Sunday, July 10, 2011

Housing update

I'm always reluctant to blog about things before they happen, to minimise disappointment or not jinx stuff or something I suppose. But all going well, I've found a new flat, I'm just waiting for my lovely helpful sister to send through a giant ridiculous list of documents to be guarantor and then I can sign the lease on Tuesday. I think this is a traumatic experience for her, luckily French bureaucracy taught me to hang on to all documents and sort them into a proper filing system months ago, so I had things like my tax return, insurance certificate, payslips etc. at my fingertips instead of stuffed in a drawer or the bottom of a suitcase (or carried round in my handbag until fallen to pieces) as was my previous wont.

Anyway, it's not far from my current flat, a bit closer to town actually, and really near the pretty-but-plagued-with-dickhead-men park I often go to in summer. Which is good, because still no garden or balcony unfortunately :( However, there is a proper bedroom, living room (not kept locked, suck on that crazy landlady) and kitchen, nice shower etc. and should work out around the same price as where I am now, although I admit I'm nervous about the electricity bill. Also, this is dumb, but I can't remember many of the details of the new flat, I'm hoping I don't get in there and find there's actually like a portal to the netherworld in the living room that I missed when I visited! Everything just blurs together after a while, but when I was in there I know I thought it was okay, so I'll ask a few of the questions that have occurred to me since before I sign the lease and then just trust that it'll be fine!

One thing you might not realise is that, unless they make a point of it in the ad, that in France 'unfurnished' really does mean unfurnished. There's not even burners for cooking, let alone an oven! Plus of course I have very little of my own, and no family or whatever to give things to me, so I really am starting from scratch furnishing the place. I've started trying to pick up some cheap things in the sales, the list seems to get longer though every time you go to the shops and spot something and think, "oh yeah, toilet brush" or whatever. Have fantasies of having nice things and matching sets and so on, but in reality it's just cheap and practical. It is still quite fun 'playing house', and then of course I'll get to arrange everything how I like in the new place :) Good news as well is I went to the local second-hand electronics place and I they deliver and install stuff for only 35 euros, no matter how many items! Great deal I think, I was worrying about getting stuff up to the third floor!

I will fix a date to get the keys on Tuesday - have to find a balance between not wanting to take it too early and pay double rent for the end of July and having time to move. As I think I've said, I leave for Paris/Ukraine on the 2nd of August, so hopefully I can get things a bit organised by then. I think I will start off a few days before whatever I designate as official moving day and just start walking stuff over in a suitcase, it's close enough. Hopefully that way I can minimise some of the chaos and mess, probably not really, but it will be nice to have some of the basics in the cupboards rather than everything coming together in boxes.

Will have to hire a van, my bed is really the only big thing, but since I don't have a car might as well anyway. My friend Liz has volunteered to drive - they won't hire to me because I'm still on a provisional licence here, plus me drive a van ha ha! I'm a bit worried about taking my bed apart too, it might never go back together! It's from Ikea and was fairly traumatic to put together in the first place... I was talking to some of the people at work who've volunteered to help me though, and they expressed reservations about taking a double bed down one flight of stairs and then up three, fair enough I suppose.

Not looking forward to having to open an account with the electricity company and so forth either... Flashbacks to when that was a major and traumatic part of my job in Chamonix. I 'managed' (read: made a pig's ear out of managing) about 200 chalets and half a dozen hotels, a good number of which had their electricity cut over summer, and so, amongst other tasks, I had to arrange for it to be switched back on for the winter season. If you've never dealt with a French electricity company, or any company in a foreign language even, you might not think that sounds too bad, but it was an absolute nightmare. Workers at the electricity company would just laugh and hang up on me when I called, I had chalet owners ringing me 5 times a day to scream at me that the electricity still wasn't on (which, fair enough, I was crap at my job, but still unpleasant) and the electricity company, if they did deign to talk to me, going "oh no, we went and turned it on last week, no idea what they're on about". Actually, all this ringing around flats has gone a fair way to curing me of my phobia of French On The Phone, which also stems from my Chamonix days, let's hope that everything goes smoothly with the electricity this time and I can put some of those memories to rest! (Too much to hope?)

Anyway, that's probably enough disjointed reflections, I'll keep the blog updated as things progress!


  1. Arranging things in your new flat eh? In all of your previous lives arrfanging things has meant dumping them in a pile on the floor or (if they're really importanty things) on a pile on your bed. Unless of course they are books, in which case they will be neatly stacked in a bookcase!

  2. I don't have a bookcase yet :( Currently they are lined up on a table, but it's not my table either!

    Nah but anyway, I'm significantly neater now, or at least tidy once a week at any rate... I did a pre-emptive hoover in the corners last night and discovered the biggest dead spider amongst my shoes! Eeek! Lucky I didn't find him alive, I was still scared of him dead!!

  3. I'm glad you found a place! Good luck with furnishing the place and the move! When my colloc and I moved into our place, there was absolutely nothing either (not even in the kitchen!). It took a bit of time and money, but we have things now. Not necessarily the best quality things, but it's very livable.

  4. Yay, you found a place! The furnishing thing sounds like it'll be a little work, but fun too! You get to pick out everything for your new apartment, that's pretty cool.


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