Thursday, March 30, 2023

Wroclaw, Day 1: In transit

Thursday, March 30, 2023 I left before 8 am to catch a flight to Frankfurt and then to Wroclaw, Poland. Leaving my family always makes me apprehensive--what if something bad happens while I'm away? I suppose that's part of the package deal of being a parent.

I haven't sat still for a very long time until today, where I had enforced sitting for long periods of time. As a result, I kept falling asleep during the flights! I was reading a book but even that couldn't keep me awake. Then starting tomorrow I'll have three very intense days.

I arrived to my airbnb around 4 pm. I hadn't eaten anything all day. Once I got settled, I headed out to a nearby corner grocery store and bought food: salads, sandwiches, pierogi, meat, cheese, and bread. After my lunch/dinner meal, I took a walk around the Old Town before nightfall.

I'm sharing an apartment with Paul Golden, a UK-trained midwife and human rights activist currently residing in Slovenia. He and another midwife from Spain are coming to help as my assistants. He got in late this evening and we had a good chat until we realized how late it was!

I was able to video chat with everyone back home before bedtime. Eric's going to have a busy weekend with all of the soccer games and other activities. Zari has her big knee appointment tomorrow.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 658: Departures

We are grandparent-less. They left at 9:30 this morning.

I put the last two coats of finish on the kitchen floor. We had our usual soccer afternoon. Ivy had to join me since we no longer have grandparents to help out with the soccer shuffle. We made a quick trip to the big home improvement store, primarily for the bathroom sink and secondarily for miscellaneous hardware.

I'm getting ready for a few days of teaching and may not post until it's done. Bonne nuit!
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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 657: Last day, ear troubles

My parents leave tomorrow. Cue lots of crying. They have been enormously helpful with both renovations and keeping the household running while we were renovating. Next year, they'll be back for 3 months with a beautiful apartment to live in!

We took a break from renovating mid-day and went out to eat at a new restaurant. It was good. A bit overpriced because they had run out of their 19 Euro lunch menu (I've never heard of that before!) so all but one of us had to order a la carte.

Despite this being the final day, we still made great progress in the apartment. My dad grouted the tile this morning, then helped me modify an old dresser so it can have water supply & drain lines going through it. Eric rented a big sander and we got the kitchen floor sanded, raised the grain, sanded it down again, and then put on the first coat of finish. 2 coats tomorrow and then it's done!

Since our table saw is currently in Germany awaiting replacement, we went to a local woodworking shop to help us trim and rout the wood that will become the staircase treads. Normally we'd do it ourselves...if we had the tools. He only charged us 40 Euros so that wasn't too bad at all.

There was another huge protest today, which led to some exceptional closures of the middle school for several hours. Students couldn't leave or return during that period, which meant that Inga and Dio, who had come home for lunch, couldn't go back to their classes until 2:30 pm!

Zari had her bac blanc today and thinks she did well. Now that her big presentations and exams are over, she can relax.

Oh, and at lunchtime when I took my earplugs out, I was immediately dizzy and my ears felt totally plugged. I irrigated them with warm water and a "poire" (bulb syringe) but that still didn't solve it. All day I've been dizzy and hard of earing. I did some hydrogen peroxide treatments and more irrigating. Ugh. So annoying. It's a bit better now but I'm guessing there's still more residue causing a blockage.
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Monday, March 27, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 656: Out of sorts

I'm tired from the changing of the clocks plus getting to bed at 1 am last night. I don't even feel like updating or posting pictures or anything. I suppose I'm allowed to opt out on occasion.

So I'll compromise with a super quick version of renovation progress: we laid the rest of the kitchen floor, installed the staircase stringers, tiled the wall behind the bathroom sink, got the dresser (that will become the sink) restored and the new dragon claw legs put on. Not bad for one day.

Other news...Zari's presentation went well. She has to do it again in a month for the official grade. She has her bac blanc - Français tomorrow. It's a 4-hour written exam. Then I told her she and I need to do some exercise: weightlifting and core exercises given her knee injury.

Our neighbor downstairs went to the conseil de classe for Dio's grade and she said he got a "les félicitations" and that the teachers spoke highly of him. Awwwww....he is a really good kid (who is taller than Eric and has a voice just as low now.)

