Sunday, October 2, 2011

a year in review, part three of three

I now hope to finish the review of being in France for a year. With the T.V. crew finished and departed all of us fell into a spell of exhaustion. Gary and Susan had seen me at my worst; I was frazzled beyond belief, we had worked feverishly in order to get the kitchen, living room, and bathroom ready for the “reveal” for the T.V. show and ideally I should have been shipped off to an isolation ward. We now were able to focus on finishing the upstairs so we could entertain the thought of having our business commence. I think I calculated we had six more weeks till the tourist season would be on us. It should be do-able; we purchased more electrical supplies, around fifteen hundred dollars’ worth, and some plumbing supplies that added up to about a thousand and started roughing in the upstairs. Then the well ran dry, not figuratively, literally, the water supply for the house dried up, well the water level dropped about six feet due to the severe drought. Our well now had about a foot of water in it, no way to pump it without blowing out the pump, it would pump the foot in three minutes, then be sucking silt, heating up then frying up its insides. We solved the problem by hooking up a hose from our house to our neighbor’s house and tapping off their city water line until we could connect ourselves. It’s weird, living on fifty acres with only one house within a kilometer of us and they are that close, about a hundred and fifty feet away. That forced us the go through the French offices dealing with arranging for the city to come out, give us a bid, schedule the crew to install the street connection and water meter, then actually get the work done. From start to finish this work took just over two months. As the spring turned into summer, we had completed so much work, yet still had lots to do in order to finish the house. We continued working on the upstairs rooms, and started the second bath. We had a family stay with us, we thought we were ready, but after their visit, we decided that we were not where we wanted to be with the house. The decision was made to postpone business until next year. A week later an Advertising agency contacted Cindy regarding freelance work for their Amsterdam office, we were blessed with this turn of events as it allowed me to continue working on the house. We decided that because the weather was so perfect, that I should get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air. So I started really detailing out the landscaping, cleaned off the tile roofs, actually cleared out a couple pastures, cleaned up the horse corral, installed a stone border up and down the driveway, then got delivered ten cubic meters of crushed stone and spread it up and down the driveway. I will say it was rewarding, I put ten pounds back on and have never been in such great shape, As it is now October I will return back inside and complete the second, second floor bathroom, insulate the attic, remodel the first floor bath, complete the first floor hallway, and hopefully redesign the front entryway as right now it’s not as inviting as we want it to be. We have two cast iron wood stoves being delivered next week so we look forward to this old stone house being warm this winter, as a couple days ago I cut a ton of firewood and split it into wood stove size. They say a man (or woman) who cuts their own fire wood is twice warmed, how quaint, remind me next time not to split wood when it’s ninety fucking degrees out. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and am reassured that it’s not an oncoming train, we have settled into a more normal work mode, persevering and steady not frantically focused on what our perceived priorities are, this house has gotten used to us now, and every so often gives us hints as to what needs to be done next.
Cindy and I are still excited each day we wake up, and at sunset each night while sharing a glass of red wine. Well that’s not entirely true, we don’t share a glass of red wine, we each have our own glass. As a matter of fact we toasted to our sixteenth year of marriage last night. Salute Henri'