Almost Invincible

Well no, of course not, but it sort of feels that way.

Yes, even here in France, things are happening, just when I was losing hope.

My first vaccination is Wednesday. AstraZeneca, same as Angela Merkel. When she walked past me in a restaurant a couple of years ago, a little good luck must have rubbed off. Seriously, vaccine is hard to find around here. Second dose in July. If I don’t have a stroke, I’ll survive this pandemic. Of course, this being France, I could drive all the way there — one hour each way! — only to have them say oh no, not you, we changed our minds. But let’s not think about that.

After a seven, soon to be eight, month wait, the notaire is doing the paperwork for the sale of my rental house. I have a bit of sympathy for the guy. France has a consumer protection law that limits the fees for handling property sales to such an extent that the work falls to the bottom of the priority barrel, doesn’t get done until there is nothing else to do. Over the last seven months I will have paid more in taxes and utilities on that house than he will earn in fees. So I, the consumer, am not feeling very protected. But he did write, saved it for Friday night so I’d maybe feel sorry for him, to let me know we’re just a week or three away. So three weeks, maybe four, but it’s finally getting done. My buyers might actually have their summer house in time for summer.

And of course spring is popping. Those are my cherry blossoms you see up there. We just had a tiny late freeze, nothing serious, so cherries are on the way, plus I expect some apples and mirabelles. Jacques just found his third hedgehog of the season, or maybe there is just one that he has harassed into three different hideouts. And the other day I noticed bees buzzing in and out of little holes in a sunny wall. To the tune of “Gimme Shelter?” We’ll soon see. Julien and I set up a beehive, following the instructions I found in my Collins Bee Bible. Plus we’re starting to talk about quails. Julien keeps chickens, so all I might need are little salad/apero-sized eggs. We’ll have to see about that.

21 thoughts on “Almost Invincible

    1. The wheels don’t know any better, do they? My father died when I was just out of high school. I remember heading out for the funeral, a beautiful sunny summer day. I had just spent a week inside, hiding from an unseemly invasion of sympathetic adults. Blue sky was a bit of a shock. Well okay, I thought, this is how things go. I must sound like such a Debbie Downer, but most days I’m happy, grateful for my life on this planet.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Bravo! I got my first vaccine (also AstraZeneca) on Wednesday. Sick as a dog that night with chills, but by Friday was just fine. Far better than getting Covid. The threat of a stroke is scary, but it’s far less probable than getting in a car wreck, and that didn’t stop me from driving twice already today.
    À ta santé!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad that the notaire is finally creaking into action. I remember mine moaning that he was just an underpaid tax man years ago, so things can’t have improved since.
    You missed out on the big freeze, thank goodness. Vigneron friends have been almost wiped out.
    Quails would be fun….and bees….and hedgehogs for Jacques who sounds like a disreputable landlord hassling his tenants.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, well, notaires have scooped up enough other work that they’re doing fine. I wish I could afford to dress as well as he does.

      The wine here is good/not great simply because we generally have decent weather. It’s better now than when you lived here, but there will never be a great vintage. Sorry about your friends, though. Another reason not to be a farmer.

      OMG, Jacques… I’ve tried “Hedgehogs are friends, not food.” I’ve tried pointing out that he’s risking a face full of quills. It’s useless and he remembers where the little guys are. The next time he goes out, he’ll head right back over there. That’s what I get for choosing a terrier.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From what I recall of local notaires they seemed to do a g reat deal of placing money for clients…some of shich would stick to their own accounts. No wonder they had good clothes….and especially shoes.

        I’m sorry for my friends too…they’re not big guys, the association they are forced to bekong to doesnlt help them with publicity, so they will be waiting to see what the government hands out to tide them over.

        Yes, terriers are persistent….to the nth degree. And those white ones look so innocent….you don’t suspect…..

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, true, I didn’t want the Russian or Chinese one, but I believe they are not approved, anyway. I didn’t say much about my Zoom classes, did I? I have three going right now. They’re lifesavers. Without them I think I’d forget how to talk.


  3. Hmm…it didn’t go unnoticed that your post was remarkably devoid of your usual bold, some would say brash, claims about the size and number of tomatoes that you expect to harvest this year. Hedgehogs are well and good but vegetable tales are also good fodder for posting. What is it with your notaires? Are they immune to bribery? It seems reasonably easy to calculate the breakpoint between your incremental tax and utility bills and the amount that should be offered to expedite the paperwork. Probably a cultural thing, eh?


    1. Bribery has been foremost in my mind for several months now. What would we call it? An honorarium? What finally got him moving was a written meltdown, a total flamethrower. I shouldn’t have to go all dominatrix, just to get some paperwork done, but I guess the spike-heeled boots still fit.

      As for the tomatoes, just wait. Bigger and better than ever. Julien has them sequestered in his polytunnel, to be planted out after the last frost, but he assures me they are growing ferociously, alongside their eggplant brethren. It will be the summer of Ooni pizza and homegrown, house-made ratatouille, washed down by the oceans of rosé already in the basement and locally made craft beer on demand. How is that for brash?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you really want to sod up your notaire, give his bank details to the next Nigerian high official trying to offload money on you…I did this to the one who tried to stuff me on a house transaction.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Woah, that sounds too good. Brash away! I forgot about the Ooni and can’t wait to hear a review. I already have all the rats you would ever need for ratatouille (Dad joke!) and some fresh bruschetta would be tasty, too. You may keep your rosé, never was a big fan. But then again, nouveau Beaujolais and Pinot Noir leave me cold too. Craft beer, well now you’re talking my summer beverage language. I’m particularly jealous of all the Belgian brews accessible to you. Good luck with the ‘maters and now I am going off to sulk about getting rejected on my plea to add an Ooni to my outdoor cooking devices collection.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been having problems with the City of Oakland re a cracked sidewalk in front of my house. $450 for a permit to get it fixed, really? This is one of the many things I miss about Michael. He knew which palm needed to be greased and how much to put in it.


    1. I was sitting at the building department one day, gasping at the size of the bill. I had to ask why, without actually blurting out wtf? It was a challenge, believe me. The guy explained that the planners had to pay their own way. They based the fees not on the value of the project, but on the number of hours it would take to review the plans. Factor in a multiple for bennies, general admin — when I was doing the estimates for myself, I had to charge admin to a specific project — etc., sure, it could easily get to 450. Charging you to fix a public sidewalk, though, that’s a new low.


      1. Oakland has passed a law that all property owners are responsible for the upkeep of their sidewalks. And, if someone falls and is injured they sue you, not the city. And by the way, the only time I have ever cried in public is at the L.A. City Planning Office.


        1. That’s bad. I won’t tell you how easy it was to get the permit for everything I did here. It would only make you feel worse. The city even mows the grass on a little patch I own outside the wall. Unless Prop 13 has been very good to you, I bet I pay less in property tax; it’s one of the few taxes here that is actually pretty reasonable, though that may be because the house is probably worth less than yours.

          So how does that play out? Can you do anything you want with your sidewalk? Could you put in tinted concrete, tinted a different color from your neighbor’s of course, with exposed aggregate? No sidewalk, just grass? “Keep Out” signs, with arrows directing people into the street? You’re in a nice area, but how do folks in the Oakland ghetto pay to maintain their sidewalks? That just sounds so strange.


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