Archive for February, 2012

I would walk 500 miles

February 29, 2012

Today I walked from Volontaire in the 15th to my BFF’s house in the 18th because David suggested it and didn’t think I would do it. It took me more than two hours because the Seine and deceptive Musee Rodin “park” not being a park, but being part of the museum so I couldn’t walk through it, a huge freeway which meant I went had to go left of my destination. I stopped on the Pont des Arts and took a photo for a french family eating lunch, only found one loyer sign (which was on Rue Emilie which means  baby jesus wants us to live there and we better rent it even if it’s a $1600 studio because he is a vengeful god.) I showed up 40 minutes late with my 50 kilo bag of books. Unfortunately after stuffing me with cake and coffee, she refilled my bag with more books than I brought so my plans for cleaning off the book shelf before we move was foiled.

Her delightful son decided to stop lounging around in his underpants around 5 pm. He and I are obviously kindred sprits. It seems kind of silly to get dressed only hours before you are going to get undressed, but if you don’t understand the joy of underpants, I can’t explain it to you.

I petted their cat Misty which made me sad but not hateful because I get to pick up my fur body tomorrow.


Rental Stalkers

February 27, 2012

Since we were sick of looking at pictures of apartments we’ve already seen a million times and no rental websites are updated over the weekend because they don’t work during the time normal people have time off to see apartments, so we internet stalked a few places until we figured out what street they were on and went off on a Look At the Outside of Buildings tour.

We started in the 15th near the RER station Javel.
1 704 Euros/mois charges comprises
1440 € de dépôt de garantie
1 016 Euros d’honoraires

LOCATION – PARIS 15 – 3 PIECES TERRASSE – Proche du Métro Javel André Citroën, dans un immeuble récent, un appartement 3 pièces de 60 m² environ au 5ème étage avec ascenseur comprenant entrée, séjour, balcon, cuisine, 2 chambres, salle de bains, wc. PARKING + CAVE. Départ du locataire le 28 mars 2012. Dépôt de garantie: 1440,00 euros Honoraires part locataire: 1016,40 euros Contact: 01 43 96 15 58 N’hésitez pas à nous contacter par mail sur location@desrueimmobilier

We walked passed Sarkozy’s headquarters which had two body guards out front. This apartment got a big black mark on it’s record for being a few blocks away. But then David pointed out that we could celebrate the night Sarkozy loses his election and watch him and supporters cry from the comfort of our balcony and all of a sudden I liked the apartment a lot more.

Then we headed to another apartment in the 15th near Convention, where there is a movie theater a few streets away that we go to see VO (original version) movies in english. This one looked like it would be hectic and there were two other for rent signs in the area. Not a good sign. I’m pretty sure they put those up as a last resort because all the other apartments we internet stalked didn’t have for rent signs. But this one is good because the floor below us is a store, so we wouldn’t have to worry about stomping around and being loud.

Appartement  3 pièces – 69 m2

1500 €  HC + 150€ charges
Dépot de garantie : 1 500 €
Honoraires : 1 196 €
PARIS – 75015
3 pièces Convention Angle Vaugirard/Victor Duruy Métro Convention (ligne 12) Immeuble pierre de taille 1910 Digicode Appartement 2 chambres salon au 2e étage Chauffage individuel électrique


Appartement PARIS - 75015

Montparnasse was next. I love sitting in the bar next to this apartment building because it’s located in front of the metro. It was here that I discovered Zara’s by sitting outside and people watching. I noticed lots of pretty women had Zara’s shopping bags.

1 370 Euros/mois charges comprises
1300 € de dépôt de garantie
1 274 Euros d’honoraires

LOCATION – 2/3 PIECES PARIS 6 – Boulevard du Montparnasse, au 2ème étage d’un immeuble sans ascenseur. A deux pas de la rue de Rennes, un bel appartement avec entrée double séjour, 1 chambre, dressing/bureau, cuisine, salle d’eau , wc séparé. CHAUFFAGE AU GAZ. APPARTEMENT LIBRE- Dépôt de garantie: 1 300,00 euros Honoraires part locataire: 1 274,94 euros Contact: 01 43 96 15 58 N’hésitez pas à nous contacter par mail sur location@desrueimmobilier.comLocation Appartement PARIS 06Location Appartement PARIS 06Location Appartement PARIS 06Location Appartement PARIS 06
Location Appartement PARIS 06
Next was in the 14th near the metro Alesia big new apartment building facing another new building – boring, boring, boring.

