog Archives

A Bit Behind

To all my blogging friends out there, I have to say that I am a bit behind.

These last few weeks have been a real struggle at work. I’ve had several projects on my plate to complete and I found out last Friday that I acquired a few more. This, coupled with another issue Dude just found with our house, has made it a whirl wind end of June.

I apologize to those out there whose blogs I read and comment on religiously. I have not forgotten about you or left you by the way side, I promise. I’m just a bit behind and hope to catch up soon, like by the end of the week!  I’ve managed to write a few posts of my own, but even that has been a struggle to find time to do. Last weekend I vowed to take it easy and just run around and see the sites. It was a much needed rest from the past weeks for me.

Now that summer is here, Dude and I were hoping to start on the bathroom remodel, but the house has other plans for us. About a week ago, Dude was doing some work in the kitchen and he found a large crack in the floor tiles that extends about half the width of the kitchen. Apparently one of the beams in the garage that is supporting the kitchen floor is giving way and now it needs to be reinforced.

He said there was a couple of ways to do it and one would be to take out the existing beam and replace it. On any other house I would be fine with that but this is one of the original beams of the house that was put in around 1776, so that would be a big NO in my book to replace.

The other idea was to reinforce the wooden beam with a metal I-beam. It would run alongside the wooden beam and then down either side of the garage. I think we will probably go with that idea, but now Dude has to start another search project for what we need, and how it’s going to be done. It also requires welding equipment which we don’t have. It’s still an idea in the works and he isn’t quite sure how it’s all going to come together but it’s something that needs to be resolved quickly. The tile in the kitchen is super nice and it will end up getting ruined since the one side of the floor has moved and actually sinks in a bit. It isn’t too bad, yet, but it will be very soon.

So there you have it. Work and house taking priority!  I still have visions of one day waking up, the house is done, and all I need to worry about is what village I’m going to sight-see in that day! It better be coming soon, but soon is probably next year 🙂

Oh, by the way, little creatures have started to visit us for the summer. We have suddenly found scorpions and centipedes in the house! That’s always nice, isn’t it??!!

This little guy wondered in one evening. His funeral was that same night.

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Moving 10 Tons of Gravel Using 3 Pails, 2 Shovels, 1 Dude and 1 Dudette

I’ve found another favorite place to go besides the dump! It’s the quarry.  This is where Dude and I went about a week ago to order gravel for our garden and drive way. It’s located about 20 minutes from us and has the most beautiful, red, marble rock.

I was completely fascinated the minute we drove into the quarry. They had all sorts of machinery and earth moving vehicles and it was all surrounded by red rocks and stones of all shapes and sizes and also giant mounds of red dirt. I was amazed that just anyone could wander around the area, no hard hat required.

Dude and I found some nice red and white marble rocks to put in the garden area. We aren’t going to be driving in that part of the garden so we wanted something a bit more “chic” than just the average gravel. When it came to the driveway we purchased something less expensive, but with a beautiful reddish tint to it.

The guy in the office set us up straight away for 10 tons to be delivered to our house on Wednesday. That day was also going to be known as “the day of pain”.

Wednesday came around and we were ready for the delivery. The truck showed up around noon but since it was too big to pass through our gate, the driver had to leave the 3 tons of the garden stones in large bags just inside our gate and the 7 tons of gravel he had to dump just outside our gate and onto the street.

Dude and I immediately got to work. We first laid down a barrier in the garden area to help keep the weeds from coming through the rock.

Then it was time to start “the day of pain”. We wanted to finish as much as possible and we only had 3 pails and 2 shovels and just the two of us to get the work done. We didn’t have a wheelbarrow. We went back and forth about buying one, but in the end we decided not to since it would only be used for this one day. We really didn’t want to waste the money on it.

We started with the garden rocks. I shoveled the rocks into the buckets and then handed them off to Dude to throw down in the garden.

We kept this assembly line going and after 3 hours we were finished with the garden! It turned out to be not as bad as we thought! The red color in the rock will show up quite nicely once the powder on them is washed away.

Then it was time for the gravel in the driveway. We proceeded with the same idea as with the stones only this time both Dude and I were filling the buckets and then throwing the gravel down. We began in the very back of the property and worked our way up to the gate. It looked at one point that we might not have ordered enough gravel, but in the end we had plenty. The goal was to not only cover the drive way but also make sure that the coverage was 3 inches thick.

