Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Where Are They Now?

Not making a lot of progress, actually.. Mostly running around to get official records changed and finding "experts" to do this and attest to that. That's for the sale. The land purchase is moving at the speed of lawyers. But, to keep you up to date. . .

We can't find workshop space, so in return for a making a door/window for the new owners, leading directly to the garden (I wanted to do that!), Nick will keep the workshop where it is until we get the new one built.

We'll probably be moving on the 19th of August. That's the day France Telecom is going to change over our phone. But not the internet. The internet will take up to an additional two weeks. No one can explain this to me. I'm not sure if going cold turkey is going to kill me or provide a vacation. Arghghghgh!

The new owners must be out of their house on the 21st of August, so they arrive here a few days before we sign the final papers on the 26th. To keep the notaire happy, should she or her clerk discover (we're not telling) that we're letting them move in early, we're charging them for "B&B." Ten euro for the four of them for the week. For that price, I told them, they have to make their own beds. And their own breakfast. They didn't get the joke, but we finally straightened things out.

We have another lead on straw. A local farmer grows épautre, a sub-species of spelt cultivated in parts of Provence. It has mostly died out elsewhere as wheat gives a much bigger harvest and is less labour intensive. You cook it like brown rice (or even real white rice) and it has the same uses, but has a firmer, almost crunchy texture. Delish. Anyway, Laurence has the straw baled after harvest. The bales are not quite as tight as some others -- her neighbour, who does the baling, has an old machine -- but we think it's good enough, and we would rather buy from her than go commercial. We're waiting to see if the harvest will render 1,000 bales.

The July 14th vide grenier ("empty attic") went very well. We arrived with two and a half van-loads of stuff and came home with only one. The next vide grenier is part of the the fête votive (the village fair) on the 18th of August and we will try and unload the rest of it there. What remains will be donated to a half-way house about 20 minutes away.

We will be moving into our temporary quarters with a bigger family. A friend has decided to spend most of his retirement in Morocco and cannot take his dog and cat. The dog-sitter wants the dog, but he hasn't found a home for the cat. "Well, Jeanno," I said, trying to butter him up for workshop space, "if you don't find a home for her before you go back in September, I'll take her." Two days later, when we next saw him, his greeting was, "Still O.K. for the cat?" "Jeanno," I said," you've stopped looking, haven't you"? He laughed.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Moving Right Along

I can either cut and paste all my emails or just blog. Here's the blog. (I thought a bit of bolding would help to cut to whatever chase interests you.)

We are now counting down the days to moving -- during the week of 14 August. We have an apartment in the village to rent until May. By then, it will be warm enough to either camp out in whatever part of the house or workshop has walls and a roof -- or just camp. The apartment has a ton of storage space, should we need it, a lovely terrace and a garden. Are we lucky or what?

We have free storage space in the village, thanks to another friend. Yes, we are lucky.

We have a lead on space in the village for the workshop until the new one is built.

We can't get the straw locally, after all; no one produces enough. But we have found a supplier. We hope. It's a bit late in the year and we haven't managed to contact him, yet.

Our buyers were here over the weekend to register their kids in school, measure everything, and tell us that they have sold their house. "Good thing for you," they said. "Better thing for you," Nick thought, but did not say. "Now you won't be losing your deposit."

So, we are signing the final papers for the sale in the third week of August and the papers for the purchase about the same time.

We're offered a used cement mixer. When did I ever think a cement mixer would make a great gift?

We have another four days to clean out the house for the July 14th vide grenier -- empty the attic -- a sort of garage sale. I lo-o-o-o-o-ve throwing things out.

Of course, now is when I pick up two translation jobs. Isn't that always the way?

And we're doing 10 days of B&B because I couldn't bring myself to turn down some regular clients who aren't aware that I've retired. Then, again, one of the guys is a landscape architect. . .

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Ununited Aconeal Process

Learned a new word(s) today. For my birthday (shut up! don't rush me), my MIL gave me 50€ and Nick offered to give me 30€ toward the Obama campaign if I wanted the T-shirt. I took the 30€, added some debt, and got what I really wanted: a visit to Io Jima's orthopedic surgeon so I can find out what's actually wrong with Nala and what, if anything, to do about it. She fell going up the stairs the other night and had one helluva time getting going, again.

He did X-rays. The first ones. (It took 3 people to hold her; like most Chows, she hates being laid down.) So, right: she's got arthritis. Not in her left shoulder as we thought, but in both elbows, the right one being the worst. How odd! It's the left leg that appears to constantly collapse on her. Anyway, worst is the operative word. Dr. Garcin said he'd never seen such awful arthritis. Ever. Looking at a line on the X-rays, he believes that she suffered a trauma when young that gave rise to Ununited Aconeal Process, which gives a worst case prognosis for arthritis.

Nothing much to do. He approved of the Cosiflex. I asked after joint replacements. Hips only, he said; there is no procedure, yet, for elbows.

We discussed NSAIDs. I said she'd tried them all; made her sick. But we've agreed to try the Metacam, again. She did better on it; took a week for her to get diarrhea. But I'm giving her a half dose and he's prescribed Cytotec to protect her stomach.

Let's see. 30€ for the Metacam. 20€ for the Cytotec. 28.50€ for her eyedrops. 10€ for the other eyedrops. 23.50€ for the Advantix because it has to be given every 2 weeks for the Leishmaniosis. 12.50€ for the sebhorrhea shampoo, the only thing that lasts longer than a month, so lets say 5.00€. You add it up.

So, I said to the pharmacist -- after I found out the price of the Cytotec -- Nala tolerated the aspirin pretty well, too. Could I give her the Cytotec with aspirin instead of Metacam. No, he said, it doesn't work with aspirin. But it does, according to the site cited above.

Pretty soon I will buy her a harness to help her get up the stairs.

Meanwhile, I wish Dr.Garcin were our regular vet. He immediately identified Nala's on-going eye problem (now that the entropion has been surgically corrected), as ectropion of the right eye; hence all the infections. (To the above list, add the antibiotic ointments for her constant eye infections). He took one look at the X-rays and knew what the problem was. He grimaced when I said she hadn't been X-rayed before. And, in general, he seems to know everything.

The only good news. The visit, meds, X-rays and all came to 137€. If it weren't for running costs, we'd be in clover.

End of whinge.