Fezzik In Paris

Two Americans, three cats, and too many places named "de Gaulle"

We’re back.

(I’d start with the lyrics from Without Me, but at some point the album whence it came turned 16 years old. Holy shit.)

In truth, we have been back for four days at this point, but I haven’t been in the mood to write and we have been a touch distracted; upon opening the door to our apartment Wednesday morning, we noticed a section of plaster on the floor, the result of a new water leak. Having roused both the management company and our insurance company and then dealt with the plumber on Thursday, we then spent much of Friday waiting for Darty to deliver our shiny new dishwasher as ours threw an error code stating that its mainboard had burned out after we tried to do the first batch of post-return dishes.

As for Houston? It was, well, Houston. While the Purrito has been making regular jaunts to carry things back and check on the house, this visa run was my first time back in the US in three years. This trip basically confirmed what I had suspected; three years of living in Paris has soured my outlook on a city that I never really loved, but had at least made peace with in the year or two before we came over here. Strip malls, traffic, and over-salted, at times unexpectedly sweet food are what stand out to me in my current (admittedly still jet-lagged) state; I’m grateful for the anti-high-fructose-corn-syrup movement that seems to have taken hold, which made selecting food somewhat easier for me, but holy shit are food portions huge, and when the fuck did 20-ounce bottles become the norm for Coke (disclaimer, owing to having grown up in Albuquerque)?

Confronted with the existence of all of three museums and Space Center Houston (which we did not end up visiting owing to extreme heat the first weekend and intense rain and packing the second weekend) in the “cultural activities” category, we saw, with renewed clarity, that there really is not much to do other than eat and buy shit, so the Purrito cooked (ask us how much catfish we ate [or don’t]), we bought shit (not that we didn’t possess Lego before…), we watched strange “family” movies (The NeverEnding Story, Labyrinth, and Where the Wild Things Are; Target’s $5 DVD collection was, shall we say, interesting), and we bobbed around in the temporary corporate housing’s apartment complex’ saltwater pool.

All that said, it could be the residual jet lag, but my memories of the trip are actually more positive than portrayed above; due to the strange schedule I was working from our kitchen table in an attempt to mitigate the seven hour difference with France, we found many of our afternoons free, and it has been quite a long time since we’ve had so much time together. It was usually running errands or grabbing Starbucks (again, nothing to do but eat and buy shit), but it was time with the Purrito, and for that I am always grateful.

It was with a not-entirely-unexpected degree of heavy-heartedness that we shut the door last night; it was the final lesson with our tutor of the last few months. While he’ll be in Paris for a little while longer before departing to finish his PhD, our own imminent departure mandated a bit of an early goodbye.

It is an admittedly Quixotic trait, given the very nature of existence, but if I am honest, I have never been at ease with the way people float in and then out of life. This facet of the universe not being at all resistible or susceptible to negotiation, persuasion, or rage, I’ve made a tacit peace with it, or so I tell myself.

There is a certain degree of incongruity when it comes to people in Paris; I find it jarring that there are several-hundred-year-old churches and we live on a street that has been a street for 800 years, but less than half of the Purrito’s original crew of friends remain in the country after two years. People come and go, but buildings, I suppose, are longer-lasting (not being built out of pine matchsticks probably helps).

In any case, we wished our now-former tutor well with a glass of wine and an honest attempt at using the subjunctive case like civilized human beings as opposed to the savages that we are.

And once we return, we’ll contact the tutoring agency and welcome somebody else into our lives.

While last weekend was surprisingly productive from the standpoint of The List, we wound up chasing our tails this weekend, owing to a creeping sense of dread.

Last week’s four-day weekend (it’s quite easy to faire le pont when it’s the company telling you to take the Friday off) consisted of a fair amount of (unfortunately high-temperature) relaxation time, a jaunt to les Invalides, a trip to the Crazy Horse, and a visit to the grand palais where we managed to knock two exhibits off of The List.

As to the source of this week’s dread, what we had thought would be an annoying but otherwise unremarkable visa renewal will actually require a trip back to Houston for a stay of a few weeks as we have to submit the paperwork in person, and in our home country. As that flight will happen a week from Monday, this was our last weekend that won’t be spent shipping off the cats and packing.

Sigh.

If a pillow slides down a chair, and a cat is not there to sit on it, does anyone notice?

Fezzik witnessed such a furniture shift. and didn’t hesitate to take advantage; he now refuses to sit on the chair unless the pillow is horizontal.

Owing to the imperious faces that come along with planting his fat ass on the pillow, we have christened this configuration of cat-upon-pillow The Moosearajah.

In the run-up to the long weekend, whose end I am simultaneously experiencing and mildly mourning, I was busy preoccupied distracted lazy and neglected to post photographic evidence of our encounter with a set of autonomous lawnmowers, which had been set loose on la pelouse de l’avenue de Breteuil, which I found somewhat surprising given that the weekend in question was also the weekend on which les invalides played host to this year’s Paris leg of the Fia Formula-E series.

Sheep, however, apparently do not give a fuck.

The painters sent to repair the damage incurred during the Great Water Leak of August 2015 did not perform as expected; while they were supposed to have isolated the rooms being painted with plastic and tape, they did not. Nor did they move anything whatsoever back into place, clean up after themselves, or refrain from dripping paint on the (original) hardwood floors that we have expended so much effort in caring for.

Thus, having spent the weekend elbows-deep in cleaning the apartment, we moved back in yesterday night, to new hallway carpet (carpet squares laid down and stitched together with the efforts of both the Purrito and yours truly), a new litterbox, freshly waxed floors, and an apartment that felt almost completely clear of cat hair, dust, cat food on the kitchen floor, and litter grains that stick to the bottom of our feet. It was a glorious evening, having returned to our clean house, being able to sit on non-covered furniture, being able to access our bedroom without stepping over a baby gate (it’s a cat-free zone).

The entropic nature of the universe, however, works against us; the cats returned from their hipster haven this morning, and I’m already mourning the return of the litterbox cleaning ritual.

How nice it was while it lasted.