Monday, June 17, 2013

Just one more thing in a Paris Day...

Retirement is reportedly a Blessed Event.  Things can Take Their Time and nothing is rushed, right?  As the proprietor of my favorite Belgium beers says, le patron is sitting peacefully dans le jardin avec de la biere.

Saturday brightened into a clear, glorious morning and the Big Event was to say goodbye to a Canadian friend over a bottle or two of wine.

At breakfast Jude asked where That Smell was that was coming from.  I said we'd have to look into it.  And look into it we did.  It was our kitchen sink.  Maybe.  Jude moved the cleaning supplies out from under it and I found a nice old clean rag to rest my knees on.

Under the stainless steel I dove to try and sort out how to clean the pipes.  We were convinced there was something rotten in Paris.  Rotten right here in our drain pipes.

I found a way to disassemble the tubing by hand, but it was an Octopus of flexible pipes coming from the dishwasher, washing machine, small sink, and large sink.  The pipes slipped and weaved their way from one appliance to another.  It was difficult to get at the pipes I thought might hold the nastiest stuff.

After a few tries, we had, hopefully, the offending pipes in hand and were cleaning out the junk and gunge.

Sore and tired, I creaked into a Full Upright Position and grabbed some papers and headed to la poste.  If these weren't photocopied before Monday, l'etat de France might not keep us legal on our visas.  So this as a must-do activity to be accomplished before we met Our Canadian.

Upon my return to the apartment, I hadn't sat down for three minutes and the mobile vibrated to life.  I had the sound turned too low and I just missed an in-coming call.  The vibration was marching the mobile to the edge of the shelf it was now bouncing on.  OK.  Quick.  Grab the phone. Redial.

It's our Upstairs Neighbor .  Her husband is still at work and she's selling an oven/stove.  She would like me to act as garde du corps (bodyguard) as she's home alone with her children.  D'accord.  J'ascende.

Visiting with her, she gave Jude and I a very beautiful potted sunflower for having attended her son's concert last week.  It was Very Sweet of her.  We had a great laugh when I told her I didn't make a very good garde du corps.  I'm not very tall, not very sturdily built, and not young and strong.  I explained our smelly plumbing problem and she instantly hands me an enzymatic gunk to pour down the drain.

After the stove/oven is marched out the door and downstairs into the Buyer's Car, I'm free to return to our apartment and finish wolfing (and I do mean wolfing) down a ham sandwich.  A swift phone call to leave a message with Our Canadian that we might be a few minutes late and we're out the door and dashing to the metro.  We have a date with a bottle of wine that shall not be missed!

We're only seven minutes late.  Wow.

Tired, yet happy to see Our Canadian, we found seats in a cafe in the 14th and ordered up a bio-wine from Bordeaux.  It was "OK", but not great.  The conversation was better than "OK" and was wonderful.  We had a hard time facing feelings of having to "go back".  I sure hope we never have to deal with that kind of move.  I don't think we could handle it.  And our appointment with the Powers of the French Etat was Monday.  Eek!  They will determine our future here.

The three of us wandered down the street to Jude's favorite all natural wine shop for a short case of tasty reds.  Into Le Caddy went a nice box of wine.  Then it was off to my favorite beer shop (the Bootlegger), where we learned that the old man has handed over his business to the Very Nice Young Lady who I've seen there for several months.  Three more beers in Le Caddy to keep the wine company and a heart felt farewell to Our Friend ended the day.  Or so we thought.

Into the metro and back to the apartment to home and hearth.  Whew!  We were bushed.

Opening and through the front door, we realized instantly that the mornings plumbing cleaning effort had not paid off.  Ugh.  The place still stank of whatever was rotting Down There.

As we were working out what to do next (call our landlord to see which plumber they might recommend came to mind), the doorbell rang.

Thinking it was our Upstairs Neighbor, or perhaps her husband coming to think me for my small bodied but big hearted efforts at playing garde du corps, I opened the door... to find our Across the Hall Neighbor smiling grandly and extending an invitation to drinks.  En dix (10) minutes!

Before we could answer, Jude collared him into showing him our plumbing problem.  He suggested that the odor might be a result of the Pipe Cleaning that was performed in the building recently.  Oh, and he'll call the building owners on Monday for us.  Well.  Now we're getting somewhere.  And... Jude had him listen to  Alarm Sounds that waft up through the central open shaft.  Our Downstairs Neighbor pops open an alarmed window and doesn't seem to mind the sound.  ANd... our Across the Hall Neighbor is the president of the apartment owner's group that interfaces to the building corporation.  Now we're really getting somewhere.  AND...  he'll take care of letting the downstairs neighbors know just how annoying their alarm is.


With that, how could we turn down an invitation to drinks? Which meant, unfortunately, that we needed to wolf down our second meal of the day so we could walk two meters across the hall to pay he and his lovely wife and children a wee-visit.

It was a great visit.  We hope to have forged a new friendship.  Our day had well and truly ended.  In bed.  Fast asleep. By 20h30.

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