Around 5pm, our neighbor on the left peeked his head over his balcony to see how things were going. He couldn’t believe how far we had gotten with a couple of pails and shovels! After our few minutes of discussion we went in for a break. We hadn’t realized that we had worked for 5 hours straight moving rocks and never stopped for a break or a snack.

At 6pm we were back out there and cracking the whip on ourselves to finish. And guess what??!! We actually did it! By 10pm we were done.  Just me and Dude with our 2 shovels and 3 pails and now we have 10 tons of gravel in our garden and drive way.

The house looks so much better now. I can’t believe what a little stone and gravel can do to spruce up the place and yippey for another job on the house done 🙂

Oh! We were able to get the rest of the delicious cherries off the tree, too. This time we didn’t even need to wait until they ripened up before we could enjoy them!

Still Diggin’ Trenches and Laying Pipe

Sunday and Monday was spent finishing the trenches. We needed to dig them a bit deeper so that when the pipe was in the ground and covered, it would be deep enough to go over with the car on a daily basis without risking the pipe cracking.

The trenching wouldn’t have been so bad except that our entire yard (and pretty much all of Provence) is entirely made of rock. We ran into rocks continuously and it really slowed our process. Both Dude and I couldn’t believe the size of rocks that were coming out of the ground. By the time we were done digging, we found enough rock to build a whole new house!

The good rocks were transported to the back of our lot and we now have a rock garden. We also found asphalt, dishes, roof tiles, a fossil and some bones. Man, the crazy stuff you find in your yard when you’re digging around!

Once the trench was to the depth that Dude thought was good, 25 centimeters on the down side by the gate, we put the pipe together and checked to see if it was level. We had to check, trench, check, trench and check and trench some more before we finally got the pipe to lie correctly so the water would flow properly. Then we wrapped the pipe is some weed barrier to stop the dirt from getting into the holes and only allow the water in.

Then we proceeded to start covering everything back up.

On Monday, Dude connected the pipes together at the entrance of the gate. Since we have two pipes running parallel the length of the drive way, we needed some way to connect them so that they would eventually hook up in one spot with the pipe the city would put in.

After spending some time on that, and a few runs to the material store, the connection was complete and we proceeded to cover the remaining pipe and start to level out the terrain.

Around 3pm, two men from the building department arrived at our house. I had gone to the building department last week to have someone come out to the house from the service technique so they could see the street leading to our house. I mentioned in my last post that one of our problems was that the water can’t exit our property. There was never any drainage put into the street by the city when they made the street and also, the street is now so old and bad that all the water runs into our property instead of away from it.

We showed all of our pictures to the city workers. The ones of the flooding and the ones of the work we had done. They were very nice and surprisingly said that someone would be out to survey the street and to evaluate what needs to be done for proper drainage and water runoff. They made no promises of when the work would be done, but at least we got the ball rolling with them (that’s what Dude said).

Once they left it was back to fixing the terrain so the water would flow properly (as much as possible) in the correct directions and down the drain pipes. Dude also cemented in the drive over drain box that we put in next to where the rain gutter ends.

Now it looks like we were ready for the 10 tons of gravel to arrive!

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.

Gettin’ Back to Work

Dude and I have been taking a bit of a break when it comes to the renovation of our house. We wanted to enjoy the spring weather, save a bit of money and plus, we were just plain sick of working on the house!

It’s been a nice couple of months and we would have taken a few more weeks off but this past weekend we were forced by nature to start up the work again.

Last weekend it decided to rain every evening in our village for four evenings straight. I’m not talking a few raindrops here and there, I’m talking a torrential downpour for about 45 minutes and then it would clear out like it never happened. Then the next morning we would wake to a beautiful blue sky and sunny day. Come 7pm though, look out, the storm would show up again. It was crazy! There would be thunder, lightning and we even had hail one evening!

After the third day of this, guess what??! Our brand new roof that we just had done in February started to leak around the roof window and the leak was running down to the far edge of the house and water was seeping through one of the bedroom walls! We called out the company who did the roof and they came out on Tuesday morning to assess the damage. They are suppose to come back sometime in June to fix the leak. Good thing we didn’t paint the top floor, yet!

Another big surprise was this.

