I thought moving overseas might give us a respite from big home renovations...but nope! The shower in our room has been leaking ever since we moved in. The grout and caulk were covered in mold, and we were also smelling sewer gas constantly. Time for demolition!
Once we began taking down tiles and opening things up, we started groaning and grumbling. Whoever installed the shower did not do it right. The walls were set back so far that the edge of the tile was outside the shower pan. The tiles were mortared directly onto plywood, which meant that the plywood was constantly moist. Moisture + wood = mold and rot everywhere. We're sleeping on the guest bed in Ivy's room tonight, since our bed is standing up against the wall, and mold/rotted wood/plaster dust is everywhere.
We got the little wall and shower pan taken down and most of the tiles removed. I was going strong when Eric stopped me at 9 pm. Too noisy for nighttime.
We met our downstairs neighbors on the first day of school. They have a son Inga's age--he's even in the same class! She thought we were just here on vacation, so she was hesitant to introduce herself at first. She was pleasantly surprised when we showed up at school! Soon we started running into each other every day at school, around town, and in the building. Her son loves playing with our kids (and the feeling is mutual). He especially loves Inga and always asks to go upstairs and play with his copine.
They are super friendly and have already lent us baby gear and offered to babysit so Eric and I can go on dates. They own a restaurant down the street that serves traditional French food and is always packed. You have to reserve about 2 weeks in advance. I think that will be our first place to eat out!
Thief in the night
Last week we got robbed. Yes, now we are really living the dream in France. Someone broke into our building and stole 2 scooters and a skateboard. Zari and Dio were heartbroken. "But why would someone steal our scooters? Why?"
But what's even creepier is that I witnessed suspicious activities firsthand. Around 2 or 3 am, I started hearing male voices in our staircase and common areas. There are only 3 families in the entire building including ourselves, so I knew right away that they didn't belong. And our downstairs neighbor had told us that people often kick the door in at night to hang out and smoke in the hallways. These people kept turning the hall lights on and even woke Ivy up at one point.
Finally around 4 am I was wondering what was going on--I kept hearing people going up and down the stairs, doors slamming, and lights coming on and off. I opened our door suuuuuper quietly and peeked down the staircase. I saw a strange man exiting the abandoned apartment below us and locking the door behind him with a set of keys (it's been empty for at least 10 years...windows are all painted over...neighbors are certain that no one lives there). Then this strange man went downstairs, left the building, and started chatting with a scummy-looking group of men sitting near our front door. He went back inside our building with a set of keys, and back out again. (I opened our front shutters quietly and peeked down to see the street.) I watched him walk away, looking furtively over his shoulder.
We're all really concerned that someone has a set of keys to our building and to the abandoned apartment. When we came downstairs in the morning, the scooters and skateboard were missing...
The next day we filed a police report (called a "procès-verbal") and spoke with our neighbors, who then contacted the syndic (organization that oversees apartment buildings). We are waiting for an estimate on getting the locks changed and our door secured.
Random Ivy cuteness