wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
 Here I am, in France, settling in to our new home, while my beloved is back in Egypt, finishing up his contract. We were well on our way with the unpacking when I fell down the steps leading to the kitchen. I was looking at a broken knife in my hand and not where I was going. Fortunately, I didn't stab myself, only sprained my wrist and elbow. My mother-in-law is here to help me with the kids.

Even one-armed/handed, I'm doing my best to plant a winter garden, and the ER doctor would wince to see me trying to lug the chicken tractor from one garden bed to the next. C'est la vie, and I plan on living it to the max.

So, yes, things are going more slowly than planned, boxes are piled everywhere, and my Pinterest-inspired dreams of a well-decorated house are still but dreams. BUT! Walks in the woods have yet-ilded wild raspberries and mushrooms. Hidden in the garden, under cardboard and oak fence posts, we've uncovered asparagus, strawberry plants, raspberries, onions...

Yes, c'est la vie et c'est bon.

I will be in touch more once typing is easier. 
 

Done Deal

13 May 2017 03:06 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
As of yesterday, we are homeowners. For Real. First time in ... 11 years. I'm excited in more ways than I am going to take the time to express. :P

A guy from the moving company came by this morning to estimate how much stuff we want to ship back to France. His estimate: 12-13 cubic meters. J's and my estimate: 4-5 cubic meters.

Comment and say who you think is closer to the truth. :P In any case, we pay on the real cubage, not any estimates. I. just.want. my. boxes.  Ms Antsy? That's me.

As soon as he left, I got online and booked a moving van to haul all our stuff that is in storage at my mil's up to our new abode. Hoarders Extraordinaire? That's us.

Seriously though, we have all sorts of stuff that we always knew we would need once we settled down again.

So our coming weeks look like this:

This week - Get boxes and start packing
May 20th - Celebrate Ti'Loup's 1st Birthday!!!
More weeks - pack some more
July 4th - Finally "Bye Bye, Egypt" for four of the Faures
July 8th - move into new home
unpack moving van stuff and wait for maritime shipment to arrive, probably mid-August - September.

Which means we have to be super careful how we pack from here. Cast iron skillets weigh a lot, but I will have put mine in my suitcase. Can't live without them for months. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug Diggin' Life)
The final papers have been approved.

No one has exercised their right to pre-empt the sale.

The money has changed hands.

Now all is needed is a signature next week, and the house will be ours.

A couple of years ago I shared this naive, folk art watercolor I did of our dream home:

dream home

And this is the facade of our dream-come-true home:under a cut because it's big ) We have rolling hills, prairie, woods, nearby mountains, all seasons with white winters... the sea is far away, but we can live with that. Now all we have to do is cultivate the rest of the dream.

I can't wait. When is the moving company going to deliver the boxes!?

Ten weeks

26 Apr 2017 01:24 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
For some weeks now, I've been feeling really puffy and moonfaced. Just the other day (no points for observation for me) I noticed that this puffiness is in my legs, too. I'm feeling stiff and sore for no reason.  So, I've decided that I'm going to go off gluten for the remainder of the time we are here. Not because i have a proven sensitivity to it, I just want to see what my body does without it. I'm also cutting down on carbs* overall, especially those in a processed form. I'll still eat veggies and fruits that contain them. I haven't decided on brown rice, etc. yet. Of course thinking about what I put in my body makes me more aware of the lack of exercise I get. I'm going to change that as well. To get rid of the edema, I'm drinking lemongrass infusions; juices with celery, parsley, ginger, lemon...; cutting back on salt; elevating my legs; and giving myself massages to move the fluid. I'm going to do some yoga for lymphatic flow.  If it doesn't go away or comes back again, I'll have to go to the doc to figure out why I have it and try to get it under control before flying out.

I hope to be a lighter in body and spirit when we get to our new place.

Speaking of weeks, the kids and I are without J as he spends two weeks working at the French consulate in Alexandria. We had planned to go see him this weekend, but some unexpected work on his end and the fact that Alex is even louder, apparently, than Cairo and is not kid-friendly to navigate, we've cancelled that.

