It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I think I am ready

When we moved into this ancient old apartment in this ancient old building, I was delighted.
I loved the ugly mess that it was because I could see those beautiful old bones, waiting to be shown off to their fullest again.
I knew that I was just the right new inhabitant of this old place, my husband and I would manage to bring it back to it's old glory.
We started with gutting the kitchen and bathroom, ancient old fixtures, rusty , leaky, old pipes and put in new floors, walls and and all new fixtures and appliances.

I didn't knock down walls and put in ultra modern, I wanted new but I wanted it to all blend in with the old rooms.
The 100 year old, French style rooms with their ancient wood floors and wonderful moldings and all of those French doors.
Every room has French doors and windows.
Light comes in all day long. .. you can open them all like doors and let the fresh air, the scents and the sounds of this huge, loud, jam-packed city , into the rooms.

In the back, you will see old trees full of doves, if you look down, you see the garden and the plants and the massive hibiscus, which at various times of the year are full of red flowers.
I haven't seen them, but the possibility of hummingbirds is down in that garden.

My plant that my husband bought me one year is down in that garden.
We had no idea it was an Agave , that it would send out a shoot many feet high and flower .. there is something almost obscene about it at certain times but it also has cactus leaves that have long sharp needles so we were happy to move it to the garden.
I was tired of getting stuck every time I tried to water the ungrateful thing!

When we leave here, my other plants will join it, in the garden, to live out their days with the nice lady on the ground floor who gets to use that garden and who will water and tend the plants.

Just since we have moved here, things have changed.
Aside from our making our apartment Like New, the building itself is a bit crumbly and will be getting some updating.
The balconies will be made more secure, the front of the building will be power washed and it will sparkle again, one hundred years later.

My apartment has all new pipes and electric and it has been working okay for these past years.
The only problem we have had is the Lady Upstairs.
Her pipes are as old as the building.
Her pipes need work, they leak.
They never leak where she can see them though.
They leak where I can see them.

We are showing our home to prospective buyers.
I am keeping this place in perfect clean , dry condition.
I walk around all day, wiping things down, dusting things off and straightening pillows.
I am my grandmother.

So.. imagine, picture my face when I walked into the laundry room last night and for some reason, looked Up.
Up at the very high ceiling where my Chinese lantern hangs, over my very nice stack washer and dryer.
Which is  big selling point in this town .. and what was that on my ceiling ? mould ? black mould ? like the ceiling is wet ?
That ceiling has already been mouldy, been repaired, re-plastered, repainted and now , there it is again, black and mouldy and ugly .
My heart broke .

Today a plumber was called.
He looked up and knew where to go . ... to that woman upstairs.
Now we get to call our painter and have the whole mess bleached, washed then dried, then painted again.
For the third time.

I think I am a little more ready to move.


  1. Don't despair. I live in an old barn in deepest France, but I have no "Lady Upstairs" ... I just have humidity, as the French call it. The humidity that makes paint pucker and then turn to flakes and dust. I have now just decided to think of it as patina. The joy of an old building. It's not new sheet rock over wood frame building like we had in Texas, and in Arizona and in California. This is a proper old, mouldy house made out of stone that just sucks up water out of the earth. Patina.

  2. Oh Keir, why is it that your humidity in an old home in France sounds better than my humedad in Argentina ?
    Today I am happy to say the spot is drying up nicely. Soon the entertainment of my husband climbing up there and re-painting the ceiling will chase away the dread of wet spots.

  3. Oh no! Water is such an does so much damage. Hopefully you will sell soon and not have to primp your house all the time.


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