⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

March 27, 2011

Xavier.



Xavier gets ideas. And then the ideas get big. And he does not get rid of the ideas until they fully take life. He gets feverish, sweating and all, and devotes wild amounts of effort to make whatever it is happen.

Story #1. Setting: Paris, France. Hotel room above.

Background: Since I've been working in Paris now and again over the past couple of months, Xavier decided that it was the perfect opportunity to order something he just couldn't find in the United States for some 'bricolage' in our house, have it delivered to his sister's house in Paris and then, have me take it home from there.

This would make a lot of sense if we were talking about an item that would fit in a suitcase (any suitcase at all) or one that weighed a reasonable number of pounds. Xavier, however, was talking about the rolls of fabric that are featured in the photo above. These rolls of fabric are, according to the Frenchman, transformative and are used in apartments with cracking walls (centuries old) all over Paris. Apparently, you use a special type of glue and apply the fabric like wallpaper, which covers cracks and imperfections (our walls are very familiar with these things) and then you paint directly over it for a smooth look in the end. Brilliant, except these rolls are literally almost 4 feet long and thick like your leg.

For my first round of work in Paris this winter, he told me there was a package waiting for me at Marie's house to transport back with me. You can imagine my rapture (and my facial expression) when I actually saw what he had ordered. I called him to explain that it would simply be impossible for me to take his package back home with me. This would not do. He was galled.

The second time in Paris, he actually came with me. Or rather, he also works in Paris from time to and this time our times matched up (so much time in this sentence). So, I was pleased that he would actually see what he had ordered and had instructed me to sherpa home. Pas de problème, he said, eying his shipment. Soon enough, there they were at the hotel: rolls and rolls all over the room - practically covering the place. I just laughed. At least I wouldn't be lugging them. He concocted a box aligned perfectly to the standards of Air France's oversize baggage. Three rolls of masking tape and 32 kilos (70.4 lbs) later - he had his magical portable agglomeration of wallpaper rolls. Portable is actually inaccurate. Here is he displayed below, in an awkward moment. He kept calling me over to help him "just lift the box" to weigh himself to get the scale reading exactly right for the airport restrictions. Too heavy, he ended up leaving 4 rolls with me to bring back (seemed like nothing after the 18 he had dealt with). They were heavy and I was mad by the time I was lugging them out the door at JFK when I arrived. But all the rolls are now in position in his 'bricolage' room in the basement awaiting their their moment to shine on the walls of our house.



Story #2. Setting: back in New York. A little shopping trip.

We headed to Home Depot/Target, etc to get a few things for the house. We went on the scooter, despite the winter temperatures. Xavier generally blocks the wind in front, so I can abide. For some odd reason, we fell in love with a vacuum cleaner - a Dyson. Cyclone technology celebrated at the Centre Pompidou or some such thing. We thought, the house will be cleaner. To be sure. It was a big box and I asked Xavier if he thought it would fly with the scooter situation. He looked at me like I was idiotic. Of course it would.

A little later, we were back on the scooter with a whole lot of people staring. Bags everywhere, hanging about, and the huge vacuum box positioned directly in front of Xavier, resting on the hood (does a scooter have a hood?). Yes, it was blocking his vision. Yes, I was worried about our safety - loss of life, etc. So, I was relieved when he pulled over and had a think. I got off and said I was going to take a cab with the vacuum and stuff we bought. He told me to cool it and as he sat there, I could literally watch him go through ideas, reject them and then conjure up some more. Then his eyes lit up and he said, "Got it." And he had. He balanced the very heavy vacuum box at the back of the scooter like so (below) and fastened it like so (below) (with very few materials). Amazing. It worked.





Other examples include this bench and, let's face it, the recent house acquisition (took tireless persistence and some real creativity on his part).

Plus, on the weekend, he requests that we go running together in matching red suits he purchased. I say uncle. Gapers are generally entertained.



15 comments:

Xavier Joly said...

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

...I guess we could debate what Sir Winston Churchill meant by "good sense" ;-)

Bringing those remaining fiberglass rolls back home made you the bomb.fr my love!

Lost In Cheeseland said...

This entire post is too funny! I'm usually the one that insists on bringing "ingenious" American electronics or suitcases full of clothes back to our 37m² apartment but I wouldn't put it past Cédric to do something similar to Xavier with rock climbing equipment (perhaps just as cumbersome). Those red track suits though..... too funny!

Fiyel Levent said...

I started reading your blog when I read the article about your house in the NYTimes - and I love it! The character that comes out in your stories are hilarious and familiar, reminds me of being with my family ....I love it.
- Fiyel

Jill said...

Oh boy, this is a classic post. Xavier's tenacity is becoming legendary.

The track suits are amazing! Just like in "Royal Tenenbaums." Hot stuff.

Seriously, you're going to love your Dyson. You'll find it was worth the scooter trip. I have one and I love it.

Laura said...

I love him.

yellsoftly.com said...

Oh my darling Emilie, you and Mr. Joly are just too fantastic. This post made my sick day bright. J'adore. xo

Amber said...

Hahahahahahahahahaha!
I wish Xavier was my neighbor. Pure entertainment. I don't usually laugh out loud, but those running suits . . .

moo said...

jajajaja, super ! I've been ready your blog for a year or 2 now - very good with fantastic pics. And I can totally relate to the Paris experiences after having live there. One question though: where are those red tracksuits from ? ;)

Emilie said...

are you asking because you want to buy a suit just like them? hee hee. i am sure mr. joly can provide the purchasing details.

Xavier Joly said...

Adidas red track suit...

Mels said...

Looks like you are having an adventure. Marguerite is so cute. hope to see everyone soon. love and miss you all.
Mels

Maria Petrova said...

Hey X, there's a dining table I need help getting home... Thanks, my friend!

Maria Petrova said...

oh and: mariapetrova.com/redadidas.jpg

Karen said...

J'adore is right! And I did immediately think of the Royal Tennenbaums when I first saw the track suits...difficult not to want one of my own now!

Emilie said...

maria, when are you coming over in that suit?

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