 

Now, I didn’t buy a house with a pool, but voila, I now had one in my yard over the weekend. Dude and I took the photos to the Maire and they are sending someone out to the house because even though part of the problem is that our lot is flat with no proper drainage, the other problem we encountered is that even if we did have proper drainage, all the water would pool high at the front gate because the city never put in a brow ditch or drainage system in the street.

So, sometime next week the service technique of our town is going to show up so they can survey the street and put in a drainage system and fix the street since it is at a higher level than our terrain. This is also a contributing factor in the water pooling. In the meantime, Dude and I are digging some trenches in the yard to put in proper drainage. That’s a job! Confession time-he is doing most of the work, I am only the helper.

Tomorrow we are off to the store to go buy drainage pipe to lie in the trenches and at least start getting the drainage system in place before the service technique shows up. The Maire said we had to show that we were in the process of fixing the area within our property line before the city will do their part.

The other thing we did on Wednesday morning was to go and visit a rock query that is near our village. Once the drainage system is in place we are going to re-gravel the garden and entire entry way to our property. We found some red marble rock and ordered 3 tons of that for the garden area and then ordered some cheaper gravel for the entry way. In all we have 10 tons of gravel coming to our house next Wednesday!

So between trench digging, laying drainage pipe and re-graveling our terrain, it’s going to be a busy week.

This evening we met our new neighbor who bought the house to us on the right. She happened to drive up as we were trench digging and I wanted to let her know that a truck was coming next week to drop the 10 tons of gravel and it was going to block her gate for a day or two. It turns out she speaks English! Apparently she was married to an Englishman so she speaks it very well. Dude and I ended up chatting with her for about an hour. She just got the keys to her house yesterday and came by to drop stuff off. She gave us the tour of the house and guess what??!! She has a crumbling fixer-upper like us! Big surprise!!! We will both be crying on each other’s shoulders throughout all the work 🙂

She also happens to be an artist and showed us a few of her paintings. She has some gorgeous ones of the region with villages off in the distance and surrounded by lavender fields. Dude and I were very impressed.

After show and tell of her house, we showed and telled ours and guess what??!! She said she almost bought our house when it was for sale! Yup! Can you believe it!! Her kids told her it was too big for one person so she declined, but she did say that she had loved it when she first saw it. 🙂

Seeing that she got her own fixer upper (one half the size) with a large garden, she made out and she can see our garden from some of her windows so she seemed happy. We told her she could come and visit any time.

Dude was super happy cuz he kept thinking that some developer would buy that house and make a huge ugly group of apartments and then we would up and die. Seems that our lives have been spared and we now have a nice neighbor, which is always a plus.

Well, time to hit the hay. I have to get to some ditch digging manana!

 

Color Me Lavender

Well another little project chez moi was in the works. Since we have this really old and really messed up French house, our life is full of large and small projects that we try to get to when we can.

This spring has been a bit difficult. Not only do we want to get out and see the countryside during great weather times, we also need to complete some outdoorsy projects that have been put on hold during the winter. So far this spring the weather has not cooperated on most days for either of those things.

One fine day, we actually were able to get a project done that really needed to get done. That project was repairing and painting the garage doors.

Our garage doors are made of wood and they haven’t had any tender loving care for ages (like this rest of this house). The problem we were having is that all the rain was ruining the base of the door and the wood was rotting out in some areas. If we didn’t hurry up and fix and paint the garage, the wood would be no good and the doors would have to be replaced.

I did not like the idea of replacing the doors. All the exterior doors and volets on the house are made out of the exact same wood (exotic wood from Africa) and were very well made. Some one really took the time to do a nice job making them and I very much wanted to keep them. Plus, they all matched in style and it would be difficult and very expensive to try and have new ones made to match the others.

So began the project. The doors looked like this when we bought the house. As you can see, they were pretty dull and lifeless and in dire need of some work. In some areas the paint was chipping and cracked.

Dude started out with sanding the garage doors with a power sander. This took a good deal of time and he had to go over the doors several times.

While he was working on the individual boards, I took to using some sand paper to go in between the boards making sure everything was smooth. I also sanded around the nail holes to get rid of any loose or splintered paint.