Ivy got a birthday cupcake with "fireworks," as she called them. Zari said, "No Ivy, they're not fireworks, they're sparklers." (Zari is always one to argue the smallest semantics. I tell her she should be a lawyer.)

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Sunday, March 26, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 655: Blown away birthday party

We trekked up to the chateau about a half hour in advance. Eric didn't want to take the car and said Zari would be fine going up on crutches. I really pressed to use the car but to no avail. Then Zari started down our stairs and was really struggling...and she had over 350 more stairs to navigate!

Meanwhile Eric had gone ahead with everyone but me, Zari, and my mom. I was carrying a 6-layer cake (very heavy!) and Zari was quite a bit behind me. She was debating whether to come at all. Eric came back down as I was about halfway up the hill and told him he needed to fetch her in the car. I'm so glad he did because Zari really wanted to come.

I carried that heavy cake all the way to the top of the chateau and got tons of comments from passers-by. "When can I come over?" "Wow, what a beautiful cake." "Can I have some?" (All in French, of course). A tourist took a picture of me halfway up the chateau.

We didn't really have anything organized as far as games...but we didn't need to. The kids all ran around and played in the ruins until we called them together for cake. By that time, the wind had picked up and was gusting so severely that we were getting sand- and dust-storms swirling around us. The cake kept getting dusted with sand!

We huddled under a blanket, sang a quick "Happy Birthday", and ate cake. Then we decided to hurry home. The wind was gusting up to 120 mph in some parts of Nice and the chateau was closing early. So the last half of the party was VERY cosy in our little apartment.

While the kids were playing hide and seek, we took most of the adults down for a tour of the Communist apartment.

Also it changed to daylight saving time last night and we all had a bit of a harder time starting this morning.

Zari has a big oral presentation tomorrow and then the bac blanc (Français) on Tuesday. Lots of pressure right now and on top of it she has this injury.

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Saturday, March 25, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 654: Ivy is 10!!

It was a strange birthday with people coming and going, including the birthday girl. Ivy was at a sleepover last night and didn't get back until noon.

Inga has been gone since late morning at a friend's birthday outing, then to a Cavigal game that they won 9-0, then back home for 5 minutes to shower, eat birthday cupcakes, sing happy birthday, and watch Ivy open the presents she bought for her. Then she went back to her friend's house for a sleepover.

We have a big party planned for tomorrow with a 6-layer cake, loads of snacks, and possibly some obstacle courses and/or treasure hunts. I didn't even take any pictures of Ivy today since I knew I'd be taking lots tomorrow.

Eric, my mom, and I went to the Ikea kitchen store to look at colors and styles. Honestly I don't like any of them! I might buy just the cabinets there and look for the facades elsewhere. We are pressed for time and need the cabinets in ASAP.

For those who haven't followed along for the past 10 years, you can read Ivy's birth story here:

Her birth video is here: (no fancy editing, just the footage of the last part)

Birth photos:

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Friday, March 24, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 653: House call for Zari's knee

Cavigal now has a dedicated physical therapist. When he heard about Zari's knee, he called immediately to ask more questions about our visit at the ER. "That will not do at all! It was much to quick and not thorough enough!"

He came by after work to bring her several difference braces. One is a compression ice brace and the other for daytime use. The brace Zari got at the hospital is fine for nighttime but nearly impossible to walk in.

He also made some phone calls and was able to get Zari an appointment with an orthopedic knee surgeon--the one who operated on a Super Duper Famous Athlete. That will take place on Friday. The specialist will be able to do some tests to rule out any possible damage to the tendons or ligaments in that area, with an MRI if he suspects damage.

We had a productive day in the Communist apartment. I got the sliding French doors stabilized with the floor guide and then set the door stops in the right places. We routed all of the grooves in the staircase stringers, raised the grain, sanded them down, and put the first coat of finish on (Bona Classic primer). We also cleared out the entire kitchen area and laid half of the flooring. My dad said, "This is the first time I've seen the kitchen!"

