Things on the home improvement front look like they might be starting to move around here. By that I mean that hopefully I'll be able to start working on my bathrooms soon, as goodness knows they're in dire need of a facelift/total makeover! I found out the other week that Jordan had bought himself tools in order to do a side job that weekend for a friend. He was always up for working side gigs but as a plumber you need tools to fit every eventuality and while he can borrow some from work if Max and his brother aren't using them, if you have to buy them yourself they are expensive when you're starting out! Anyway someone had asked him to move a couple of radiators and I think it bought home to him how much more money he can make working for himself than working for Max. He's happy enough working for Max and has learned an awful lot, but as a trained plumber/heating engineer he knows there is so much more work for him out there if he wants to work for himself. Goodness knows people are crying out for tradesmen! So I asked if he would come with me to pick out a couple of bathroom sinks for my larger bathroom and install them as a way to make a start on the bathroom renovations. I figured the large mirror above the sinks could stay, and as the unit was made to measure I would keep it - it just needed repainting. Unfortunately I'm going to have to stick with more or less the same sinks as I already have if I don't want him cutting into the made-to-measure unit, so I ordered them and then went out and bought a lovely charcoal grey paint for the unit. It is already such a great improvement over the insipid grey/pink colour it was before, I wonder why I didn't do it 10 years ago! We figured he would take out the bath in the large bathroom and install a douche italienne (an "Italian shower"? - a large, doorless, walk in shower), then get rid of the shower in the smaller bathroom, replace it with a hand basin and install a new toilet that doesn't look like it's seen service on a building site for 10 years. With that I'm good to go - all I need is a tiler! I had a couple of names/recommendations and apparently the young Kosovan tiler that did work for my neighbours is up for it so it looks like things might finally start to move on my crappy bathrooms!
Talking of my neighbours, Jordan asked me if I would watch Charlie for a few hours this afternoon as he wanted to go to band practice and Jen was helping her mom clean the house she has just sold before she hands over the keys. Of course it was a pleasure to have the Munchkin as he really is an easy (and fun) baby to have around. I had shovelled snow and put down salt earlier today as we'd had quite a snow fall last night, and I was watching out the window for them to arrive when I spotted a wisp of cigarette smoke coming from by my neighbour's front door. So I leaned out the window and told her that I'd spotted her but not to worry as I wouldn't tell anyone. This is my favourite neighbour (with the "difficult" husband), who had quit smoking three years ago when she ended up hospitalised with pneumonia. For some time now she's been back to smoking a couple a day "when she's stressed" so I asked if everything was all right. Turns out it isn't because her mom is 93 and they just called from the nursing home 800 km away to say that they might want to get there sooner rather than later because they felt the end was near. So she's packing and wanting to set off immediately but they can't go until Wednesday because her husband has medical appointments this Tuesday. Turns out he finally got his legs operated on on Monday (after messing the hospital around on more than one occasion and walking out the last time before they could operate because he was pissed off at having to hang around when the surgeon got delayed)! Yeah, that guy! Well he went in on Sunday, was operated on on Monday and called his daughter to come and get him Monday afternoon, without waiting for the doctor's go-ahead! Thankfully she told him off as there was no way he was leaving hospital yet again "against medical advice" and said he would just have to wait until the next day and the all clear from the surgeon! Then he apparently found out on Tuesday morning that he was cleared to leave and called his wife at six in the morning to come and get him! The guy is nuts, because even if he knew at 6 a.m. that he was going home that day he would still have to wait until the admissions office opened up later to do the necessary paperwork. But how selfish is that anyway, to wake someone up at 6 a.m.? The more I think about it the more I guess he was so used to being "important" at work all those years that he seems to think he's still important, when in fact he's just another nobody like the rest of us!
Jen came to pick Charlie up around 5 p.m. and after he had eaten she was getting his stuff together when there was a knock at the door and it was my neighbour (the wife) asking if Jen could move her car as they were going out (Jen's car was sticking out slightly). So Jen said to just "give me a minute while I get Charlie's coat on" and my neighbour said "well the sooner the better because he's getting pissed off as he wants to leave right now!" Wow, now I knew this wasn't her being difficult it was him. They were only going over to their son's for a visit so an extra minute or two was neither here nor there while Jen got the babe ready, but nope, there he was sitting in the car revving the engine making his point (whatever that was)! And this from the guy who routinely parks in my driveway in front of my garage!!! I was pissed off at first but then I just thought "oh to hell with him, he's just a miserable man who can't deal with no longer being king of the dung heap"! Sad though, isn't it, but at least I don't have to live with him!