For shits and giggles we went to look at the 32 story tower near in the 13th near Porte d’Italie. The apartment for rent was on the 28th floor. I would like to see what the inside of one these buildings look like, but I can’t imagine enjoying being crammed in a box with 128 other families. I don’t want to move into anything like this because I can live in a big bland building anywhere in the world. You only get to live in Paris once and I want an apartment that A. Looks like a Parisian apartment or B. Has a view on an area that looks like Paris.

Cadet in the 9th-

Location Appartement 2 pièces
Paris 9ème (75009)

Alerte prixPlus d’ infos

1 500 € 

2/3 pièces au dernier étageAu pied du métro Cadet et à proximité immédiate des commerces, 2/3 pièces atypique au 5ème et dernier étage composé d’un séjour avec pièce supplémentaire en mezzanine, grande cuisine séparée et aménagée, chambre avec bureau en mezzanine, salle de bains avec WC indépendant. Très lumineux (exposé sud), excellent état, seul sur le palier. A visiter rapidement.
Photo 3 / 3Photo 2 / 3Photo 1 / 3
duplex with ladder aka stairs. Wasn’t sure which building it was but the area was nice and it was near the elusive “first” food truck in Paris. Le Camion Qui Fume. Also known as the Fail Burger because unless you show up very early, they run out of supplies. We only showed up 20 minutes after they opened and didn’t see anyone eating. But we were still denied. Which was disappointing because the truck was parked along a quiet stretch of Quai Valmy. What more can you ask for than a genuine hamburger while sitting next to the water with a view of the firemen working out in the ground level gym of the firehouse. le sigh.

The Javel apartment is my first choice and Cadet is my second. They are both at the sixth floor so we might actually get to see the sun once in a while.

Pepe le Pew

February 23, 2012

Our very first night here, just after David’s dad had told me it’s illegal to not have a collar on your cat and I was thinking, oh maybe red would look good I saw my cat outside with a red collar on. At first I just thought I was seeing things in my jet-lagged state, but it was really there, a twin to my cat, who was huddled in the closet, shaking and traumatized by the plane ride. I named him Pepe le Pew and he has hopped down from one of the balconies above us almost every night to beg for food.

Maza hates him, but since she was gone, I pet him and gave him some food. Sometimes he really is starving and I feel sorry for him. He is really loud and bangs on the shutters of his owners house at 4 am trying to get inside. I hope the neighbors don’t get the two confused. My cat is stuffed full of rabbit flavored friskies and sleeping in bed with me at 4 am.

Anyway, he is one of the things I will miss about this apartment. I hope someone feeds him.

Nothing can take away these blues

February 22, 2012

Woke up to bad news. The first person who looked at the apartment took it. Denied.

I think we’re both depressed that we lost our apartment. The cat being gone is not helping. We found out that while we were partying in Dunkirk, she was so upset she didn’t eat for two days. This apartment seems temporary and expensive and a pain in the ass to clean and move. It’s been great but we are over it. And without my fat little sausage it’s empty and lonely.

When I look at apartments, nothing compares. It’s too far, too expensive, too generic too small. We live in a great place now so downgrading is going to be hard. Walking up 7 floors to save 20 minutes on the tram seemed like a good exchange. Now we obsessively refresh apartment listing like meth addicts. We plan on starting a movie in ten minutes, but instead sit huddled in front of our laptops searching for another elusive perfect apartment until it’s midnight and our eyes are burning.

It doesn’t help that our apartment is still popping up on rental sites. It’s like running into an ex-boyfriend that broke your heart. I can only hope and pray that the apartment stealer falls off the balcony while looking at the glittering lights on the Tour Eiffel and that it will become available again in a few months. I wasn’t ready to stop looking anyway. David and I are a good team when it comes to stuff like this.

