Tuesday, 17 April 2012

An unexpected birthday

Yesterday was my birthday and I spent my evening alone, cleaning out my fridge. Actually, it wasn't just cleaning the fridge. I was gagging through the job of removing rotten meat and vegetables and a flood of festering blood. Urgkk!

Just before I went off on my business trip to to the USA I had cleaned out my fridge though not the little icebox that masquerades as a freezer. I like to come home to a clean and fresh sort of home. In vain. While I was away a plumbing technician had visited the studio. Trying to see into the black hole in the bathroom to reassess the plumbing problem that had arisen weeks before from a burst pipe, he had connected up a lamp to an extension cord and connected it to an outlet in the kitchen part of my room. He took out all the plugs; the ones for my hotplates, microwave and fridge. And then he neglected to reconnect anything. By the time I arrived back home just over a week later things had become rather appalling.

Jean-Claude had dropped off my suitcase and decided that since it was my birthday it might be a major crime if he didn't get me a present and so he told me to come shopping with him. We abandoned the stench at my studio and took off for Parley 2 but it was clear my birthday was going to be a lot less than I would have liked. JC had been busy most of the day helping an ex-employee with some undeserved legal problems she was having so I never saw him until 2.30pm. I discovered he had made no effort to get me a present or arrange to do anything nice. Considering the effort I'd made for him last year with my limited time and resources that was a wee bit disconcerting. Well, we can't do things for others expecting anything in return I reminded myself.

I was still very tired and jetlagged from my trip so wandering around looking for clothes or shoes was a bit of a stretch for me. After hours spent looking at expensive clothes I could never afford, that didn't fit me or the rest of my wardrobe I ended up with a pair of low shoes, orange coloured (which I like) for the summer. Something modestly priced and practical. I needed to get a copy of the Road Code as I've decided to go back down the path of buying a car. We found an up-to-date copy at fnac. JC paid for it and dropped it in my bag. For your birthday, he explained. Such a practical person.

Tired and hungry and knowing I was going to have to go back home and spend the rest of my birthday evening cleaning out the 'nasty' stuff, we called into a creperie at Cafeolait for a quick feed. Not fancy but helpful under the circumstances as JC felt it might be better for me to eat something in a place where the stench didn't kill my appetite. True.

As I got out of the car JC said" The kitchen's too small for two to work in so bye, I'll leave you to it". He handed me two spray bottles of cleaning products and then he was gone. Intensely practical wouldn't you say?

There was nothing for it but to get stuck in. Everything went into a plastic bag which I put in a rubbish bin already on the street for pickup so that fellow tenants wouldn't have their noses assaulted for the next few days. Getting rid of a sea of old blood wasn't nice. I sprayed first with the Janola-based product. I knew from watching CSI TV episodes years ago that Janola is very good at getting rid of traces of blood at a crime scene. I was finished by midnight, leaving the fridge doors open.

The next day I repeated the cleaning with the second product, leaving the fridge open again. I also thought it might be a good idea to clean up the bathroom after the plumbers had left a mess in there. Tonight I'll go back to JC's for a few days while the fridge smell clears. The bathroom's not smelling great either right now. The temporary repair on the pipe is past it's expiry date and the studio owner is very worried because she can't find a plumber who is available AND isn't trying to charge exorbitant prices. Plumbers are hard to find here.

I suppose I'm lucky to have some days off this week so I can sort things out and plan ahead. I'm getting a bit fed up with my deteriorating studio. The paint is falling off in big flakes, it's old and run down and costly problems are occurring. It's always cold and damp in there.

It would be nice if we had warmer weather but it's been very cold and rainy for two weeks. Last night was really bitter. I went to bed wearing my thermal underwear and with a hotwater bottle between my knees and it's not even Winter. Oh come on France, you can offer a better experience than this!


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