Monday, January 31, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 405: Run wire cook

9,853 steps

I felt a lot of stress in my body when I woke up (some things related to home renovations, other things not at all) so I decided to go for a run. The rest of the morning I drew electrical schematics so I'd be ready for doing more wiring.

Ivy was supposed to have her 2nd dose of the Covid vaccine, but we had to postpone it due to her recent Covid infection.

I made tiramsu during lunch but it won't be ready until tomorrow.

After lunch, Eric and I headed downstairs to run electrical lines. We got outlets run in the bathroom and half of the bedroom. I then ran lines for the stove, oven, fridge, dishwasher, and washing machine. They're all hooked up to the circuit breaker and now need to be embedded in the walls and/or floors.

Dinner was steamed cauliflower with breadcrumbs toasted in butter (how I grew up eating cauliflower), then Toulouse sausages and fennel roasted with mustard, thyme, & red wine. Dessert was fromage blanc with red currant jelly.

I also got several breech videos edited, encoded, and uploaded.

We had piano lessons right after dinner. I put on a nature documentary via Arte (the channel mostly dedicated to documentaries) and it was a show about the wildlife in Borneo. Zari's teacher says that "Arte, c'est un trésor!"
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Sunday, January 30, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 404: Picnic with friends

15,152 steps

Today was less eventful than last Sunday (getting propositioned). We picniced at the Chateau with Inga's friend and her family and some of their relatives. My cousin came along too, plus a friend of Ivy's. It was glorious to sit in the sun, bask, and talk.

Once the sun got lower on the horizon and the trees shaded the grassy field, we headed home. Eric made salad and pasta. I read a book. After dinner we finished the final episode of Lupin.

Eric and I had a long talk last night about some of our worries/stresses/regrets/doubts regarding our kids. Are we raising them right? We've seen some changes that we don't like, noteably arguing and mean behavior between the kids. I know there is probably no family without these kinds of disputes, but still I don't want to just let it continue. How can we raise children to be more empathetic? To be kinder? (I'm not implying that they're monsters, not at all! But I think if you're a parent, you'll understand this worry.)
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Saturday, January 29, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 403: Yet another marathan soccer day

8,595 steps

Eric made it to 4 soccer tournaments and/or games today, one for each child. He deserves a soccer-coaching-watching medal. I went to Zari's game in the afternoon with Ivy and Inga and then went grocery shopping on the way home.

I had the luxury of waking up a bit later than normal (7:45) and then staying in bed reading for a very long time
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Friday, January 28, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 402: Messy work day

8,186 steps

Well, we got a lot done today. We built the other wall dividing the bathroom from the bedroom. Of course it wasn't so simple because we didn't have any useable lumber. No, of course not! Instead we had these old rough wooden beams salvaged from the false ceiling of Le Catamaran, complete with axe marks all over them. They were roughly 4x4" (10x10 cm) and about 8' long. Some were too warped to use, so I had to sort through them all and select the straightest ones.

Next, we had to plane and rip all of the beams until they resembled 2x4s...but a slightly different size because of course 100-year-old beams aren't standard sizes. Some of the beams were basically tree trunks cut into quarters.

I also painted the back side of the electrical cupboard the final coat of paint and then mounted the brackets that will hold the water heater. Then it was time for the really messy work. We broke out the rainureuse (diamond-bladed channel cutter) and the jackhammer and the diamond hole saw. I took a good amount more plaster off the front stone wall and cut channels for electricity.

I came up in time to prep dinner and put it in the oven (Tuscan butter gnocchi) and then I made a trip to the hardware store and thrift store.

Eric made crepes for dessert and we watched another episode of Lupin. It's so well done!

I was really tired by time we finished dinner. I just want to curl up in bed and SLEEP!
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Thursday, January 27, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 400-401: Heat pump woes

Yesterday was so stressful that I couldn't even bring myself to write about it. Today I'm feeling a bit more optimistic so here is the drama of the past two days.

So, remember back in the summer when we had heat pumps installed for both floors? Well, it turns out the installer didn't put the compressors on the roof, which is what we had originally gotten permission for. Instead, he put them on a side wall on our building, one that faces inward near a courtyard (ie, not visible from the street). But in all of Old Nice, it's forbidden to mount heat pumps, ventilation fans, etc on any facade.

