Jacques the building contractor sent one of his men over on Thursday to seal all the cracks and seams in our upstairs closets where cold air was coming in. It took the man all day, and he seems to have done an excellent job. It's been very windy this morning and we aren't feeling it up here in the loft at all.
The weather is still very mild and very wet most of the time. Walt got up this morning, looked out the window, and said: "There are all these very strange points of light in the sky." Ha ha. That's right, it's clear this morning, but that's not supposed to last. A rain front is moving in from the northwest and will give us steady rain all afternoon and into the night, according to the forecast I just saw.
Oh, and I got the currency exchange done. It's easy once I've made up my mind. I set up the transaction, then I send a request form to the bank in the U.S. by e-mail, and I wait for a call. The phone rings, I answer a few security questions to prove I am who I say I am, and the money is sent.
Living on U.S. dollars in a country where they are not the legal tender is not the ideal situation to be in. But there we are. We are at the mercy of the dollar/euro exchange rate. It certainly makes budgeting more complicated.
I ended up getting a rate of $1 U.S. = 0.76 € this time. That's not too bad. Expressed in dollars per euro, that's 1 € = $1.31. I realized a gain of a couple of hundred euros by waiting a few days as the euro fell against the U.S. dollar. Every euro counts, that's my attitude. When I changed money last spring, I got 80 eurocents per dollar, but in March it was only 72 eurocents. So my average for the year is $1 = 0.76 €. We did several currency transactions in 2010 because we were having the attic converted into new living space.
In other news, we think one of the houses in our hamlet might be going on the market. There are only 9 houses here at La Renaudière, and about half of them are occupied only seasonally. None has been sold since we bought ours in 2002/2003. The house we think might be advertised for sale soon belonged to a woman who died last year. She was 95 years old. Her two children — people my age — inherited the house, but one lives in the Paris area and the other lives down south near the Mediterranean.
Both of the late owner's heirs have come and spent a few days here over the past year, but not often, and they never stay long. One of them told me the place needs a lot a work. I've never seen the inside, and, unfortunately, they don't seem to do open houses here the way they do in the U.S. to sell houses. I'd love to see the interior, what facilities it has, and how it is decorated. All I know is that there are at least two small outbuildings and there's a small orchard of half a dozen apple trees out back. The house has great views of the vineyard right outside.
We haven't seen any « A Vendre » signs go up yet, but there's been a flurry of activity over there this week. Obviously, contractors are being called in, either to repair things or to spiff the place up. And Walt found a real estate agent's calling card on the ground on the road out there. I don't even know if the heirs are here right now, or are having all this done from afar. I haven't seen them or their car.