Piano

The first month we were here in France I did not worry about my children practicing the piano.  In fact, it was our vacation time and we didn’t want to be bothered by “chores”.  When my kids started school I thought we would use the church piano for practicing, because I knew we would be in Nîmes at least twice a week.  This was not working out for us as the pressures of language and school settled in.

A musician friend, René, did some research for us and found a music store in Nîmes that rents pianos.  Aaron and I decided to give it a try.  We had previously looked in one store, Cultura, but they do not rent pianos and their pricing on a new piano was very high.  So, when we heard about this privately owned music store we were hopeful.  We arrived and the salesman immediately started speaking funny english to us to practice his english and to “show-off” his skills!  Haha!  He proceeded to tell us that to rent a piano would only be about 38 euros per month, an 141 euros fee and we would need to put a safety deposit down of 1000 euros.  We thought it sounded great because the 1000 euros would never be touched, unless something happened to the piano, of course!  So we told him we would go ahead and get that paper work going.

As we were up at the counter getting things arranged he proceeded to tell us that there would be a transportation/delivery fee.  We asked him “how much?” and he said he did not know because they do not deliver the pianos.  Aaron and I looked at each other and smiled.  Always a catch and a hurdle in France.  We asked him how would we go about finding out the delivery fee.  He made a few phone calls and told us it would be 275 euros one-way, meaning when we where done with the piano we would have to pay this fee again.  That equates to $349.25.  That would be a grand total of roughly $1300 for a 10 month rental piano.  We quickly started looking at other options.

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This is the other option for 500 euros or $635.  We, obviously, went with option #2.  We figured we could sell it next year and put a few bucks back in our pockets.  It is a nice Yamaha that has a few different instrument settings and a metronome setting.  I am so happy we made this purchase because now the boys can practice when it is convenient and we don’t have to worry about getting into Nîmes.

The process of getting the piano home was comical!  The day we purchased the piano, the famous Roman Arena, which is in Centre Ville, was preparing for the Bullfights.  This caused closure for many of the roads in Centre Ville, which is where the piano store is.  We had parked about 4 blocks away and in an underground parking garage.  Our piano came in a nice packaged box and we decided to carry it to the car because we could not drive close to the store due to the road closures.  It did not seem too heavy at the time of our departing the store, but by the time we got to the parking garage Aaron was tired.  This was the scene in the parking garage:

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Did I mention it had been raining and I was carrying the stand for the piano to sit on!?  We went into the wrong entrance to the parking garage so poor Aaron had to meander between cars and tight spaces.  Those of you who have driven in Europe know what I mean when I say “tight space”.  People usually pull their car side mirrors in so the car next to them can fit.  I have yet to park in a “tight space” because it terrifies me!!  Also, the parking garages in France are not very tall.  Our little van barely fits in most garages and I feel like we are going to hit the top of our van every time!  Because of this, Aaron did not have a ton of space to lift the piano above his head!  It was difficult to get that piano comfortably to our van!

Aaron got a great workout and I had a good laugh.  In fact, we both had a good laugh especially when we were carrying the piano and stand through the public park area and the streets.  But, I am so thankful we have music in our home again!  The plus about this piano is we can plug in headphones!  The piano is in the kitchen, near our clothes dryer. So, when dinner, homework and seminary have to take place the headphones get plugged in.  Our space it little, so the headphone feature is FANTASTIC!

Also, Austin has started playing the piano for our Sacrament Service, so he will have the piano at his disposal for practicing!  The current pianist, Lolita, will be leaving on an LDS mission in the next few months, so she asked him if he would be willing to start playing. Austin played on Sunday for the first time and he did great!  The Bishop asked me to be the chorister to help him feel more comfortable.  He played the opening and closing hymns and the postlude music. I felt like all the years of lessons and practicing were paying off in that moment of him playing and I leading the music.  It was a special moment for me as a mother!  Consistency and practice pays off!

Ping Pong and Birthdays!

