Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Electrician Is Coming !

Yippee ! We've been planning to have some electrical work done in our kitchen pretty much since we got here over four years ago. We did have enough done at first to be able to plug in our refrigerator and stove, but not much more. Everything in the kitchen is plugged, by way of power strips and extension cords, into essentially one socket. Not pretty. Not particularly safe.

We have power strips plugged into power strips to run things like the coffee maker, the toaster, the microwave, the food processor, the mixer, and the espresso machine. This one's stuck to the wall with velcro. Notice how the lovely mass of cords is a great gathering place for crumbs.

Fortunately we've not had a single power problem in four years. The electrician is coming on Monday and he will install a new grounded line from the tableau d'électricité (circuit breaker box) to the kitchen as well as new up-to-code outlets. We're also getting an extractor fan/filter panel with lighting inside the stove hood that will help to eliminate condensation (especially in winter), a variateur (rheostat/dimmer) for the dining room light fixture, and an outdoor light above the back door where there is currently no light at all.

This power strip, filled with adapters, is plugged into a transformer the size of a toaster so that we can run our American appliances (food processor, mixer, espresso machine). It also doubles as a place to re-charge our camera batteries and electric razor. We will probably keep this, but it will be plugged into its own outlet.

In March we called the electrician who did the initial work in 2003 and he came by to give us an estimate, but he never followed through and we haven't heard from him since. It took our friend HRM, who owns a house about 15 kilometers from us, to recommend another electrician that she found last month. Ken called him, he called right back, came that day to do the estimate, and the work was scheduled within two weeks. And in August. Sacré bleu !

The ghastly conditions under the hood above the stove. Tasteful florescent strip light included. A nice place for spiders to hide out.

It seems like a dream. We scheduled this year for the kitchen makeover and got the window replaced in May. We stalled when the first electrician flaked out on us. Then we had a leak in the ceiling during an unusually hard rain storm. Luckily we hadn't started re-painting. We're now waiting for a roofer to schedule a look-see so we can get that fixed before we strip, sand, and re-paint the ceiling and walls.

What, you don't think we should get rid of that appetizing hospital beige color ?

Update : Since I wrote this, the roofer came and, in addition to sweeping our chimney (which is an annual requirement for homeowners insurance), he replaced several tiles on our roof and fixed the problem that was causing our kitchen leak. That problem was simply a buildup of leaves and other debris under the tiles in the valley between two roof sections. He lifted off the tiles, sweep-sweep, and replaced the tiles. Total cost for the roofing repairs : 30 euros (about $40 US). We are doing a happy dance now.


  1. Good news about the electrician. Lewis likes to work on wiring here, but I know he'd hesitate there since it's 220 and deadly;-)

    What color will your kitchen walls be?

  2. 30 euros! You guys have the most honest roofer in France and maybe in the world! :)


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