Also the installer never asked us if it was ok and never even told us he did it. We only found out afterward. (He might not have known the regulations in Old Nice...but still, he should have talked to us first).

And then, a month ago, we got an official notice of complain from the building next door about our AC units. Although they are attached to our wall, they technically overhang the "space" owned by the building and so that building has jurisdiction over that area.

For the past month I've been trying to get the AC guy to move the compressors up onto the roof, where they should have gone on the first place. He's been slow to respond and still hasn't even figured out a solution of how to mount them (depsite me sending him ideas).

Yesterday, I got an email from our syndic (the person who manages our building) that the neighbors have filed a formal complaint with the city department in charge of urban planning. We have to get hte compressors moved ASAP or face a lawsuit and/or a process with the police.

The problem is: now that the city is aware of our situation, we might not be able to simply mount them on the roof as originally planned. Even though technically it's not against regulations, the city will now be coming to inspect our rooftop and we have to get permission in advance and have our plans approved before we do anything.

So that was yesterday. I was so stressed last night that it felt like the terrible period of panic attacks and insomnia I went through 4 years ago. And of course I woke up at 4:45 am and couldn't turn my brain off.

But, I called the city office first thing in the morning and ended up with a really helpful person. He was familiar with our case and I explained what had happened up to that point and asked what we should do next. He said to email him with our proposed installation and gave us some ideas that would likely help, such as hiding the compressors inside of a little enclosure made to look like a chimney.

His office is in charge of historic preservation so they need to ensure the esthetic qualities of any changes to the exterior buildings. And I appreciate that they're doing's just a pain that we have to go through all of this now! But I left the phone call feeling more optimistic.

I called our syndic and explained the situation. Then I drafted a proposal outlining our installation plans and CC'd our syndic and our AC installer on everything.

It's definitely not something you're taught how to do in French class!

Here is the letter I wrote, plus pictures I took up on the rooftop:

"Bonjour M. ___,

Merci de m'avoir parlé ce matin. J'espère qu'on peut trouver une solution rapidement afin de déplacer les compresseurs et de soulager l'immeuble à côté.

Je propose d'installer les deux compresseurs sur notre toit derrière les puits de lumière. Dans cette photo, j'ai marqué l'emplacement provisoire en bleu. Notre installateur va poser les compresseurs sur un type de support pour les toits inclinés; il est actuellement en train de chercher une solution pour la pose.

Ensuite on peut créer une fausse cheminée qui entoure les compresseurs et les supports, peinte de la même couleur que notre façade. Je suis montée sur notre toit et j'ai pris une photo des cheminées dans le voisinage (flèches bleues). La cage sera enlevable pour l'entretien des compresseurs.

3 faces de la cage seront solides et une face aura un grille en métal qui permet la ventilation des compresseurs. (Comme dans la photo ci-bas).

J'espère que cette solution sera agréable pour vous et que cela va préserver l'esthétisme du Vieux Nice. Nous sommes aussi ouverts à d'autres idées ou suggestions. N'hésitez pas à nous contacter par mail ou téléphone.

Rixa et Eric FREEZE"

Then I went on a run because I had all this nervous energy to discharge. Then Eric and I built a wall.

ps, you can spy at least one unauthorized compressor in the 2nd photo.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 399: Video editing

I have a big project due ASAP (which I would have finished sooner if not for getting Covid). I worked on the Powerpoint in the morning, filmed in the afternoon, and have been editing all evening.

I ended filming the whole thing twice because for some reason my phone didn't save the first recording!

We finished the last episode of Lupin Season 1. It's really good even the second time around.

I meant to get out more today...but didn't. Oops.

Eric made magret de canard and salad and we finished off the lemon cheesecake. Bonne nuit!
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Monday, January 24, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 398: Puttering around in Le Catamaran

2,412 steps

My cousin came down with Covid. She had a scratchy throat and a runny nose yesterday, so she tested just in case. Fortunately we can all be together so her isolation period won't be too boring!

Eric and I did little things in her apartment this afternoon: towel bars, towel rings, little shelves above the toilet, changing lightbulbs, weatherstripping. She was a good sport despite the noise.

I have a breech lecture I need to film and edit tomorrow. I'm behind schedule due to getting Covid.

Oh, after soooo much time looking we finally found a place to stay so we can go skiing! Eric has been looking and looking and has tried to book several places, none of which worked out. This one must have been a last-minute cancellation. Less than 2 weeks now...I need to start doing squats so my legs aren't too sore.