When we moved here the Dargaunce Family let us borrow a ping pong table for the year we are here.  It has been so much fun!  We have it in our yard because that is the only space we have for it.  Most French people keep their ping pong tables outside.  A few of the places we have rented here in France had ping pong tables and they were always outside.  So, we have an old table out in our yard that we love to use.  Jack is getting to be a good little server!  Ha!  The table did not have a net so we needed to purchase a net, rackets and balls.  The net doesn’t fit the greatest but we “rig” it all the time!

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It was Austin’s 14th birthday yesterday, September 25th.  Wednesday , Austin got out of school at noon so him and I went birthday shopping.  We ended up going to a sporting goods store, Decathlon.  It is a large store with a wide variety of sports.  One can buy hunting gear, soccer gear, ballet gear, etc. all at the same store.  Austin and I were walking around just looking because he wasn’t quite sure exactly what he wanted here in France. One thing to note about Austin and his birthdays is he always knows EXACTLY what he wants.  So some of the things on his list are waiting for him in Utah to be picked up by Aaron, when he does get back to the States.  For example, books.  We did not bring books with us because they weighed too much and are too expensive to ship, so we have been without and it has not been good.  We all love to read so there are books waiting for us in Aaron’s office!

Anyway, Austin didn’t quite know what he wanted here in France, except for a hoodie/sweatshirt, which we found.  Right before we left the house, Aaron told Austin to make sure he finds something cool, so we were on the search for something cool!  We came upon a section for ping pong!  They had professional ping pong rackets, with cases and “game” balls.  I was laughing so hard when I saw the racket cases, I think I may have offended the French man next to us looking at all the stuff!  For some reason it was so comical to me.  I never thought of ping pong as an official sport, hopefully I don’t offend anyone reading.  I know professional ping pong is big in some countries, but I have never heard of a large following of ping pong in the States.

Well, I think you can guess what the cool birthday gift was!  A new “pro” ping pong racket, which is so cool, by the way, a racket case and a new package of ping pong balls!

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I personally love the racket case!!!!  LOL!  When we got home all the kids were so jealous of his new gift!  I think I know what might be under the Christmas Tree this year!

One of Austin’s other requests for his birthday was carrot cake!  I was a little nervous because I have found it a little difficult finding certain baking items.  It sounds funny because France has some of the most delicious pastries I have ever had, but the everyday American baking items is a little challenging.  For example, I still haven’t found baking powder or powdered sugar and I finally found vanilla but it is more of a syrup instead of liquid.  But, I was able to get what would work and it turned out great and moist!  We have a convection oven here so I think that helped with the moistness.  We took the cake to the Church because the boys had seminary and we sang to Austin and ate cake.  The French had never heard of carrot cake so they were pleasantly surprised with how good it was!!!

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Happy Birthday Austin!  I still have yet to find a party store or even a decent party section in a store for birthday/celebration paraphernalia.  I found a 50 count bag of balloons that cost around 3.90 euros, which is roughly $5!  Probably about the same in the States?!  I do not remember…  It was a fun and different birthday for Austin!

Grape Harvest

The last two mornings my runs have been busy!  The fields and roads are filled with small tractors pulling the large yellow bins full of grapes.  Large grape harvesting machines are dotting the countryside.  It seems like there has been movement at every turn!

The “Vignerons” in Sanilhac has been packed the last two mornings.  Yesterday I counted 9 tractors with attached bins lined up to dump their grapes.  It is so interesting!  Today the road was not wet from water, but it was actually sticky from grape juice.  I was laughing to myself as I was running along to the sticky rhythm under my feet.  The road was covered with juice!  I have never seen anything like it.  Today, I actually had to get off the main road and run on the smaller side roads because of the excitement of grape harvest season!  So fun!

