Sunday, May 31, 2009

A change is as good as a rest

First of all many thanks to for a lovely award. There are some rules that go with this and I promise to get to those in a future post. But wanted to say thanks. As you can see having technical difficulties which will hopefully be resolved in the next post. :)

Hubby is due to return to darkest Kansas today but we have had a lovely week, the weather didn't always cooperate but there has been some sunshine.  We are hopeful there maybe a new job for him on the horizon unfortunately it hasn't quite materialized yet but we have our fingers and toes crossed and I will of course keep you posted.

We pottered about on the boat, now it is back in the water, we didn't actually sail anywhere but spent the day cleaning and polishing so it ready for any potential buyer, so if you know of anyone :)


We lazed around for most of the week, hubby just enjoying access to the internet, cable TV and movies!! But it has been good for him and he heads back, maybe reluctantly, but refreshed.

Yesterday we spent a lovely afternoon with our daughter, now very pregnant, wandering around the lovely town of Niagara on the Lake enjoying the Garden Tour. Daughter had bought us tickets for Mother's Day (you might remember last year we did the B & B Tour down there). Anyway it was a gorgeous day, not too warm, wandering through the lanes nosing in people's gardens. I must admit to more often being impressed by the gardens that were not on show rather than the ones that were.

Check out this fabulous wisteria. One of my absolute favourites although it requires some commitment as it takes several years to establish and bloom and as you know we haven't stayed anywhere long enough in the past. I guarantee this is one plant I intend to include in my pergola/cobbled courtyard garden in France.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

He's not a happy camper

No I am not referring to son, he and girlfriend are off to Paris for a couple of days, so they are pretty happy, although they may be camping in the van!

No I refer to GWE who was without his wheels in what we refer to as "deepest darkest Kansas" all weekend. They have cut back on hours are work so he is not able to work weekends to kill the time. He finds it very quiet down there after Montreal (well in between dodging the tornados and gun toting locals) and feels quite trapped.

When he works away, he is quite happy to work long days and weekends because he is away from home and time lies heavy on his hands. In his type of work this is the unwritten agreement between employer and contractor, I am away from home to earn money so I want to work lots of hours. However, the economic crunch is biting and everyone is looking to save money, so they are limiting the hours to week days only. He had booked to come home the weekend after next, flying on the Friday thus losing a day's work. He has just discovered it is a long weekend in the US this coming weekend, i.e. another three long days to kill, only three days work and then home.

So he is escaping - driving back over this weekend to spend the week back here, and then driving back to Wichita the following weekend. This means he will be able to pootle around here, at home, in his garden, with his boat, fiddle with his car, watch TV (he hasn't bothered to get that down there), catch up on all his email, on line newspapers, potential work connections (unable to do this at work) and generally kick back for a few days. Let's hope that gives him renewed vigour to face the mid-west again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's all a blur

I have been on a course this week to continue my education for the real estate.  It is Property Law so you can just imagine how much fun it is.  Plus my colleague and I are driving 40 minutes back and forth each day as they aren't offering the course any closer in the time frame we have left before our two year articling period is up in August.  It is interesting in parts and sometimes I feel we should have been through this before we were let loose in the industry, but they have just changed the format from essay answers to multiple choice and this seems to have caught everyone, including the instructors, off guard so our instructor is recommending we read every chapter 4 or 5 times - right - like that is going to happen. I have trouble reading it through once.   It is a little tougher as I used to work in a law office so am quite familiar with a lot of it, therefore I find I am skimming across the pages and not taking it in very well.  Ho hum, fingers crossed next week is a little more enlightening.

Meanwhile, a major leap forward in France, we have a land line to the house (remember no dial up internet or anything) but this does mean much lower phone bills.  Whoo hoo,!! This is just seven weeks since son put the wheels in motion.  Also I am just sending off the agreement and cheque for EDF to replace the electric meter and supposedly the work should happen within the next six weeks, what do you think?

Son is busy building a vanity for the sink in the bathroom to stand on and from the photos on Facebook, the results will be pretty impressive.  (sorry still no photos because they are on FB - does anyone know if you can get them off there to upload them here?)  He has been sealing and priming all the interior walls - just white but it looks some much lighter and brighter, the kitchen is actually starting to look like a kitchen.  Almost all the electrics are now done, except for the light and outlet by the vanity, which has to wait for that to be put in place, which has to wait for the plumbing to be done and then some plastering where all the plaster came away with the old tiles, I know it just goes on and on.

The plumber is due back mid-week and will be turning off the water so son and girlfriend are planning a three day trip up to Paris, son said that girlfriend has been wanting to do this for weeks :)

GWE (the great wage earner) had a bit of a hiccup this morning in deepest Kansas.  Went out to a bar last night and "sensibly" left the car and caught a cab home, this morning he went to retrieve the car only to find it had been towed because he had parked it in a parking lot that is used for a farmer's market on Saturday mornings.  Unfortunately, the car he has down there is in my name (while I am driving the one in his name up here - doh!! - this was all due to the availability - or lack of it- of diesel down in the States).  Anyway the car is in my name and they wont let him get it from the pound without a "notarised" letter of authorization from me.  It's a long weekend here and so he is basically screwed until Tuesday when I will be able to get something notarized.  You can imagine how thrilled he is.  

