Friday, December 4, 2009

Realtime Update: Le Demarrage

So we have now owned the apartment for something like a week and a half.  The architect/contractor, Monsieur P. (whom we have never met, he was recommended by M., who runs the rental agency we are presumably going to use) had told us he was ready to begin the renovation back at the time of our first scheduled closing three weeks ago, and we know he got a key after we did close, so we have been hoping that by now things were now getting underway.  The place is costing us money daily, and every day that nothing happens is another day before we can rent it and get some income coming the other way.  But three different emails to Monsieur P. went unanswered this week.  So finally this morning we got out Skype, hooked up the microphone, and called.  CAM hates making calls in French, it puts all the pressure on her because my French isn't good enough to cope with it.  But we really had to get in touch, and what do you know, he answered his cell phone.  His tone was very nice but sort of surprised... ah, oui, Carol, why are you calling?  We aren't quite at the point yet where we are comfortable saying, well, how about the three emails we sent?  One of them had photos of doors we liked attached, etc., etc.  But no mention of the emails, just the usual smooth insouciance.  Yes, yes, the demarrage (demolition) is going to start this afternoon.  Everything is fine, oui, oui.  So that's it, we told him we would see him in a couple of weeks (We are going to Paris the week after next.)

We felt relieved when we hung up the phone, but for me at least the relief passed quickly.  You know that old joke about how do you know when your contractor is lying?  Look and see if his lips are moving, and that's when you can stand with him in your kitchen and ask him questions in person, in English.  We can't even see his lips.  Who knows if the demarrage is really starting today?  I have the queasy feeling that when we get there in two weeks, then the demarrage will have just started.  How in the world are we going to manage a renovation from this far away?  I have a fantasy of installing a web cam in there.  Well, at least we will be there in a couple of weeks.  We have a plan to try and convince our friends Sandy and Philippe to act as our agents, stopping by to see how things are coming.  And maybe Monsieur P is going to be an ace.  Unfortunately for CAM he is obviously a cell phone guy.  Skype it is.

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