Dry Cleaning

It seems as though everything is a new experience for us here in France, even down to getting our clothes dry cleaned!  As I have said before the closest city of any size is about 7km in Uzés.  There is only one dry cleaner in all of Uzés.  Aaron had 7 dress shirts and I needed a dress dry cleaned.  Aaron took them to this said dry cleaner last monday.  The owner/only employee handed him the ticket and told him they would be ready on Friday. He looked at the price on the ticket and about asked for our articles of clothing back. 56.50 Euros!  That equates to $72.50 for 7 shirts and one dress!!!!  He came home and was still trying to decide if he should retrieve our clothes, but we decided to give it a try and never take clothes to the cleaner again!

Friday came and we went to go pick up our clothes.  I was parked a little way off along the side of the road and was watching Aaron interact in the store.  It took him awhile to finally get the clothes, about 10 minutes.  I noticed a nice looking older lady go in and she was obviously admiring our clothes by the look of the interaction.  Aaron approached the car and started laughing.  His first comment, “Well, it looks like we bought some nice sturdy hangers!”  They are just a thicker, shinier metal hanger like they use in the States.

He proceeded to tell me the nice older lady was admiring my freshly pressed and cleaned dress and talking about how wonderful that dress would be to wear out at night.  LOL! Aaron then told me that the owner had not finished the order because one of his shirts had a large stain.  Aaron asked her what kind of stain and if he could she the white shirt.  She brought it out and it was a red wine stain all down the front of the shirt.  Aaron said it was impossible that he did that and he was not going to pay for that because that was not the condition he brought it to her.  She replies, “Well, clearly you could have spilt some wine on you?”  He said, “That’s impossible, because I do not drink wine!”  She was taken aback and told him she would need to work on his shirt for about 2 weeks to see if she could get the stain out.

Sunday, Aaron wore one of the cleaned and pressed shirts and it did not look very good. The back even had a faint stain on one of the upper shoulder blades.  We think the owner’s husband decided to wear his shirts and went out on the town and had some fun, returned the stained clothes and didn’t tell his wife!!!! :)  Aaron noted that her store had hardly any clothes there waiting to be cleaned!

We will NOT be getting our clothes dry cleaned!  Any suggestions about home dry cleaning because I have to find a solution and it won’t be paying someone else for a large amount of money for a so-so job?!

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School Update

Many of you have inquired how the kids are doing with school.  Here goes:

Sophie:  Aaron and I decided to send Sophie to school 5 days a week.  Monday, Tuesday and Thursday she attends from 9-12, comes home for lunch and returns at 1:30pm for the afternoon 3 hours.  She does take a nap after lunch at the school.  She seems to enjoy doing this and it actually has allowed her to sleep better.  She is finished at 4:30pm on these three days.  Wednesday and Friday she goes to school from 9am-noon.  She does not return after lunch.  We have the option for Jack and Sophie to return for extra curricular activities, but we have chosen to keep them with us.  Sophie’s french vocabulary is increasing and we notice her speaking “franglais”.  For example, she will say “I wish I could sauter up in the sky like the avion”.  Meaning, I wish I could jump in the sky like an airplane.  It is so cute and each day, as hard as it is for me to send her to school, we can see the progress she is making with the language.  It is fascinating! :)  Also, Sophie loves to walk to and from school.  I love it!

Jack:  He, too, is going the same days and hours as Sophie.  He is more timid in the classroom so his teacher thinks he is not learning and behind.  We decided an extra french class for him on Mondays from 4:30-5:30 would be good for him.  Jack went this past Monday and the teacher, Madame Sylvaine, told me and his regular teacher that Jack did not need any help because he was understanding everything.  Madame Sylvaine, the Director (Principal) and La Maîtresse (this is the title for a teacher, hence, Jack’s teacher) all talked with me and we decided he just needed to speak in class.  LOL!  He is so shy that he wasn’t saying anything in the classroom.  So, all three teachers talked to Jack about speaking in class and now the last 4 days he has come home telling us the words he has spoken.  He is just a good little boy!  Aaron and I are shocked by his vocabulary and the things he is learning at a rapid pace.  Yesterday, he was telling me about a counting “game” the class played.  I casually asked him if he could demonstrate and he immediately counted up to 30 in french.  I have only heard him get to 20 with many numbers left out between 13-17.  Today he told Aaron and I that he knew numbers up to 60!  Go Jack!  He is awesome.