Maybe I'm so zen because I went back to yoga on Monday for the first time in seven weeks (what with missing classes because of catching covid and then the Christmas break). I tell ya, by the time I walked out of there I was going to sell up and move to an ashram, that's how great I felt after what was, to be honest, just a namby-pamby warm-up class! Even if I never feel like going beforehand, I'm so glad to be back at class!
You may or may not have heard, but Macron is turning the screws even more now as he intends to swap the pass sanitaire for the pass vaccinal on 15 January. What that means is that we are moving from having a valid pass by virtue of being (now) triple-vaxed, having a negative covid test or having recovered from covid (so that's me), to them only accepting triple-vaxed and no longer accepting the negative test, although those of us that have recovered from covid within the last six months still get to keep the pass. It's madness because to my mind, if you are going to force people to show a pass to go anywhere (sieg heil, Mr. Macron), (say, to a restaurant, or a bar, or a café, or a library, or a cinema, or .....), surely it would be better to have to show a negative test rather than proof of vaccination, which frankly proves nothing? When they introduced this legislation some bright spark (the Prime Minister) stated that not only did you have to show the pass vaccinal to enter a bar, but you could not stand at the bar and have a drink, you had to sit down - because apparently the virus only circulates over four feet off the ground. Also, you are no longer allowed to eat or drink anything on long-distance transport, nor will you be allowed to eat or drink in the cinema! I guess you can imagine the memes that have been flying round after that one! Anyway, not having the pass is the reason I haven't been to a restaurant (or anywhere else) in about six months, but then of course it was possible for all that to change (not that it did) once I recovered from covid and got the pass. That was how I was able to meet with friends in a restaurant in Geneva just before Christmas. Not that the restaurant owner asked for my pass but at least I had it! Anyway, André asked me if I had downloaded the Swiss app before I went to Geneva and when I said no he said "well you ought to", because when I downloaded the Swiss covid app and uploaded my French "recovery from covid QR code", I see that in Switzerland it's valid for a year!!! And I'm tickled pink because while my French pass is valid for six months (or probably even less time in the future once they start pushing the fourth jab on people after three months), the Swiss recognize natural immunity for a year! But please God tell me we won't still be on this merry-go-round a year from now!!!
Pre-covid, I would very occasionally meet up with friends in Geneva for lunch (about once a month) and went to the cinema there to watch a film in English maybe twice a year - if that - but since I have been a social leper for the past six months, and haven't been able to go anywhere, I subscribed to Amazon Prime and Netflix - and I honestly don't see why I would bother going to a cinema in Geneva again, paying $25 a ticket, when I've been able to watch whatever I want for the past six months for about $15/month!
And finally, talking of movies, I started watching the new Leonardo di Caprio movie, Don't Look Up, the other night. My first thoughts were "oh this isn't for me", but when I read the background to it I realized just how clever it really was (I should have known, what with it being directed by Adam MacKay)! It's about a pair of astronomers/scientists who discover that a massive meteor, capable of destroying the entire planet, is headed for earth and how they desperately try to get the powers that be to take action. It's got an all star cast with Meryl Streep not being particularly stretched to play a US president who seems to be only "in it for the glory", and Jonah Hill as her equally disinterested Chief of Staff. The cast were all brilliant, of course, but for me Mark Rylance playing Peter Isherwell, the insane, megalomaniac tech billionaire with dollar signs for eyes, well he just stole the show. As I say, if you believe it, it's a metaphor for a massive catastrophe coming to destroy the earth, with the brave scientists trying to get everyone to put their damn phones down and "look up" to see the danger they are facing, while the powers that be are holding rallies with the slogan "don't look up" so they can pull a fast one on everyone while making themselves richer and richer! I won't give away the ending but it was very clever and I actually ended up quite enjoying it. A clever plot, great acting and a not-so-subtle metaphor!