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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.

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 🙂

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?


Now We Are Roofers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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