We'll do two more coats of finish over the weekend and put the stringers in place on Monday. Then we're at a standstill for the stairs until our new table saw arrives...who knows when? But that's ok--we have flooring to lay and finish, tiling behind the bathroom sink, lights to install. We'll stay busy.

Ivy is at a sleepover tonight, and when she wakes up she will be 10 YEARS OLD! I can't believe it. She's going to help me frost and decorate her birthday cake. We're going to pick ivy leaves and brush them with melted chocolate, like we've done for many other birthday cakes.
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Thursday, March 23, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 652: Zari at the ER, Eric falling off a ladder...what is wrong??

Well today has certainly been interesting. Not in a good way. Zari biked to soccer practice (trams are all closed due to a big strike today). At practice she was dribbling the ball and her knee gave out. At first she thought it was ok, but it started swelling. By time Eric arrived to pick her up, she could hardly walk on it. So she is currently on her way to the children's ER.

And today Eric was climbing down the ladder from the mezzanine and it slipped out from under him! I was just coming up the stairs and heard a huge crash and then some yelling. He's ok but a bit bruised. We have decided to retire that ladder and use our stepladder instead until the stairs are done (next week!).

My dad and I got the other staircase stringer cut, then we tacked both into place and marked each tread with a laser level. Tomorrow we'll build the jig for the router and then cut all of the grooves.

We also refinished the bedroom half of the mezzanine and installed the sliding glass doors in the bathroom. They can both slide in either direction, so you can have the bathroom mostly "closed" or partly "open" to the living room. But you still get plenty of natural light.

Ivy was at an all-day event at the coulee verte, focusing on handicap sports. Eric chaperoned the first half of the day, and I switched with him after lunch. While I was there, we did hand ball, basketball, escrime (fencing), expressive movement, and American football.

While I was chaperoning, I got a message from a midwife attending a breech birth that ended up being a compound breech (hand coming in front of the butt). I and another BWB clinician provided virtual labor support as the birth progressed. I had to apologize for being on the phone--"I have a birth in progress that I'm helping out with!" So my day has certainly not been boring!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 651: Car day

I was in the car for something like 3.5 hours today! Very strange given our normal pedestrian lifestyle. But I had several items to pick up from the online classifieds: a daybed waaaay up in the hills of Nice, a marble-topped dresser past Antibes, and of course Dio to drop off and pick up north of Nice.

The finish on the mezzanine didn't look nearly as nice as the finish we just applied on the downstairs, probably due to using an old can of finish upstairs vs. a new can of finish downstairs. So we decided to put one more coat on the mezzanine. We did the bathroom side today and will do the bedroom size tomorrow. Eric said, "Are you really sure we need to do this?" My answer was an emphatic yes. Do it now while there's nothing on the floors. It won't take very long and it will look so much better.

We got one staircase stringer cut today after much calculating and measuring and head-scratching and template making. Another one to cut and fit tomorrow. Then we have to mark the treads, build a router template, and rout all of the grooves for the treads. No big deal, right? At least we've done this once before for Le Catamaran.

Ivy helped me make an enormous batch of birthday cakes and cupcakes with 14 eggs and 1 kg of butter. It made 6 cakes and about 10 cupcakes. She wants a triple tiered cake, each later with 2 cakes.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 650: Breech day

Besides painting the last coat on both sides of the doors, I spent the day focused on breech-related tasks.

My mom chaperoned Ivy's school outing to the Opera, where they watched a rehearsal. They were behind a grand piano that blocked the view of the stage. Not as fun as they had hoped for!

I had a few errands to run: printers (for breech handouts), a Point Relay to pick up some antique wall sconces, and a flooring store for more floor glue. That earned me over 12,000 steps.

I took a peek at the floors and they are beautiful. For some reason, the upstairs mezzanine floors have tiny bubbles in the finish, but the downstairs are like silk. I don't get it because we used the exact same tools and techniques!

Eric caught two fish today: dinner tomorrow.
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Monday, March 20, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 649: A piece of Elton John

This evening I was busy running errands: dropping Dio, Inga, and Eric off at soccer and then driving to Menton to buy a small marble-topped dresser. Menton is the last city before the Italian border. Once I got off the autoroute, it was another 10+ minutes on narrow, twisting roads, one hairpin turn after another.