Dinner was red lentil dahl on basmatic rice, then lemon cheesecake for dessert. I still am not tasting some flavors as strongly.
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Sunday, January 23, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 396-97: Crazy stunts in Cap Ferrat and getting propositioned in Nice

11,305 steps

We took a family outing yesterday morning (with my cousin, minus Zari) to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. We hiked the Sentier Littoral while Eric spearfished and then met at Place Passable for lunch.

During our hike, we saw a man pulling a crazy stunt: slacklining between two outcroppings with the line going waaaaay far over the sea. He had on some kind of harness but still...this guy had guts.

Once he made his way out over the water, he started jumping on the rope, doing flips around it. I wonder how he got the rope on both places in the first place.

This easy hike--more of a pleasant walk than a hike, given there was no elevation gain--wore me out and I had to take a nap in the afternoon. Stupid Covid.

So yeah, I was tired and didn't write an update last night. Today I had my usual walk to & from Cimiez...which reminds me! I have a hilarious story to tell about my walk home.

So I was walking back home listening to a podcast. I passed a man, probably around my age (give or take who knows how many years). He made eye contact and said something to me as I passed him, enough that I stopped and took out my earphones.

"Do you speak English?" he asked me both French and English (with a West African accent).

I replied in French: "Yes, I speak both English and French."

He then launched into a spiel about how he had seen me before (which doesn't surprise me--I walk the same route every Sunday) and how I was so beautiful and he just had to talk to me.

Okay...well then. I kept trying to respond in French but it became evident that his English was far better than his French.

Inwardly I was laughing because was this guy really trying to hit on me? Or what else was his intent? He kept talking, complimenting my beauty, which of course just made me laugh even more inside because when anyone starts talking about my beauty, it just makes me roll my eyes rather than feel flattered.

So I just let the conversation go on without taking the easy way out (you know, mentioning overtly that I was not available aka I have 4 kids at am married, that kind of thing). I was wondering, "Okay, when is he going to say what he really wants to say?" Because I am curious that way, I guess.

I asked where he was from (Gambia) and we had a short conversation about why I liked being in France more than in the States (fewer problems with racism, better social security, less divided politically), about his name (Suleiman, but it's easier for English speakers to say Solomon), etc. He still wasn't getting to his point and I wasn't going to make it easy for him. I was really curious to see what his point was after all of this effort.

Finally he asked a question to fish out more about me: "Do you have a family?"

"Yes, I have 4 children."

"And do you have a husband?"


"And is he here in France with you?"


Next thing he asked:

"Can I have your phone number?"


"But why not?"

"I prefer not to give my phone number."

"But you are so beautiful. Can I have your phone number, just for you and me?"

"No thank you."

I have to give it to him. He kept trying. It was a valiant effort but doomed to failure. I thanked him for his interest and, with a smile, wished him a good day and continued on my walk.

This reminds me of when I was in Amsterdam back in 2016 and another man approached me on the street and did his best to try to get to know me, to invite me out to lunch, etc. Even me mentioning being married with 4 children didn't dissuade him all that much. They both get an "A" for effort.
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Friday, January 21, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 395: Electrical panel 2.0

5,074 steps

Well, we are making progress on the front apartment. Eric had a pickup soccer game this morning. I painted the final coat inside the electrical cupboard, then installed the main breaker as well as the electrical panel. All we need is our electrician friend to come by and install a "répartiteur de courant" in Le Catamaran and we will have power in the front! Woohoo!


After lunch we made yet another trip to Leroy Merlin, primarily to return the wrong size dishwasher. But of course we had all sorts of other things to return and to buy. We made it back in time to pick up the girls from school.

I cooked saag feta, basmatic, and tarte au chocolat tonight. Then we wall watched an episode of Lupin together with my cousin. The kids hadn't seen it yet either so we restarted at the beginning.

Tomorrow will be fun: a family hike! Zari will have to miss because she has a soccer match in the morning.
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Thursday, January 20, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 394: Out of Covid jail!

3,871 steps

Trying to figure out post-covid-infection protocols has been challenging. Does finishing a 7-day isolation period trump an ongoing positive test? We finally got confirmation today that we can all, in fact, resume our normal activities even if we continue to test positive. Apparently it's not unusual to test postitive for quite some time post-infection, but you're not considered contagious after a week (especially if you've been vaccinated).

