Remember this problem from when we first moved into our Paris apartment? The nice dégat des eaux that the agency just forgot to tell us about before we moved in? Well, turns out that little dégat des eaux took an entire YEAR to completely dry - I lived through a very moldy, very cold Parisian winter because no one thought it was important to repair our upstairs neighbor's shower. To make matters worse, the painters spent a week re-papering and re-painting the entire apartment only to realize that the neighb's shower was still leaking...because no one had fixed it!!!! (Parisian Agencies are brilliant - real geniuses the are). They then took all of their hard work down (to let the dry wall....dry) and we lived with exposed, nasty, water-logged walls from May 2010 until just two weeks ago.
Copain got a call from the painters asking if they could come back and check the walls for the billionth time this year. They did and since the walls were at only 40 percent humidity levels, they decided that they could try again. Copain and I mentally prepared ourselves for a week of hell and put all of our belongings into our tiny bedroom, leaving the living room with only the couch and the TV stand. We left a tiny walkway around our bed so that we could at least function for the week and covered all surfaces with old sheets that we had saved for this very occasion. Urban camping, I tell you.
Carlos the painter came on a Thursday and began prepping the walls - dust EVERYWHERE. The walls needed the weekend to dry so Copain and I high-tailed it to the southwest, our old stomping grounds, to celebrate Papi's 90th birthday with the French famille.
Here are some highlights from our weekend en province....
Scary what they take from people at Charles de Gaulle airport non?
Free newspapers? The Frenchies were in heaven - including Copain, bien sur
Lunch at Place du Capitole in Toulouse
A summer lunch in the south is not complete without some rosé
You know Top Chef?? Well one of the big chefs opened a restaurant...Le Bibent
We had the burger with foie gras and....
The millefeuille for dessert!! - to die for
Then a little walk around Toulouse to digerer...
It got too hot, so we left early for Albi for la piscine!!
I got to wake up to this lovely, relaxing scene...
Then we were off to l'Aveyron, the beau-parents' pays for Papi's anniversaire
The celebration was held in Belcastel, one of the most beautiful villages in France
The chateau that has now been restored
The crickety old bridge we drove over to get to the village
The mysterious birthday lunch starter...what do you think we ate???
We returned to Paris with a cooler full of magret de canard and boudin noir from Belle Mère's favorite butcher in Rodez (you never know about Parisian butchers she says). Unfortunately, our house was still in shambles and when Carlos the painter came the next day, he said that he probably wouldn't be finished until the end of the week! Copain and I gritted our teeth - everyday we were out of the house at 8.30 am for the painter (I had to drink instant coffee because the stove was covered in sheets! bah!) and at night we did our best to have something to do so that we didn't have to sit in white dust.
Finally, Friday arrived and Carlos told us that he would be done at 3pm! But- he didn't know when his boss was going to come by to pick up all of the paint and tools. This is when FrenchCannesCannes went over the edge - elle a pété un plomb, as the Frenchies say. After leaving a message with the un-reachable boss, I called Copain who knew what he had to do if he didn't want to live with a psycho Copine all weekend. He told the boss that if someone didn't come and pick up the materials, his copine was going to put everything out on the street. We found great pleasure in finding all of the painting supplies in the building's courtyard when we came home from work that day.
Friday night was spent cleaning our house from top to bottom, transferring our stuff from the bedroom back into the living room and kitchen, separating the olive oil from the dirty socks. Now, finally, after one year of crap Parisian living, we have a nice, white, clean, (small) apartment - with dry walls. Oh, and to congratulate ourselves after two weeks of hell, we got a new flat screen TV to replace that clunker you see in the third photo down.
En fin! (and I also had real coffee on Saturday morning!!!!!)
**As I'm sure you understand, I couldn't really bring myself to blog in 8 inches of dry-wall dust.