The dresser is going to become a new bathroom sink in our own apartment. Our old sink is reaching the end of its life--the marble has broken off and been re-glued several times and it has an active woodworm infestation. I can't treat it properly unless I strip the entire thing. And that is too much work for something that isn't that amazing to begin with.

Hence the new piece of furniture that we're going to convert into a sink. I bought it from a man whose dad was an architect and designer. The dresser itself is quite old but the marble had been replaced because the old piece cracked. The new marble top was cut from a leftover piece from marble his father installed in Elton John's house. So there you go. It has an interesting history.

My dad and I put the two final coats of finish on the floors today. The door is closed until Wednesday. Eric ran several errands: post office (to return the table saw), two paint stores (to buy white paint for the doors), and another hardware store (for more blue tape).

So to keep things advancing, we make a painting station in our living/dining room. My dad also brought up some salvaged head/footboards and is taking the ends off so we can cut them to a narrower width and create a daybed.

With everything topsy-turvy in our own apartment and nowhere to sit and eat, Eric bought pizzas for lunch. Much appreciated by the kids! We had seafood (mixed seafood and parsley sauce), Norvégienne (salmon & crème fraîche), montagnarde (crème fraîche, potatoes, ham, & olives), and the store's specialty with several kinds of meat.

Ivy is getting ready for her birthday party this weekend. We printed invitations today. This means we need to prepare--bake cakes, buy snacks and drinks, plan games, etc. So much to do!

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Sunday, March 19, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 648: Nissa la Bella!

Ivy's school principal won tickets to the OGC Nice game today and wondered if our family would like some. Yes of course!

At the last minute, Dio backed out, citing too much homework. We begged and pleaded with him to come but he said no. (In retrospect, he was almost going to come and I wish we'd pushed just a little bit harder. It was great fun!) My mom stayed home with him.

We had amazing seats on the 3rd and 4th rows in the middle of the field. I had the foresight to bring several pairs of earplugs. The game was fun and ended up tied 1-1. We had a raucous crowd, with people behind us yelling curse words at the referee. My dad quite enjoyed the cultural experience of a professional soccer game.

We had a brief scare when we couldn't find Ivy and Inga after the game ended. Turns out they'd gone down a few steps into a crowd of people hoping to get a jersey. But we couldn't see them there, so we thought they'd gone up the steps and out of the stadium.

I woke up some time in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. So when everyone else got up this morning, I told Eric that I wasn't getting out of bed. I dozed while they got ready and left the house. Then I had about an hour and a half to myself in a quiet house before I had to meet up with everyone.

Zari is working on a big oral presentation for her géopolitique class about May 1968 and the media. She has it 98% written and now needs to memorize it and get it at exactly 5:00 long.

Eric and I went on a walk this evening and found a good parking space when we first left the house. Bonus!
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Saturday, March 18, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 647: Couscous

Ivy and Inga both had games at Cavigal. Ivy wasn't schedule to play today, but she was invited to sit with her team. They won 6-1 and there was much rejoicing. Inga's team lost 1-2, with Inga scoring the only goal. It was beautiful. 

Afterwards, a group of moms organized a couscous lunch. I was chatting with one of them about the different kinds of couscous. She was Tunisian and their couscous is red and spicy. Moroccan couscous (which we ate today) has a yellow sauce, while Algerian couscous has a white sauce. I'm sure they are all delicious in their own ways.

Besides a large plate of couscous, vegetables, garbanzo beans, lamb, and merguez sausage, Ivy ate 3 clementines, and 3 bananas! How does she fit it in?

We put the scaffolding up on the mezzanine (on its side) and gave the floors a final sanding. Right after dinner, my dad and I applied the first coat. So satisfying!

We'll do the last two coats on Monday, let everything cure on Tuesday, and then we can start walking (carefully) on the floors on Wednesday.

I finished the last of the ceiling stencils today! I love being able to finish a task and NEVER EVER have to do it again for the foreseeable future.

It was the one day this week when I could sleep in. So naturally I woke up at 6:40 am after going to bed way too late (not on purpose, I just had so much to do after getting back from the theater). I'm tired.
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Friday, March 17, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 646: The best theater performance ever

All of us except Eric went to a theater performance at the new Théâtre National de Nice, just a short walk away in Old Nice. It was a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. (Eric stayed behind to finish sanding the floors, and in retrospect he should have come.)

