Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thrashing in Austin

We arrived in Austin at 2am Saturday morning, after a lovely delay in Chicago. Is it mandatory that all flights out of Chicago be delayed? We're easing our re-entry shock with chips, salsa, and nice margaritas. We're also trying to save the American economy by buying 2 cars and a new dishwasher. This afternoon we make a trip to look at carpet. I am shopped out!

We're sleeping on the floor, and cursing our hazy memories (I thought we left some cooking stuff in Austin...). We're still a bit grumpy from the trip, and facing a parade of workers ( A/C service, garage door fixer, dishwasher installer....).

I want my wonderful simple life in Paris back. No cars to fuss with, no weekend house projects.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Suzy and Sarah's life of crime......or just efficient recycling

We're in the final stretch, as I write this I am surrounded by fragrant
French movers packing up the apartment. They've been packing since 8am (it's
now 3pm), and haven't gotten to the rather large amount of glasspacks that
need to happen in the kitchen. There is something very unsettling about 4
strange men handling your stuff. We've definitely got the 'B' team, since
everyone (including regular movers) is on vacation. It took two of the
movers over 90 minutes to pack the futon. Is packing a futon really 3 person
hours of work for people who are professional movers? Hmmmmm......

One of our weekend activities was rather nerve wracking. We have been unable
to find someone to take the kitchen cabinets. So at 5am on Sunday morning,
we snuck downstairs, and ..... left them in a discrete place around the
corner on the sidewalk. We actually see this happen a lot in Paris, and we
couldn't figure out another solution. Everyone is gone in August, including
people that collect donations. By noon, over half of the cabinets were gone
from the sidewalk. By 8:30 Monday morning, everything was gone. I'm not sure
if someone took the last bits, or if the garbage guy tossed them in the
truck. So are we criminals, or efficient recyclers?

We spent the weekend thrashing in the apartment, taking down window
coverings and hardware, taking down cabinets, trying to figure out how to get
scratches out of the beautiful 100 year old wood floor, sorting out what was
going on the airplane from what would go in the sea shipment, wondering when
our wire transfer will happen to the Austin account, throwing out all our
food/vitamins/meds, taking down all the pictures and carfully extracting
all the picture hangers, patching all the holes from picture hanger, trying
unsuccessfully to get the balcony door to stop sticking (French window
hardware is weird), fussing over a funny sound the toilet was making,
delivering the last of the appliances to the buyer, making trip after trip
after trip to the garbage can, and cleaning all the windows again. There is
a *HUGE* apartment deposit, we're channeling our angst and worry about
getting it back into cleaning in preparation for the inspection.

Suzy also spent Sunday in meltdown mode. We are hitting a lot of "this is
the last time that we will XYZ in Paris" moments. On Sunday, each moment
turned Suzy into a soppy crying mess. Get over it, girlfriend!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Mission Accomplished

We are trying to solve the dependency puzzle here as best we can.

We have to take the blinds down before the ladder disappears into the sea container. We have to backup the computer before the air shipment goes. We have to before event X happens.

Which brings me to another piece of the dependency puzzle: Suzy has to post her "Mission Accomplished" photo summary before the computer with Picasa on it gets packed.

So here they are. 80 pics from our two years here. A few of them only hold value for Sarah and I (the scrappy little dog lives next door).

I have quite a few nice memories wrapped up in these. My brain now has a moveable feast to feed on for the rest of my life.
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Velib hits the streets

Paris has done it again. As if 293 Metro stations weren't enough.

Paris has started a bicycle rental system called Velib. For a Euro or two, you can rent a nice shiny new bike and toodle around for a bit. There are 20,000 bikes scattered around the city, and 750 check out stations like the one in the picture. They are *everywhere*. For a yearly subscription of 29 euros, you can grab a bike whenever you want, the first 30 minutes are free. It has noticeably increased the amount of bicycle traffic on the street. They have trucks that run around and re-distribute bicycles, so that you should always be able to find a bicycle (or an empty slot to check one in).

Score one more for Paris in the "We mock you with all our public transportation" catagory.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Byebye orchid

We are giving our orchid to a friend. I had to have a picture of it before it went, it's positively overflowing in blooms right now. Byebye orchid.

We escaped for a few hours this weekend and went to the expats picnic in Parc Monceau. It was nice to take a break from all the moving goop.
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

French Appliances, anyone?

Today I finally got around to doing pics for selling our Fridge and Stove. I'm a bit worried about a buyer getting the fridge out of the building. They are about to start work on the lift, and it might not be finished by when we depart. Did I mention we are on the 5th floor? Dragging a fridge down 5 flights of a circular staircase doesn't sound like fun.

Details on the appliances at:
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Bastille Day flyover

I realized that I had forgotten to blog my Bastille Day flyover pic. These guys with the blue-white-red exhaust came over first, followed by group after group of every type of plane the French army has. It thunders right over our apartment, this pic was taken from the quai right by Pont Sully.
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Saturday, July 21, 2007


I'm facing reality, and I'm not so sure I like it.

For 6 months, there has been a little nagging voice whispering " You have to return to the US". For 6 months I've done a pretty good job of ignoring the Voice, and focusing on enjoying our time here. I'm now having to face up to reality. Next week movers are coming to do estimates, we're been selling off appliances, getting letters together to break the lease and utilities, futzing with US Customs inventory, dividing belongings between air shipment /sea shipment / hand carry, ....etc,etc,etc.

The extra fun thing about moving out of a Paris apartment is that you have to make a *huge* deposit to get an apartment, and now we have the big showdown inspection to try and get it back. Expat after expat tells me their horror story about suddenly missing $3000 from their deposit, getting retroactive rent increases after they leave the country and having $$ wired out of their French account, getting charged $1000 for a missing key, and on and on and on.

We still have a few weeks here, but I know from the move over here that the wheels come off the wagon pretty soon, and you just have to surrender to The Process. Things are a little whacky already because at work I'm also starting a totally new job that will definitely be challenging. It's time to hunker down.

I am looking forward to seeing friends, and a nice plate of TexMex, but this place really has charmed the socks off me. I never really got past that "pinch me, I live in Paris" feeling as I walk down the streets.

Now whenever I am out I wonder if this will be the last time we:

  • Wait in line for the worlds best Falafel

  • Stroll down rue des Rosiers

  • Watch 3 year olds build sand castles in Place des Vosges

  • Eat at a sidewalk table at The Lounge

  • Go to Paris Plages

  • Go to the Louvre on Wednesday nights

  • Eat Magret de Canard at Au Gamin de Paris

  • Hear the SNCF jingle in the train station

  • Walk along the quai on Ile St. Louis

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