I know it’s not been that long since I last posted, but it seems like ages. It’s a long stretch for me anyway. I’ve not been low on ideas, but I haven’t had the desire to write. It’s probably, at least in part, due to the fact that I’m madly (still) working on the final draft for my memoir. You know the one that was already published two years ago? And needs to be published again with almost half the words so I don’t have to duck my head in shame when I talk about it? Some writer I am.
Speaking of which – why, oh why, did I promise to come and talk about my “career” at my daughter’s junior high school? I just found out I have to hold a stand for 3 hours and talk to all the aspiring writers about how to become one. I’m wondering if my new book will be ready on time, and whether I should bring both. Ahem. (I can pretend they’re different so I can look more professional).
I wanted to show you the pictures of our house and garden. You like that, right? Home renovation and construction? I do anyway – the before and after. So here is the pignon – the triangular cement wall that will support the roof and give us the space for 4 bedrooms up there, even if they will have sloped ceilings.
They put a piece of tarp to protect the roof from all the heavy rains – and thereby, our ceiling – (they’ve not yet pierced a hole in our living space for the stairs so we’re pretty much all protected in here). But there was so much water collected in the tarp, it ruined our ceiling anyway when they removed it.
In this area it’s bubbled, and a couple feet over, a steady drip formed on to our oriental rug from the break they made in the plaster. The good news is that they’ll have to fix the ceiling and repair it, instead of us.
One other hitch in our house news is that the chimney is blocked with rubble – the chimney which we discovered was the primary source of drafts and air filtration in our house. Whenever someone ran the shower downstairs, we smelled ashes from the fireplace upstairs. It was pleasant, really.
Now, without the draft, it’s just moldy.
Mold is springing up everywhere! Behind the furniture, the paintings, in the ceiling corners … We are bleaching each spot we see it, but then it comes back. When I finally cleaned behind our bed, it was not only moldy there, but wet from the moisture seeping in underneath the floorboards.
We put a quick fix and cleaned it with bleach, and put more aerated furniture there. (The furniture on the right doesn’t touch the wall).
This is just temporary. We’ll be insulating the exterior of the house and putting an air filter system in that will solve the problem (and hopefully keep our piano more in tune, once there’s no more excess humidity).
As you can see, our house is a complete “chantier” (shan-tyay) these days – a construction site.
They’ve started to place the 300 lb beams that fit in the niches they built into the cement. They lift the beams themselves, without a machine, and climb on the pignons without a harness. It’s frightening. We pray for their safety.
Here are some views. On the one side:
Back view (on a different and sunny day):
Today, they’re nailing the long, thin wooden beams perpendicular to the heavy thick beams. This is where the roof tiles will rest. We haven’t chosen yet, but I think we’ll go with the traditionally French red clay roof tiles.
In addition to the leak from the ceiling, we also semi-flooded our laundry room because I turned the water leading to the outside tap on from in there, and there was another faucet I was supposed to turn off and didn’t.
If that were not enough drama for one day, I also have to tell you about the trees in our garden.
There are none.
Well, there are a lot less. At least we still have our delicious plum. We paid someone to uproot the messy hazelnut tree, 2 wormy apple trees, a bay laurel, and the rather large ash tree that was smack in the middle of the lawn and was neither beautiful nor useful.
But … remember that gorgeous baby apricot tree that I rooted for each year – the one that sprung up all by itself from our other apricot tree, and which the former owners said never bore fruit? The one that finally gave a harvest of the most delicious, plump apricots last summer? Yeah, they accidentally uprooted that one instead of the wormy apple tree.
I’m not sure whose look was more comical – my look of wide-eyed shock as I mouthed the word “no,” or the gardener’s alarmed chagrin when he saw me shake my head.
So we had quite a day. But there’s no use crying over cut apricot trees. Now we need to figure out how we want to redo the garden. We want a space for kids to play, but we also want cute, shady little fruit trees that give good fruit, not wormy ones. That’ll be on our list as soon as the house is done.
Want to know what else is going on? It’s the month of sales here!
I went to a not-that-nearby outlet store, and besides getting some necessary clothes for Matthieu, I also got a salt and pepper mill from …
Le Creuset! Can you believe there’s a Le Creuset outlet store? (Or perhaps it already exists in the States, and I’m so passé).
Wouldn’t you know that my salt and pepper mill from the not-that-nearby outlet store is actually a salt and salt mill? I forget to check that the black one had a P on top instead of an S. So I have to go back. grrr.
And I got a pretty bag for the spring. This is not something I usually splurge on – nor is it my usual color – but it was thankfully not pricey. And it’s soft.
We’re able to go to the States this summer and visit family and friends, as well as … the States! We rarely get to visit a city just for its own sake, but this time we’re going to Atlanta. That’s another thing that has kept me busy as I booked plane and car, planned out road trips, and contacted friends, and chose hotels.
It’s cold now, finally. It was such an unseasonably warm autumn, the crocuses had already started to come up, and the fruit trees – what’s left of them – had started to grow leaves. I fear the cold will do some damage there, and it’s not the best working conditions for our workers.
But overall, despite a few hiccups, I’ve been filled with gratitude for my life. It’s something I think about all the time, and wonder how I can give back.
Anyway, I think I’ve pretty much caught you up. I probably won’t write again until my book is OUT. Because I need to work on it, publish it, and be freed up for new projects.
Feel free to share what’s going on with you in the comments! See you soon!