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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man, get me to the flooring section, paleeeze!

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

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

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

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

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


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  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.

Free Gift

Dude is in the process of gathering all the materials he needs to change the main electrical service and panel in our house. Even though much of the house has decent electrical, it still needs to be updated since the last time the house had any work done in this area was probably around the 1970’s or 1980’s.

Dude said that the existing stuff is still good and he’s not going to go through the trouble of rewiring the whole house if it doesn’t need it. The new panel is definitely warranted, though, and so are some new electrical runs along with some new plugs and switches since back in the day, they didn’t have cable, internet and all that modern stuff we now need to get through our day.

In this process he wanted a small panel to house our cable and internet boxes and phone stuff so he did some searches online to find something that he would be happy with. All the stuff he was finding in the stores here just wasn’t striking his fancy.

Well, low and behold he found what he wanted on Ebay and here it is. It just arrived yesterday. The picture of loveliness, I tell you!

Now the fun part. Apparently it came with a free gift that we had no idea we would be the proud owners of, this nice sort of Rasta Flag towel brandishing a “Black Roots” symbol.

Did I miss something here? Either the seller was trying to make us “feel the love” or he knows something about my background that I don’t. Well, at least it wasn’t sporting the marijuana leaf like they so often do! You should have seen the look of confusion on our faces when we opened the package and this was hiding inside the box. It gave us a good laugh for a while.

In any case, it’s a nice towel and I think it will be a lovely addition hung up on a wall somewhere in my 18th century French farm house. It totally goes with our décor 🙂 Also, it will be a lovely discussion piece every time people inquire about my “black roots”.

Ahhhh, Warmth At Last

Around 6pm tonight Dude says to me, “Let’s find the closest Castorama and check it out”. Up until now, we’ve been going to LeRoy-Merlin and it was high time that we checked out the competition.

We got lucky again today because we found a Castorama only 25 minutes from us. Off we went to see if we could find some more items we needed for the house.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Castorama near us was a new store and it was HUGE. Way bigger than “King Merlin” and so well stocked with tons and tons of stuff that we could never find at the competition. The other thing that was terrific is they had a lot of people working at the store and we got awesome customer service!

Well the minute I got there I bee-lined it to the heater section cuz I’m really tired of living in a house that has no heat! I am freezing my butt off every day and night and just plain sick of it, so I was not going to be leaving that store without the goods (even if Dude calls me a big sissy). We scoped out the merchandise and found a good one that you have to fill with petrol. When we couldn’t find the fuel I went over to ask one of the workers and he told me that he didn’t work in that particular department, but showed me who did. That person happened to be helping out another customer so I just waited my turn (and very patiently I might add cuz that’s just me). The first I guy I ask came back around 3 minutes into the waiting and noticed that I hadn’t been helped yet. He got on the phone and asked his coworker to come and help me. Well within 1 minute the guy shows up and he helps me out with all the info I need to pick out my fuel and points me in the right direction to go get it. Bada Bing, Bada Bam, done!

Then I start to mosey around the store just to check things out for future reference. Dude goes off to look at tools (big surprise) and I found the toilet seats. I didn’t need one I just ended up in that aisle. Don’t judge. Guess what I found?? A toilet seat with a TV in it! See, here it is!

They were playing a movie in the top of the seat about how this particular toilet seat worked (I never thought there was really anything more to one than up and down) and I got completely engrossed in the demonstration movie. So there I was standing all by myself in the toilet seat aisle watching a show that was playing ON a toilet seat! After the little show was over I realized that I must have looked really stupid to people passing by the aisle that could only see me looking intensely at the seats, but they weren’t able to see what I was staring at!

I also found the best bathtub I could ever want in my dreams. This thing had lights, jets, a head rest and a place for your drink and IPod! What the heck! After gazing longingly at it for some time, I went to find Dude (cuz the store was closing) and I told him that for now we were going to keep the tub that is currently in the master bathroom cuz I needed to save up for the most fanstastical (again is that a word?) tub and it was going to take me a year. There was no way I was going to waste my money now on something else and risk not having the great one! He just looked at me like I was a complete idiot and wanted to know what the heck I need that for. It was only a bath.