Once all the sanding was done, Dude went about putting bondo on the doors to smooth out and help cover the nail holes and impurities. He also fixed one of the boards at the base of the door that was in really bad shape and had started to rot. After doing that, he went back and sanded the doors again.

Who knew he was such an artist? I believe it looks like we put a Christmas tree of bondo on the doors!

After all that, he got to work with repainting them. I had chosen a lavender color for the doors a few weeks prior to the work. Any color related to purple is my favorite color so that was a natural choice for me. I knew I didn’t want anything too dark or overpowering. I had known for a while that when it came time to paint the exterior doors and volets on the house, I wanted everything to be a nice Provencal lavender color. I am very pleased with the outcome and I think the doors turned out really well. They almost look like new doors. I really love the color and think that it suits the house nicely.

The doors are actually quite large and each step needed to be done several times in order to have the right outcome. Since it was basically Dude that did the whole job, it did take a while from start to finish.

Lucky for us, the rest of the doors and volets aren’t this big. We do, however, have one door that is in worse shape than the garage doors were and that is the side door to the apartment. The kitchen volet also needs a bit of work. Those will be a project for another day, though. For now, I will be content with my nice lavender garage doors. I really, really like the color.

 

 

The Roof is Finally Done!

Yippey! Our roof is finally finished! It’s been months in the making (as all of you who are faithful readers of my ramblings know), but now I am happy to report that the workers completed the job today and it looks terrific. Now I am proud to say I have one of the newest and best looking roofs in my village 🙂

This morning the workers came to put on the finishing touches and to do all the clean up. They are in the process of picking up all the junk in my garden and taking all the trash to one of my favorite places, the dump. All the materials are slowly being moved out of the way or taken away.

They moved some of the things to the front part of our garden.

I’m not sure if the mixer will be used for the façade or not, but the other materials should be hauled away in the next day or two. The scaffolding is still up. Sometime this week, hopefully tomorrow, they should be taking it down and repositioning it around the back and east facing side of the house to start the work on the façade.

Thankfully through this whole process, we only had a few small things happen, but nothing too extreme. One was the snow day when the workers showed up for about 30 minutes and then left cuz there was no way they were gonna be able to work in the snow and cold, the second thing was when it was super windy one day and they didn’t get as much work done as they could have and they left early and the third thing was the rain that we had on Monday.

For Monday’s rain, Dude had to go up all by himself at 5:30am in the morning and put a giant tarp on the roof because when the workers left on Friday there was no real threat of rain so they left the water vapor barrier and wood all exposed on the east side. Dude was really worried that we might get a heavy rain after viewing the weather report late Sunday night so we set our alarm and he went up and covered everything. This was also in case the workers didn’t show up due to heavy rain. Then we could feel comfortable knowing that at least we weren’t going to have any leaks.

While he was up there it did start to sprinkle and there was a bit of wind that kicked in so he used the surrounding tuiles to hold the tarp down. Since he was by himself the whole thing took a little over an hour, but he was successful.

About 8:30am the workers showed up. Right about then it really started to rain pretty hard but they decided to keep working and they kept the tarp on in certain areas to protect the roof, too. We took off for work and had hopes that the rain wouldn’t get any worse and happily it only last for a little bit so the workers were able to continue.

On Tuesday, the main guys said they would most likely be finished that day and they were just going to finish cementing the outer edges and the flashing around the old chimneys and our new window.

I am really happy that we actually had workers show up each and every day and stay the whole day, too! They even only took a 1 hour lunch break!

I really wanted Dude to go up on the roof and take some super duper pictures of it, but he is not too keen on walking on the new tiles. I can understand that given that it cost us an arm and a leg each for the work. So I just peaked my head out of our new roof window and took a couple of shots of the east facing side.

Then Dude decided that he was willing to climb the scaffolding to take some shots of the west facing side. I was ever so happy about this cuz his photos are better than mine. They actually show how nice our tuiles look on a large scale!

Even though my roof looks great and it’s new, Dude and I won’t be totally impressed until we get another really good rain and no leaks happen. That will be the real test!

About 9 and ¾

Well, I don’t have too much on the roof update to report about. We’ve been lucky that every day the workers have actually shown up and put in a full day’s work (maybe Peter Mayle should have contracted with these guys)! The only day this past week that there seemed to be a rough patch was on Wednesday when it got super windy and the guys left about an hour earlier than usual. The funny thing is that I wish they would have left sooner! I was really worried about them working so high up in such strong winds and gusts, especially cuz they don’t wear any safety harnesses. They muddled through, but I think that day set them back a bit cuz they weren’t able to work as fast as usual.