La Poubelle

February 21, 2012

Of the many things I’ll miss about our apartment, the first thing that come to mind is the garbage room. Because there is a pile of stuff by the door that my ridiculously well off neighbors get rid of. Hangers, velvet drapes, framed art, dressers, beds, vases, couches, rugs, five foot by five foot mirrors….the list is endless.

I take the recycling and garbage out whenever I can be bothered to brush my hair and put on make-up just to make a one floor elevator run. It’s annoying but Parisians do not leave their house, even to go take the garbage out, unless they are presentable. I was never one of those people who went to the grocery store in my pajamas (which isn’t uncommon in California as ridiculous as that sounds) but I definitely was a tank top and flip flops girl. Not anymore.

Today I found another pot for plants (I wasted so much time and money buying them when we first got here and schlepping them home on the metro, there is a new one in la poubelle almost every day). Next to the pot was a wrought-iron magazine rack I had left about two years ago. My mom had given it to me when she was moving, and it followed me around my different apartments in Sacramento, and then all the way across the ocean, where I abandoned it and it was adopted by someone else. I thought about taking it back, I actually have a black wrought-iron table now that we got at a vide-grenier and I had always kind of regretted getting rid of it because they would look nice together. In order to not go crazy from all of David’s child hood memorabilia, I get rid of my stuff. After a few hours I went back down and took it back. I can always get rid of it if it won’t fit in whatever apartment we get.


February 18, 2012

Looked at our first apartment yesterday in the 12th, which was a definite no, but we were wandering around and saw a rental agency and the guy said he had one just up the street. It was ridiculously tiny. One step inside… kitchen, two steps bathroom, three steps and you can choose to go to the left into the living room or the right into a tiny bedroom.

We had to rent a car to drop the cat off at the vet because her posh ass refuses to take public transportation. She it going get a radioactive shot to fix her wonky thyroid. But she will be glowing in the dark and cancerous for ten days, so we will be cat less for almost two weeks. I felt so guilty because there is no way to explain to a cat that she is going to get a shot and then spend two weeks alone in a cage. I don’t know how people manage with kids. I get all emotional about a stray hand me down cat that my sister picked up off the street and decided to “temporarily” keep in my room.

We were almost home when David got an email alert for an apartment with no pictures, but he called to make an appointment anyway. The guy said someone had already looked at. Damn! Now that we’ve seen the pictures I am obsessed, but we can’t look at it until we get back from Dunkirk. It’s on the last floor and looks like they took two maids room and combined them into one apartment. It has a really big curving living room and a view of the Tour Eiffel from the balcony. And it’s really cheap because it’s on the sixth floor with no elevator. Just imagine how great my ass would look if I was forced to exercise each and every day.

L’amour mortre jamais

February 14, 2012

David asked if I wanted to be buried with my Dell and Maza even if one of them were still alive. Tres romantique. The thing is, he sent me the link to buy my first laptop and we fight every night over which side “my” cat is going to sleep on. I have a Franken-Dell because he keeps fixing it when it dies, and a Franken-Cat because he loves her just as much as I do and is going to drive her to the vet to get her wonky thyroid shot full of radioactive material to fix it. It’s the little things that keep a marriage alive.

I asked him if I looked ok enough to take out the garbage. He said yes, but perhaps I should put a bag over my head.


Happy Valentines Day!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

February 10, 2012

David just asked me which dates I want to go home for Thanksgiving because he wants to book the tickets now. Tonight. You know. In the middle of finding an apartment. Sometimes being married to a man who likes to check things off his to-do list is just fucking annoying.

So, I told him the same dates as last time just to get him to shut up so I could stop thinking about going “home” because it just stresses me out. I don’t want to think about the cheap awesome apartment I used to have all to myself, with my best friend living downstairs. I don’t want to think about my sisters and which one is being particularly asshole-ish right now. I don’t want to think about my mom and how hard it is to only see her once a year. Or my friends and their babies that are now toddlers. Just one fucking heaping pile of shit at a time please.

