The fact is neither. Dear readers (all seven of you), the Dreaded Remodel has commenced. And I have turned into a French woman: I drink a lot and I barely bathe.
A bit of a backstory here. I completely, without reservation, abhor the disruption and cost of remodeling, which I believe is an unnecessary and sybaritic exercise. Refresh, sure. Buy some new appliances? Pull up that musty carpet and install some engineered hardwood floors? Absolutely. But knock down walls--hell to the no.
And I had plenty of warning of what hell it would be. A friend, who was in the middle of remodeling a 5 million dollar home in Brentwood (dear reader, this is NOT my area code), spoke of soaring costs, delays, and crooked contractors. “I swear to god, I can feel his hand in my back pocket and I can’t do a damn thing about it!” Red-faced and sweating, the poor man had lost weight and looked like he’d aged ten years. Clearly, this was something to be avoided.
Unfortunately, just as my husband has never met a spa treatment he doesn’t love, the man is addicted to remodeling. It’s like those women who get a nose job and--like that first hit of cocaine--systematically move on to every other body part. He started with a modest budget and a reasonable time table, threw some water on it, fed it after midnight, and watched that little gremlin go. It is a testament to the great love I have for this man that our marriage has survived through Phase 1 (kitchen, den, master bedroom suite) and Phase 2 (entry, dining and living room). Three months ago, we embarked on Phase 3. Stay tuned. This marriage thing is gonna be a cliffhanger!
Let me now set forth my bone fides for my intimate knowledge of the French. Back in the day, I lived in Paris as an exchange student in college. I did the whole thing--smoked menthol cigarettes, ate snails with garlic sauce, lived in a castle, and got a French boyfriend. So I think I’m pretty solid on my observations about French women, who seem to speak in what singers refer to as their “head voice,” so they all sound like different incarnations of Julia Childs. Bon appétit! Only, these chicks are thin as rails, extremely stylish, and start drinking with lunch--and can make their own vinaigrette by pouring oil, vinegar, with a little mustard on the side of their plate and, with their fork, blend the ingredients into a smooth emulsion. Et violá! No huge generalizations here, I promise (ok, these are all huge generalizations).
Or maybe French women don’t really drink that much (They do), and I was just indulging because, well, I was an exchange student. In Paris!
These days, I pour my first glass of Chard at noon and finish off the bottle by dinner. Very French. As for the bathing, I know you’re cringing and thinking, “Ewww!” Because you are all so Américain! (Said with an uppity French accent.) And are so privilégié, with your unlimited ressources! (Again, the accent). But when burly men are traipsing in and out of your home at all hours it seriously cuts down on your private time. So I run around like some yappy Chihuahua at their heels, glass of Chard in hand, worrying about every inch of trim and each piece of hardware, overwhelmed with decisions about grout and paint, too tipsy and spent to even think about a shower at day’s end ... and, the next morning, too hung-over to wake up before the burly men start traipsing through my house again. So yeah, I am now a weekend bather (Though sometimes I'll sneak in a quickie shower on weekdays).
Luckily, my trainer (who, if you read the prior post, you know is extremely clean), has gifted me with several lovely perfumes throughout the years. Like my French peeps, I love my perfume. And, yes, I choose to believe that her gifts are not some subtle hint-hint. She just wants me to smell extra nice.
Maybe Americans over-bathe. Destroying la terre with our surconsommation! (The French really don’t like us). And it’s not as if I don’t wear deodorant--I am totally into my aluminium chlorohydrate, despite dire warning of cancer and/or Alzheimer's. You may recall that I am a pansy-assed slacker, so when I work out I barely break a sweat. Plus, I live in California, so I’ve decided this is my contribution to the water shortage.
The good news is that, just like my friend who warned against remodeling, I, too, have lost weight. The hard way. But it’s about eight pounds, so, silver lining.
This is my year of change. I hope you join me.
Please feel free to comment below.