This separation is a foretaste of what our lives will be like in France, and so far the kids are sort of OK. Junebug, however, seems to be a bit needier than usual and is more set on persecuting Sprout. "It's the age and the stage," she stoically tells me. This comes from me telling her that she also went through this when she was younger. Junebug's issues are exacerbated by Ti'Loup's presence in his life. He loves his baby brother and is often affectionate towards him, but boy does he dislike Ti'Loup being near me when he, Junebug, is tired or in need. Ti'Loup just turned 11 months old, but he already senses the rivalry and is starting to glare at Junebug. :-/

Now back to my cleaning and packing...

____________
* Carbs are a no-no of sorts for me because of my PCOS.


wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
As the mother of three small children, I often find myself wondering where my days and time go. Unsurprisingly, I have a definite answer to where all my energy goes.

These past two months have been crazy busy, though, what with dealing with the whole family being sick with one thing after another. We are coasting along with mild coughs and some eye discharge for the boys. As lon as its doesn't et any worse, l can cope. Ok, from that sentence, uess what key is screwing up on my kelybolarld now.l LWelll, besides the llinsane lllllllll that just inserts itself where elvesl.l...olr clever ...ollr ever it lwanlltls. Does charming things with my auto-correct, let me tell you. And makes it very hard to type. Sigh.

All this because there are no ground wires here in Egypt, at least not in the flats we've had. So every time there is a surge, my keyboard flips out. :( My laptop will also be glad to be back in France.)

And speaking of France...

We learned that despite setting aside vacation days into a special account for the past four years so he could insure having some time to settle the family on our return to France, J's employer insists he come straight to work. This is the craziness that they subject him to in order to not have his pay docked: remain at work until the end of his shift on 31 July, fly out on 31 July so that he can land IN FRANCE no later than 11:59 p.m., and report to work at 8 a.m. on 1 August. The answer to his request to have one day off from his vacation time (not a freebie) was, "Absolutely not."

Fine, we thought, and proceeded to plan out an alternative. J decided to take more vacation time before his termination date to accompany the family back to France, settle us in, fly back to Cairo on the 29th, sign some papers on the 30th, and fly back the 31st in order to be at work on August 1. We even asked the current owners of the house we are buying to move the hand-off date from 2 Aug to July 22. They agreed.

Then we had to look like idiots and ask them to move the date up even more when one of J's colleagues told him to be careful about the dates he was taking off. Apparently, he has to be in Egypt for the two weeks prior to his termination date. So nice of his boss to tell him.

The family we are buying from is super nice and understanding, so we'll leave Egypt 4 July, move into our new place 8 July, and J will spend a few days with us before flying back to Cairo. When he returns to France, he'll head straight to work and will work until the company releases him for time off.

For those who don't know or remember, he is with the riot police in France and is regularly sent on deployment for 3 weeks at a time. This means that we could potentially go for 5 weeks without seeing him. This is going to be a trying time for the kids. First an international move--for the boys from the only country they've ever known, but one could argue that Sprout doesn't remember much of living in France--and then not seeing their father for such an extended period of time.

BUT! We will be back in France. We will have a gorgeous home in a lovely, clean! rural setting. We'll have awesome adventures getting to know a new place. It will be peaceful; we will be in our element.  So good things on the horizon despite the bumps.

I'm to that stage of change where I'm getting antsy, with physical pangs, yearning for this transition to either get more squarely under way or to pass altogether. We should get the boxes from the moving company within a couple of weeks; that will help. As will a more solid move into hotter temps so I can put away all mid-season clothing and bedding.

In other news, I was also been busy painting a lot to raise money for Egyptian charities. I'll try to remember to take some photos and do a Sunday snippet...


Lemming

14 Apr 2017 03:11 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
Despite that I have a permanent account here on LJ, I'm going to be active on DW now because most of my flist has already migrated that way. If you want to keep in touch over there, I'm wayfaringwordhack.

I may or may not post more over there than over here. Life is still in a very busy season for me, even more so since our departure date from Egypt has been moved up by three weeks. Still, I'm going to try...
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
So, things:

Got my laptop back from the shop.  It works. Not perfectly, but certainly functional and probably for many years. No thanks to Apple.

I have some crud that really resembles strep throat.* I am self-medicating with homemade remedies and feeling better. J seems to have something similar (he has congestion; I had none. My fever lasted 2 days; his is going on four...), but the doc said J probably has something viral. A pediatrician came to the house today and said the three kids have strep. Didn't do a swab test or send anything to the lab, though.

