The Logistics Guy really really wants to rent me a van. But at 18€ an hour, figure 4 hours paperwork to paperwork, gas, freeway tolls, and all, and I save about 20 for my pains. Forget that. Really forget it when it comes out that I'm not having everything delivered (the baggies of hardware and the half-dozen rats we can handle), and I come out ahead.
Only, I won't be home next week. This week, ok. But they can't get it to me that fast. Next week is their week, and the delivery company guarantees delivery in 2 weeks or less. I'd be making them break their promise.
But I want week 3. Week 3 is golden.
I have to work during the week, which actually works out pretty well. Darrell gets lots of rest while I stay busy. He gets his fill of cat petting and lounging around; I'm not driven crazy with idleness.
We eat in (bread of the day, salad, shredded duck, cheese) or out (my favorite Indian and Italian), and once we decide to make rabbit. I leave Darrell a note for the butcher: 1/2 lapin, coupé. At the first butcher shop, the guy reads the note, says no followed by a long string of French. No is enough, so D takes his note back and goes on. The second guy just takes the note, takes a dressed rabbit over to the butcher's bandsaw, and cuts it lengthwise before chopping 8 parts with a cleaver. 1/2 lapin, coupé. Bone splinters everywhere.
At home we decide the head and giblets are catfood, and marinate the rest in herbs and red wine. Excellent rabbit for all, to be eaten cautiously.
It's a quiet week enjoying each other's company and watching season 2 of "24" on dvd. Jack Bauer is God. Obviously.
For extra entertainment, we pose the collection of rats and decorate the ficus with them. Christmas ornaments and tinsel are so ordinary. Another evening we visit the hardware store and their collection of locks and fun keys. Darrell emptied my box of 46 house keys and could not find locks for them all. However, he lusts after one old padlock on the door to the under-the-house. Would I trade him for a new one?
So I come home the next day and my short screwdriver is all bent and sad. That lock had been there for some years undisturbed, but he got the better of it.
Preparing our return to Paris I arrange with Marc to feed the cats daily. Usually I set up the anticatescape device just as I'm leaving, but it seems like a good idea to set it up early, the night before, while the cats are not yet desperate to get out or aware that there is any kind of imminent departure. That way, when Natalie insists on a 6 am sortie I can open the door and she'll rush out into the vestibule, but her escape route from there will be blocked by the cardboard. Ha ha! She might paw at the door, but the bedroom is far enough away not to notice. Then I'll let her in at 8.
Sure enough, at 6 Natalie really really really wants out. And at 8 here she comes in again - wriggling her way through the gap where she bent the sturdy cardboard out of her way.
Well, I'll not tell Marc about this little flaw in the anticatescape device. I'll just reinforce it here with these bricks and rely on the presence of a bulky stranger to intimidate Natalie long enough to shoo her back indoors.
Cats all in, fed, watered, litter sifted. Luggage in the car, umbrella out. Tank filled, car returned, and to the station with 40 minutes for croissants and more coffee. We are capable of endless coffee. Next stop Paris.