WARNING: Do not ever say that to a woman! Only a bath! Please! Hot water, bubbles, a drink, chocolate, music, a book and jets all in one is what every woman craves (especially when they’ve had kids-you’all know what I’m talking about –Calgon take me away).

So I tried to get this point across, but it just wasn’t working. Why did he half to pick this moment to not have the “chick” part of him come out?!

I gave up the cause and we headed towards the cash register. Besides my beloved heater, Dude also found some more of his accessories for the new electrical work. Good to go.

Off we headed toward home and it was looking pretty good until we missed our exit off of the freeway. Wouldn’t you know it?? It was the last exit for the next 10 kilometers and just before the next exit we had to get one of those stupid toll booth tickets! Dang it! When we finally paid to get off the dumb auto route, it costs us 2, 20 Euro and we were about another 10 kilometers from home and had no idea what town we had landed in.

So we put on the GPS and headed towards home. Then that stupid GPS lady got us lost and we ended up way in the hills on a windy road, somewhere south of our home and in the middle of nowhere. Normally I would be okay with “taking the tour”, but it was getting late, I was hungry, we were wasting money and gas and since it was dark already I couldn’t even enjoy the scenery.

In the end it took us more than an hour to get home (when it only took us 25 minutes to get to the store)! All because we missed one freakin’ exit!

When we finally made it home, I had Dude on heater duty faster than anything. Now, we finally have heat in this place (even if it is in only one room) . I happened to be standing in front of it right now and just so you know,that’s where my cold self will be for quite some time.

You never appreciate something until you have to do without it. Thank you to whoever invented these wonderful systems. You’re a lifesaver.


Putting Some Finishing Touches On – Well, Sort Of

Today I had wanted to have an outing. I didn’t have any particular place in mind that I wanted to go. I just wanted a day away from renovation before the weather really turns nasty.

Unfortunately, I woke to the dreariness of dark clouds and looming rain. I took a quick look at the weather online and it told me in no uncertain terms that it was going to rain all afternoon. Dang. Why does it have to be on the weekend?! I could care less about nasty weather days when I have to go to work, but please, the weekend? Someone up there needs to get his priorities straight!

So instead of my sight-seeing trip I took the opportunity to make a quick run to the market. For some odd reason, Casino has decided that they are now going to be open on Sundays until noon. That doesn’t seem very French of them, but it’s convenient. I normally don’t go to the market on Sundays. With all stores open in the states every day of the week I’m actually the rare person who likes the fact that on Sundays everything is closed. It seems “traditional”.

Today, I did bend the rules and headed out for a couple of items. It seems that the French are totally excited about the fact that they can actually shop for a few hours on Sundays, cuz this store was packed! I swear it was near impossible to find a parking spot. Who would have thought?

So I headed in, fought my way around to find my 12 items and then proceeded to find the shortest line possible to get outta there. You know, on a Sunday morning with limited time, the French tend to drive their shopping carts like they do their cars. They run into you, cut in front of you and park the cart right smack in the middle of the aisle and don’t even bother to move when they see that you’re coming and need to get through. Maybe this idea of shopping on a Sunday morning wasn’t such a brilliant idea.

I finally made it out of the store and back home. Since my day was ruined by the weather, Dude and I just decided to continue on with the renovation. For me I was limited, though, which is another reason why I needed a day out. See, the other day while continuing to scrape the glue off of the floor (no Adrian and George the scraper blades for the Milwaukee saw didn’t work, but thanks for sending them our way it was worth a shot), I ended up doing something to my arm just near the elbow and now I have only limited use of it until it heals. I have no idea what I did, but it was enough to keep me up most of the night in pain and I’ve been having trouble picking up and holding anything that has even a small amount of weight like a full glass of water. I just can’t do it. So now I’m sort of outta commission which made my day kind of boring.