I am not going to miss Egypt, but here are a few things that I will be sad to have no more of:

- Access to Egypt's mad love affair with all things DELIVERY! Seriously awesome when you are sick and can't muster the energy to cook for the sick family.

- Awesomely exotic blooming trees. (Note to self: take some pics when you feel better)

- The smell of citrus trees in bloom. Heady.

- The network of lovely people we've met here


And now time for bed.  Oh, I'm going to miss that, too. Our mattress here is terrific. Not so the one waiting on us back in France. :P

____________
* I spent almost all day yesterday lying in bed, watching this guy paint with his baby in his arms:


So relaxing. :D
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
After a blessedly uneventful trip, we are back in Egypt for the final stretch.  It is a weird feeling this time, knowing we are set to experience so many "lasts." Last time to do this, that, and the other here in Egypt. I've been doing that, more or less, since end of July, but this time it has kicked up a notch.

I've started mentally sorting our possessions, deciding what will go back with us and what won't. I'm so eager for things to move that I want to start giving away those won't things right now. It is too soon, though, and that would be just silly.  Still the ansty-ness is distracting as I'm trying to settle back in.

There are so many things to get done:

- Get N'Djema vaccinated, etc. in prep for our trip
- Get Junebug and Ti'Loup their American nationality (yes, I am lousy about taking care of admin stuff)
- Decide whether or not I want to do pottery and/or jewelry-making workshops before we leave here, and if so, Get on with it!
and lots of other things that my tired mind can't think of right now... Things which aren't the usual, "make progress on my art/books/etc."

Also, despite many attempts on J's part, we're still no closer to knowing what is going on with our car. Today he contacted someone who may be able to help. Fingers crossed. Because if it can run, or isn't in too bad of shape, we have to decide if we want to take it back to France and look into the cost and procedure of that.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
Last night, we signed the papers blocking in the sale for the house.

I will spend many hours fetching books from this little library and reading on that sofa in front of the fire. :D



I spent many an hour going through our boxes (many, many, many book boxes) in order to get ready for the move.*  Today I have to pack our suitcases. Back to Egypt tomorrow.

____________
* When we sold our house in 2006 and moved to Mayotte, we put our belongings into storage at my MIL's place. We've continued to add to that stock over the last 10 years. She has had enough, to say the least. We'll soon be out of you hair, MIL; soon! :D
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Or does she?

Goat is the name we gave our car that was stolen a year and a half ago. A few days before we left for our holiday, J was getting ready to throw away the key. "Wait," I said. "You never know."

J got a call today saying the police found Goat in Suez.

We don't know what condition the car is in, but it still has its diplomatic plates and these are what we need to hand over to customs when we leave the country in order to avoid heavy penalties.

Praise the Lord, whether she rides or not.

If she does, she just might come back to France with us, carrying all our boxes.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
Hello and Happy New Year.

2016 was a busy year, full of good and bad. Too much to sum up, even. A few things in no particular order because how can one classify things like this:

We gave birth to Ti'Loup, who is now 7.5 months old.
My mother was diagnosed with esphogal cancer.
My grandmother died.
I wrote a Middle Grade fantasy novel.
We found a house to buy in France (our offer was accepted on New Year's Eve; we have yet to sign the papers).

2017 is the year we leave Egypt and come home, the year we have to declare that we are unschooling Sprout, the year I need to get my picture book finished...

__________
We're in France now, and everyone is sick, so I don't have much energy. I looked back through LJ, but I don't have the energy to comment on everything. Sending good vibes and get well wishes to those of you who need them.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
We've finally got all our stuff moved to the new place and are ready to hand the keys over to our ex-landlady. And stuff...wow, do we have too much of it. We are going to have to do some serious triage before moving back to France.  This place is significantly smaller than the other, despite having one more bedroom, and there is hardly any storage space. Makes for lots of headaches as we try to figure out where things should go.  We bought ten cheap shelving units from Ikea and still have to put in more shelves, buy a hutch for our dishes, and buy/make worktables.

We'll get there, though, and in time, I hope, to be able to relax into the holidays in this new home.

What have you been up to this past week?
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
We started moving day before yesterday and plan to sleep at the new place starting tomorrow night. No idea how things are going to work out with the Internet, so I'll see you when I see you.

