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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!

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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.

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?

 

Fuel and Scaffolding All In Three Days

We finally have fuel back in our boiler tank. It was definitely a very cold weekend without heat. After huddling in the kitchen and memorizing all the lines in the Harry Potter series and then the Star Wars trilogy due to my weekend movie marathon, I was glad when the fuel guy arrived on Monday morning. He was late, big surprise, but he did show up on the expected delivery date so I guess I can forgive him the lateness (plus he had the most gorgeous Paul Newman blue eyes ever).

He had to park his truck outside our property because it was too big to fit through the gate (same problem as the material delivery truck fiasco). No big deal for the fuel truck, though, as he had a hose that was around 40 meters in length. He was able to run the hose through our garden and into the garage and all the way back to our tank.

It only took about 5-10 minutes to give us the 1000 liters we ordered. We didn’t even have to move the car or any of our stuff out of the way! It was simple, easy and expensive. This is how I feel about the simple and easy part 🙂  This is how I feel about the expensive part 😦 This summer we will be working on ways to improve the efficiency of our home so that next winter we will be more prepared and try to use less fuel and be more energy efficient. I think we can do it so I’m not too worried. Even thought the fuel costs an arm and a leg, I still love my heating system! The fuel guy seemed to like it too and kept raving about our tank. He thought it was super cool. He has good taste in fuel tanks!

After the fill up, away he went with my money and away we went with turning the system back on. Heat at last, that’s always a good thing in weather like this.

That same evening while I was at work, I got a call from Mr. Right Hand Man who said that they were ready to come to my house and put up the scaffolding. He wanted to know if Tuesday morning would work. Unfortunately, ce n’etait pas bon for me and I had to tell him no, but that Wednesday would be good. I was in luck because Wednesday happened to be an okay day for him and his team, too.  Yippey, cuz Monday was the day I hit the jackpot.

This morning I got up early in anticipation for the 8:30ish arrival. Well 8:30 came and went and so did 9:00. Around 9:30 I called Mr. Right Hand Man to ask him what was happening. He didn’t answer so I left a message to please call me back and verify that the team was really showing up today.

Around 9:45 the team of two guys showed up with the scaffolding. They took a look around and then talked to my neighbor (whose garden will be hosting the scaffolding while the façade is done). They finally came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to put up the scaffolding in our yard for the first week of work to do the roof and then once that is done they will take the scaffolding down and reset it up in our neighbor’s yard for the work on the façade. This way they (and we) won’t have to bother our neighbors with having this big contraption in their yards for a long duration. For our neighbors, this cuts the time in half that the scaffolding will be in their yard. I thought that was a great idea (cuz living in a village house you really don’t want to piss of and bother your neighbors to much, close quarters and all).

Well, to work these guys went and they put up the scaffolding in about 3 hours. During this time Mr. Right Hand Man decided to call me back. That was nice. I let him know that his little helpers had arrived and were busy getting their work done outside in the freezing cold.

Now our house looks like this and believe me, I love it!

Finally, we have some positive progress to our renovation nightmare. The only thing Dude was really worried about is that they had to drill holes in the side of the house to anchor the scaffolding. That’s all we need is more holes in this place! I’m not too worried. When they take the scaffolding down, they should be able to fill those in. After all, they’ll already have the colored stucco for the façade ready to go, what’s a few more dabbles on this old place. I’m sure it will be no problem for them.

When the guys left they said that they were going to check on when the materials will be delivered and they are hoping that all will be ready for tomorrow. I guess I won’t know until tomorrow, though. One of the guys said that until all the roofing material is here, they can’t start the work because they don’t want to risk taking off the old roof and not having anything to cover it with (for who knows how long) cuz if the weather turns bad again we will be screwed. I like his logic.

So for now, all we have is a fashion accessory to our house and we have to wait and see when the progress will continue. Forward march!

Two Deliveries Gone Bad

So we still have no news on the delivery of our materials for the roof and façade. It’s been another interesting week here, as usual.

Here’s how our week started out (and finished). Remember when I said that Mr. Right Hand Man was going to call us mid-week this week for the delivery of our materials? Well, he ended up calling me on Monday morning just as I was about ready to leave to go to the office. He said that is was very possible that the materials could be delivered that day in the afternoon and was working on getting it done.