I came into the performance with low expectations, anticipating something annoying and over-the-top cutesy for little children. I came away completely entranced and enthralled. It was the best theater performance I've ever been to. Everyone loved it, even Zari and Dio. (Well, my dad didn't understand a word so maybe he didn't love it as much!)

Today was a huge work day in terms of both renovating and then breech things. We sanded down the floors (two passes with 100 and 120 grit on the big floor sander, 2 passes with 80 and 120 with an orbital sander on the edges, then lots of final spot sanding), did tons of stenciling, vacuumed the rock walls, took apart and packaged our broken table saw, and raised the grain. All in one day!

It's after midnight and it's raucous outside on the street. The Irish Pub on the corner must be full.

I took a picture of my hands at the theater. Glue residue and gold paint--this is after cleaning my hands with mineral spirits!   

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 645: More of the same

We got all of the downstairs flooring laid, except in the step-down area that will be the kitchen and dining room. I also got all but one stencil done!

We went out to eat with my parents, the first time since they've been here. The restaurant had just changed owners last month, unbeknownst to us, and is now a French-Japanese fusion restaurant. Mostly French but with little hints of Japanese influence. It was delicious and we were not disappointed.

I had a breech consultation session this evening. I booked my tickets to South Africa! I'll be teaching in East London, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 644: A change in our routine and tool reincarnation

So...good news: our table saw is still under warranty! I called customer service and they took down my information and asked me to email a copy of the receipt, a description of the problem, and our address. I believe we're going to be sent a new one.

I did more stenciling this morning and helped my dad with flooring. Ivy helped in the late afternoon; she opened the boxes of flooring, sorted the boards by size, and handed me the boards. I let her lay a few pieces.

We had to cut our front door down due to adding the height of the flooring. It's a temporary door so we didn't mind that the cut was quick and not 100% perfect.

It was also our normal soccer day, but all mixed up because Inga had an event in Menton. I had to drive Inga and Dio to Cavigal, hop out of the car and let Eric take the wheel, wait a few minutes for Ivy's training to finish, and then bring Ivy home.

I'm getting things ready for my upcoming travels to Poland, Greece (Thessaloniki and Athens), and South Africa (East London, Johannesburg, and Cape Town). I have flyers to order, translations to coordinate, and travel arrangements to finalize.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 643: Flooring, stencils, and another death

We were almost finished laying the flooring for the day...when our table saw died! Resuscitation efforts were futile. No electrical activity present.

This was very inconveniently timed since we had 6 pieces of flooring that had to be ripped to custom dimensions and it is nearly impossible to do without a table saw. I figured out a workaround but we REALLY REALLY need a working table saw.

Which tool will be next???

My mom helped me with stenciling today, and it made the job go very quickly. She did all of the long lines connecting the stencils together as well as the little detail work filling in the "bridges."

We re-made those glass door panels into a tall, narrow door. Once it's sanded and painted, you'll never know that it once was from a door and that the panels used to be side-by-side!

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French apartment renovations, Days 642: Grand Rounds and Door Deconstruction

I did Grand Rounds for the University of Colorado's midwifery department (virtually). When I wasn't doing that, I was helping my dad get the flooring started on the lower level. We laid two rows around the step-down into the kitchen and made it perfectly square and straight by using lasers and the Pythagorean Theorem.

We had this old wooden door that we were going to give away but my mom had an idea to re-use it and turn it into a tall, narrow fixed pane door with privacy glass (which we needed upstairs in the bathroom). So we cut, measured, and sawed and now we have two small panes that will assemble today. I hope it works.

Eric picked up the table and chairs today. We're putting them up on the mezzanine for now until we install and finish the lower level.

Eric, Dio, and Inga left at 5 pm for his soccer training and they were stuck in a traffic jam for 2 hours! They finally gave up and turned around. Apparently the entire artery going north out of Nice was closed. He's never seen anything like it.
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Sunday, March 12, 2023

French apartment renovations, Days 640-641: Soccer, sun, cleaning and organizing

Yesterday was a soccer marathon. I was driving for almost 3 hours bringing Ivy to a game in Levens, then driving over to Juan-les-Pins to Inga's game, and then driving her and 3 teammates to Cavigal, and then home. I found a great parking spot and declared that I was not driving any more until Eric came back.

