Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And she's back!!

But trying hard not to wish she was you know where.  I did my first real estate deal in a while last night and I am feeling really chuffed!!  This will lead to a new listing next week so I am getting my feet nicely wet again.  My last day of temping somehow spilled over into this week, yesterday was a little stressful, having to work full time and prepare for the offer but all went well and my clients seem very happy. I have been busy today with the paperwork and organising inspections for tomorrow.  It is a country property (Gill) and so of course we need to check on the septic and well as well as the house, so a little more involved.  Oh and the temp job is done and dusted.

Son and girlfriend had a good result today.  They have been driving here and there through the narrow lanes of rural France looking for a suitable vehicle to purchase for us. Ideally we were looking for a small van, but had been unsuccessful so it seemed we were going to have to settle for a people carrier or estate car, but today they struck gold and we are now, apparently, the proud owners of an electric blue Renault Kangoo and they pick it up on Saturday.  He now has to organise the insurance and teach his girlfriend to drive a stick shift so that they can both drive a vehicle and get the rental car back.
I guess it looks something like this but without the strange roof ornament.

When I spoke to them this afternoon, they were feeling "tres heureux" with themselves having had such a productive day, sitting out in the field, in the weak spring sunshine with a beer, church bells tolling in the background.  Doesn't that sound perfect.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a Week that Was!

I have just finished my (at least) once daily phone call from eldest son and his girlfriend in deepest France. God alone knows what my phone bill will be like while they are there!  Anyway, they have been very busy and seem to be really enjoying the challenge.  My son seems to be managing the French language very well, even though it has been many years since he was in the Immersion Program when we moved to Montreal back in 1990. At that time he and my daughter spent an intensive three to four months in this program learning the language before they entered the French school system and it is certainly paying off now.  He didn't actually stay in the program while daughter did, but it is all coming to the surface now.

In this last week he has been in contact with French electricians, EDF; the electricity company, France Telecom, La Poste and is getting all the systems working in his/our favour.  I am very impressed.  He has set up a bank account and got money out of it!  

However, as far as the amenities are concerned, it is a case of three steps forward, one back!  They do now have a small hot plate/toaster oven and fridge, duvet and pillows, plates etc. but son decided he could manage to fix the toilet so now they have to use the public one in the village!  I suggested going to the local sports centre to swim so they could have a nice hot shower afterwards so I think that is on the horizon pretty soon as they say the sponge baths in the freezing cold bathroom are not much fun. 

Apparently they should have telephone/internet service within 15 days, does that sound too good to be true!  It would certainly help the phone bill.  EDF are supposed to be calling on Tuesday to make an appointment to come and move the fuse box, but they have been chatting to the neighbours and one has been waiting since January for this to happen so......

They are still looking for a van to purchase, missed out on one by an hour, which was very galling especially as they had been ready to view immediately and were put off for a couple of days.  But have seen another couple of promising ones which they are going back to see tomorrow.

They spent the morning with another neighbour of ours helping set up a chicken run in a nearby field and got 6 fresh eggs for their labours.  Son's girlfriend wants to get chickens and plant herbs etc. so they are obviously thinking long term.  When she mentioned the chickens son did respond by saying they would be leaving at some point and then what would happen to the chickens to which all the locals just said "well then you eat chicken for the last week!".  This son was a vegetarian not too long ago!  

I am so glad they are enjoying it, although the quiet life might be a bit too much for them after a little while.  Son did say we might have to fight them for the house in the future.   I need to get there ASAP.  I did point out that the ruin on the end is vacant!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pleasantly Surprised!

That was eldest son and girlfriend's reaction on finally seeing the French house - they finally got there last night and went over to our Dutch friends to pick up the keys.  Our friends also very kindly lent them (took pity on them!) an airbed, lamp and heater.  What with all those home comforts we'll never get them to leave ..LOL!

Anyway they were "pleasantly surprised", it has walls and floors!!  I think they thought they were going to be staying in the barn.  However even though it has walls and floors it is still freezing and when they called they urged us to get the woodburning stove ASAP.    So that is my next project.

When I chatted with them this evening they seemed to be enjoying themselves, but did say they had been looking for a bar/restaurant where the patrons were more varied than "four old French guys".  I wish them the best of luck with that search!!

They are full of plans and busy car hunting at the moment as well so they can take back the expensive rental car and spend that money more wisely elsewhere.  Things are looking up, and I am getting excited at the real prospect of making some progress.  Our Dutch friends (our saviours) have arranged for an electrician to go over tomorrow to give an initial devis for the work to get the wiring safe and upgrade it to take the initial improvements of some kind of cooking apparatus and a hot water tank.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Buried under paperwork - when I should be out in this lovely "spring" day raking my garden.  But it had to be done.  What with the temping AND the real estate, everything has been going to the dogs.  Anyway I feel much better now, I always do when it feels slightly like I am in control.  Just the taxes to do now, ugh!!