He has had quite a week.  Thursday night, a shooting took place at the bar that he and his colleagues had just left a hour earlier, one person injured.  Then Friday night he called me to say they were in the midst of a major tornado warning, an amazing lightning storm and sirens blaring!  Then this morning.....  The sooner he can get out of there the better.  He has travelled the world with work over the years, and I honestly think this is the riskiest place he has ever been.

I will close now, I know it is all or nothing with me.  Until next time......

Friday, May 8, 2009

France Update

I know these France updates are sorely lacking in pictures - tell me about it - I am constantly nagging son and girlfriend for more photos so they put them on Facebook, which is great for me, not so good for the rest of you, sorry.  Let me assure you it still looks pretty bleak.

Now that they have satellite TV they are privy to the world fear of Swine Flu - they hadn't heard a thing about it through the village grapevine and so it was pretty intense to get the full on version on English TV, however living in rural France I don't think they have too much to worry about.  A bigger concern for them is the possible ill effects brought about by discovering the septic tank under the bathroom floor when in the process of laying in the mains drainage.  That created a horrible stink as you can imagine but fingers crossed this can be resolved with a lot of concrete!! 

The basic rewiring has been completed so now we have a new fuse box located in the small bedroom to the right of the front door rather than in the prominent place of right beside the front door in the living room.  Apparently we still have to have the meter in that position when EDF come to install it but it wont be as large and unsightly as the last one, or that is what I am told.  So now they have safe modern electricity in all rooms and more outlets so they can re-locate the fridge and toaster oven back in to the kitchen rather than the utility room.

Apparently because we have a small bathroom (about 5ft x 11ft - which come to think of it is not much smaller than my bathroom here and we are allowed ordinary lighting) we have to have an IP 65 light fitting in there, and all the ones I have seen on the internet at Leroy Merlin etc look like pool lights and factory lighting, nothing attractive. I could understand it if the light was actually in the shower but it will be about 6ft away above the vanity. So we are still on the hunt there but may have to make do until EDF have signed us off and then replace it with something more attractive.

But we do have external lights front and back and an outlet in the barn so we are pretty happy with that.  I know, it is sad what you can get excited about.

Looks like son and girlfriend are planning to move on to Barcelona when the plumber has finished in two or three weeks but hoping to get back up to see us if and when we get there in July, fingers crossed.

Still waiting on France Telecom, surprise surprise. 

However all the work they have done means when we finally get there we will have heat, hot water, electricity, a bed and if we are really lucky some home grown vegetables as they are planting tomatoes, zucchini and onions plus a few herbs - apparently one of the neighbours has promised to keep an eye on those once they leave.  

As you can imagine, I am saving all my pennies to make sure we do get there in July and then I will have loads of photos.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A few more rounds would have been nice!

Sorry, I am back.  Were you worried about me? :) No I thought not.  Well that was a long way to go and a lot of money to spend for a fight that didn't even last two rounds.  However the spectacle was still quite something, thousands of baying fans (us included).  I was really surprised to see so many Brits - the place was heaving, who says there's a credit crunch?  It was really the fans that made the weekend, all the singing that kept breaking out in the casinos and corridors, on the sidewalks.  I think the Brits probably outnumbered the opponent's fans so a lot of disappointed people on Saturday night.

There did seem to be an awful lot of flesh on display, I know it is Vegas, but even so. I am not a prude but was astonished at the amount of breasts, fake and real, on view, OK they were dressed but only just. I guess it is a bit of a meat market, or "shag fest" as GWE so nicely put it. I guess I don't get out much but I wouldn't let my daughter out looking like that!  I am talking about the guests not the staff.  It certainly is a place to people watch, such a cross section of life wandering around.

The rest of the weekend went by in a LOT of walking, the casinos/hotels are enormous and it seemed to take forever to walk anywhere.  You just about work out where all the short cuts are and it is time to leave.  There was a bit of drinking, as I said, a lot of walking, a fair bit of eating, not too much gambling on our part, although our friends were more into that and won a decent amount.  Three days was certainly long enough for me.  It was nice to see our friends who had flown over from Germany.  As they say, a change is as good as a rest.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vegas here I come

Believe it or not, and I have trouble myself, but I am off to Las Vegas this morning to meet up with GWE - we are in town to see Ricky Hatton (British boxer) defend his title or some such.  I know - I have trouble with that sentence too.  Every time I tell someone I feel as nonplussed as they look.  

And what great timing, I will spend a few hours in a germ incubator followed by several days surrounded by thousands of people from all over.  GWE jokingly said we should try and market some souvenir Union Jack emblazoned face masks!

Wish me luck - my plan is to pre-emptively (?) self medicate with the free alcohol they serve while you gamble - please tell me they still do that or it could be a very expensive weekend.

All being well, I will report back on Tuesday.