mercredi 18 mars 2009

Frogs redux, a reprieve


At 4 pm


I went to Florosny and I saw Tony. I had already stopped to talk to Bernardo on my way in, and he told me that "le petit aux lunettes" was gone, too, like Victor.

"Ca fait combien de temps depuis vous avez appris que Victor est parti?"

"Oh, un bon moment déjà. C'est Victor que me l'a dit lui-même, juste avant Noël, un peu avant son départ."

And now the little one with glasses is gone, too. Thierry.

"Qui l'a remplaçé?"

"Personne."

"Alors," demandai-je, "qui aiguisera mes outils?" My garden tools all need sharpening, and I already wore out two brand new chainsaw chains on the linden trees.

"L'atelier est fermé." If the shop is closed, then who will sharpen my tools, I asked.

"De Paul, à Arnouville."

"Arnouville?"

"Arnouville."

"Jusqu'à Arnouville? J'irai voir Victor aux Alluets le Roi! Ils doivent le faire là-bas."

"Et vous, ça va?"

"La pression tombe sur nous, ceux qui reste, de tout faire." It's always like that. The best and the less good have left, fewer remain, and they have to try to do what it took everyone to do before. Before he left, Victor told us that the store is one of five or so, owned by the same people, and it has been losing money these last three years. It won't get any better if they keep losing their best people because they won't pay them. What will be left to us if they close? Truffaut. Delbard.

Non, merci. These stores are huge, impersonal garden centers. You'd have to wait until you smell bad should you suffer a heart attack in the middle of the store and die for want of assistance. You can forget the kind of advice and service from which I have benefitted, and which was the only thing that helped me spend the money I have -- and I have spent money, ask Audouin -- in their store. I have not spent a single centime to date in Delbard or Truffaut.

I asked him not to leave and headed off to the aquatic garden area.

There were the preformed basins at something over 100 euros for the smallest. It seemed a little absurd to buy that. I'd have no use after the basin rescue and repair project. Looking up, I caught Tony's eye, which lit up with a smile of welcome. Ah, spring. He was talking to a customer, but I get so much attention in the store that I couldn't bring myself to walk over and take more. Knowing I'd find nothing else that would suit my objective, I turned to wander and look a little more.

"Bonjour!" Tony. I turned and saw his outstretched hand and held out my own. "Mais, comment ça que vous ne me dites pas bonjour?" I laughed.

"On m'accord tellement de temps ici que je ne voulais pas vous déranger quand vous étiez avec une autre cliente," I explained.

"Mais non!" he objected, and I explained my mission.

"Un bac c'est ce qu'il vous faut. Quelque chose de laquelle les grenouilles ne peuvent sauter, mais pas cher." He took me over to see the same giant green plastic garbage cans I had seen at Gamm Vert yesterday. I nodded. I'd have to catch the frogs with a net to get them in there. More necessary psychological violence. They are water collectors. You can use the water you collect in them to fill your watering can. A good idea anyway, but we talked the situation over, and he talked me out of buying anything for now.

"Il est sensé de faire un grand beau tout le reste de la semaine. Ce que vous faites c'est de laisser le terrain autour du bassin secher encore 2 ou 3 jours, et puis, remplir le bassin jusqu'au bord. S'il il fuit jamais plus qu'à un certain niveau, vous savez forcément que la fuite, qui peut être toute petite, une micro-fissure même, se trouve au dessus de ce niveau. Alors, creuser tout au tour du bassin pour voir où le terrain est le plus humide, et normalement, la fuite serait là. Cherchez là. Si necéssaire, laissez baisser un peu le niveau d'eau, et si vous ne voyez toujours rien, nettoyer bien l'endroit pour mieux voir les fissures présentes."

"Si ça marche, vous pensez que ce ne vaut pas la peine de vider complètement le bassin?"

"Non. Il y a des pâtes spéciales pour ce genre de réparation dans des endroits précis."

"Les grenouilles vous en remercieraient si ça marche," we laughed to think of these potentially very relieved frogs, their perfect little ecosystem left intact for their well-being. "Alors, peut-être j'attendrai quelques jours pour le bac."

"Oui. Ce n'est pas la peine de dépenser de l'argent inutilement." He's right, and besides, he knows that good advice and help mean that I will be back to spend that money and more on other things I really want or need, and probably that giant water collector, to help me take advantage of the rain water to water my plants. "Tenez-moi au courant," he smiled and nodded au revoir.

Now, I wait to let the sun dry out the ground all around the basin, and then I fill it to the top, crawl around on my hands and knees, looking for any signs of water flow, and if I don't see any, which I never have, I start digging the dirst away from the old fountain's wall all around it, to see if any area is particularly wet. If the ground is saturated in a certain area, that's where the leak is, and we can try to discover its exact location and size, let the water drain, clean the area and apply a product to repair the leak.

Merci, Tony, for the encouragement to do what I figured I should, and taking the time to listen to our problem and think it through with me.

Wish me luck.

Update 7 pm: Audouin thinks we have to empty it. Sigh.

Update 3/19/09 10 am: He also positively insists that he heard them back in late February on a very warm day, and that they went back to sleep. I haven't heard them croak so much as once since. Delerium. It was the antibiotics, the pain and the lack of sleep and food. I'm sure of it.
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