The boys are jealous of Jack and Sophie because they understand so much better.  I think they are a little disappointed their Dad didn’t speak to them in french all these years.  It has been a huge commitment to speak a different language all the time for Aaron.  It can be frustrating, but we can see the benefits flourishing in their little minds!  Sorry Julia, Alexis, AJ, Austin and Tristan!  He tried with Julia, but quickly got frustrated and stopped.  We regret this, but c’est la vie!

Tristan:  Each day gets a little better for Tristan.  When we registered for school, Tristan had the option of taking a third language.  He chose to take German.  This idea was so cool in his mind.  He thought, “I will learn french and a little german this year, so I will be able to speak 3 languages!”  Well, Tristan’s German teacher is a JERK!  That is the nicest word I could find for him.  We are in the process of getting him removed from his class.  The first few days of class for Tristan were good and then the teacher realized he didn’t speak french and was American and has humiliated Tristan ever since.  For example, Tuesday, Tristan came home from school very frustrated.  He told us the German teacher came up to Tristan’s desk, while giving his lecture, looked at his notes and grabbed his notebook.  The teacher then proceeded to the front of the classroom, held up Tristan’s notebook, ripped out his page of notes and yelled at Tristan for not taking perfect, neat notes!  The teacher then told the class it was unacceptable to have messy notes and it was wrong!  Tristan showed me his paper the teacher ripped out of his notebook and there were a few crossed out words because Tristan did not know the right french spelling. I wanted to march to the school and give that teacher a piece of my mind!  We are in the “process” of getting him removed from German.  I say “process” because it is.  We have to contact his homeroom teacher, le professional principal, which we have already done.  She has to approve it, which she has already done.  Now we can contact the German teacher and ask him if he will let Tristan drop his class.  I am not looking forward to this conversation so I am hoping Aaron does it.  We will contact him on Monday, because that is the day Tristan has German.

Other than German, Tristan is adapting well.  He is slowly making friends and the kids are realizing what a nice kid he is.  They are all fascinated that he can do a back flip and that he seems to know how to do all the dance moves in gym.  Gym is very different in France. The boys all have it on different days of the week and it lasts 2 hours.  Each class time they learn about a new sport or activity and participate.  Tristan is learning the art of dance.  LOL!  He has been doing ballet style dance in gym.  This cracks us up when he describes what he has to do.  The good thing is that everyone else is doing the same thing so no one is making fun or laughing at others.  I think it is cool!  Funny, but cool!

Austin:  His attitude is amazing and positive every day!  I am so grateful for this!  He enjoys school for the most part.  He loves the cantine, or school lunch.  It is actually a very healthy menu with 3 real chefs that cook everything from scratch.  They take great pride in their food and it shows.  The other day Austin came home and said he had some really good chicken kebob for lunch.  When AJ got home he said, “Do you guys eat the rabbit today?”  AJ has friends that speak english so he knew exactly what was served that day!:)

Austin is also taking another language, italien.  He is really enjoying this, but finds it difficult because he has to translate words from french to english and then english to italien.  He attempts almost all of his homework and is trying to speak a little more each day.  Each day Austin feels he is understanding a tiny bit more.  Him and Tristan have discovered a new game to play with all the other kids.  In the large courtyard of their school there are cement ping pong like tables.  When we first visited the school we all thought it would be cool to play ping pong during breaks and lunch.  Well, they are not used for ping pong.  The kids use them to play a game with a tennis ball.  Groups of kids get on each side and they hit the ball with their hands and then run to the other side behind the next person.  Who ever messes up is out and two players are always left running around the table trying to be the last one in the game.  They love playing this with their friends!