So yay, I can go grocery shopping and run errands again. And my cousin was finally able to join us for meals today! Ivy and Inga vied for who got to sit next to her at dinner. We watched a show on Arte (nature/documentary channel) about summer in Norway and then one episode of Canine Interventions.

Eric and I got the electrical closet built, not a small feat considering that a) none of the walls are straight or level and b) we were using random scraps of wood, most of which were warped in at least one direction as well. But we made it work with lots of ripping boards with table saws and lining everything up with a laser level.

We built the back wall of the closet out of tongue-and-groove boards left over from our subfloor, and I painted the inside of the closet white. I have one more coat to put on tomorrow and then I can FINALLY install the electricity in the front apartment.

I did a huge video editing job this morning (for an online breech conference). Now that that is done, I have one more presentation to film and edit.

Inga has been having fun at her friend's house. Her friend got 2 pet rats for Christmas and the mama rat just had babies. 10 little rat babies. They are now getting some fur and apparently are super cute.

Ivy had a friend over: they both tested positive around the same time, so extra safe to play together now!

It was Eric's turn to make dinner: sauteed green beans, quiche Lorraine, and salmon-mussel quiche. Storebought organic pain d'épices (gingerbread cake) for dessert. Not bad, but I still think homemade would be better. I think I'll make saag feta tomorrow.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 392-93: Tired

I forgot to write last night. I'm still feeling off and tend to get really worn out in the evenings. The 3 of us are STILL testing positive. The current French guidelines allow vaccinated people to go back to school after 7 full days of isolation without testing at the this means Zari was allowed to go back. I have to call to see if this is also the case for Ivy, given that France just started allowing vaccinations for younger children.

Anyway I just want to rest. I should take it easy but have too much going on!
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Monday, January 17, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 391: Baby reunion

Wow, a friend of mine sent me a picture of us together with our babies in 2011 (Inga at around 5 months old, her with her first baby). Thank you Desiree!

Cavigal is advertising its next soccer camp and Ivy is featured on the poster!

We got everyone tested and...the positives are still positive! Boo...we'll re-test Zari and Ivy on Wednesday and see if they can go to school at some point this week.

I helped Eric work on the front apartment this afternoon. We got more metal rails embedded in place (marking the final height of the finished subfloor). It's slow, fiddly work because everything has to be placed just right, down to the last millimeter.

I'm still feeling a bit off and more tired than usual. I also admit I have a hard time slowing down...but I am already so behind. Argh.
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Sunday, January 16, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 390: Sun, ahhhh

6,262 steps

I think I'm the only one with lingering Covid symptoms. They are all pretty mild, thankfully: fatigue, a slight alteration in my sense of taste, and just feeling a bit "off." 3 of us will get tested tomorrow morning.

Half the family had to stay home from church this morning. We had a lovely afternoon at the beach basking in the full sun. Eric napped, I read a book and napped a bit, Inga and Ivy played the whole time, Zari drew pictures on rocks, and Dio grumped about how it was really boring. And my cousin (technically my cousin's daughter, but we'll just call her my cousin!) came along with us and read a book.

I know it wasn't much but it was just so amazing to go out and strip down to a camisole and roll up my pant legs as high as they would go.

Eric made dinner tonight: a big salad, grilled sausages, and Tunisian octopus salad (from an octopus he caught a while back and put in the freezer).
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Saturday, January 15, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 389: So much for taking it easy

Today was fun but a bit busier than it should have been. Eric was away most of the day coaching or watching soccer games: Ivy's game in the morning (minus Ivy since she hasn't finished her 5-day isolation) and Dio's game right after.

We delivered lunch down to my cousin. She'll get meal delivery service until we're all out of quarantine. Then we took her out on a walk all around Old Nice, the chateau, and the port. We being me, Ivy, and Inga. Zari opted to stay home. She got tested this morning because her soccer coach really wanted her to play in a game today, but she's still positive.

I made risotto with saucisses de Toulouse, white wine, onions, chicken broth, & parmesan, plus a salad, sourdough bread, and our favorite yogurts for dessert.

I had to leave just as I served dinner because I had 3+ hours of meetings online. First was a breech live session, then a podcast interview. By the end I was feeling worn out and a bit overextended. But glad to have done both events.
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Friday, January 14, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 388: Tour of Le Catamaran

My cousin's daughter arrived today to stay in Le Catamaran for 3 months. She's taking a semester off university to work on her French. So I thought I'd give you a tour of our progress so far since we won't be showing much of it for the next several months.