Be well.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
I lost track of the days. That happens rather frequently to me, but I had not a single oh-it's-Sunday thought yesterday.

Last week, I started crocheting a pair of legwarmers for Sprout.  She can wear them out when it turns cooler here, but I'm mostly making them for her ballet class. With days in the mid-20s (70F) and nights dipping down to 20 (68F) or so, I'm able to handle yarn again without having it clinging to me.

One more week and we can starting moving. But we'll have to deal with some WH--!? business first.  The electric bill collector showed up tonight and handed me a bill for 1007 LE.  Our normal monthly bill runs 110-140 LE.  They are trying to tell me that without using the A/C or anything like that, we have to pay 10 times more than normal? My neighbor, who was paying at the same time, said that his bill looked perfectly normal.  The collector lied to neighbor and said that he hadn't checked our meter in a long time and now we had to pay our "true" consumption rate rather than an assumed total.  He checks the meter every couple of months; and now, after we've been here for 3 years, he's going to tell us all the sudden we've changed our habits and need to make good.  Funnily enough (/sarcasm), two people told me that our landlady probably called the electric company and told them we are about to move so to make sure we're all paid up (because otherwise it will fall on her to pay.  As if we would have left the bill hanging. ARGH. I know other people do it, though; we were presented with the bill from the last tenant). But how did they get from 100 to 1000?  We have to get to the bottom of it. :-< I don't want to pay something we truly don't owe, but I don't want to leave someone else holding the bag, either.

And this shall be a lesson to us: Never trust the meter man again. Always write down the meter number ourselves and verify what he writes down.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
in which there is no snippet.

But I felt like I needed to report in about creativity, even if I have a lack of creation to share.

That is not to say that I've done nothing--I've sketched some--but I have spent more time thinking and being and accepting. A while back, I posted about my frustration with how stories come to me, wishing I could change the way my brain works.  Thanks to everyone who commented on that entry. I fell down a rabbithole and didn't follow up with people. I regret that. It seems silly to go back to it now, but I appreciate that people chimed in.

Anyhow, I haven't had new revelations, per se, but I've decided I need to be more flexible. I need to accept that sometimes the plan must be ditched; I have to roll with what I'm capable of when a hole swallows me whole or Some Big Thing knocks me off track.  I may not have the brain cells to write at certain times, but I can draw. So instead of clinging to some idea that I must write Just Because, I need to quickly (gracefully) switch gears.  It will save me time, guilt, and needless waffly-wallowing.

We are looking at a move, which means lots of packing, running around, planning and executing plans, in addition to vet visits, renewing my passport, attending a plethora of social engagements, and baking for charities. This is not the time to come down hard on myself for not being able to produce some tangible evidence of my creative spirit.

And this is enough of that. G'night, LJ. :P 
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
We signed a rental contract today for a new apartment!

We can begin moving Nov 15 and will keep our current flat until Dec 1, so we'll be able to take our time with it.

The future flat is much smaller and a bit rundown, but! it has a garden!  WOOT!  I predict a much healthier, happier time here now that I'll be able to go barefoot on the grass every day.:D

And all for 100 LE cheaper than we are paying now.
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Just a little anecdote of the craziness we sometimes come up against:

J was out visiting apartments, and a couple came up to him on the street and asked about his criteria and budget. He told them and the lady said she had a place that was for rent. She gave him the address and said he could visit the next day, but that evening she called back and said he could come over immediately.

When he got there, he couldn't find the lady and she wasn't answering her phone. The doorman sent him to the wrong floor, and once back downstairs, he saw a lady and her two teenagers standing in the entryway, their belongings bundled up around them in sheets.

Turns out they were vacating the apartment he was supposed to be visiting. J was very uncomfortable, but the people told him the landlady was inside and he should go in and visit, that it was a nice place. The kids, who spoke good English, told J, "She used to be my mom's friend, but then she turned crazy." Uh-oh.

J didn't visit, and she called him the next day, acted like nothing had happened, and invited him back over again. He decided to see the place just in case it was really nice. He liked the amount of space and had me excited about it.

Until I went to see it. o.O

It was rundown in the extreme and downright scary in some aspects. And the lady wanted way too much money. Every time I would mention something that needed fixing, she would get a look on her face that said I was being ovely difficult and she would nod as if to humor me, her narrowed eyes and pinched lips telling me I was dreaming if I thought she'd do anything.

