Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things you might see on the street #19 (dog sign)

I love this.  Because, yes, of course dogs understand and obey pictograms: "Hey, here I am, out for a walk with my owner, whew, boy, I really need to go - this looks like a good spot.  But wait - what's that there?  Oh dang, it's a sign saying I can't go here, well, I'm a dog so I can't possibly disobey a picture painted on a wall, guess I'd better mosey on down the street and find a better spot..."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hot mess

So, here I am, now living in my impossible new apartment...but what to do with it???  I found myself in the novel position of being able to do whatever I want with this space (as long as I eventually return it to the landlady in pristine condition, obviously) for the first time in...well...ever.  I have always either had roommates, or been subletting, or house-sitting - I do believe that this is the very first time I have been the sole leaseholder/tenant and have free rein to make the whole apartment look exactly the way I want it to.  Gentle readers, the prospect was absolutely dizzying with excitement! 

However, there was a rather large problem with this - I was broke.  Between signing up for electricity, wifi, and insurance, not to mention the deposit and first month's rent, my bank account was totally cleaned out, which rather put a damper on my plans for making my home super-fabulous.  However, Miss K is the child of a resourceful Scottish mother and a German father whose wallet was so rarely used that moths flew out whenever he opened it, so I worked that genetic heritage to my advantage:  no money? no problem!  I swear I should have my own reality show about decorating on a budget ("How fast and how cheaply can Miss K make this place totally fabulous?") - as per the previous post, I ran around all over town looking for bargains during the big sales here, and if it wasn't at least 50% off, I didn't buy it.  Not to mention the lucky break of the previous tenant moving abroad and not wanting the hassle of moving or storing his furniture, he sold it to me for €300 (double bed including frame with under-bed storage, sofabed, bed-side cabinet, dining table, chair, two small side tables, a large tv cabinet, a microwave, a full-size fridge and a washing machine, not to mention dishes, glasses, cutlery, iron, ironing board, drying rack and various other sundries)- which also doesn't count because he hasn't yet sent me his bank details for payment, so that will be next month's financial problem.

I was also able to use various things I already owned:  a quilt (handmade by my lovely sister-in-law Belle Soeur) became a sofa cover, snazzy postcards were mounted in clip-frames and now adorn the walls, exquisite Louboutin shoes became decorations in their own right.  And my visits to every flea market and homewares store in town (I mean, seriously, if there is one I didn't get to, I would be very surprised - I even stopped in at the one with the life-sized, anatomically-correct bronze male nude in the window.  Hee!) yielded results - I am now living in the best version of this apartment that I could make happen on this exceedingly limited budget.  And it's awesome: white walls, wooden floors, black furniture, and my little touches: orchids, leopard print, peacock feathers, baroque mirrors, perfume ads from the 1920s and 50s, paintings of Buddha, silver candlesticks, and silk-covered feather pillows in  rich shades of turquoise and magenta.  It's tranquil, relatively minimalist but slightly exotic, definitely glamorous, with a hot mess of eclectic styles that somehow work together - in other words, perfect for me.

But you may be asking yourself: why is Miss K not posting any photos of this proud accomplishment?  Well, because I'm not quite done yet.  It's about 95% finished, but I still have a couple of photos being enlarged for framing, a few plants to acquire, and a little bit of shelf painting to do, but once that's done, rest assured that I will be sharing my photos with you - are you kidding?  If I could have y'all over for cocktails to show it to you in person, I would...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

APARTMENT, bitches

As I was saying, it's time to tell you about my new apartment.  It's about 30 square metres, a one-bedroom, located in a buzzy, vibrant neighbourhood, but in a quiet street.  It's in Montmartre, historical home of artists, can-can dancers, writers, drunks and debauched deviants of every sort - in other words, it's perfect for me.

And because I moved at the beginning of July, I was able to take advantage of the sales - in France, stores are only allowed to have sales in January and July (they slip a few small sales in under the radar at other times of year, but the big sales only happen twice a year), so I have been running around like a maniac to every homewares store in town to pick up some bargains to kit out the apartment.  If I hadn't done it now (in spite of my lack of money), I wouldn't have been able to afford it until January, and that would have sucked.

