(Happily) Buried in Boxes

Yesterday brought the long-awaited moment when everything we own arrived from France.

Luckily, I found three guys in the parking lot.  Three VERY NICE guys.




They were happy to help carry all the boxes, bins and suitcases up three flights of stairs to our apartment. Then we brought everything inside…






…and out on the balcony, and in the storage closet….




Nounours made himself scarce during the upheaval, but Ronnie James made himself at home.




See you Monday, when I shall emerge with actual text!

The Shipping is Coming! The Shipping is Coming!

We’ve now been back in the States for three months, and our things – what we’ve taken to calling “The Shipping” – will arrive tomorrow. Yes! The Shipping actually arrived from France in June. It’s been chilling in New York all summer, and tomorrow morning, it will ride into Austin like a long-lost unicorn on 18 wheels. (This is what a unicorn really looks like: a pile of boxes and a scratching post cat tree.)

Three months doesn’t seem unreasonable for international movers, but because of the company’s initial indications to us, we were expecting The Shipping to arrive around mid-August. In reality, the end of the month arrived with no communication from the shipping company people until the very last minute when they called to give us a window of the 29th through the 3rd. Long, riveting story cut short: they couldn’t narrow it down to an actual date, but the driver called on the 3rd (the last day of the delivery window) to say that they would be here on Thursday the 5th.

So, tomorrow.

Once The Shipping gets here, we have to figure out what to do with it. It’s a lot, and we’re in this small one-bedroom apartment. Minor details! We’ll work it out.

After all that excitement is over, we have some concerts to anticipate this month, and then the month of October. October is going to be amazing, because American Horror Story comes back on the 9th! Season 3. Coven. It’s going to be EPIC. Look at this cast!




…which gets me thinking about Halloween, because the time to start thinking about what to be is now. My only criteria are “creepy” and/or “strange,” and the creepier/stranger, the better.


Halloween 2008. I went to work dressed as Samara from The Ring.

Halloween 2008. I went to work dressed as Samara from The Ring.

It’s Labor Day! Let’s All Do a Whole Lot… of Nothing.

Today is the first Monday of September, which means that it’s Labor Day here in the States (and in Canada too, I think). The holiday celebrates workers, and its meaning is to rest. It also means that we – Callaghan and I – have no idea whether we should actually expect our huge house-shipping-from-France arrival event to happen today, as the shipping company had given us the awkward holiday weekend delivery window of Saturday through tomorrow.

How does it work with truckers and others whose jobs take them on the road for extended periods of time? Do they look at their little calendars on the dashboard and go, “Okay, it’s time to check into a motel!” and then sit there for 24 hours until it isn’t Labor Day anymore? Or do they just plow through the holiday, disregarding it completely? That wouldn’t seem fair. No one should have to work on Labor Day.

Or, as a former boss of mine used to sort of joke, people should actually work extra hard on Labor Day, a viewpoint shared by this guy:




It’s interesting how the way we think about work seems to be a reflection of what we do in life.

For example, yesterday, Callaghan was telling me about his friend who owns a restaurant in France.

“He’s a nice guy, but he’s not the best person for his job,” he said. “He should actually move to Costa Rica.”

“Why Costa Rica?” I asked, intrigued as always.

“Because he’s a sloth. He’s… very relaxed.” He went on to describe the guy’s slowness in bringing water and bread to the tables.

But of course! Only an artist/illustrator/cartoonist could so naturally reach such a conclusion. Leave it to Callaghan to get me forming mental images of sloths working in restaurants, balancing drink trays and platters of food on the ends of their long arms.

Anyway, have a great Labor Day! I don’t know what you’re doing, but we’re planning a Breaking Bad marathon… because we’re addicted. Har har!


Here’s Your Root Canal. Cream and Sugar?

This hen thing provides as much excitement as you can get living in the middle of nowhere, but I know it’s only exciting to me, so you have my promise that I won’t barrage you with hen updates – no one needs a blow-by-blow account of what I stick in the hen. This reassurance is brought to you by the fact that we went grocery shopping yesterday, and I can now report that there’s 155.00 euro in the hen. Okay, I’m done bragging about it. I just think it’s a good idea to stash things away. I never used to be like this. It probably began out of paranoia when I moved here and a bunch of things vanished in the shipping.

The other day, Callaghan and I were upstairs in la bergerie (a building for the shelter of sheep. We have the building, but not the sheep), looking for the long screws we’d bought specifically for the shower fixture in the house. We diligently searched the entire place until our fingers turned blue with cold. It’s colder in la bergerie than it is outside… I mean, meat freezer cold! Just before giving up, it occurred to us to peek inside the beat-up old antique metal dentist cabinet that Callaghan accidentally got from a dentist office in Antibes. (Yes, by accident. It’s long story.)

Dentist Cabinet

Dentist Cabinet

I’d always thought there was something creepy about this dentist cabinet. The cabinet’s wide, shallow drawers had come filled with all sorts of little instruments and drills – dentistry’s accoutrements of bygone times – that Callaghan had removed for use on various projects. It could be, we thought, that the missing screws had made their way into those empty drawers at some point.  Ghostly, pain-inflicting screws, I couldn’t help but think. I peered over Callaghan’s shoulder with a bit of trepidation; it wouldn’t have surprised me if the dentist cabinet turned out to hold supernatural properties, transforming everyday objects into tiny medieval torture instruments. Contents of its drawers were not to be trusted.

Callaghan pulled open the top rusty drawer and found… six boxes of Nespresso capsules, cold and forgotten.



For Callaghan, it was like one of those cheesy fantasy movie scenes where someone opens the treasure chest or caldron or whatever and soft golden streams of light emerge to illuminate his face with the warm glow of unexpected wealth and knowledge. Here we’d been out of Nespresso for a month, and a haunted, cold dentist cabinet yawns open to reveal this stash. It was marvelous. For a person who lives and dies by coffee, Nespresso is crack. It had been heart-breaking to see Callaghan standing in the kitchen looking mournfully at the Nespresso machine as it started to collect dust from disuse.

So the next time we’re in need of something that can only be obtained via mail order because there’s no specialized boutique in Rhône-Alpes, we’ll look in la bergerie. That dentist cabinet seems to be a larger version of the hen, except I always know exactly what the hen holds. I guess this is why the dentist cabinet is more compelling. It’s one thing to stash things away for future use, but another thing entirely to stash it away, forget about it, and find it again, completely by accident and just when you need it the most.

I think I’ll let Callaghan make those discoveries himself, though. I’ll watch the pretty hen. He can watch the creepy dentist cabinet. Sounds like a fair deal to me.