Wednesday, June 30, 2010

last names: part III

Just the other week I signed up for my health coverage at the Sécurité Sociale - before that I had been covered by Jean-Marc's insurance (for agricultural workers - there are four organizations of coverage in France depending on your job, just to make things complicated). When I stated that I wanted to keep my maiden name and have that name on all documentation, they said that I needed to fill out a form to declare that I want to use my own name, otherwise everything would automatically be in Jean-Marc's last name. Only in France (or maybe not!) do you have to declare that you want things to stay the same!

I also just bought a new (second-hand) car on the weekend. When I went to register it, the woman asked in shock if I wanted to register it in my own name. I'm afraid I was a bit curt with her...

I guess the "rolling with it" idea isn't working out as smoothly as I had hoped!

Monday, June 21, 2010

a kitty!

A friend of Jean-Marc's has a cat who had two kittens, and when he asked us if we'd like one, we said yes! We had to wait for the kitten to be old enough before bringing him home, but just yesterday we picked him up. At first we were going to call him Oscar, but just today we decided to call him Domino because he's black and white and makes things fall over a lot. The nickname "Mino" is also close to the French minou, which is their form of the word "kitty". So far it's been an exciting 36 hours. He seems to be adjusting fairly easily, but when he's got energy and feeling playful, it's kind of chaotic. We're busy trying to protect our electrical cords, lamps and other breakable things and he's busy chasing a pencil or his tail. It's fun to have a little ball of energy with a personality around the house!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a successful trip

Jean-Marc and I went to the farmhouse at the end of May for nine days. It was a working holiday for us and we spent the whole time preparing the house for this summer's rentals. (Click here to be directed to our French Farmhouse rentals website.)

a living room
As much as we love the farmhouse, one thing it has never had (until now) is a living room. There was a spacious kitchen and a number of bedrooms, as well as a terrace and garden, but there was nowhere to relax and read (especially when the weather was bad). No more! We chose to convert our attic - formerly a bedroom with single beds and our library - into a sitting area. I went shopping and picked up various things, including a sectional sofa that has the added bonus of storage under one side and it also can turn into a double bed. Have a look!

It's a bit of a tricky room because of the angled ceiling and the very low windows, but I managed to fit all the various components in without blocking access to the windows. It's still a bedroom, with bunk beds in the back corner, but it's now also a sitting room, with a reading library and a TV/DVD player with a video library.

the garden
While I was working inside, Jean-Marc was working outside in the garden. Not only was there weeding to do, but there was planting, rearranging, stone-moving and general cleaning to be done.
There was also the secondary garden next to the barn which needed some attention. We haven't done much with it until now because we know we will eventually be renovating the barn, but it has always been a bit of an eyesore. I cleared out the weeds and sowed some wild flower seeds and Jean-Marc planted some perennials around the linden tree and along a wall.
We also attacked a number of other little things (varnishing the stairs, hanging up shelves and paintings etc.) and it feels really good to have completed so many tasks (some of which had been on our "to do" list for at least 5 years!). We got home a week ago and headed straight into a full week of work. We were exhausted from our holiday and were even more so by the time we got to the weekend. Luckily we had no plans last weekend and we were able to catch up on some much needed rest!

For those of you who have not seen the rest of the house, here are a few more pictures.