I used a wide-angle lens to be able to show more of the space at once. As you can see, we've made good progress on the kitchen. I removed the epoxy grout haze today and Zari brushed on the first coat of oil on the countertops. We are still waiting for the doors & drawers to arrive (they are wood Shaker-style doors in a beautiful green the color the copper turns as it oxidizes). The open space in the bottom will hold a narrow dishwasher.

Due to Covid and life, I didn't have time to post yesterday. I'm not entirely over it, but each day is better. Ivy is good as new today. Hoping for continued improvement and no new infections among the males in our family!
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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 386: 4/6

Another one down with Covid: Ivy. She woke up feeling terrible so I had a couch/snuggle buddy all day. I'm feeling improved from yesterday: mild fever & headache, plus a pleghm-y cough. (Is that a word?) We both got tested today but honestly I had no doubts that we were both positive.

Eric and Inga tested again this morning: negative. Good news for Inga: she is cleared to play soccer and go to school.

Dio's soccer practices were cancelled this week, so I made both him and Zari exercise today. After lots of moaning and groaning, they decided to do PE With Joe together.

I have read a lot of books the last two days. A LOT. It's my standard coping mechanism for stress, pain, or just about anything else that needs coping.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 385: 3/6

Well, we are all succumbing to Covid. Zari tested positive this morning (no symptoms, required due to school policy of being a "cas contact"). I woke up at 2 am feeling absolutely awful: mainly a fever and terrible headache. I haven't got myself tested yet but am certain it's Covid. So far Dio and Ivy are still negative. Eric and Inga have to test tomorrow for school & soccer regulations.

So I was a helpless blob on the couch all day. I finally caved midday and took acetominaphen because my headache was so terrible. It did dial down the headache and fever for several hours.

I hobbled downstairs and helped Eric and Zari cut the hole for the sink and put the sink plumbing together. We also took off the tile leveling clips. Eric did quite a bit more work after I hit my limit, getting the remaining bookshelves cut, sanded, and primed.
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Monday, January 10, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 384: Going viral

Covid is making the rounds in all the kids' schools. Previous to the Omicron variant, we hardly knew anyone who'd had Covid. Maybe one or two people but no one in our close circle of friends. But's everywhere! Several kids in both Zari's and Dio's classes have it. Ivy's class just had 2 new infections today (one asymptomatic case, in Ivy's best friend, discovered after the class was closed and everyone required to test). Not to mention all sorts of other people we know.

Inga got out more today; she put on her N95 mask and hung out with us while we installed the backsplash tile. She helped install the bookshelf brackets, which she loved.

I think if any more kids test positive, we might just have to give up and let them circulate freely within our apartment. It's been a challenge keeping Inga isolated and I'm not sure if any of the others would put up with it.

We had a great workday: we installed the entire backsplash by early afternoon. Then we did all sorts of little tasks, those last things that you often leave undone because they aren't entirely necessary: caulking, putting last little bits of trim up, etc.

And we finally got the bathroom mirror installed! It was tricky because it had to go on a stone wall which, of course, didn't have any flat spots! So I had to drill deep into the rocks for the screw holes, install long anchors sticking out of the rock a ways, and then build up a flat area with lime mortar where the brackets would go. All this work just to put up a mirror! But I love it--very Art Deco and only 10 Euros.

I went out this evening to drop off recycling and took a moment to appreciate the beautiful place where we live.

Also a random thing Inga made yesterday: "Picasso Dio," based on a picture of the curtains in her isolation room.

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Sunday, January 09, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 383: Sunny Sunday

3,481 steps

Wow, I really didn't go far today: just to the beach and back in the afternoon for some family Vitamin D therapy. Inga and I stayed the whole time at the beach, while Eric took Ivy and Zari up to the chateau. Dio griped about being bored and finally after an hour I told him to walk up and down the chateau and then he could go home. (What is up with him not ever wanting to leave the house? It's not like we're doing anything that interesting here!)

I read for much of the day, except for cooking dinner (chana dal on basmati rice) and baking 4 large sourdough loaves. Oh, and watching 2 episodes of The Flash with the family.

