Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Friday, July 13


We were working in McDonald’s the other day and a large group of 3 or 4-year-olds came in for a party. About 5 minutes after they got there, they started to sing “appy birthday to eeyou, appy birthday to eeyou” all in a really cute French accent. They didn’t know the whole song, so they just kept repeating that one part over and over. Then about ten minutes after they were finished, they began again. This happened about a dozen times. They loved that song, even though they really didn’t know it and probably didn’t know what they were actually singing. Anyway, it was really cute.

Tuesday, July 10


We had been looking unsuccessfully for an apartment for nearly 3 months when we made an appointment with a company that helps people find apartments. Their office was in a very busy part of town, and we thought we would never be able to find a parking spot near there. Luckily, we drove up and there was a parking space right in front of the office. We considered this a sign that this was going to be the right place to help us find our home. We went in and they had one apartment to show us. There were problems but we decided to take it. We had been praying and praying that we would find the right place. We felt sure this was the answer. Then we realized that we had been directed to this particular office. It actually was not the place that we had the appointment with, but when the parking spot appeared directly in front of this one, we thought that it was the other one. It turns out that the office we initially had the appointment with was down a couple of doors. We really felt that we were directed to this particular place at this particular time.
The black sign "Foncia" is where we went to find the apartment. The blue sign with the white stork was where we were supposed to have gone.

We were not very happy initially with the apartment. There were so many things wrong with it. First and foremost there was a terrible smell - probably because it had been empty for awhile, or the past tenant was not very clean, or the fact that he had a dog. When you turned the faucets on the water came out brown. The toilet did not work. Half of the lights and electrical outlets did not work. We did not have an opener to the parking lot in back. The shade in the bedroom fell down and could not be put back. The back door could not be locked. When we opened the kitchen window to wash them, we were literally attacked by hundreds of spiders about the size of lady bugs. They came flying into the room when we opened the window. We had to work fast to kill all those that came in and quickly shut the window.

We had looked for an apartment for so long with no luck, that we decided to take it as-is and began to fix all that was wrong.
Our apartment is on the second floor. The mirrored glass windows (spider heaven) on the left are ours. We can see out of those windows but no one can see in during the day. When it is night and the lights are on in the apartment, you can see in easily. We just keep the shades drawn at night. Just below our apartment is a store that sells used pregnancy and baby items. The tunnel to the right leads to our parking lot in the backyard. Right across the street is a large post office - very convenient.

Elder Rigby and Elder Saunders came down to from the Mission Office to help us get everything in order. They brought us appliances, furniture, all the boxes of goodies that Jolleys, the missionary couple who are going home, gave to us (including a wonderful king-size bed), etc.
Then they took us shopping at Ikea and bought us some more furniture that needed to be put together. These are not very good pictures, but we really wanted to remember how wonderful it was to have the Elders and Jackie LeMoine help build our furniture and get everything set up for us. We invited them to dinner of home-made American (?) burritos and they went right to work.
Elder Childress and Elder Owen

Boys will be Boys - even missionaries.
Elder Childress, Elder Owen, Jackie, Elder Saunders
Elder Childress and Jackie putting together our chest of drawers.
A Tour of the Apartment
When you first come into the apartment there is a small foyer with doors off to each of the rooms. The person before us put these "disco" lights up. We didn't realize it at first as the electricity to this part of the apartment didn't work at first. It's hard to tell from the picture, but they are an odd color - pinkish orange.
The kitchen is to the left as you enter. It is long and narrow. The window faces the street. Along the left wall is the stove, sink and cabinet beneath the sink (all that came with the apartment), the washer, the dryer, microwave on top of the dryer, the fridge (very large by French apartment standards), a large "buffet" that one of the investigators gave us when she moved, and a small rolling stand where we put baking supplies, oil, etc. The table is against the window along the right wall.