Ivy's team had a "plateau," where they play several short games of 10 minutes each. Ivy's team won two, tied one, and lost one. 

Inga's team had a normal game and won 3-0. Inga scored a beautiful one-touch goal that was called as off-sides, even though everyone agreed that it wasn't. I would agree, too, and I'm not even that much of a soccer expert.

We all walked to church and back. It's spring weather here--time for short sleeves especially in the sun! I love it!

In the afternoon I put all of the shelves into place, lined them with scraps of cardboard, and put all of our tools back into place. My dad helped me to clean off everything before we re-organized.

Eric should get in late tonight. He had an 8-hour layover in Frankfurt after a long flight from Seattle.
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Friday, March 10, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 639: Nice Ikea

Another late night yesterday (my fault...I sort of accidentally took a short nap after dinner and it messed up my sleep at night).

Lots more painting shelves and other small tasks today. By the end of this weekend, we should have all the shelves back up in both cupboards and all of the tools stowed back away. Right now everything is on the floor and it looks an absolute mess.

Today was exceptionally warm and I hardly got to go outside to enjoy it. The parks were all closed due to wind--which is hilarious because it wasn't even that windy.

During Dio's soccer practice, my mom and I went to Ikea. It's the first time I have been to the one here in Nice; it opened in May last year. We had less than an hour and had to speed through the store and take some shortcuts to get back in time.
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Thursday, March 09, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 638: Ne pas taguer

We erased the last remnant of the Communist apartment inside the built-in closet in the living room. It had the phrase "Ne pas taguer" (do not tag) spray-painted across the inside wall.

I skim coated the wall two days ago. Eric sanded it today and now it's awaiting its final coat of paint.

Eric left this morning after helping out for a few hours. Today was lots of painting and measuring and figuring things out--primarily the layout for the downstairs flooring. We have everything marked, measured, and ready to go.

I got to bed late and woke up way too early. I joked with Eric, "Now that you're leaving I can actually get enough sleep for a few nights!" His internal bedtime is a good 60-90 minutes past mine...but in our small apartment, and with our bedroom windows overlooking the living room, I can't really go to bed until he does. Which means I stay up later than I'd like most nights.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 637: One table, five chairs, and two mirrors

My mom came with me to soccer practice in the afternoon so we could look at the consignment/antique store. And...we found a dining set! I've been looking for a long time. I wanted something lighter and more modern than all of the Renaissance era furniture we've been collecting for the bedroom. And I found it. It's a very pale oak, more Art Deco than anything else.

We also found a HUGE mirror for the bathroom (hoping it fits!) and a smaller mirror that might go over the sink.

My dad and I got the last coat of finish applied this morning. I helped him with some shelves before I had to go to soccer. He and Ivy finished cutting and priming the rest of the alcove shelves.

Eric leaves tomorrow for a conference--just a few days total. He'll probably be on the airplane longer than he'll be at the actual conference!
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Tuesday, March 07, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 636: An unexpected death

Midway through the day, we had applied the 2nd coat of finish on the mezzanine floors. Eric was sanding some boards with the shop vac attached to catch the dust. We heard an ominous sound (gnnnrrrgggg fwp fwp fwp) accompanied by a terrible smell.

Our shop vac had died.

Resuscitation was futile (and only elicited more horrible sounds and smells).

It's amazing all of the things you cannot do with a broken shop vac. Apply the last coat of finish? Nope! You need to vacuum the floors first. Sand shelves or doors? Nope! Need a vacuum to keep the dust off the newly finished floors. Clean the workspace? Nope!

So we were stuck.