Then he wanted to know if I wanted to land Monday. Or Sunday. I’m like, “Are you fucking serious?”.
He is claiming that he has to “buy them now” so “he” doesn’t spend “thousands of dollars” more, which is just his passive-aggressive way of saying “get a job”. And he’s right. I do need to get a job. And he needs to learn that his coffee cup doesn’t magically find it’s way back into the kitchen, wash itself and hop in the cupboard. The crumpled piles of clothes he leaves all over the bathroom don’t separate themselves into warm/cold/dry clean/clean and hop into the washing machine and then crawl into his closet.

This separation of pays the bills/housework is getting old. But it’s not all my fault. I’m sure somehow it’s his fault too. I just have to keep searching for the reason why.

Louer Louer Louer, Louer

February 10, 2012

Our first call was on this apartment:
Location appartement 4 pièces 70 m² Paris 15E – 1.600 €
Paris 15e. Métro Lourmel. Immeuble 1930. Calme, clair. Refait à neuf. 4 pièces, 70 m², au 2e ascenseur : entrée, double séjour, 2 chambres, salle de bains, wc séparés, cuisine. Parquet, cheminée. chauffage individuel gaz. Cave. Libre le 15 février. 1.600 €/mois + 80 € provision charges. Possibilité chambre de service 8 m² en sus.
Fifteenth arrondisment. Two bedroom, 3rd floor with an elevator (lots of places don’t have one). Fireplace (I don’t think it’s legal to actually use them). Storage in the basement (very important because lots of places don’t have closets) and for an extra charge, the former maids room located next to the apartment.
We are trying to stay South-West part of Paris because that’s where David works. But as long as it’s near RER C, or lines 6/8/12 it shouldn’t take him much longer to get to work than it does now. I am trying to avoid Tram 3 and Tram 2. I don’t know how much slower they are compared to the metro, but they feel really like molasses. The good thing is they have heat and air-conditioning and don’t smell.
I don’t know how we are going to move our stuff. Most people hire movers who use a machine to lift your stuff up to your apartment and move it in through your window b/c lots of places don’t have elevators so that’s the easiest way to do it. So it’s either pay someone a small fortune or take everything apart and carry it up the stairs. I’m pretty sure which option we will be using so I think now would be a good time to start PX90.

And so it begins

February 8, 2012

I imagined all sorts of ridiculous things about what my life would be like in Paris.
One thing I didn’t imagine was a modern apartment with views on a generic landscape that could be anywhere. We ended up in the suburbs. It’s a schlep to get into Paris and is the opposite of charming.

The movers had already packed up our stuff and put it on a ship, and we were two weeks from leaving California and we still hadn’t found an apartment. We were monitoring the one we live in now online, and once they lowered their price to a less ass rapey price, we swooped in and signed on the dotted line, site unseen.

The people who own our apartment were on a three year expat assignment in China, so this move has kind of loomed over us the whole time we lived here. And because David’s work was paying for the move and the apartment is pretty big, we didn’t get rid of too much stuff before we got here. So we have a lot of work ahead of us. 

Our lease is up in November and today we received the paperwork that allows us to move out at any time. Now we can search for something more our style. We have 8 months to find the perfect Parisian apartment and finally have an arrondissement to call our own. Knowing my husband and his glee in checking things off his list to do…. we will be moving in two.
Signing the paperwork for the registered letter got my nerves going. I hoped it was the lease termination and not a letter from the prefecture kicking me out of the country. I’ve tended to move every two years my whole life, sometimes by choice sometimes not. The anxiety and sadness of all those moves came back to me as I read the paperwork. The first move of my life when my mom left my dad, the move from Vermont to California when I was 10, the move to New York for my last year of high school. The bitter end with bad roommates who started out as friends. Dismantling the life I loved in California to start all over again in France. And now another move. I took a deep breath and sat down.
A few hours later I felt better. I remembered all the excitement of the good moves. The fresh start and satisfaction of making a new place a home. The voyeuristic thrill of seeing what lies behind locked doors. And I’m looking forward to living somewhere more alive. More like the place I imagined in my head when we decided to move. The suburbs are a sterile safe lonely comfortable place to be. I’ve turned into a fat house cat nursing my sore blunt tongue