The rest of the week went well, though, and they are now about half way done with the east side of the roof.

We happen to have a window in the roof on the east side and Dude and I very much needed to change the existing one. So after the workers left on Friday, Dude climbed up on the roof and tore out the old window. It was a spaceship looking dome kind of thing and was actually kind of cool cuz it had this bubble hatch that was really easy to open and gave great access to the roof. It had a holder on it and you could prop the hatch open either a little or a lot depending on how much air flow you wanted that day. It was really a neat design, but it was old and leaking and just needed to be taken out.

The roof window happens to be in the bathroom so once it was removed we had to put in the new window right away.  Here is the hole that was left when we removed the old one.

Fortunately for us, we found a window that happened to be the perfect fit at Point P. It isn’t the top of the line or anything, but it is double-paned (the only double-paned window in the house) and since we bought it right off the shelf at the store it was fairly inexpensive. Unfortunately all the other windows in the house are single-paned and were custom made so we are just going to leave them for now.

Dude managed to chisel out a bit of the roof and ceiling, cut some wood to fit around the chassis of the window and screw that into the roof and place the window in pretty quickly. Now when the workers come back on Monday they can just tile around it and we should be all good. This new window actually gives us some really great light. We hadn’t realized how dark the bathroom was when the other window was in. This window makes everything all light and bright. It’s a big improvement!

The other thing Dude did is cut a hole in the ceiling of the closet on the third story so we can put in a whole house ventilation system. We bought the tuile (the one that looks like it has a little house on top) a week ago in anticipation of getting the system set up. It was easier to have the tuile for the ventilation put on at the same time the rest of the tuiles are going in so we took the opportunity to give it to the workers to set it in place.

We decided to put in a ventilation system since we live in an area that has about 78% or higher humidity for at least 8 months of the year. The second and first story of the house has fairly good air circulation, but the third story is awful and that is where the mildew problems are the worst. This is the main reason why the façade is being done, as well. Right now the outside of the house on the back and east facing side has never been stucco’d. It is just rock and it soaks up the water when it rains and it permeates through the walls causing mold and mildew. That along with no proper ventilation has been really bad. When the façade and new ventilation system are both done, it should be a big help to combat this problem.

It seems that the workers have at least two more days before the roof is finished. It could be three, but in any case, if the weather remains good then they should be totally finished before the week is out. Every day gets us a day closer to getting her done.  We might be a little farther away than 9 and 3/4, but I like the way that sounds (being a Harry Potter fan and all). Plus, I figure I should go with the power of positive thinking 🙂

The Roof Is About Half Done

Well, today marks the halfway point of our new roof being completed (that is what we’ve been told anyway). Since the bad weather episode on Friday we’ve been quite lucky and the workers have showed up to continue the saga. We had a bit of a scare this weekend when Dude figured out that the company wasn’t going to put a vapor barrier on top of the insulation to keep it from getting wet when it rained.

Since the main roof of the house is very high and we live in an area of excessively high winds that blow 1/3 of the year, we’ve had issues when it rains and the wind is blowing at the same time. The water has a tendency to get blown underneath the tuiles and soaks the insulation and this has been the main cause of leaks onto the ceiling. When the workers began to put the insulation down, they were just going to put the beams across it and then nail/glue the tuiles onto those beams. When Dude found out he was like, “no bueno”, they have to put a vapor barrier in. So began the weekend email-fest with the supervisor of the job.

It was a bit difficult trying to get our point across to him so we threw in a few PDFs to show the “proper” way to do it. Finally after a ton of emails and a phone call, the supervisor got our point and he said he would make it so and that on Monday morning when the workers showed up the vapor barrier would be there. I had to tell him that I was sorry for being such a pest, but what else were me and Dude supposed to do?? We have to protect our interest in the house. Why the heck pay for a new roof if it isn’t going to be done right!

Since I am not privy to any of this construction stuff, it has been up to Dude to tell me how it is (since he knows all about these kinds of things) and I’m the messenger to everyone. I feel like those ladies in the olden days who were the phone operators and you’d call them to hook you up to the party you wanted to talk to. I’m the person to hook us up with what Dude says is the right thing to do. I’m not a very good messenger, but I do try and we got our vapor barrier.