Eric went all around town to buy one, but either they were out or the stores were closed during the lunch break. He waited in town until 2 pm and brought one home from Feu Vert, an auto repair chain. We opened it up and it wasn't truly a shop vac--it had a measly sack that was supposedly the filter, but with holes big enough to see through. That wouldn't do. Eric was frustrated. So we changed plans and decided that I would go to the big home improvement store in the evening during Ivy's soccer practices. The trams and buses were all shut down today (another strike!) so they needed a ride anyway. I had some other big items to pick up (two toilets) and a few other little things. So it worked out well in the end. We now have a very nice, new, shiny shop vac.

The funeral will be held tomorrow. Please send power tools, blue masking tape, or Philips screwdrivers in lieu of flowers.
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Monday, March 06, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 635: Sanding the floors

Eric picked up the big floor sander this morning. It took a while to drive there, pick it up, haul it upstairs. I began sanding around 10 am. I did two passes of 120 grit while Eric sanded the edges with an orbital sander.

My dad worked on cutting shelves for the alcove--in which nothing is square! Of course not!

I was hoping to apply finish by the end of the day, but we didn't get that far. I was done with the big floor sander by mid-day. After lunch we only got as far as raising the grain and then had to wait because the floors were taking a while to dry.

In the meantime we did lots of small painting jobs on cupboard doors, shelves, and quarter-rounds.

I had a breech meeting all evening and now am scratching Dio's back while he writes in his journal. Well, Zari just took over and is drawing pictures on his back while he guesses what she is drawing.
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Sunday, March 05, 2023

French apartment renovations, Days 633-634: Weekend un-warrior

I don't know what it is about weekends, but I lose my drive and just want to be a slug. I was planning on doing stenciling yesterday morning...but I didn't. I also thought about running...but I didn't.

We had some time to sit in the sun at the beach. I stripped down to a tank top and rolled my pants above my knees. Vitamin D therapy.

Tomorrow we're going to sand down the mezzanine floors and put the first coat of finish on. If all goes well, we'll get the last 2 coast of finish applied on Tuesday. Then we let the floors cure for several days and we can start walking on them the following Monday!

Zari and Inga both had soccer games yesterday. They each scored one goal. Zari's team won 6-1 and Inga's tied 2-2.
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Friday, March 03, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 632: Mom is back, and we are all going to die

I'm very tired from another long work day. We finished laying the flooring by lunchtime. We spent the afternoon cleaning, organizing, and taking pictures of things to sell or give away.

My mom came back today. I figured she'd just collapse and take it easy because she didn't sleep on the overnight flight. But no! She made dinner for us instead. She gets all of the grandma points.

Zari and Dio are staying up late listening to the adults talk--mostly about morbid things such as all of the health problems people in our families are having, or have had, or have died of.
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Thursday, March 02, 2023

French apartment renovations, Day 631: Happy 12th birthday Inga!!!

How does it seem like Inga was just born, yet also feel so long ago that it's almost dreamlike to remember that day?

Ivy and Inga were up at 7 am sharp, ready to open presents. Once all the kids were awake, we enjoyed watching Inga discover her gifts: a pair of dress shoes, a beading set from my parents, a glass fountain pen and dark green ink from Ivy, and a quiver for her archery set that I made.

(Recognize the fabrics? They come from the upholstery that we did in Le Catamaran!)

For dinner, Eric prepared a big salad, broccoli, roast chicken with mustard sauce over rice, and a selection of cheeses. Since we were busy working all day, he and Dio chose a birthday cake at Lac, a local patisserie with amazing cakes and pastries.

We watched lots of old videos, starting with Inga's 6th birthday party and working backwards to our first year in France in 2014. I can't believe how cute and little our kids were!

Ivy's school celebrated Carnaval today. I got her hair all fancy before school, and several of her friends helped her put on makeup. She loves dressing up and celebrating any occasion. I'm so glad her costume from last year still fits!

Dio was goofing off today and it reminded me of the weird ghost characters in Spirited Away.

We had a huge work day, too. My dad and I laid about 3/4 of the flooring on the mezzanine. It looks fantastic and I am very proud of how closely we fitted everything. I estimate we'll finish laying everything by noon tomorrow. That means we can rent the sander on Monday and start applying finish by Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning!!! While my dad and I were laying flooring, Eric finished all of the painting on the walls and ceiling. Another huge task to check off the list!

I have some videos from Inga's birthday but it's already very late. Maybe tomorrow...
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