01 June 2010

Mostly good news, but some bad

Which do you want first? Okay, let's go positive.

Good news: today marks 27 years that Walt and I have been living as a couple. We met in Paris in 1981. Then we moved back to the States and got an apartment together in Washington DC in June 1983. From 1986 until 2003 we lived and worked in California.

Tomorrow will be the seventh anniversary of our arrival in France to start this new life. It's still hard to believe.

The new floor...

More good news concerns the attic conversion: Jacques and two of his young workers showed up yesterday morning. They arrived with a truckload of pine boards — that's the flooring for the attic. It's tongue-and-groove. And the two workers started nailing it down. The nails go into the groove on the edge of each board, so they are not visible in the finished floor.

...is about half done.

As Walt said on Facebook, I think, the crew had laid down a few boards over the sub-floor to see how they were going to fit together. I went up and saw them, and they looked fine to me. I came back downstairs and told Walt he should go see what they were doing, just to be sure. He did. When he came back downstairs, he said: "The had the boards laid down back-side up. They were going to put them in the wrong way."

There's a top side and bottom side, because the planks are chamfered. In French, ce sont des planches avec chanfrein. What that means is that the top edges of each board are beveled, so that there is a shallow groove between the boards where they fit together.

Pine boards with chamfered edges

Now for the bad news. Our English friend S. called late yesterday afternoon. “I have some news about Coco,” she said. Coco is the masonry/tile/drywall specialist who has been the senior member of the work crew. Last year he put down new tile for us on our front terrace. Over the past two months, he has done all the plasterboard walls up in the attic, as well as putting in the new staircase.

Anyway, I told Starr that Coco hadn't come to work here that morning but that the laying of the floor was proceeding apace, thanks to Jacques and the two guys who work for him. “Okay,” S. said, “but here's the news: Coco was doing some work at his own house this afternoon. Unfortunately, he fell and got his legs tangled up in a ladder. He has suffered a nasty broken leg. Jacques called it « une fracture ouverte ». I'm not sure exactly what that means, but Coco is in the hospital over in Romorantin.”

A view from a different angle

Poor Coco (his real name is Jacques too). He's a man who is always all smiles, who whistles while he works, and who is a craftsman. He is proud of his work, and has a right to be. Now he'll be laid up for I don't know how long.

Now some people who read this blog have said that we should leave that last wall, the one directly over the stairs, in its natural brick state. Well, it looks like it will stay that way for at least a while longer, unless the other Jacques finds another drywall man to finish the job. I don't know who will install the closet doors.

I guess we'll be able to start varnishing and painting as soon as the floor is finished.

View coming up the stairs

Dry. That's what we wish the weather would be. It's supposed to rain again today, but they're promising us warm — even hot — sunny days for a while starting tomorrow. Oui, demain — toujours demain. We'll be making a batch of dolmas — stuffed grape leaves — this afternoon. I picked and blanched 50 grapevine leaves yesterday afternoon.


  1. That is bad news about Coco. It means the bone broke through the skin. That's a pretty severe break.

  2. Happy Anniversary(s:)
    Good thing you noticed about the boards before they got nailed down the wrong way.

  3. Happy Anniversary. I love the exposed beams in the new bedroom. We have exposed beams in our kitchen / dining rooms. Gives a lovely feel to the space.

  4. Hi Ellen, I figured that's what "fracture ouverte" meant -- bone sticking out. It's horrible. Poor man.

    Thanks Meredith. And yes, I'm glad I sent Walt up there to look. He's more savvy than I am.

    Thanks to you too Ann. That upstairs room is going to be very nice, we think. It certainly is spacious.

  5. Joyeux Anniversaire!!

  6. Happy anniversary!

    Sorry about Coco.

    Good for Walt!

  7. I am very happy, once again, to be around to wish you two HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (of life together, and of life in France)! Very cool. Dare I say it.... how time flies!

    So sorry to hear about Coco. Yikes. Wow.

    The floor does look wonderful, and the space looks GREAT.


  8. The new space is lovely. Thanks for letting us have a peek. Happy anniversary to you and Walt, and best wishes for another 27!

  9. sorry about coco...yikes.....new floor is gorgeous....i love the exposed brick too....maybe ur "meant" to leave it like that...congrats on ur anniversary....sante

  10. Happy Anniversary to both of you and keep enjoying your move to your new abode in the French countryside.

  11. I am only a recent reader to your blog, but I enjoy it enormously. Congratulations to you both - what a wonderful achievement to be such a partnership...and still speaking during renovations! I hope you have enjoyed a perfect meal with wine to celebrate , and commiserate with poor Coco.

  12. Happy anniversary. Congratulations on 27 years!

    Wow, that attic is starting to really look great.

  13. Happy Anniversary, mes chers amis.

  14. Wow, your good news is great, Happy Anniveraries, and your bad news really stinks, poor Coco!

    Your new room is looking better every day - LOVE the floor! And thank goodness Walt took a good look at it!


  15. Happy Anniversary!
    Sad news about Coco. Will you be going to see him at the hospital?

  16. That is a very good looking attic.
    In spite of the delay, I think it went pretty fast.
    Happy anniversary to both of you! In my line of business, I have lots of same sex married couples(and few already divorced) but from reading your blog(s) everyday, I think you both are the most stable, happiest couple.

  17. Up and down, up and down: the roller coaster of life.

    Happy anniversary! Get well soon, Coco!

    The attic looks GREAT!

  18. Just like everybody else I'll say Happy Anniversary and many, many happy returns of the day.

  19. Too bad about Coco. I hope he'll mend good as new.

  20. Ken and Walt, I wish you many, many, many more anniversaries together and in France!! Martine

  21. I'm glad that you and Walt found one another. I hope your anniversary was good.

    Lewis and I started our lives together in June also.

    I hope Coco has a full recovery, but know it will take some time before he's ready to go back to work.

  22. Happy anniversary.

    And so sorry about and for Coco. Sending him best wishes from les Etats Unis for fast healing. Broken bones are very painful things.

  23. Happy anniversary to you and Walt. I also can't believe you have been in France 7 years already. I do hope we will meet up someday...at least before anniversary 10?

  24. Thanks, everybody.

    Jacques is here right now, and he says Coco's recovery will probably take 6 months. Right now the doctors are taking care of his leg fractures, but it's possible that he also injured his back.

    The floor upstairs is all done now and it does look great.


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