However, two weekends ago we were so desperate to get out of the house that we decided to just go for a drive for a few hours to explore. We figured that if the rain let up for a little bit we could always stop somewhere and go for a walk, and well, if not then at least we could see something other than the inside of our house. So we jumped into the car, decided to follow La Garonne south and just started driving. Along the way we made all kinds of discoveries from beautiful churches and chateaux in all states of repair to some cute little towns and cités médiévales. The rain even let up a bit at one point so we were able to get out of the car to explore.
the ruins of the Château de Rauzan
the cité médiévale de Saint-Macaire
a church surrounded by vineyards near Langoiran
Then yesterday Rasteau decided to go on his own little adventure when there was a break in the rain. Apparently he didn't learn his lesson last time and he thought it would be fun to visit our roof and the neighbor's roof again.
Rasteau peering down over the edge of the neighbor's roof
A little Rasteau, king of the neighborhood, perched on the neighbor's roof and surveying his realm from the highest point he could reach
Heading off to investigate a different part of the roof and to check out the view on the other side
And finally, because this just wouldn't be my blog without some kind of disaster happening in my house, we are currently without toilet and shower. I've been roughing it for two days now and there is no end in site. It all started early last week when we noticed that our toilet wasn't working normally. As the problem got worse I finally said to Lionel that it had to be clogged. So I sent him off to the store to buy a plunger and didn't think anymore about it figuring the problem would be solved as soon as he got home. Of course, it wasn't. The plunger didn't do a damn thing to help and in the end seemed to make the situation worse because suddenly used toilet water started slowly leaking out of the pipe and onto my bathroom floor. We tried every trick in the book and on the internet to unclog a toilet. I even sent Lionel to the hardware store to buy a snake. The situation didn't get any better and the water continued to leak. Finally we gave in and called my father-in-law because he at least has some plumbing experience.
My father-in-law came last Thursday and tried everything he could think of and it still wasn't working. So finally he removed the sewage pipe behind the toilet (let's not even talk about the extremely disgusting mess that was all over my bathroom floor at this point) and managed to get it unclogged. He then put everything back together, we tested it out and it seemed to be working. I was thrilled to have a functioning toilet again, though none of us understood how it managed to get so clogged in the first place. My father-in-law went home and then Friday morning we noticed that the toilet was acting very strange again. That's when I knew I was in for trouble. At first we tried to ignore it, but finally on Tuesday we realized we were in deep shit (pardon the pun) and called my in-laws again. Clearly the problem wasn't just a clog, it was something much bigger than that.
Lionel's dad came early yesterday morning with the parts and tools necessary to redo all the plumbing to the water closet. My morning started off with the sound of jackhammering at 8 a.m. as he and Lionel had to remove a chunk of the cement path next to the house to access the pipes outside and remove the cement foundations under the bathroom to access the pipes inside the house. In the process, for some reason unknown to me, the pipe that the shower and bathroom sink drain into was also removed. So, since yesterday morning I have been without a shower, bathroom sink and toilet. And then, surprise, surprise, my father-in-law had an out-of-town meeting today, so he left last night and isn't coming back to continue the work until tomorrow. Just prolonging the 19th-century-chamber-pot torture for me!
Now, naturally, because nothing gets discussed in this family, I don't know what the plan is for the next few days. In my mind I figure that since the concrete to the pipes and sewer system is already all torn up, half the plumbing in the house is removed, the toilet is sitting in the garage and the bathroom is currently non-functioning, this would be the perfect time to just make a final decision on how we want to proceed with the bathroom and water closet renovations and just get it done. I can suffer the chamber-pot toilet and glove-and-bucket-of-soapy-water shower process a little longer if the end result is going to be a fully renovated bathroom. But, from what I understand, my father-in-law has every intention of just fixing this little toilet issue, redoing the shower drain so it connects directly to the toilet's sewage pipe (very poorly thought out in my opinion because if he really follows through with this plan we will have the pleasure of enjoying the smells of the toilet all the way upstairs in the bathroom), reinstalling the same old toilet (which could, for all we know, be what was causing the problem in the first place), pouring new concrete, leaving a hole in our WC floor and calling it a day. And then, a few months from now he would like to install a new toilet in the WC at which time we would finally tear up the old linoleum floor and install the new floor. Then, early next year as well, we would proceed with the bathroom renovations. In theory (if he agrees to do them correctly, which unfortunately isn't a guarantee) this would require us to tear up all the newly poured concrete to access the pipes again so we could redo the bathroom plumbing.
Now this seems absolutely stupid to me. As much as I would kill to be able to use a real toilet and wash my hair right now, if we are already half way there, why not just get it all done now? Especially for the WC. I just don't understand why you would reinstall the old toilet if you have every intention of replacing it with a new one in a few months. Just go and buy a new toilet and install that one now. And finish the floor at the same time rather than leaving us with a ripped apart disaster for a few months before tearing out the toilet again and redoing it all. It's not like I particularly want to have to repeat the chamber pot experience in a few months! Oh well, it's not like I have any control over it anyway. Tomorrow I will hopefully find out what exactly the plan is and I fully expect to be frustrated and disappointed.
Lionel working on tearing up the concrete
The current state of our WC