AJ:  AJ loves school here!  He is the cool new American kid and everyone loves him.  He is the english teachers assistant so that helps with his confidence!  He has a few English/British friends who are so kind to him and have taken him under their wing.  He gets invited to sit with people at lunch everyday and always seems to have a friend with him.  AJ has a funny story to share almost everyday.  One day he came home and said a french girl came up to him and asked him to say, “Je m’appelle Aaron.”  My name is Aaron.  After he said it, she said, “you really have a good accent”.  AJ’s smile is infectious and more and more people are noticing it at school and church!  Way to go AJ!

I have to mention the boys schedule.  Each day is different!  The school does not provide lockers so they carry their back packs with the days supplies.  They leave the other supplies and books at home when they do not have a particular class for that day.  School starts at 8am, except AJ doesn’t start until 9am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  School technically is over at 4:30pm but the boys have different schedules so they all come home at different times.  It is interesting!  It is almost like a college schedule.  Both AJ and Austin have a few days when they do not have a class between 11 and 12, so they have a 2.5 hour break, because lunch is from noon to 1:30.  But they have class starting at 1:30 and there is no bus at that hour so they do not come home.

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This is Tristan’s schedule so you can get an idea of the difference between here and America.  The boys all take the public bus to school and they are able to ride it home after 3:30.  The exception is Wednesdays.  They only have school until noon.  It is a nice break in the middle of the week.  Most days the boys leave at 7:15am to catch the bus just up the road from our house and they do not get home until 5:05pm.  Almost 10 hours!  It is long and exhausting.  We do not have time for sports.  Austin and AJ have a seminary lesson every night, which I teach.  They have to go to the church once a week for a group seminary lesson.  It is on Thursdays.  Because we do not have any extra curricular activities, our family is always together!! Yeah!  Aaron and I love this!  Tomorrow we are going to Toulouse as a family.  There is a Stake Youth Super Saturday for the boys so we will take them and the rest of us will explore Toulouse.  It is a 3 hour drive so we have to make the most of our time!  Crazy!

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This is a little booklet that all the students carry with them.  It has permission slips, schedules, etc.  At the back bottom of this booklet I had to fill out the time for each day of the week that I give permission for my boys to leave campus.  Someone is always at the gate to check each students booklet.  This is because some kids leave campus to go eat at home or in the village.  Plus, some teachers don’t show up for their scheduled class and the kids get parental permission to leave.  This has happened to Austin twice so he has been able to leave school an hour early!  The school has a good “checks and balances” when it comes to kids coming and going.  It is very common for ALL age groups to leave school for lunch.  Most businesses, except for food places, close between 12-1:30.  We have to plan all of our errands around that time period.

Conclusion:  some days are better than others.  Some days are really hard and we all want to cry out of frustration but we are plugging through the hardship.  Hopefully everyday will improve! :)

Grape Harvest

It is harvest time for the vineyard owners!  The early part of September is when this region begins their harvest picking, predicated upon weather.  We are surrounded by these beautiful vineyards.  Almost every landscape we look at, we can see fields of vineyards with large bundles of juicy grapes!  It is beautiful.

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A few weeks ago, on one of my morning runs, I started noticing these large grape picking machines.

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These machines go up and down each row and pluck the grapes off their vines and then takes their load to a large bin placed somewhere close by and dumps the freshly picked grapes into the bins.  I have to note that the rows of vines are meticulously exact in distance apart from one another.  It is an amazing sight to see when you can look at the fields from an elevated point of view or looking down aisles of vines.  Truly incredible!

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The bins are then hooked up to a little tractor and taken to the winery or Vigneroun. During another morning run, I captured two tractors, one coming toward me with a full bin of grapes and one driving away from me, who had already taken his load to the winery.

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I have never seen grapes being harvested.  I have just enjoyed looking at the vineyards and enjoyed the romantic scenery.  Also, I am not a wine connoisseur, so all this fascinates me!  I wish I could get a tour of the winery in our little village.  I run by it almost everyday and it has been very busy these past few weeks.

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The villagers and vineyard workers are all very nice to me during my runs.  They all are respectful of the small roads and say hello or wave to me when we pass.  It puts a smile on my face!

