lundi 20 octobre 2008

La chaux, we're nearly there


The chaux - dark chocolate and ochre 5

"Joaquim?"

"We're on our way." Thank goodness. H eknew me without my saying a word. "J'ai eu un petit soucis [there are never big worries in France, only des petits, like problems and coffee] avec le camion. Le temps que j'allais chercher le -- la pièce, c'est compliqué, ce n'est pas la peine que je te dis [he uses the informal "tu" with me and only my first name, while I use the formal "vous"; I think he needs to feel we are bonded, but I am not quite ready to go that far] laquelle [and he talks to himself as much as he talks to me], une pièce, en fin, -- j'arrive tout de suite -- avec Georges --, et je te ferai l'échantillon de chaux en chocolat noir."

All that meant that something had happened to the truck, they needed a part [and since I have heard about the truck twice before, was probably an excuse, anyway], and the time it took to get the part -- well, it was complicated and not worth getting into which, just a piece, -- he'd be right there -- with Georges --, to make the dark cholocate sample.

My head spins. I have learned to listen to the key words:
  • be right there with Georges (no José -- best indication that their other "bricole" wasn't finished)
  • to make the dark chocolate chaux sample.
Friday, they weren't here as I expected them to be. Joaquim said José and Georges would be here in the afternoon (they had a "petit bricole à faire", or a little project to do), and he would be there in the morning to do the dark chocolate sample for the half-timber motif.

Hé, bah non. [trans: But, no. (That's what French sounds like when real French people speak it;. Try it in school, Justin.)].

So, no sign of contractor-life all day Friday. Monday morning dawns with a bright, shining sun, warm: a perfect day to work. And no contractors.

Before leaving for work, my husband had come back up to say good-bye. I was semi-conscious -- another night hitting "publish" on the blog after 2 AM, with the dishes piled in the sink, waiting. I had sent Audouin up to bed with them undone, rather than be pressured. He's getting to know the drill. He bent down over me to try to catch my attention.

"Tu leur dirais de finir les fenêtres quand-même? Il va faire froid, et on n'aura pas de fenêtres avec des carreaux pas cassés." I know. It's cold. The missing panes make "un appel d'air", or draw the air in and make a current of cold air. I had to take plastic wrap from the kitchen the other evening and tape it over the worst of the ones they have broken sanding the painted wood.

"Unh-hunh." He understands that in English.

I understood enough in my stupor that if they no-showed, it would be a tough evening. The morning passed. I chatted with C.H.A.O.S. -- excellent use of time -- rather than get something for the lunch my sister-in-law was coming to enjoy and vacuum. By 12:30, she was here, and still no contractors.

"Vas y, appelles les. Je t'attends." [Did you get that? trans: "Go ahead, call them. I'll wait."]

Joaquim told me about the truck, said he was on his way.

"Je vais déjeuner rapidement avec ma belle-soeur --"

"Ne te presses pas. J'arrive, je ferais l'échantillon, et je t'attendrai." Bon. I grabbed the keys to the Fiat to get my purse, and make room for Anne-so to park her mini-van between it and the neighbor's mini-van (no, no, we don't live in the States, they are diesels), hopped in, put it in reverse to back up to give Anne-so more space, and bang! The car stopped moving. I hadn't even had time to accelerate. I looked around. There, right next to me was the driver's side door, wide open. In my haste to get out of the way so another car could pass my sister-in-law's royal blue elephant, while not running into the mommies and kids waiting for the bus to take their children back to school after lunch, I had shifted into gear without shutting the door and backed it into the corner of their house at the door to the courtyard.

All eyes were on me. Sympathetically, of course. The door would not shut. I left it open. Steal my 1994 Fiat Uno diesel; go right ahead.

Luckily we were taking my motorcycle anyway.

When I got back, there was still the ochre to mix and apply next to the chocolate they were mixing. It looked exactly like dark chocolate brownie batter. I nearly asked to lick the trowel.

Baccarat wandered over to nuzzle Joaquim's leg. She was really sniffing for the scent of Bandit on his jeans. His hand with the container of ochre pigment swung back just in time to meet her muzzle, and Baccarat ended up a yellow lab.

"War-paint," Joaquim laughed.



It's hard to photograph a perpetually moving 2-year-old Black Lab without an incredibly good digital camera, or high-speed film.
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