I wanted to get outside and go on a walk with Eric but our evening ended up flying by, mostly helping kids with homework or putting them to bed.
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Saturday, January 08, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 382: Soccer and sunbathing

When I woke up this morning, I texted Inga to see how she was doing. "Much better!" We had a fun time texting silly things for a while.

I brought Ivy to her first vaccination appointment. They did a quick antibody test to see if she had had a recent infection (no). On the way home we stopped at the Asian food store for things I can't get in the normal grocery stores.

I picked up 6 antibody tests for the kids to take 2 & 4 days after their initial tests. These are required to be able to continue attending school. Ivy's was scheduled for today. We figured it out, despite all of the instructions being in German.

Ivy and Zari had soccer games this afternoon. I took Dio and Inga sunbathing (in an isolated part of the beach, don't worry, and Inga wore her N95 mask until we were settled in our spot). It felt amazing to bask in the sun. Dio complained of being bored after a while, so I told him he had to go up and down the chateau and then he could go back home. Inga played with rocks and seeds that had fallen off the palm trees.

We'll have a quiet day at home tomorrow.
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Friday, January 07, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 381: When a positive is a negative

Almost two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, we had our first positive test: Inga. She woke up not feeling well (headache and fever) so we kept her out of school and got her tested. All of the months and years of isolation and masking and foregoing indoor gatherings, and it still happened.

Granted, we have been allowing the kids to play at friends' houses for a little while...but the only friend Inga has played with over the past few weeks is negative as of today. I'm suspecting it came either from school or riding the tram on the way to soccer.

Given the explosion of the omicron variant, I'm not all that surprised it happened now. But still there's the stress and uncertainty of how this will play out: how many of us will also get sick? Will Inga be one of the majority who get Covid and recover without long-term illness? Or will she be one of the statistics of Long Covid or worse?

Good news, though: France approved vaccination for 5-11 year olds recently so Ivy is already booked for hers.

A lot of my day was spent taking care of Covid-stuff: calling all of the schools, getting all of the kids tested (everyone else is negative so far), sending their test results to all of the schools, updating our test results on the national app that does contact tracing.

Right now the protocols for elementary school is: if a student tests positive, the class is "closed" and students have to test 3x (once every other day) in order to be able to attend classes. They can keep attending right away as long as they provide negative tests everyother day. It's mostly the same in middle- and high-school; if students are fully vaccinated and considered a "close contact," they can continue attending with the same testing regimen.

For now we made a "Covid isolation room" for Inga, aka our bedroom. It overlooks the living room, so we can see and talk with each other. I took periodic trips into the room to snuggle Inga (with my N95 mask on). I know it mght be overkill since Inga was breathing all over Ivy and Dio in the little attic bedroom they shared last night. But as long as we have the rest of the family testing negative, we'll keep Inga separated. 

Inga has been a great sport about putting on her own N95 when she leaves the room to go to the bathroom. I caught her carefully spraying any surfaces she'd touched: doorknobs, light switches, toilet seats, etc.

She was bored, though. I brought her a phone so we could text each other on WhatsApp, and she talked with one of her friends a bit too. I let her borrow my computer to watch and episode of The Flash. She wasn't very hungry until the evening, but she still managed to have honey-lemon tea, red berry tea, bone broth, and then a hamburger for dinner.

And with Inga camped out in our bedroom, that means we got to move down to Le Catamaran! It's so nice down here. Maybe we'll just stay here permanently :) Well, I have a relative coming a week from now (provided we are all testing negative at that point) but it's a nice thought.

Dio wasn't feeling well today, so after lunch I let him stay home. And this evening I'm kind of feeling we'll see if we get more negatives turning into positives.

Okay, so on to other news: we were hoping to tile the backsplash today. With Covid interrupting these plans, we still got a lot done. I painted the special primer on the areas that will be tiled. Then we cut most of the difficult holes for the outlets. They are perfectly sized and line up precisely where the should. So satisfying. We also got the oven wired and installed. It works! I mixed up a small batch of lime mortar for where we'll be installing the bathroom mirror upstairs.

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Thursday, January 06, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 370 & 380: Unmotivated

6,593 steps

I did not want to work on the communist apartment today. I just wanted to lie on the couch and read a book. But...I made myself keep at it. Today we cut and installed the counterop, then cut the hole for the induction cooktop and got it hooked up. It actually works!!! It should, but there's always that awful moment of suspension when you flip the circuit breaker and hit the power button for the first time.