We are still fooling around with dry wall mud and finish and are on like our 6th coat for the second story. Well, Dude said we needed to put another coat on in the hallway, kitchen and the downstairs walls. So guess what my job was today??? I got to hold the stupid spot light (with my good arm) like I was a human Statue of Liberty or something. Yup, folks, all day I just stood around and held this light so Dude could put the finish coat on the walls. I’m talking hours people. The plus side is I found another job that I really wouldn’t do for a living. I hope my arm heals soon cuz to be quite honest I didn’t really have any fun. The day just trudged by. I think I would rather have gone back to the market and fought with the French over a cheese wheel instead of being lamp girl all day.

On the bright side, the master bedroom is now ready for primer paint. Yippey! Now all we need to do is get the hallway, stairwells, kitchen and 3rd bedrooms ready for primer. Okay so we still have far to go, but at least getting the master bedroom done is a step in the right direction.

Hopefully my arm will heal before the next round so I can feel a little more productive than I did today. I also hope the weather is nicer next weekend (the weather site said it was, so they better be right) cuz I’m getting closer and closer to losing it. We’ve been doing the same exact thing in this house for months now and it’s time to move on in my book, even if it’s just putting on primer I would be jumping for joy. Also, the smell of drywall mud is starting to get to me.

Well, next on the list, more finish work. Unfortunately, that stuff smells just as bad as dry wall mud!

Summer Nightly Market in La Ciotat

Dude and I stepped out for the evening and walked over to the Vieux Port to see what all the fuss was about. The Vieux Port was surprising lively. The evening was really hot and windy so it was nice to get out of the house. By the look of the port, a lot of other people had the same idea.  It was great to see families and friends all out strolling along the waterfront and enjoying the warm summer night.

The restaurants were full of people and the Bar Central had a guy singing and playing guitar. He was looking pretty popular since everyone was singing along with him.

The summer market consisted of artisans selling their goods (soaps, toys, clothes, shoes, jewelry, art, etc.) and, of course, delicious food. It was all very nice and there was certainly a lot to choose from.

I stopped and got some Barbe a Papa (cotton candy) and boy was I in heaven. I hadn’t had cotton candy in years!

All in all it was a good night even though we weren’t able to stay to long due to having to walk back home (it’s about an hour’s walk to the port).

The summer nightly market runs from June 24-August 28 and starts at 8:00pm. Chances are I will make it there again several more times. The cotton candy will be calling me soon and I need to do some serious shopping!

Too Much Chocolate, Never

Dude and I are just like kids sometimes. We come up with some goofy things to do just like if we were 13 years old or something.

Well, tonight, we were in one of our goofy moods while at the market and it came into full swing while strolling down the cereal aisle. While Dude was looking for his favorite cereal, I started checking out how much cereal there is in France that is full of chocolate. Oh-My-Gosh! There is more than I could ever imagine!

Well, we decided that we were going to have a photo op moment with all the wonderful and fattening cereal you could eat here.

So Dude and I start collecting cereal boxes and putting one of each type of chocolaty goodness for our display.  Mind you, we were only collecting those that are, oh so chocolaty. As we begin rearranging the shelves, the people coming down the aisle start giving us these weird looks and for good reason, because we were really into what we were doing. We were running up and down the aisle looking for the best and brightest for our photo. When all was said and done, we ended up with 21 different brands of cereal that are choc-full of chocolate! I mean FULL OF CHOCOLATE and nothing else! Well, okay, maybe some flakes, too.

Those are the ones who now have their 15 minutes of fame (which will last forever thanks to my photo). Crazy enough, there are SO many others that have bits of chocolate with something else. For example: chocolate with caramel, chocolate with strawberries, white chocolate, etc. We didn’t count those ones, but only because there are so many that they probably wouldn’t fit in the picture and for the sake of keeping it PURE.

We actually had a great time and part of the fun was the people who would actually NOT walk in front of us to respect our picture taking moment! Crack up! Then when we had finished with the pictures, they just gave us a weird look while passing by. We said “Thanks very much”, in our best American accent to confirm to them that Americans are just strange. It was awesome!

By the way, they also have breakfast bars here, which of course, are choc-full of “guess what”! I took a photo of those, too. Looks like they need to have plenty in stock, too, to feed the chocolaty appetite 🙂

AAAAH!!!  The good life is here.



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