So, after all the horrible months of oh-crap-I-have-to-move-again-where-am-I-going-to-go, I have been concentrating on making this place a peaceful little haven that I will really enjoy living in.  Because it's mine - for the next year, it's MINE.  The lease is signed, my name is on it, I don't have to worry about roommates or crazy landladies or sub-lets.  And what makes it all the more amazing is the fact that it's impossible that this could have happened - many landlords in Paris won't rent to you if you're a foreigner, most won't rent to you if your monthly salary isn't at least three times the rent they're asking for (which mine isn't), and even if you pass those hurdles, nearly all of them still want a guarantor (which I don't have).  So the fact that I got this place is...miraculous.  It's more likely that I could have won the lottery.  It's more likely that I could have married George Clooney.  Hell, it's more likely that I could have seen a two-headed giraffe riding down the Champs Elysées on a purple motorcycle, singing "Hello, My Baby" in Yiddish.  You get the idea, yes?

Anyway, so hopefully you'll now understand why the first item I bought for my new, impossible apartment was a cocktail set (which, to be fair, was on sale for 18 euros, down from 65 euros). Okay, yes, the fact that the first thing I did was to set up a bar in my new home does make me feel slightly as though I am a couple of sharp suits and a penis away from actually becoming Don Draper, but like I said, it's Montmartre - drunken debauchery is not only acceptable but expected.  And after the stress of the last few months, it's time to celebrate...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Miss K returns

Gentle readers (assuming I still have any after such a long absence), I'm back.  Of course, it's been so long now that I don't even know where to begin, but somewhere back in the mists of time, I believe the last thing I actually posted about was my then-impending move, so let's start there...

Moving in Paris is a strange experience, as I've mentioned before ( Demenagement) - in this particular case it was even stranger.  I was supposed to move into my flat on 1st July, but the only person I knew with an available vehicle wasn't actually available that day (a Friday) or that weekend, and I had to have my stuff out of the old place by then.  What to do?  Well, I was acquainted with the guy who was leaving the flat I was moving into and asked him if I could move my things in a week early.  It wasn't a lot, but on the other hand, it's not a huge apartment and he also needed to pack up his own stuff, so it was really rather excellent of him to agree to this.  So, on the 25th of June, Tiny Dancer's boyfriend showed up with his mini-van at  9am, we dragged my stuff down five flights of stairs, went to the new place, dragged my stuff up one (just one! yayyy!!!) flight, stacked it up in a corner and left.  The whole thing was done in less than an hour, which I think is a record for just about anyone moving house...

Anyhow, so my things moved to the new apartment a week before I did.  I stayed in the old place through the night of the 29th, and stayed at Tiny Dancer's place  on the 30th.  So, on 1st July, my actual moving date, all I had was a little carry-on and my laptop bag.  So I moseyed on up to Montmartre, signed my lease and that was it, I was all moved into my very first official-lease-holding, living-on-my-own Paris apartment.  More on that next time...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good news, bad news

All right, my pretties, as suggested by the title, I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that I have sooooooooo much to write about:  my very strange moving/unpacking experience, my new apartment, my new neighbours and their shenanigans, my new neighbourhood (where there is an extremely high level of crazy, which I have been photographing, never fear), the "gay" Austrian, the return of Southern Belle, the heartbreaking loss of Furry Man-Whore and my subsequent addiction to wine and sleeping pills just to get me through the night (okay, the wine is nothing new, but the sleeping pills are), the total awesomeness of Tiny Dancer, aaaaand submarines - no, not the sandwiches, but the big metal things that glide around under the surface of the ocean.  It's a long story. 

In fact, it's a whole bunch of long stories, but here's the bad news:  you're going to have to wait just a little longer for them because a) I have my final work deadline for my second job this week, plus b) I am running around like a maniac trying to get a bunch of essentials for my apartment this week while the sales are still on, plus c) most importantly, I STILL do not have the goddamn internet hooked up at home and my neighbours all lock their wifi networks (inconsiderate bastards).  In fact, I am so constrained in terms of time and internet access at the moment that I am writing this very post from work, so I am going to have to leave off now because when I'm here, they really quite like it when I, y'know, work.  But I just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about you, gentle readers, and I will be back with you on a regular basis again soon, just give me a few more days...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Any minute now...

Gentle readers, forgive my recent absence - this past week has been a total blur and I will tell you all about it in such excruciating detail that you will be thoroughly sick of my yapping, but just now I haven't yet gotten internet access at my new home, and there's barely enough signal to even use it by phone (am writing this in the back of a taxi!), so bear with me for a few more days and I'll be back. Try not to miss me too much, my pretties...