Problemo, I also had a delivery of five big pallets of materials being delivered that day to my office. The reason why this was a problem is because I really feel that I need to be home when these guys deliver my stuff to be sure it all goes well and there’s no funny business going on. It will be a very large delivery with a lot of materials so I just feel better if I am here.

The issue with the delivery at work is that us girls won’t be able to manage bringing up the five pallets of materials to our third floor office (the transport company really bites the big one and they will only leave the stuff at the door, not help us get it to the office) so I need Dude’s muscles to help us out.

So, on Monday, we had a last minute change of plans and I stayed and worked from home and waited for my delivery while Dude went to the office to help out with the delivery there.

The afternoon came and went and no materials landed at my house. Dude called me late in the afternoon to say that the transporter for the delivery at the office flaked, too, and they were instead going to do the delivery on Tuesday.

Can you believe it? Two flakey deliveries in one day! I do believe that one of my most favorite things to do is to sit around and wait for deliveries that never show up. I just love it cuz I have all the time in the world here in “kick-back” south of France!

Well, Tuesday morning came around and the delivery to the office did make it. That makes one down and one to go.

Dude and I showed up at the office on Tuesday morning to find that the transport company had decided to come very early and they just left our pallets in the entry way of our building. Gee fellas, thanks for that! Dude managed to get everything up to the office and unloaded so all was good by the end of the day for this delivery.

On Wednesday, Mr. Right Hand Man said he was still trying to get the delivery together of my stuff and could I please leave my gate open so they could put everything in the yard if it worked out. No way, Jose! I was gonna stay to see that it all worked out.

Well, no materials again that day. I called Mr. Right Hand Man to ask him what was up cuz I needed to know when this is going to get done. I also told him, again, that it was important that I know not just for me but also for my neighbors (remember the scaffolding will be in their yard). He said he knew and was really trying to get it together but his team had not finished another project they were on and he wanted the scaffolding to go up and the work to begin the same day that the materials were to be delivered, if it was possible. You wanna know what I think?? I think it’s totally possible in any other country but France! Man, they can’t even get my materials to me in a timely manner let alone add two other things to the same work day. I’ll believe when I see it.

Well, guess what’s happening now? Today it’s raining and it’s due to rain all the way until Tuesday night. That means no delivery and no work done.

Another delay that could possibly happen is that the weather report says from Wednesday on it will start to get really cold here, like -8C! Guess what, no work will be done if that’s the case because the concrete for the roof and façade won’t cure in temperatures that cold. Good grief! I might as well give it up for next week, too, and just expect it not to happen. This way if it doesn’t, I won’t be surprised and if it miraculously happens, I will be ecstatic!

I guess Dude and I will have to work on some more little projects in doors since there isn’t much else that’s gonna happen around here. Maybe we can manage to push another small project through to the finish.

More Delays

Mr. Supervisor of our job ended up calling me a second time. He apologized again for the issue yesterday with the camion not being able to deliver our materials and said that his right hand man was on his way to our house to check everything out. Apparently, Mr. Supervisor is going on vacation for one week starting Tuesday and Mr. Right Hand Man is going to be taking over while he’s gone. Then Mr. Supervisor said that Mr. Right Hand Man was in front of my gate ready to tackle this thing.

I hung up and went to look out my living room window which faces our front gate. No one was there that I could see, but then again, he might not have arrived yet. I went out to unlock the gate and take a peek around just to be sure.

Nope-no one there so I left the gate open so Mr. Right Hand Man wouldn’t have to call me when he showed up.

About 10 minutes later I get a call from Mr. Right Hand Man saying that he was in front of my gate. I walked over to the window again and there wasn’t anyone there. So being that I am a fast learner and had logged away the information that the Guy (remember wawa..wa) had given me yesterday about being confused on where my house was, I asked Mr. Right Hand Man if he was on my street minus the one word or if he was on my street. He said, “I’m on your street minus one word”. Ah ha! Thought so. I said, “You’re on the wrong street”. Then I gave him directions to my house. Now, I’m pretty good with directions to my house since I’ve had to give them a few times to the other companies who have come to give us quotes and they’ve made it each time just fine so I felt confident that he was going to make it. Guy just happened to not want to deal with it the other day, I think.

So Mr. Right Hand Man said he was on his way and would be at chez moi in just a few minutes.

About 15 minutes later, no Mr. Right Hand Man. I couldn’t understand what the heck was taking him so long. Even though he was totally on the other side of town my town was not that big, seriously a 5 minute trek, max. I then proceeded to pick up my phone to give him a call to see if he was having some trouble since he hadn’t shown up yet or did he decide to stop for coffee and a pastry. I quickly located his call on my phone and realized it had shown up as a private number therefore I couldn’t call him back! I figured he would call if he was in deep trouble.

Another 5 minutes passed and nothing. Finally I called Mr. Supervisor to tell him the issue and he said he would give him a call. About another 5 minutes passed and I got another call from Mr. Right Hand Man saying that he was completely lost. I told him to find the center of town and I would meet him at the stop sign and he could just follow me home. As I started walking he gives me a call saying that he was near the school and was stuck in all this traffic. The school??!! No, no, no. I told him that he had passed my street. Now he was going to have to exit the town and go around because the street he was on was a one way street.

I told him that I was almost at the stop sign and would wait there for him so that he didn’t miss it a second time. He said that he was in a yellow car and to look for him. Roger that.

Finally, we spotted each other and he followed me back to chez moi. All was good. He took a look around at the work that was to be done. I told him all about the scaffolding being in our neighbor’s yard and they were fine with it and he examined the façade that was to be done. Then we went up on the roof to take a look around so he could familiarize himself with the project since he would be taking over the supervision of it for the first week.

After we chatted, we went back into our yard to see where the materials would be placed and to measure the gate so that the next truck they rented would fit! He also told me that he would have to cancel the bin that was to come since it was going to have the same problem; it would fit down the street and in our garden but it wouldn’t make it pass the gate. He was going to have to order a smaller bin. He also gave us the news that it wasn’t going to happen on Monday like we thought.

He was leaving the next day and would be gone until Wednesday. Therefore he would call me on Wednesday to arrange for everything to be delivered at the end of the week because he wanted to be around to be sure all was good. He also wanted all the workers to show up either that day or the day after to start getting to work.

Well, what else was I going to do? I said okay and that I would talk to him next week, mid-week. After he left I went and checked the weather online. Bad news, it was going to be windy for the next several days and guess what?? It’s supposed to rain on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Great! We are so close to getting this thing done and it just keeps getting held up. So now, it looks like it will be at least another whole week at minimum before work can get started.

By the way, to add to it, Dude looked up our street on Google Maps and do you know what?? It doesn’t exist anymore! Nope-Google wiped it clean off their map! It used to be there cuz last summer we Google Mapped it for someone and it was clearly there. Apparently, when their car came to our town recently with their little cameras on top, they decided our street wasn’t very important so they took it upon themselves to decide that it shouldn’t exist anymore. Maybe that’s why these guys can’t find us! We’re on Mappy, so I know that we exist, plus I’m looking at my street everyday unless it’s a mirage.

So now I gotta go and get mad at Google Maps and tell them to put us back on the map and stop putting their two centimes in. Man, my work is never done.

I Thought We Had It In The Bag

So, today was the day that all the materials needed for the work on our house were to arrive. I received confirmation of this last night via an SMS message from the guy who’s been organizing this project. He said that a truck with all the materials will be at my house around 9:30am today and could I please leave my portail (gate) open so they could drive right in for the drop of.

This morning I got up and went down to open the gate around 8:45am just in case they arrived earlier.

Well, 9:30am arrived and I get a call from the guy who tells me that the people furnishing the materials can’t find my house and could I please call the main guy over at the store and tell him how to get to my house.

Okay-no problemo. So I take the number down and call over to the magasin to see what’s up.

The guy (whose name happens to be Guy, how convenient for me) tells me that he doesn’t know how to get to my house. So begins a “Who’s on First” type of conversation the main reason being that this Guy happens to be one of those Frenchmen who doesn’t enunciate (seriously a word slurer big time) and on top of that, he spoke at the speed of light and lastly, it was a PHONE conversation(always difficult anyway). For me, that’s three strikes and I’m out on the comprehension.

