quelle pagaille! = what a mess!
mettre la pagaille = to mess up
semer la pagaille = to sow discord, wreak havoc upon
Dans notre maison en rénovation, c'est la grande pagaille.
In our home undergoing renovation, it's total chaos!
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
I'm having a hard time deciding on the word of the day. Between bruit and poussière and marteau-piqueur... and craquer and crier and bagarre it is an embarrassment of choices as the French like to say. If only there were as many options for shelter....
Yesterday, only day three of renovation, and we began to snap. It happened when our bedroom (Jean-Marc's and mine) became host to yet another castaway: the muddy, odorous Braise. our 7-year-old golden retriever. (Our luck took a turn when it began to rain, leaving no choice but to bring the dogs inside a house overcramped with workers, plastic sheeting, and buckets of rubble.)
Under normal circumstances, one more boarder in our safehaven room would not have been a worry. But, as it was, our love nest--already bursting with two armoires, a bed, a giant lazy recliner and my corner office--was now home to our daughter, our clothesline, the living room sofa, Jackie's wardrobe (piled high on a fold-out armoire), an extra mattress, our 15-year-old's school affairs--including a chest of books--and a pile of baskets, chairs, and luggage, too. I might have added our dining room table to this list, but that would be an exaggeration, for we are using our pillows as individual table tops, preferring to eat in our bedroom, the only private room of our house.
(It is amusing to think of a letter Mom once wrote to my then-boyfriend, in 1992: "Dear Jean-Marc," she began, "...just one bit of advice: give Kristi a room of her own. She needs her space.")
As I look around at the piles of wet clothing, dirty plates, books, garbage, people and dogs I think of natural disasters and les miserables who endured them. How grateful they would be for this warm room, for this cup of coffee, for the gentle melody playing in the background... it is the sweet snoring of our muddy dog, whose gentle ronflement tempers the pounding of the jackhammer. My eyes settle on the peaceful image of our sleeping beauty. If she can dream amidst the chaos, maybe I can, too?
...Except that the workers have just now tumbled into our private space--on their way past the dining bed, past the wet clothes and dog, past this desk on which I type and over to the balcony to begin drilling on the back wall. Oh, to dream again!
le bruit = noise, din
la poussière = dust
le marteau-piqueur = jackhammer, pneumatic drill
craquer = to lose it (to break down)
crier = to shout
la bagarre = fight, brawl
le ronflement = the snoring
Pairing today's post with some snapshots of French typography. This first picture was inspired by Braise, the dog dreamer in our story. The sign reads "Biscuits for Dogs."
Looks like we are not the only ones undergoing "the works". This old post office in Comps sur Artuby is being fixed up. Will it be a private home or will it be what it says it is? You never know in France, where people move into bakeries and even historic little chapels--converting the once public sites into private nests. Do you know of an unusual place into which someone has moved? Comment here.
At the butcher's in Visan. Notice the typography... and not the gruesome hooks above the old wall tiles!
In our old stomping ground of Les Arcs-sur-Argens. This typography hints at a liquor store once upon a time.
A Message from Kristi: For twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety