This update was originally sent on July 12 – before my trip to Romania.  It
seems a large glitch in Compuserve made the e-mail undeliverabled to all 48
of you.  I fear they will be out of business before I finish my adventure –
so keep me posted on US news – I rarely get out of the house for the
international delivery of papers in town!

Hope you all enjoy this latest saga – sorry it’s a bit late…

Thursday, July 12 – it’s been a rushed day after a rushed week.  I know I
leave for Romania in the morning but there are so many things to be done
around the house that I keep putting off my packing.

Fred and Mitch were such a highlight in my adventure that the Monday of
their departure was bound to be depressing.  It was such a down day.  To
make matters worse it was a down day for Charlotte and Alexander, as well.
A trifecta that made for a very, very bad day.

Alexander complained about everything – the roof, the walls, the music, the
electrician who dirtied his floor.  (Notice it is now HIS floor).

Charlotte bemoaned the return of her parents to England.

I was pissy because the damn plumber had not shown up again to finish the
job!

Thank God the French believe in naps.  I have become an expert since I
arrived and it seems that all my colleagues in this mess are familiar with
the joys of an afternoon nap.  It requires a certain amount of ingredients:

A late night due to disco or wine & escargot
The insufferable heat
A heavy French lunch
Frustration at the need to accomplish at least one thing in a day
The realization that today may not be the day to accomplish anything

2:45pm – I find this to be the optimal time.  The stomach is happily full,
the day is well advanced, the heat is maxed out and there is only so much
BS one can manage by this hour.  It’s a hard sleep where even the hammering
and cigals (cicaddas) can’t keep your eyes open.

Three hours later there is a new perspective on life.  Charlotte can’t wait
to see her parents in London next month, Alexander has solved life’s
problems with a mop and a hammer and I have resorted to black mail with
Mireille (no plumber – I deduct 10% every day he does not show up).  Things
are crystal clear after a nap…

The rest of the week is a scramble – “to pool or not to pool” is the
question.  One day it’s yes, the next it is no.  The risk seems so high.
The mayor says OK (no, I did not have to sleep with him) but the
enviromentalists will not give permision (l’affair is still possible).  The
agricultural pond seems out of the question – it would require livestock
that I just can’t see being responsible for.  Can you imagine – “dear
guests, please be sure to leave hay and corn for le petit moo.”

However, I had a brainstorm of grand proprotions.  While wandering the
Cours Mirabeau of Aix-en-Provence I admired the enormous fountain that
spouts water from several directions and graces the center circle of the
main thoroughfare.  As I stared at the stone creation inspriation struck.
Instead of a pool, I could build a stone fountain so large that you could
swim in it!  No permit required.  Imagine – a secret fantasy.  Renting a
house in Provence where you could covort, frolick or dip in a fountain.
With clothes or sans clothes – Tres original!

I’ve floated this idea past a dozen people and so far the idea has fallen
flat.  I am so disappointed and wonder if I am the only one who still finds
the unusual fabulous?  Does anyone remember running through the mall
fountains in high school?  Putting soap in the city fountains?  Throwing
coins in the Fontana de Trevi (Trevi Fountain in Rome) insuring that they
will always return to Rome?  It may not be a popular idea but I plan to
pursue it none-the-less.

I explain my concept to Luc Bariol – the pool dude – who listens politely
but winces every so often.  I’m sure he thinks the pressue of the French
adminsitration has finally cracked me.  He looks over my head to Charlotte
wondering if the American is serious.  Luc waits for the punch line.

After two very quiet minutes the knowledge of “she’s serious” finally sinks
in.  Luc is polite but brief – “I make pools – I’m sure there is a man who
makes fountains but I make pools.”

My creativity has insulted his profession.

I pack my bags and try to organize the house for my absence.  Alexander has
been pulled off my house to work on Stephen’s house but he assures me that
there are many hours in a day and he will finish the work he has started.
I adore people like Alexander.  He identifies the problem and the solution
in the same sentence.

I pack my bag by the light of a candle (the electrician forgot to turn on
the electricty before leaving – for the 4th night in a row).  I look around
the house and wonder if there is any way that I will see the house finished
before I leave.  For that matter – will anyone even show up if I am not
here stamping my feet and pouring drinks?

While I worry about the workers – have a think about my “pool” idea and let
me know what you think…

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