Did you ever watch the Peanuts Gang cartoon? You know when Charlie Brown is at school and the teacher is talking to him and all he hears is…Wawa..wa. Yup-that’s what I heard. I was, in fact, in Charlie Brown’s seat at school this morning.

Here is the excerpt of my conversation (sorry it will be in English for my non-francophone amis):

Me: Hello, this is Madame Fisher. I received a call saying you couldn’t find my house.

Guy: Yes, I don’t know where you live. Can you..wawa..wa wawa..wa.. I have the truck and wawa..wa.

Me: I don’t understand. Are you in (my town).

Guy: Wawa..wa.. wawa..wa.  the town with the swimming pool at the round-a-bout.

Me: Oh, you’re near the swimming pool? Then go around the round-a-bout, direction “centre ville”. Go through the town with all the magasins on both side of the main street. Then there is a STOP sign at the end of the street. Continue to go straight and then at the first street go right, then at the next first street go right and viola, chez moi.

Guy: No, no, problem. I can’t find wawa..wa wawa..wa.. I passed by the swimming pool.

Me: Okay. So are you at the swimming pool now.

Guy: Wawa..wa.. wawa..wa. your street and I didn’t find it.

Me: If you are at the swimming pool, no problem. I can go down there and then you can follow me back to my house.

Guy: Yes, follow you, but wawa..wa wawa..wa. not at pool.

Me: You’re not at the pool?

Guy: No and I wawa..wa wawa..wa. couldn’t find your house.

Me: Okay, if you’re not at the pool, where are you?

Guy: My house.

What the heck and what does the pool have to do with any of this!

Me: You’re at your house. What direction are you coming from so I can tell you how to get to my town.

Guy: No, I’m not coming from anywhere. I don’t know where you live and wawa..wa wawa..wa. Can you come get the truck at my house?

Are you kidding me! What in the world is this guy taking about!!?? It is not in the plan for me to go and get the truck from his house!

Me: I don’t understand what you are talking about.

Guy: You don’t understand?

I thought I just said that.

Me: No, I don’t understand. Mr. Supervisor said that the truck would be at my house today and now you are saying I have to go and get the truck at your house?! I can’t drive your truck!

Guy: wawa..wa wawa..wa wawa..wa.

Me: Look, where do you live? In what town?

Guy: (his town name).

Me: That is the town right next to me! I don’t understand why you can’t find me. Just go down the street and make a right just after the town sign and Viola, chez moi.

Guy: No, I tried to find your house and I can’t. The truck is at my house. It is also the magasin (name of magasin). Come get the truck.

Me: Oh, I know where you are. You are only 10 minutes away, but I can’t get your truck, why can’t you find my house?

Guy: wawa..wa wawa..wa, no you come to my house and truck will follow you.

Me: Ohh, I understand now. I will go to your store/house and then the truck can follow me back home.

Guy: Yes!

Me: Okay, I will be there in 10 minutes.

After hanging up the phone, I was like, what the heck was that all about and where did the pool part come into play! Why didn’t he just say, “Come to my store and the truck will follow you home”.

Done. End of story. 2 minute conversation! But no, he goes and tells me about some pool and not finding me and I was about ready to be sent to the funny farm cuz there isn’t a dang person in my household other than me that could talk to this guy who slurs his words and talks at the speed of light! Seriously, half way through the 15 minute conversation (I did shorten it for you guys, excerpt remember?) I was picturing myself never seeing these materials end up at my house!

So I went to get Dude and told him to come on that we had to get the truck and they would follow us back home. In the 10 minute car ride that followed I had to tell Dude the phone conversation since he was not in the room to see the whole thing unfold in all its crazy glory. At that point, since I had finally figured out what the issue was, I was now cracking up while retelling the conversation still trying to figure out what the pool had to do with it.

We finally arrived at the magasin and the driver of the truck was waiting for us. He then followed us back to our house. When we got there he looked at our gate and said, “I don’t think the truck will make it through your gate”. I said, “Let’s try it”.