La Grande Motte

Aaron and I had talked many times about getting to the Mediterranean Sea before school started but we ran out of time.  We decided to go this past Saturday, since the weather is beginning to change.  There was a bit of wind when we woke up and thought maybe we shouldn’t make the drive and have the experience ruined with blowing sand, etc.  We decided to go anyway and make the most of whatever came our way.  Aaron had previously looked on the internet for beaches not too far from us and he found La Grand Motte.  It was roughly 45 miles and google maps said it would take us over an hour.  Side note:  It seems to take a little longer in France to get from point A to point B.  There are always stops, round a bouts, little villages to pass through, etc.

We completely lucked out!  The drive took us a little under an hour, door-to-door.  It was fabulous because all the tourists and vacationers were gone so we easily found parking and a perfect spot near the water! :)

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La Grande Motte is a popular seaside port and resort area.  The length of the beaches is extensive and the types of beaches vary as you travel along the Med.  For example, one beach is for families, one is for homosexuals, one is for nudists, etc.  All the beaches are public, which is one less thing for us to pay for!!!  And a big plus, it is all sand beaches. Many beaches along the French Mediterranean Coast are rocks.  Cannes, Nice, Marseille all have rocks and so it is hard to really enjoy one’s time at the beach.

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The architecture in La Grande Motte is interesting as the buildings are all in the shape of pyramids.

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I love the beach!  I grew up near water.  In Houston, our family would go to Galveston Beach every summer.  In New York, we had the Long Island Sound seconds from our house and Fire Island was close.  In fact, the 6 years I lived in Cold Spring Harbor, NY I saw the water everyday.  When Aaron and I lived in Maryland, we always took the kids to the ocean in the summer.  Plus, probably once a week we saw the Chesapeake Bay.  So, to be this close to the Med is awesome for me!  I am so happy we discovered La Grande Motte!

The weather ended up being beautiful!  I loved seeing all the sail boats on the distant horizon!  The water was a little chilly, for the nights have cooled down a bit.  But, it was pleasant.  It was so peaceful and my kids were entertained for hours.  It was a great day!

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We had to bury the kids in the sand!  Tradition!  See if you can find everyone!  AJ’s is the best!  Austin did not get buried!  We can’t wait until next summer to go again.  We might get lucky with another warm September day, but the water is going to get colder and colder as time goes on!

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A little laugh on a Monday morning!

This is what happens when you send a 3 year old to school!

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I have been crying I have laughed so hard!  Sophie had no idea she had this stuck to her “buns”!  In fact, when we pointed it out, she said, “You mean everyone was looking at my buns?”  I am glad she was able to come home for lunch so we could make this discovery!

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LOL!  She is the cutest thing ever!  Happy Monday Everyone!!! :)

Laundry

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This is my washer!  (Notice there is NO dryer!)  It is roughly 16 inches in width!  We are a family of 9, 8 or 7!  It is okay to laugh out loud about these two pieces of information.  It was a joke the first few weeks we were getting settled and quickly got old, FAST!

Our clothes washer back in the States could hold double or triple the amount of clothes this little machine holds.  I have always been very scheduled with laundry.  In different places and at different stages of my life I have had to change or readjust the laundry schedule.  I was practically in tears after a few weeks of laundry here!  I could not figure out the right system for the laundry.  There were elements out of my control!

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Because the above was my clothes dryer.  One and one/fourth loads of wash (I am referring to my France size load of wash) can be hung on this outside clothes line.  It is very sturdy and makes for a great use of space on one side of the house.  The draw back:  the sun shines on this space until 1pm and it often rains, is humid or is cloudy.  So, I was finding that some days I needed to do up to 5 loads of wash but the natural elements were not allowing this to happen.  I do have the below dryer for inside:

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I also hang clothes up in the bathrooms.  It was all becoming too overwhelming for me and Aaron even noticed the inconvenience.  There were days when I would hang clothes up outside, then we would leave the house to go exploring and come back to rain and “wet” clothes.  He would ask me what I would like to do for the day and my response was always, “Well, I have to get at least 2 loads done today or I am in for it tomorrow!”  There was a domino effect that took place if I could not get the right amount of clothes washed, dried, folded and put away.  It was becoming too stressful!  I HAD to put a load in at night that would be done by morning, hang it up by 8am, time another load to be hung up by 10:30am and then try to get in 2 more loads throughout the rest of the day.  Exhausting and inconvenient!