I told her I was confused as to why she even told us about the place when she knew it was over our budget. "Because it isn't that much over. You can make an effort." Or, um, she could make an effort.

"No, we really can't," I informed her, especially after she said that, OK, OK, she would fix some small things in the apartment, but that we "would have to help her."

Then she proceeded to tell me that I should get a job so we'd be able to afford it. I politely told her that wasn't in our plans. And she kept on. And on. "You can open a daycare here! It pays good money!"  Um, no thanks.  "Go substitute teach! It pays really well!" No. Thank. You. "You can do many things to supplement your income!"  Grrrr.

And poor Sprout kept saying, "Momma, can we go now?"

Once the lady realized we weren't going to budge on our budget, she told me she would look for us a place.  In New Maadi. "We don't want to live there," I told her. "Yes, but they have a lot of flats there in your price. I'll look there."  No thank you. And she said it again and again until I cut her off with, "My husband doesn't want to live there."

We are leaving a landlady who is very decent on the whole; Lord save us from going into a situation with a known "troubled" person. O.O
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)

We had a small electrical fire in the wall the other day.

Sprout was trying to plug something into the socket while I was busy moving J's laptop. All the sudden, Junebug started coughing.  I was so concentrated on figuring out whether or not he was choking on something that I didn't immediately notice the smoke billowing out from behind the couch he was on.

I got both kids away from the outlet, cut off the electricity to the flat, and then asked a neighbor to come and see if he thought the fire was out.  Don't want to be responsible for burning down the whole building. Also, if help needed to be called, I wouldn't know who to call or how to say anything.  Thankfully, cutting the power did the trick, but once I turned it back on, we were without electricity in the whole flat except for the kitchen and one half of the living room.

As you know, we are trying to find a new flat, and our landlady is simultaneously eager for us to be gone so she can up the rent for tenants and worried about getting everything can out of us before we leave (she told us--without looking at the state of the apartment--that we will not be getting our deposit back because she will use the money to have the place repainted.  If you don't know anything about the cost of supplies and labor over here, she'll be able to paint many times over on what we pay per month).  So, wouldn't you know, she was very upset to learn about the electrical problems, said that they are our fault, and we will have to pay.

The electrician who came to look said that the wiring is 30-40 years old, seriously outdated, and a "real rat's nest."*  Not our fault. And just another addition to the level of stress we are feeling about needing to find a new place ASAP. :-<

We went into flat-hunting overdrive these past few days, with J bearing the brunt of it, and we are all frazzled.  We saw something sumptuous last night but seriously out of our price range.  I hate when people take us to see stuff that is too expensive. We made an offer, anyhow, very low but more than we want to put into rent, so we'll see. We are packing everything in any case, in preparation of moving day...whenever it arrives. :(

Any good thoughts you have to spare would be most welcome.

__________

*Landlady decided to send another electrician that she trusts more. He was supposed to be here at 9-9:30. It is past 11, and I'm still waiting. :(  Trustworthy, perhaps; punctual, no.

wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
It is the final stretch of our summer in France. We leave Thursday, and as usual, there is a massive flurry of "must-get-done" stuff going on: visits, camping, loooooooong drives, yard work that includes cutting and prepping wood, stocking a cord of firewood, shifting 4.5 tons of gravel (still haven't finished that one), and putting finishing touches on the big project this year of building my MIL a chicken coop (photos to come soon)...and many other things I'm forgetting.

Tomorrow there will be lots and lots to do, so I probably won't check back in until this weekend, when we are once more settled in Cairo. And then the fun of looking for another apartment will begin.

How are all of you doing? News, please. :)
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
The moment I've been waiting for happened yesterday at 9:25 a.m.:  The inter-phone rang and I buzzed the movers through the downstairs door. Our things from France arrived at last.

Now, I believe, I can view our new home as home. With all of our country-hopping over the past couple of years, we've left so many parts of our lives and interests in storage at my mother-in-law's house. There is still a studio (and an attic) at her place crowded with our furniture, art, books, and so forth, but most of what we hold dear for one reason or another is now here with us.

The first step will be finding everything a place--the kitchen is good to go and, let me tell you, I'm so grateful to have my spices and a whisk and a vegetable peeler and, and, and...--and the next will be to start making again.

I'm eager. Welcome home, belongings!

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