So he went back out to the main street to get into his truck and proceeded to turn this gigantic (by French standards) truck around on this tiny street so that he could make the turn onto my street. He did manage that, but then he had to be really careful down my street cuz it’s very narrow and there is a balcony hanging over the street from the house that is located on the right, which by the way has some chips in it due to drivers with big trucks not paying attention. I made sure he stayed to the left and warned him about the balcony. Before he could get too far, he was again worried about not making it past our gate and got out of his truck to call his supervisor. He said that his supervisor was coming over to take a look and to help out.

So there we were, standing out on the street, with this truck blocking my street, waiting for his supervisor to show up. By the way, the winds had kicked up again starting last night so it was pretty cold and we were getting a bit blown away. Just my luck that when the work is ready to begin we have to deal with the stupid winds!

Finally the supervisor showed up and guess what?? It’s Guy! Well, in person he was still a bit difficult to understand, but our conversation was better face to face. The first thing he did was to look at the street name and then tell me, “Oh, this is the street name you live on! I was in your town this morning but at a street with your name minus one word and it was way on the other side of town”. By the way, the street name is nearly identical to ours, but with one small different detail. I didn’t know this until today! Seems he didn’t either or he would have shown up on time.

Then he said, “I drove all around and couldn’t find your house so I had to go back to the magasin and call the person organizing this to tell him. Then you called me so I could explain”. Remember the phone conversation that I didn’t understand. Yup-like I said, “Who’s on First”!

Well, could this be the reason why the mentioning of the pool came into play??? I now think that during our phone conversation he was trying to tell me that he was over by the town pool when trying to deliver the goods earlier in the day and found my street but not my house so he went back to the store. I believe the mystery has been solved! Dang, if he was more of a clear and crisp speaker I probably would have gotten that point!

So he now proceeded to take a look at my gate and then said, “I don’t think it’s going to work, but I will get a tape measure to make sure”. He came right back, measured the gate and said, “Ce n’est pas possible, pas du tout.”

I got out my phone and proceeded to call the supervisor of the whole job to give him the bad news and to ask how he was going to fix this problem. Obviously no materials, means no work done. Guess what?? The call went straight to voice mail so I left a message for him. Then Guy said to me that the company would have to rent a small truck and go get the materials in several trips for it to work, but because it was Friday today it wouldn’t happen until Monday. He said that when the supervisor called me back to tell him to call Guy and he would explain everything about what must be done for Monday.

So we all shook hands and the man driving the truck drove away with all my materials in it. Just as Guy was driving away the supervisor of the job called so I flagged him down and handed him the phone to explain away. They conversed for a few minutes while I stood there freezing my tootsie off in the growing-ever-stronger gusts of wind. Then Guy handed me back the phone and the supervisor told me not to worry, it’s all handled for Monday. He said he was sorry about it!

Then after I hung up, Guy said they told him when ordering the materials that a big truck would work no problem. That’s true for the street and the space in my yard, but they forgot about passing through my gate! Viola!

Oh well, c’est la vie en France! In the meantime, the wind has really picked up here and our tuiles are once again singing and moving around the roof. It looks like we are in for a few days of heavy gusts again. I can’t wait until this is done and I don’t have to worry about it any longer. It seems that the rain hasn’t been our biggest problem this year, it’s been the wind! I would rather deal with the rain at this point because there isn’t a risk of it posing a threat to my neighbors. I hope the workers are able to come next week and get started. That will be a whole lot of stress off of us.

In the meantime, I had better practice my slurring of the French language. I think that’s a skill that could come in handy in the future.

By the way, for those of you not familiar with “Who’s On First”, here it is for your enjoyment. This classic is one of my all time favorites. It never gets old!

 

About Ready To Start

This morning two people from the company who is going to be doing our roof and façade showed up. They had scheduled the appointment with us last week and said they would be at the house around 10am today. So, being that we are in France I took that to be more like 11am.