Dude is still not too happy with the roof situation and would like some other things to be done for insurance against any issues in the future, but we shall see. The owner of the company keeps assuring us that for the type of roof we have, the height of it and the fact that it is constantly exposed to high winds, that it’s being done right. I guess he will find out if we give him a call one day since we have a guaranty on the roof and if anything goes wrong his workers have to come back out for free and fix the whole dang thing.

So the last two days the team has been working on tearing off and replacing the west facing part of the roof. They said they would do the west side first and then the east side so that if it were to snow or rain we would be protected. On Monday they tore off the fiberglass covering and the old beams that we had, then they put in the new insulation and the vapor barrier. Today they are putting in the wood beams across the vapor barrier.

News to us was that the fiberglass covering that was on our roof being used as the vapor barrier for the old roof was made of asbestos.  None of this was disclosed to us when we bought the house and the company who is doing the work was not prepared for that and neither were the workers. That was so not cool. Today when the owner of the company came by I asked him for documentation on all of this and I am sending it off to the notaire. This will come in handy if we need to get a lawyer involved in this situation. This is just one other thing that was not revealed to us when we bought the house. According to French law that is a big no-no and it should have been told to us. So I have to consult with someone we know to see what can be done about this.

That whole situation could have shut down our job for a bit. Luckily the company who is doing the work got a handle on it and all is good and the job continued on, but we are going to incur fee that we didn’t know about for taking it to a special hazardous materials dump.  Not really feelin’ it when I have bad surprises like that.

Today the workers should finish the west side of the roof and tomorrow they should be moving onto the east side with repeating the same thing they have been doing the last two days.

The owner told me today that the whole roof should be done by Friday. That would be awesome if it’s true and I will definitely be giving an update on that. You all know what happens with best laid plans!

Here are some photos of the roof and the work that was done over the last couple of days.

New tuiles!!!

 

I have to say that I like the color of the tiles and we will have one of the newest roofs in town!

It will be so nice when it’s done cuz with the fiberglass and tiles pulled off it’s mighty cold on the third story of our house. There’s not really anything but a small layer on the ceiling to protect us against the cold outside. In order to keep our one room that we live in a bit warmer, Dude made a paper cover/door across the access of the stairway that leads from the kitchen to the upstairs. This way we don’t get a super cold, crazy, down draft from the third story. It’s working like a charm and our kitchen is even warmer than usual.  We even get to benefit form psychedelic colors in the afternoon!

Seems like we’ve managed to keep rolling along. That’s keeping me in a good mood, which is a big plus for my family 🙂

So Random

Today was just strange and full of surprises. Some times that happens around here (well, like all the time) but today random and strange stuff happened more often than usual.

It started out when I overslept this morning and missed the call from the workers who showed up to continue working on our roof. I had left my phone in another part of the house and didn’t hear their first 3 calls to me. Yes, that’s right, 3! The other mornings I’ve been up and ready and have gone outside to open the gate early for them so they can just drive right in and start to work. Well, this morning they got stuck standing outside in the cold for a bit until I woke up and remembered I didn’t have my phone. I went to the kitchen and felt super bad when it showed that I had missed their 3 calls. So guess what?? I had to go outside in my pj’s, messed up bed head and no make-up (oh the horror of it all) and go open the gate for them.  Boy, did I feel bad and ridiculous! By the way I looked, the workers totally knew that I had overslept and there was no way I could play that one off.  Now I gotta face those guys knowing they know the scariness of what I look like first thing in the morning!

Well after scaring the workers, I went upstairs to make coffee and breakfast and settle in to start work before heading to the office. About 30 minutes after their arrival I heard a knock on the front door. Worker number one said they were packing it in for the day cuz it was too cold and it was also forecasted to snow. He also said the roof was a bit icy and due to the weather they didn’t want to take the roof off and leave us in a bad predicament for the weekend. Then he said they would be back on Monday and off they went. All right then. So basically I got up and showed them my scary morning self for nothing.

