Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Building stuff in France.

(Barbie Dream House Update #11)

From the moment we signed the purchase agreement on The Barbie Dream House, FrenchBoy and I have heard nothing but horror stories from well-meaning people who were trying to warn us about all the possible problems that are involved in building an apartment from scratch. But all in all, their advice was really unnecessary.

In a few weeks we will be moved into our new home, and we have had nothing that even comes close to the many catastrophes we’ve heard about over the years. In fact, from what I can put together, we’ve had just about the ideal home building experience. So much so, that we’re already looking forward to building a full blown house in a few years.

So sorry folks, I have no horror stories or funny anecdotes to share about the experience of building a home in France. Thus far it’s been pretty uneventful…..not counting the 2 year waiting period.

Anyway, without further delay, The Star Trek Kitchen:

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The almost finished Disco Toilet (downstairs guest toilet):

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And last but certainly not least. My studio!

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Of course FrenchBoy and I can't take too much of the credit for how easily this project has come together. We've had a lot of help from family. Last week French Father -in-law was joined by Papi George for the kitchen assembly, and FrenchBoy took a few days off to work to help as well.

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This weekend French Godmother Francine and her husband Francis stopped by and of course, we put them to work and then paid them in coffee of course.

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It took 4 people to put in my damn kitchen sink. Who knew it would be so heavy?

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Anywayz, that's where the Barbie Dream House is thus far. Hopefully next week we will have stairs so we can stop climbing a ladder to the upstairs bedrooms. I just keep telling myself: "Good things come to those who wait."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

All's Well That Ends Well.

Wednesday was just one of those days. I woke up feeling unrested and a bit anxious. Between planning new work, sending out applications, and moving into our new home, I was really feeling a bit stressed and out of sorts. That tiny grain of anxiety began to grow, and grow, and grow. By Noon I knew I was in trouble, and there was only one thing to do.

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I jumped in my car and drove 90 kilometers to Nancy to one of the only Office Depot stores in this region of France. I’m not sure how to explain it: Some people meditate or do yoga when they get stressed out. Me, I go to the office supply store. There is something about rows and rows of perfectly organized paper, pens, desk organizers, and file folders that puts my mind at ease. For a control freak with a paper fetish, Office Depot is Mecca. It’s organization through osmosis. I didn’t even need anything from Office Depot, I just needed to be in the Office Depot. Of course as usual I wandered up and down each and every aisle of the store and tried out all the office furniture, and then after an hour I left empty-handed. Ok, I snagged a few free catalogs just in case I needed a fix later.

After my little road trip, I made it back home just in time to hang out with Mademoiselle R and Christoph in Nilvange. They suggested I stop by for a reception that was being held for some art I think. Except I didn’t see any art, only some photos of piles of dirt being projected on the wall. I wasn’t paying much attention. I really only came for the good company and the free champagne.

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And while we were sipping our free champagne, out of nowhere the Mayor just came up to us and shook our hands. I guess he was thanking us for coming?

So over –all, not a bad ending for a day in France that started out pretty crappy.

Go figure.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Destination Metz

Friday was another great day in France, not just because the weather was absolutely perfect, but because I finally got to meet up with fellow blogger Mademoiselle R, the lovely young writer of Destination Metz. Since we are both ladies of leisure at the moment, we decided to meet up mid-afternoon in Metz Centre-ville at the Cathedral. Since Mademoiselle R is a extremely camera shy and I had no idea what she looked like, we agreed that I would find her by her shoes. ( A girl can never go wrong in a pair of fancy Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. I have 3 pairs of oxfords myself.) But quite frankly I don't know what all the fuss is about because she is cute as a button! But her shoes are cute too.


Anyway after that we went to the overwhelmingly large terrace at Place Saint Jacque. The waiter was either deaf or stupid or both, because he managed to mess up or order. ( Dear French waiter, We said "coca light", not choco-whatever. Sure, we aren't native French speakers, but our pronunciation isn't that bad! So clean your dirty French ears!)

After drinking and chatting we just kinda wandered around. We made our way into the visiter's center and picked up some stuff about what was going on around the city, and then we paid 10 cents to pee. Correction: I paid 10 cents to pee, then Mademoiselle R snuck in for free while nobody was watching. (If the people at the visitors center are reading this, please know that Mademoiselle R was the mastermind behind this evil plan. I was only a witness. It was not at all my idea, but for the record, I am not at all remorseful because your toilets smell like.....toilets.)

Anyway, we are both new Messines! (That's what lady citizens of Metz are called.) I predict I will be writing about many more of our clever capers in Metz in the months to come.

Next time I'll wear my chucks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Peace" "Love" and "Soul".

I don't often post about my work on this blog, especially since I haven't started any new projects in my studio as of late, but then not too long ago I received this by e-mail from artist Betty C. Bowen. Aside from her studio work, Betty is also an art teacher. One of her students from last semester, Ashley, did her art history report on me of all people! How cool is this artwork she did to go along with it? And how cool is it that I'm in Art History? *snorts*

The piece is actually a square, but it wouldn't quite fit onto Betty's scanner. The music Ashley used is "Silent Night", which is her favorite piece from her piano lessons. The text parts that got cut off has rubber stamp letters that read "Peace""Love" "Soul". And of course, she included her school picture.

Now, I know Ashley hasn't been spying in me in my studio, but she totally read me like a book. She has figured out the recipe to all of my recent work:

Get a canvas. Paint a whole bunch of red stuff on there. Glue on a photo or shape of a house. Add a text element to imply the narrative, add in a photo of a girl who is really a stand-in for oneself, and Voila!---You have one of my recent paintings! She totally nailed my schtik! Don't believe me? The resemblance is uncanny!

Anyway, this made my day, so thanks to Ashley for making it and thanks to Betty for sending the photo to me.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Third Time's a Charm.

My dear sweet FrenchBoy is kind, gentle, soft-spoken, and incredibly mild mannered, but if you get on his bad side he will send you a mean ass e-mail that will singe your eyebrows.

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Apparently there was some hanky-panky going on over at the construction site of our new apartment and a door frame and our bedroom wall were damaged. Frenchboy was not pleased. The construction manager got a e-mail that had smoke and ash trailing off of it, and shit got settled this morning.

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In other news--we fired yet another tiler. Yes, we are onto tiler #3. The first one we predicted would go out of business---and it did. Then last week French father-in-law saw tiler #2 working and nearly had a conniption. Apparently tiler #2 didn't even measure before they installed the damn tiles! The building manager confirmed that tiler #2 had infact made so many mistakes in other apartments that they would no longer be allowed to work in the building. OUCH!

We're just super thankful it wasn't our apartment they screwed up. Here's the floor tile we finally picked for the Italian shower in the master bathroom. The sales guy made me take off my shoe and test the texture. Thank God I had a mani-pedi!


Luckily, we've already found a replacement tiler and he can start this weekend! Tiler #3, who we lovingly refer to as "one again" did the bathroom at French-Godmother Francine's house and his work is fantastic! We had to pull some strings to get him to come work all the way from Luxembourg, but he finally agreed.

Why is he called "one again" you ask? Because apparently the entire time he was installing tile in Francine's bathroom he kept making jokes and using Franglais. His favorite english expression is, you guessed it: "once again", but since his pronunciation sucks he says "one again". Alas, Mr. One Again will start installing our kitchen this weekend!

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Also this weekend we picked out parquet---for the third time. The first one we chose could only be installed by the manufacturerso we nixed that idea. Next we chose another which ended up just being ridiculously expensive, and then finally this weekend we made yet another choice which is nearly identical to the 1st one we chose. Let's hope the third time is a charm.
Whatever. Just scroll back up and check out how dope my black converse low tops look with my Japanese laces!