This week we found out that we've been approved for our loan (at long last!). We still have to wait ten days before we can send off the paperwork (in case we chicken out, I guess?) and then we can schedule a closing date. We are so close!!
In honor of finally getting out of this apartment, I present you with ten things I won't miss about it at all (in no particular order):
10. The horribly creaking floorboards upstairs. It's most noticeable when I grab the dry laundry and dump it on the bed to fold, and just shifting my weight back and forth makes the floorboards creak. There's no point in finding another laundry folding spot because all of the upstairs is the same. Every time I fold the laundry I think to myself "I can't wait to move, I can't wait to move..."
9. The horrible, horrible stairs. They are narrow, steep and are comprised of planks so wide apart that Fry could easily dive through them. He is still only allowed up the stairs alone if one of us is right behind him, and downstairs if one of us is holding him (but I usually carry him down, such is my fear of these stairs). They also creak like mad. The only good thing about the stairs and floorboards upstairs is that we've never had to worry about someone sneaking in the house to kill us.
8. The shower stall. It is so small that we can't even fit a Fry-sized bucket in there for his bath, so his little tub sits in the middle of the bathroom. How much luck do you think we've had getting him to stop playing Splashy Splashy and flooding the entire bathroom?
7. The exposed brick. The entire downstairs is an open plan, meaning it's one big room that encompasses the kitchen, dining room and living room. They used to be divided with a wall, but instead of a wall we have the remains of some load bearing wooden beams, which are actually quite charming (you can see them and the terrifying stairs in this photo from a couple of months after we moved in). The problem is that they don't go all the way down to the floor. They rest on a bed of bricks, which must have been originally hidden when it was a wall. Exposed brick is exactly what you want with a child whose two speeds are Run and Sleep.
6. The kitchen. Again, thanks to the open plan, there's no hiding the kitchen and all the sharp pointy killer things in it from Fry. Until a couple of months ago, we managed to keep Fry out of the kitchen side by tearing down his play pen and using the pieces to barricade him into the living room side. But it was really ugly and a pain in the ass to have to climb over all day. We finally took it down when we decided to buy the apartment, knowing that we would be having people coming to look at the apartment. Thankfully the only time he has tried to play with the oven has been when it was off but I will be so grateful to get into our new place, where the kitchen is separated into its own room with a door that closes.
5. Fighting for parking. One of the downsides to a lane filled with maisons de ville is that they don't always have garages. Our lane is just wide enough for cars to park in the road and for regular sized cars to drive by in one direction (in the rare occasion that another car is coming in the opposite direction, one of them must find a space between parked cars and let the other pass). I think all of my neighbors have only one car (like us) so we manage happily to park in front of our homes, but it's a real PITA to come home from the grocery to find a neighbor's guest parked in front of my home, so I have to park down the street and haul in Fry and a trunkful's worth of shopping bags.
4.The Birds. Our apartment butts up against an empty warehouse, and on the other side is a stand-alone home with a yard. In this yard is a gorgeous cherry tree. Every Spring, the birds descend on the tree and then perch on our roof overhang. I don't know why they love our roof so much, but I won't miss driving around with half an inch of cherry bird shit all over the car.
3. The neighbors (speaking of...). We have lived in this apartment for five years. There are some people in this lane, that have lived here longer than us, that still will not say hello to me on sight. If I say hello to them, they grudgingly reply. We have, luckily, met some very lovely people in Tiny Town, and thanks to Stéphane's good reputation as a teacher many people know who we are (people bring Stéphane up in conversation to me in his capacity as a teacher as if I am supposed to know who they and their children are!) and in typically slow French countryside fashion, we are finally starting to feel like a part of this town. Except for my neighbors down the lane, who I will not miss, even a little. (Of course, we don't know who our new neighbors will be, but fingers are crossed!)
2. Our landlord. Oh, dear. We didn't hear a peep from her for the last five years, even in the beginning when we had problems and she didn't return our calls (Stéphane fixed any problems that came up himself). The millisecond that she understood that we were giving notice, she was on our backs. She had a "For Rent" sign nailed up before we even sent our official three months notice. The week we were out of town, she called to ask if she could show the apartment with a few hours notice. I got that message the next day when Fry and I returned, and an hour later, as I'd barely got everything out of the car and was settling down, she was there with the client on the way! I told her it would be impossible for that night and to come back the next evening, which she didn't like very much but she didn't really have a choice.* Last week we suddenly had a huge banging noise right outside our door, Stéphane went to investigate and there she was, nailing up a second "For Rent" sign. She couldn't even bother to knock on the door? The worst was Saturday at 4pm, she called and asked if she could come by with a client with two hours notice. Of course we said no. I will really be glad to see the back of her!
1. Last, but certainly not least: NO MORE RENT!! We are both so excited to be able to stop throwing money away on rent and start investing for ourselves. Even if it's not the home of our dreams, at least we're investing in our future.
*Renters have very strong rights in France: landlords are not even allowed to have an extra key and in situations like ours, they are supposed to create a visiting schedule with the renters for good hours and how much notice we are entitled to, etc. We have been very lenient with her so far, just gently but firmly refusing her when she has showed up unannounced or asked for very short notice.