Decisions, decisions

As we head into the homestretch of the renovations, the big decisions have mostly been made. My contractor, Tarek, has been a wonder, making everything work even when I make bad decisions. He has, for example, installed a tile step between the bathtub and the shower, which pulls it all together. (I’m afraid I don’t have a photo—will show you next week, along with other developments).

Which is not to say that we agree on everything. Paint colors for one. I am determined to keep the Art Deco quality of the apartment in the forefront and chose 2 colors for the living room and bedroom that the painter called “old fashioned.” I took that as a compliment. The primary color in both rooms is taupe and I spent hours going through paint samples to find the right shade. In France, they do not ordinarily mix up sample pots so you can see the colors on the wall. But I insisted so Tarek sent me to a hardware store which had the equipment to do sample colors.

Note he is downloading the color specs from his phone

Happily, the taupe came out the perfect color but the second color—for the niches in each room— was more difficult. I am calling it mauve, because I like that word. In fact, what I was looking for was taupe with a touch of red. My first try was far too gray so I went back the following day to have a second batch mixed.

Taupe on the left. The bottom mauve is the one I selected.

However, Tarek didn’t like the color (he thought it too contrasty) and suggested just using taupe for all of it, which he proceeded to do. Then I brought in a friend for a third opinion and she agreed with me. No, I didn’t bribe her. Next week I will show you the result after the niches are repainted in mauve and you can decide who was right.

I can already hear your yawns of boredom at this tale. So I won’t bother with the floor refinishing conflict or the trials of buying a bed. I did finally buy a bed today, after much angst, since retail stores finally reopened. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one online without testing it out.

We have entered phase 1 of deconfinement, with the opening of “non-essential” businesses. We still need our attestations (hall pass) to go out and must wear masks. Stores are required to have 8 meters of space for each customer. On December 15, if the numbers continue to improve, they will allow museums, theaters, movies and such like to reopen. However, restaurants will remain shut, except for takeout, until January 20. And the number of people who can be together indoors is limited to 10. I thought you might, therefore, enjoy this cartoon.

2019 I swear I am not an alcoholic. I’m just having a party.
2020: I swear I am not having a party. I’m just an alcoholic.

Update on Renovations

I’ve been quiet for a while but work is proceeding apace. The new pipes have been laid, the electrical connections rewired, and concrete laid over all the floors (where the new pipes and connections reside). We are now at the plastering stage and it’s looking good. Here are before and after photos of the kitchen.

Kitchen before
Kitchen today

I may have made a mistake with the bathroom. I had decided I wanted both a bathtub and a shower. As I’m getting older, I thought having a walk-in shower would be a good idea long-term. But I love having baths. We’ve squeezed them both in, but it looks ungainly. I hope once the tile is in place it will look better.

On other matters, not to gloat, but the beach was full of sunbathers today.

And here is a short video of starlings who apparently swoop en masse here around sunset on their way to Africa. A bit Hitchcock-like, don’t you think?

Moving Day #1

So we all have a new beginning today. I have received congratulations from throughout France on Biden’s victory, as if I had anything to do with it. Everyone here is thrilled, as am I.

Is he gone?

After more than a month of packing, today was the first of my moving days. Tarek brought an assistant to move 2 truckloads to my basement storage space in my new building and a third truckload to my temporary lodgings. Which is where I am now.

This apartment is tiny, Maybe 300 square feet including kitchen and bathroom. The shower is so small that I cannot turn around. But I’m not complaining. The good news is that once I move into my permanent place, it will feel spacious at around 500 square feet. Also this place is right around the corner from my new apartment, so easy to check in and pick up my mail.

A word about where I have lived, am living and will live. My previous apartment, where I lived for 3 years, was on rue Alphonse Karr, kind of the Madison Avenue of Nice, filled with expensive clothing shops. My current rental on Boulevard Gambetta is kind of the 72nd and Broadway of Nice. It is across from the tramway and bus stops, lots of supermarkets and commerce for normal people.

My new apartment is in a more residential area. The analogy would be to Riverside Drive in the eighties. So a very different ambience.

Radiator Problem No More

The chauffagiste came this morning and Tarek took out the radiators. So it’s full speed ahead.

On my return from the new apartment, I stopped for a kebab. They also sell French tacos, which look like this.

Ellie is not impressed by French tacos

Even though we are in lockdown, there is plenty of activity. Food shops and takeout places are open, including boulangeries, cheese mongers, etc. Many people jogging along the Promenade. We are supposed to stay within 1 km of our residences but I cheated to go to the new apartment, which is 1.1 km. No one asked me.