If we can get everything prepped quickly tomorrow morning, the plan is to tile the backsplash. I have to paint the backsplash area with this special primer (primaire d'accrochage) so that might put us back a bit. But we could start cutting tiles while it's drying.

Ivy had to get tested for Covid today since one of her soccer teammates tested positive. I have a feeling we'll be doing lots of testing in the near future. 261,000 new cases today.

Dio came home from school frustrated and stressed over a Spanish assignment involving a lot of memorization, due tomorrow. I'm proud of him, though; he got to work and had everything memorized by the end of the evening. He was also disappoined over a bad grade he got in art class becuase he misunderstood the assignment.

Apparently there are lots of kids missing from his class; 5 have already tested positive for Covid.

I had a podcast interview about breech birth this evening; I'll post a link when it's ready. I am doing another podcast interview this weekend. Good thing I never get tired talking about breech 🙂

Also I found a short video from New Year's Eve.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 378: A kitchen day

8,387 steps

Another trip to Leroy Merlin for kitchen supplies (tiles, grout, & mortar for the backsplash, wood countertop). I got all of the upper and lower cabinets clamped and then screwed together. Later in the afternoon I cut a paper template for the countertop. So we might be installing the countertop soon! Exciting.

Nothing else remarkable from today. Oh, I ordered an embroidery kit with hoops, lots of colors of floss, and some cross-stitch fabric. Ivy and Inga are both working on projects. Inga's is a wolf and Ivy's is a fancy depiction of the word "Love." I love their determination and focus. They're excited about waking up tomorrow morning to keep working.

And....France's Covid numbers were just published. 271,000 new cases today.
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Monday, January 03, 2022

French apartment renovations, Day 377: (Home) movie night

Just finished watching Don't Look Up and it's suuuper late. Will write more tomorrow!
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Sunday, January 02, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 376: cross over Covid

I think we traumatized the kids: this morning I expressed strong feelings about not going to in-person church this week, given the explosion of Covid cases here in France. (Yesterday we had over 232,000 new cases.) Eric strongly expressed his disagreement. The kids aren't used to us disagreeing strongly. Ivy even wrote about it in her journal. It's so hard to know what the best decision is, since yes the kids are going to school tomorrow so would it make a difference by avoiding today's interaction?

In the end we did stay home and watched on Zoom instead. The in-person crowd was very small due to Covid and holidays.

After that was done, Ivy and Inga built a big fort in the living room. 

We took a family outing to the chateau in the afternoon and ran into the family of one of Inga's friends. They were picnicing and playing soccer so we joined in.

Zari and Dio are stressed about school starting up again. I feel a bit bad that this vacation wasn't all that exciting. The first week was spent hosting our friends and the second week I was out of commission due to illness. So we didn't really "do" anything.
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Saturday, January 01, 2022

French apartment renovations, Days 375: Toothpaste blues

We ran out of toothpaste this morning before anyone but me could brush their teeth. I usually have a stock of toothpaste, but that too had been depleted. And on a major holiday in France, nothing is open. I walked all over: no grocery stores, no pharmacies. Even the huge Carrefour was closed. I managed to find a tiny epicerie in the afternoon that was open; my next choice would have been looking up the "pharmacie de garde" because by law there always has to be a pharmacy open somewhere off-hours. Bad breath crisis averted.

It was overcast today. We thought of doing an outdoor activity, but the lack of sun made me go "nah, another time." Inga went to a friend's house, Ivy invited a friend over, and we made Zari and Dio go outside for an hour. They moaned and groaned but eventually went out and had a good time. Eric went spearfishing and caught a dorade and an octopus.

I did some work on the 2021 breech research update and hemmed two curtains for Le Catamaran. Also painted 6 shelves. I've found myself a bit wanting for projects to work on--small enough projects that I can do them up here, rather than down in the Communist apartment. I like having something I can work on with my hands but still be involved with others. Some people do knitting or crocheting, but alas I've never really figured those out.

I was super hungry today. I let my body eat as much as it wanted, when it wanted. Tomorrow I'll resume my normal intermittent fasting.

We finished the last two episodes of The Flash, Season 5. Zari is constantly yelling at the screen: "Come on! Too much drama! That's ridiculous!"

Eric and I went on an evening walk, the first in a long time.
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