The bathroom is straight ahead when you enter. This poster of Homer Simpson was on the bathroom door when we got there. It was stuck so hard that we could not remove it without damaging the door, so we put a suction cup on Homer's tummy and hung a towel there. The play on words here is that "D'Oh" sounds like French for water ("d'eau").
This is the rest of the "toilette" - in France the toilette (WC or water closet) and the "salle de bain" (bathroom) are in separate rooms. We will never forget seeing Elder Childress lying on the floor fixing the toilet for us. He was amazing. We kidded him that he probably never imagined that he would spend time on his mission in such a position. Our WC was nicer than most because it has a sink in the toilette area. Most of the time you would have to go to the other room to wash your hands after using the toilette. Arnold put the shelf in over the toilette. We had to buy a toilet paper holder, as there was none attached to the wall. The plumbing in this apartment building was rather strange. At any hour of the day or night you could hear what sounded like marbles falling down inside of the wall next to the toilet. At first we were afraid that it sounded like rats in the walls. That fortunately was ruled out. We never did figure out what made the noise, but you could hear it all through the apartment.

This is the salle de bain, which has a shower in the tub, a sink, and mirror. No cabinets in the bathroom. We bought small roll around shelves to put under the sink area. Arnold put up a shower device so that we could use the shower head hands free. They provide a shower head with a hose attached but you have to lay it down in the tub to soap, wash hair, etc. This is very typical in France.

The closet space is limited with unusual "bars" to hang the clothes. They are many close together rows of bars coming out perpendicular to the back of the closet. It took some getting used to to be able to get the things from the back without dumping the things from the front. Arnold also put in some shelves above the clothes here for storage of some of our suitcases.

We inherited the king-size bed and night stands, lights, clock, etc. from the Jolleys. We bought the bedspread, pillows and pillow cases. We bought the cheapest we could find - thus the fun colors.

The mission bought us the chest of drawers, armoir and vacuum cleaner new. The Elders put them together for us. JoAnn made the curtains for the window. Here you can buy panels of material that are made so that you can just cut them off where you want and they have finished fringe on the bottom edges. They then just slip onto a curtain rod. Unfortunately, we could not find a curtain rod small enough around and long enough for the windows, so JoAnn cut pieces of white ribbon and tied them on. It turned out cute.

Turning right as you enter the apartment is our office/dining room/living room/guest bedroom. JoAnn used the dining table as a desk and Arnold had a desk across the room. The table cloths in the kitchen and dining room are made of thick plastic that you can buy by the yard (meter) at the fabric store for very little money. We bought remnants for about 1 Euro each.

This is Arnold's desk. The Jolleys provided us with the nice printer. We ended up buying two office chairs as we spent so much time on the computers doing indexing in our apartment when we finally got the Internet and when the Archives was closed.

The Jolleys gave us this little table and M. Cau from the Archives gave us the books. The pictures were from the Jolleys and the candy dish from the Merrells (it is a heart-shaped dish that she made for every one of the missionaries).

The bookcase, lamp, chair (we bought several patio chairs so that we would be able to seat company), and the "click clack" that the Jolleys sent to us (it makes out into a bed).

The far end of the living room. Nearly every apartment has some sort of a balcony/terrace.
 They are very small but were big enough for a herb garden for JoAnn. We named our first plant "Bert" - short for "Herb"ert. He is basil. Then we got the chives and, of course, named him Ernie. Then when we got the rosemary, what else but Rosie.

Looking off our terrace is the parking lot. Nice to have as parking is so limited here in Bordeaux. The only problem is that there is only an "in" and no place to turn around to go "out" so Arnold had to stand behind JoAnn and help her to inch her way out to try to turn around to go out frontwards, as going backwards would be very difficult through the tunnel onto the busy street.

Caprice, the parking gate

View of the neighbors' yard. In the fall, the ivy leaves turned a beautiful red.

It seems everywhere we go there is a parking lot cat. We named this one King George. He seemed so aloof and regal. He did not want to have anything to do with us until one day Arnold "meowed" at him and from then on he was our friend and would come up to Arnold every time he meowed.

In spite of all the problems we had getting this apartment, it has actually been a great place to live. We have enjoyed the many good things and are so grateful for all those who helped us to overcome all the problems. The Lord really does provide.