Solution: buy a dryer!  We were not sure how much this was going to cost because we did not want to install a vent through the thick walls of this house.  We inquired about this with some friends and they told us one can buy a condensed dryer.  We thought this was genius because, after all, we are just renting this house and do not want to throw a lot of money into a house project.  We had our friend purchase a condensed dryer via the internet that we could hook up to any outlet, in any room of the house.  It cost us 250 euros, or $323.  A small price for my sanity!

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A condensed dryer is very efficient.  First, all outlets in France are 220 volts so almost all large appliances can be plugged into any outlet.  Second, this machine is very light.  We can easily move it anywhere in the house.  In fact, Aaron carried it by himself from the car into the house.  Third, there is a drawer that fills up with hot water after each cycle and then I use that hot water for dishes in the kitchen sink.  Fourth, in the winter the heat from the dryer might help warm up certain rooms!

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This dryer has been a life saver!  It sits in my kitchen, so now I just carry the wash across the room instead of carrying it around to the other side of our house.  I have managed to not even worry about laundry now and my head can be free of “laundry” stress.  I usually have to do 3 loads a day, but I can do it whenever it is convenient for me!  Merci Aaron!

Toilet Room

When we decided to rent our current house in France, Aaron made a trip to see the place before we signed the contract.  I remember him telling me that our “master” bathroom was divided.  Meaning, the toilet we would use was the “half-bath” room for the house and our sink, shower, etc was off the master bedroom.  I made a mental note at the time and had forgotten about it until we arrived the first night at our new house.  Toilet rooms or WC, water closets, are still used in France and in this house we are renting.  We have two “salle de bain”, bathrooms, and two WC.  The draw back is the WC’s do not have a sink to wash your hands.  You have to go into the bathroom or the kitchen to wash your hands.  It is interesting!

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The picture on the left is the toilet room and the bathroom is on the right.  I don’t know about you but it is a pain in the butt, no pun intended, to have two separate rooms.  I say that hesitantly, because, I do not like it for me.  For the kids situation, that is different.  It is actually really nice to have one child using the WC and one brushing his/her teeth.  Or one showering and another needing to use the toilet.  It works with kids!

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This is the WC upstairs that the children use the most.  It is also closest to our family room, so it is used often.  The bathroom is also upstairs and it is used by all 5 children.  One funny, design faux pas in these water closets is the window on both doors.  If you look close you can see the small window in a few of the pictures on the door to the toilet.  It makes for a funny joke between Aaron and I, but very uncomfortable if someone is changing into a swimming suit! :)

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It is nice and spacious and there are two sinks, which is such a blessing.  I love the bright blue tiles in the kids bathroom.  The pink, not so much!  Our first vacation home we rented in France, back in 2009, had a beautiful bathroom (with the toilet in the bathroom) that was tiled in a Mediterranean Sea blue tile.  I say Mediterranean Sea because it is what I think of when I remember it.  It was gorgeous!  I am grateful this bathroom here has a similar blue, just not as striking!

Also, the WC on the main level, the “master” toilet, is used by everybody.  I do not like this!  I like my own toilet that is not shared by anyone but me and my husband!  Petty thing, I know!  But, have you ever stopped and wondered it you would like the division of the toilet from the shower, sink, etc.?  And, if you wanted to use the bathroom knowing so many others had also used it, kind of like a communal toilet?  I know most of the usage is just my own children, but I have 4 boys and a 3 year old!  At previous houses, if I were home, I would always make the walk to my toilet, in my bathroom, before I would use any other toilet. Maybe it is just habitual, but most American houses, condos, even apartments have separate bathrooms for the “master” and the rest of the house.