Well, I guess these guys aren’t French cuz I got a call this morning right after 8am saying that they were on their way. They had to up the appointment to an earlier time cuz they needed to squeeze in another appointment that morning and would now be arriving chez moi before 9am. Well, I guess that meant I had to get up early now didn’t it. It was time for the mad dash since I needed to shower and clean up the dirty dishes in the sink before they were to arrive. I made the mad dash and managed to get dressed but not clean up the dishes. Oh well, the house is under construction so maybe they wouldn’t even notice.

They made this appointment so that the foreman of the job could see where he needed to put all the materials and the scaffolding. I had gone over to my neighbors’ houses on Sunday evening to let them know that work was going to be done on the house, but didn’t have a date, yet. I also had to give them both the bad news and the good news.

Wait… you need the background info first. Background is that I have three neighbors who are going to be affected by this work. See, the back exterior wall that is being worked on is actually on the property line of two of my neighbors behind me. This means that the scaffolding is going to be in their yard while the work is getting done. The neighbor to the side of me has her garden next to my wall, but the scaffolding isn’t going in her yard, it’s going on our 1st story bathroom roof, but I still have to tell her about the work in case anything falls in her yard.

So the bad news for the neighbors is that the work will take place during a two week period or longer, depending on the weather, and the scaffolding is going to be set up in their yard. The good news is that once the work is done they will have a beautiful wall to look at instead of an ugly one. I think that’s a pretty good trade off, now don’t you?

Well, to my surprise and delight, the two neighbors behind me were super okay with the whole thing! Thank goodness cuz I don’t need any more issues. One of the neighbors chatted with me about how it was no problem and the workers could even go in and out of their house if need be and wanted Dude and I to come over and have some food and wine with him and his wife. Sounds good to me, but let’s see if he feels that way after workers are at his house making messes and being loud for a couple of weeks!  The other neighbor is really old and I think he has a problem hearing, but I kept telling him what was going on and he finally seemed to get it. I hope we are all squared away cuz this morning when I flagged him down to say hello he looked at me like he had never seen me before. This might be an issue.

Oh, by the way, the “let’s have a drink” neighbor’s wife asked me if I had chosen a color for the façade and you should have seen the look on her face when I told her it was going to be bright orange. She tried to hold herself together while her face was cringing. I gave her about 5 seconds and then said I was just kidding. She was so relieved and thankful. It was a mean joke to play on someone I had just met, but I couldn’t resist. She ended up laughing about it but it was just cuz she was so grateful that I was kidding! I didn’t blame her one bit for cringing either, seeing as it would have been 3 stories of bright orange for her to look at for the rest of her life! Fate worse than death, I tell ya.

So, back to today. The two guys came over and took a good look around for where they were going to put all the materials and how they were going to do this crazy scaffolding trick. The nice neighbor who wants to have us over for drinks let them in the house and out into their garden with no problem. That was very nice of them. The other neighbor wasn’t home, though.

Before the guys departed, we had a discussion on what was to be done and how it was going to be done and then the original guy who came over way back in the beginning to give us the quote said that the materials should start to arrive this Friday and then the work will commence.

Super duper. After they left, I ran back over to our “let’s have drinks sometime” neighbor and let him know. He said great and that he would even chop down his little plants that might be in the way to avoid problems with the scaffolding. Gee, that’s a nice gesture.

I was able to get a hold of the other neighbor just as I was about to leave for work, remember the one I tried flagging down to say hello and him not remembering me. Well, I let him know the date the work was to start, too, cuz he will have to leave his garden gate unlocked in order for the workers to get in and have their scaffolding set up. He said ok and that he was going to tell his other neighbor cuz apparently they share this gate? Like, the other neighbor passes through his yard to get to their yard?! France is so weird that way.

Well, let’s hope all is good with this. At least the company has been doing what they said they would so far, so I am hopeful. I won’t be elated until it’s done and it’s perfect, though. I’m worried about the façade since it has been around -1C and -2C here the last couple of nights and when it’s really cold, cement (hence stucco) won’t cure.  I had a look at the meteo.fr sight (that trusty site that tells me all my weather details here in France, but isn’t very trusty since it changes every 5 seconds) anyway, there’s no rain in sight (good) and it’s suppose to stay above 1C for a while at night (good again). Well, we shall see and here’s hoping. Onward and upward til Friday and praying that my neighbors don’t change their mind and give me any issues!

 

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