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Just One Year Ago…

As the year comes to an end, I must say I’m looking forward to a different decade. Two thousand nine has tested all nine of this ‘cat’s’ lives with one hurdle after another, but thankfully landing on all four paws, even if with a thump.

If you have followed the saga of the “Viager with a View,” then you know that at the end of Chapter 8, a new contractor had been brought in for estimates with the hopes that work could begin again as soon as possible for an early 2010 completion. And I asked myself, could anything else go wrong? (If you’d like to read Parts I through VIII, visit

The answer to that is now “sure.” And it has. We gave in to the holidays to not get much accomplished, but just when the new crew came in this week to get the “chape” laid (concrete foundation) so that we could then subsequently repair the ceiling of my neighbor’s apartment (having been damaged by the poor work of the previous contractor), a pipe in the hallway (not related to the apartment) burst, spewing water everywhere, flooding the hallway and creating a waterfall down the elevator shaft…therefore rendering the elevator useless. That means that the heavy bags of sand and concrete are laying dormant on the ground level and the workers have gone off to other jobs to be more productive. Sad, but true.

Is someone trying to tell me something? Why doesn’t the universe want this uncut, unpolished jewel of an apartment to become the multi-faceted sparkling diamond it is meant to be? Or are we just out of sync for the moment? I hope so…and that we can simply blame it on 2009.

The trials and tribulation of 2009 have been like trying to jump the hurdles while your feet are stuck in the mud. They have been overcome, but not without tremendous effort.

When reflecting back on 2009, I’d still say we had accomplished a lot!:

One year ago the viager apartment was still in the hands of the viager himself, living in a retirement home leaving the apartment empty, unoccupied and unloved. Now, at least, the renovation is underway and there is a glimmer of light at the end of the 4.5 year tunnel that by March 2010 it will be occupied and loved.

One year ago, the fractional ownership property, “Le Palace des Vosges,” was still in the possession of the original owner classified as “storage” rather than “habitation.” In the course of the year, the apartment was acquired, the classification changed, the city and homeowners association agreed to allow an improvement to its windows and doors, the apartment was renovated and decorated (magnificently), we formally inaugurated it and five owners have stayed in it and loved it! (I just received an email from Gail M., owner: “We had a wonderful Christmas. The Palace has lived up to all expectations and beyond. Thanks.”)

One year ago, Barack Obama had not yet taken office. One year ago, “health care” was a dirty ‘socialist’ word. One year ago Bernie Madoff was still making off with too many people’s money. One year ago science writer Seth Borenstein’s prediction that “global warming is accelerating” was called “alarmist propaganda.”

Just look at this accomplishment: Mona (Lisa) isn’t just sitting on the wall of the Louvre looking pretty. She managed to make the rounds to Sydney, Australia where 3,604 cups of coffee have been filled with different amounts of milk by eight people over the course of three hours to create the different shades that make up her lovely face! Considering that she is Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous accomplishment, I wonder what he would think of that!?…and it happened in 2009.

Yep, things have been accomplished in just one year. Hurdles have been overcome, even if the proverbial feet have been stuck in the mud. And if your year has been anything like ours, then you will be looking forward to a new and brighter world this coming 2010 in which we will accomplish even more. Stay tuned.

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. For those of you who didn’t get enough of Alfie the Westie who opens his own Christmas gifts with gusto (from Monday’s nouvellettre®) and would like to be friends with him all year long, owner Linda Hervieux, journalist ‘extraordinaire,’ has published an Alfie 2010 calendar and is ‘actually’ for sale! Click on this link and have Alfie by your side every day of the year!: Alfie Calendar

The Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group will reopen on Saturday, January 2nd.


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