Déménager 28/05/2010Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
Tags: france, moving, paris
My neighbor from down the hall caught me dragging an overburdened suitcase through the streets. You’re going back to America?!? No, I’ve got a new apartment, I explained, and he was pleased that I had found a bigger place, wished me good luck and told me what a wonderful guy I’ve been. A lot of progress from when he laughed at how I always took the stairs, and all I could say was that it was for my health.
I lived out of suitcases. The previous occupants, Bibia and Julien, were accommodating to my early relocation but still had cleaning to do. I tried to stay out of the way while the top to bottom scrubbing was being done. Then the landlords were coming so I kept everything packed away, trying to skate by on as little food as possible to keep my presence less obvious. None the wiser the owners signed over the address to Robin and we were official.
Well, I’m not official. But I have keys.
Vingt had procured an ID and password so that I could use the citywide free wifi. It worked intermittently, especially between six in the evening until midnight when everyone is downloading massive files. Robin ordered a package which promised us phone, internet and cable. Every day he would complain that the modem hadn’t arrived. France was enjoying one of several three-day weekends celebrated in May.
When the delivery was finally made everything was unboxed, directions were followed, cords coiled along the floor creating hazards. Nothing worked. After some sleuthing it was discovered that the phone company hadn’t turned the line back on yet. Another three-day weekend must have prevented that automated process from getting done.
One of the greatest surprises that brought tears to my eyes upon moving in was the gas range. When Robin transfered the account he neglected to sign up for gas, so we were suddenly reduced to the electric burner and oven for all of our considerable cooking needs.
Phone line came to life one afternoon with little fanfare. The internet worked, cable worked, my friend Virginia flew in from Los Angeles. She popped her head out of the bathroom one day and told me the tub wasn’t draining. It’s just slow, I assured her. By the next morning it became clear it was no longer slow, it was not draining. I found and deployed, against all personal feelings, bleach to the pool. We didn’t seem to have a plunger laying around the house.
Virginia left for Barcelona while Robin and I procured various tools and poisons to tackle the problem. The bathroom sink backed up, the tub refused to drain, the kitchen sink became clogged. I gave it a day before washing the dishes, which flooded the tub more. Robin e-mailed the landlords who asked us to get a recommendation from Bibia and Julien. Several days later we finally had a plumber who snaked some vicious hairballs through the kitchen sink where the apartment pipes connect to the building’s sewage line.
Hearing that we had running water again Virginia returned from Barcelona for a couple days. Robin continued to move things from his old apartment, creating a massive collection of empty boxes and nostalgic artifacts that slowly trickled out of the living room where I sleep. Tuesday morning I woke before the alarm, made coffee for me and Virginia, and then walked her to the métro so that she could catch her plane.
And now I can begin to feel like I actually live here. If I can survive the forthcoming house-warming that has filled Robin with such excitement. Gas would just be icing on the cake.