Well the temp job comes to an end next Friday and not a moment too soon as far as I am concerned.  Itching to get back to my old life, of coffee with friends when I feel like it, out to lunch if someone invites me.....er I mean real estate of course. He he   No really, I have been talking to colleagues and we all feel things are on the turn, people feeling a little more positive around here and the sales board in the office is very full, I want some of that!

On the France front, eldest son is almost there. Yesterday, after being stuck in Geneva for a couple of days waiting for the French railmen (sorry is that sexist) to return to work after striking, he managed to get to La Souterraine.  I had mentioned in conversation that this town was "fairly" close to the house so when he heard it called out, he jumped off.  As it turned out he should have stayed on until Limoges as public transport in our part of rural France seems to be fairly non-existent and there is really no way to get to our village without a car.  Being a bit of a hippie, eldest son doesn't have a "valid" credit card so has to wait for his girlfriend to meet up with him in Limoges to rent a car.  What would these guys do without us women!?!

Anyway I chatted to him this morning and he was heading on to Limoges to wait for his girlfriend and to find an internet cafe, something else which is thin on the ground around there.  Being a good mum I also told him where the Irish bar in Limoges is located.  I wonder where he is right now!>!>

So now we are waiting for an update, once they have picked up the rental car and made their way to the house. I will be very interested to hear what they have to say as you can imagine.  I hope it is not too much of a disappointment.  Our Dutch friends are standing by to hold their hands if they are prepared to stick around for a while and help us get some work done.  Needless to say I am sick with envy that they are there and I am not.  Stand by for the next installment.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Is it Spring Yet?

Today it could be, yesterday was wonderful, you could feel the warmth of the sun - it was great.  A "good to be a live" feeling.  Today is meant to be even warmer, might even get to sit on the deck for a few minutes.  GWE is home from Wichita for the weekend so a "no real estate" zone for a couple of days - no open houses.  

The temp job has confirmed that 27th will be my last day and although I have enjoyed the company and routine, the actual job is pretty mind numbing if hectic; so I am glad to see the end in sight.  Unfortunately that also means the end of regular pay checks for a while but back to the real estate in earnest and hopefully that will start to pay ....again.  

So no April in Paris for this girl, just not going to happen, now hoping (with fingers and toes crossed) that we will get several weeks out there in July.  One bright spot on the French house is that eldest son and his Australian girlfriend have now left Austria and are hitching their way to the French house!!!  We have offered him the option of some project managing work, i.e. hang around the house for a couple of months so we can organise artisans and schedule some work.....but we have given them the option of going there and checking out just what the living accommodation offers before committing, so stand by on that.   As you can imagine it is pretty basic and that's kind of how they live anyway but they tend to like hot water so that might be an issue ....that and heat of course.

That's all for now folks, cannot hang around blogging when the sun is shining!! Have a great Sunday.  I hope the sun is shining on you too.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How Time Flies !

I have just noticed that I haven't  blogged for two weeks; I think that might be a record for me but I cannot be bothered to check and that just about sums it up folks.  As we are on the cusp of spring, clocks "springing" forward tonight in fact, the blues of winter have hit me and I cannot get motivated.  This is strange as all the snow has gone, well apart from a few mountains of disgusting grey stuff in the parking lots, so I should be feeling more positive so what's the problem?  

Well first of all it seems we won't get to France now until the summer, what with one thing or another, so I am kind of sulking about that!  Secondly it has become very busy at the temp job as the project they hired me for is in full swing.  When I say "project" I am sure it makes all of you think of something very high tech but basically for the most part it is a lot of sorting of paperwork and stuffing of hundreds of envelopes!  I am in the "not enough hours in the day" mode.

And probably most influential on my mood is the feeling that I really need to get much more serious on the real estate end of things, as the market is warming up a little bit around here, and I am frustrated that I am temping when I should be concentrating on this instead.  Still I know I cannot be in two places as once, so I am full steam ahead at weekends - this weekend doing an open house both Saturday and Sunday.   Last weekend I sat a $750k house and was amazed to have a very busy open house and made some good connections, so hopefully something will come of that.  

So that is where I am at currently, very busy ...but unmotivated... and sulking.  Probably a good thing that GWE is safely away in Wichita until next weekend.  

On the bright side it is supposed to be pretty mild and sunny today so I might be able to get a few minutes outside in my garden. No better pick me up in my books.  Have a great weekend everyone.