Then while getting ready this morning I had to do a new make shift ironing area. Dude did a bit of “remodeling” in the kitchen and now the top of the washer, which used to double as my ironing board (cuz I don’t have a real one, yet) is now being used to hold the microwave. So now I have an ironing table made out of a box placed on the floor in the bathroom. System-D.

After I got ready for work, and to make me feel better after my bad start of a day, I took a walk over to La Poste. Yesterday I received a notice that I had a package waiting for me. Boy, was I thrilled to find out that it was the new 70% off shoes I had purchased online from www.zalando.fr.  I just discovered this company (I’m a bit behind the times) and now I know how these French people stay in style for cheap.

I had ordered a couple of pairs of boots and never did I think that when the box showed up it was going to be half as big as me! I had to carry this thing on my head through town all the way home cuz some of our streets are so tiny that it wouldn’t work any other way. Lucky for me there was no one out (cuz it was so dang cold) to see my stupid self doing this.

The first thing Dude said to me when I walked into the house with this huge box was if I had bought out the whole store. I simply said it was my early birthday present (cuz he won’t argue that) and went on my merry way to try on my new shoes.

So here’s what I got:

I ended up wearing the brown ones to work today and later on in this writing you’ll see that they came in mighty handy so apparently their purchase and arrival was on target.

Fast forward to me being at work.

Right around 4pm it started to snow. Right around 4pm I was not happy. I love the snow, but I love it when I am home. The problem was that if the snow continued I wasn’t going to make it home. Every few minutes I kept looking out the window and it was becoming increasingly apparent that I wasn’t going to make it back to my house any time soon. Dude and I were gonna be stuck camping at the office….on a Friday night….dang it.

Off we went to Carrefour before the snow started accumulating on the road too much, to pick up some groceries for a winter picnic (since we were camping why not picnic, too). We ended up with chicken, rice, croissants and éclairs. Not too shabby.

While I was shopping to pick out the best possible éclairs I could find, some little girl (probably around 4 years old) comes skipping up right beside me and gives me the biggest grin ever. As I smiled back at her she proceeds to grab one of the largest cakes in the bakery section, the kind in a plastic container (that just happened to be right at eye level for her, stupid merchandising layout Carrefour) with both her forearms so that her little gloved hands can still wave at people I guess, and turns around to walk off with it! As I am watching this scene play out, I know my mouth just dropped wide open cuz I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I couldn’t say anything to the kid, either, cuz she wasn’t mine and how the heck was I to know if her parents said she could do that?!

Well, as she gets a few shaky steps away, I just so happen to look up and see her dad flying down the aisle towards her with that terrified look all parents make when their kid is doing something that could possibly turn into a tragedy. You guys know that feeling. Well, this poor guy already had one hand full of about 5 items and he proceeds to try to pry the cake out of his kid’s hands with his other hand before it spills on the floor. I swear I started to feel like I was watching one of those start-stop action movies when things slow down really slow for a minute and then the film speeds up for a really cool action effect. It was like the kid was in slow mo while picking up and carrying the cake, then the scene speed up really fast when the dad ran over to grab it from her. Of course, I was just standing there being the entertained spectator and totally happy that it wasn’t my kid.

The dad finally succeeds to take the cake and put it back after several attempts of nice pleading and then several attempts of threats. After that, you could hear this kid any where you were in the store. She was the one being dragged around by her dad while she continued to cry about her lost cake. It was awesome 🙂

When we left the market Dude and I discovered that it was starting to snow more so we loaded up the car and took off back to my office.

As the snow kept falling down at a faster and faster rate, Dude and I decided to bundle up and go outside to make a snowman. I was super excited cuz this was the first snowman I had ever made (remember a few writings back about me and not seeing snow fall from the sky until I was 27). So we borrowed a shovel from the underground parking lot (don’t tell) and off we went to go play in the snow (this is where my new boots came in handy cuz I normally wear tennis shoes every day and that would not have been cool for playing in the snow) and viola… here is our little dude 🙂

Isn’t he cute! I hope he stays until Monday so he can welcome to work all the people in my building.

I hope the snow stays on the trees as well, cuz I don’t think I’ve ever seen a palm tree with snow on it!

Well, time to break out those sleeping bags and blow up mattresses. I sure hope I make it home tomorrow. It won’t be much of a weekend if I have to stay held up in my office (I guess we’ll be making a little dudette snow girl if we are).

What a totally random day.

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