Hi.

I'm Kerra Michele, and this is my dog, Lunchbox. Welcome to my blog! We generally write about easy tips to make a rental space feel more like home, but we also talk about our life and travels. I hope you like our stories and adventures!

{Part 3} I don't think I like Paris anymore.

{Part 3} I don't think I like Paris anymore.

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If you've been following along, you know that my trip to Paris started out promising but things went south quickly...

{Days 6-9} The Days that Obliterated My Soul

I woke up on Day 6 and realized that I had only 3 days left to finish the apartment. However, when I woke up on Day 6 the apartment still looked like this:

photo 1Yes, that's my bed. Every night I shoved that mountain of crap onto the floor, and every morning I piled it all back on the bed. Ugh. Not to mention the living room is still a squatter's paradise. photo 2

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But I didn't have time to worry about it because I had things to do. IKEA was delivering all the furniture I bought the day before so I had to figure out how to make room for, you know, a sectional. And there were still a few furniture pieces I couldn't seem to get rid of, so the thrift store people were coming to get those things, too.

First the thrift store people came and threatened to not take the furniture for some reason I couldn't understand. (Again, no French.) At this point in the trip I've become very good at saying 'Please,' 'Thank you,' and 'I'm so, so, sooooo very, very sorry.' So I said please until they hated me and the only options were to spit in my face or to take my furniture. Thankfully they chose the latter. Then IKEA showed up.

This is where I really start hating my life.

Apparently 'Home Delivery' in French translates directly to 'We're gonna dump your junk on the side of the road wherever we can find a place to pull over, so good luck, chump.'

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This is only one of several crates. #FML

Also, did I mention that the apartment is right by the Eiffel Tower? And there are pedestrians and cars everywhere? And just because the thrift store guys didn't spit on me doesn't mean that every person who had to walk around my crates didn't spit on the boxes. Even better: The scaffolding surrounding my building prevented me from walking down the sidewalk with my gargantuan packages, so I had to wait for the lights to change and then RUN down the street with them.

Eventually I got them all in the lobby, but not until my body and ego were thoroughly bruised.

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While I slowly and painfully started dragging these across the lobby, then courtyard, then up the spiral staircase (nope, no elevator), the construction workers at the building took pity on me and helped take the boxes up. Sometimes it pays to be a helpless young lady. (I may or may not have batted my eyelashes. Don't judge me.)

And then I spent the rest of the day painting while I waited for the furniture guy and contractor to show up, since I came back from IKEA so late the night before that I missed them.

Which brings us to {Day 7} One of the worst days of my life.

I bet you can't guess how I woke up on Day 7. Oh, what good guessers you are! That's right! Excited, hopeful, and optimistic. How could I not be? The contractor was finally getting started on remaining work, all the extra furniture was out of the apartment, and I was only 2 days away from having this place look amazing for my client. I'm sure there were roses blooming outside my window and little birdies flying around my head.

On the agenda:

  • Receive MASSIVE solid wood credenza I found for $100 at the thrift store
  • Let the contractor in and give him instructions
  • Meet the camera crew at the apartment and go to another IKEA for returns, exchanges, a bed, and a few other pieces
  • Come home to a freshly painted apartment and put together all the furniture
  • Finish up early enough to go out to dinner with friends and actually enjoy my time in Paris for 5 minutes
  • Go to bed at a decent hour with a smile on my face

Three thrift store guys showed up to deliver my credenza in the morning and, of course, tried to dump it in the street. I knew this was coming though and I was already begging them to bring it up before they even opened the back of the van. After much whimpering they begrudgingly agreed to bring it through the lobby and into the courtyard, but when they saw the spiral staircase they laughed and said goodbye. #SADZ

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I refuse to cry over furniture, you guys. REFUSE. (Ok, so I've definitely cried over furniture before, but I wasn't going to cry about this credenza that 3 men were barely strong enough to get through the lobby.) So I put on my thinking cap and decided to bribe the construction workers who helped me yesterday with chocolate croissants and ca$h. FACT: No one can refuse a request from an innocent girl with chocolate croissants and ca$h.

One hour later, the biggest man in the world and a regular-sized guy were helping Amy and me carry this mastodon up the spiral staircase. Imagine turning a Fiat up on its nose and carrying it up some stairs, because that's basically what we did. It took FOREVER and was the most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life. I honestly can't believe we got it up there but, finally, it was in the living room.

Sidebar: I am a very sweet, enthusiastic person with her heart on her sleeve. When something exciting and wonderful happens, I express my happiness openly.

I was SO HAPPY that this thing was in the living room that I gave the regular-sized guy a hug. Amy gave the biggest man in the world a hug at the same time. Then Amy and the regular-sized guy hugged and walked to the front door while I walked across the room to hug and thank Igor.

This is the part where Igor grabs my face and forces his tongue down my throat. That's right, everyone: The biggest man in the world had decided that the chocolate croissants and ca$h were insufficient payment, and he would just sexually assault me to collect the balance. Thank GAWD I wasn't alone in that apartment because there was no way I ever could have fought that guy off. It took all my upper body strength just to push his face away. Rejected and probably realizing he wouldn't get very far with my friend in the other room, he left.

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So I'm in complete shock now, but I honestly don't have time to think about it. The contractor arrived shortly afterward, followed by the cameras, and then I had to get to IKEA for my final shopping day of the trip -- and this was a different location than before, so I wasn't familiar with the route.

Getting to IKEA required taking the subway to the RER train, then taking a local bus. As you can surely imagine, I'm totally distracted on the train and not paying much attention to my seven trillion bags overflowing with items to be returned. I mean, in my defense, I had just been assaulted.

Sidebar: I have spent a lot of time traveling in my life. A LOT. In all my travels I have never, NEVER had anything stolen or lost. EVER. Like, seriously never, you guys.

When I exited the train in the suburbs to head over to the bus, I grabbed what I thought were all the bags on the seat next to me. However, when I was on the platform and the train pulled away, I looked down at my shoulder and noticed that my purse strap wasn't visible.

NO. THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING.

But it was happening. Yes, friends... I left my purse on the train.

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After lots of people made lots of calls and tried lots of things to find my bag, I admitted defeat. I mean, it only contained my wallet, apartment keys, address, and cash. No big deal. And because I'm an idiot optimist, I reminded myself that at least I had my phone in my hand and not in my purse. I canceled all my cards, texted the contractor to have him stop painting and instead change all the locks, and then headed off to IKEA. I really didn't have time to be upset, and there was nothing else I could do.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZnLAzC-QJA[/embed]

IKEA hot dogs and ice-cream cones really do solve problems, so I took a few minutes to have a snack and finished up my business at IKEA. I was running very late because of the purse issues, so I didn't have much time to fool around. After arranging delivery of my final furniture purchases, I took the bus/train/subway back home.

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The contractor hadn't gotten much painting done because he had to spend so much time changing my locks, so I arrived back at a still very unfinished apartment.  Only 36 hours left to finish, and the apartment looked like this:

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Recall that I had planned to spend my afternoon assembling all my furniture so I could go out and enjoy my Friday night in Paris. It's now 9pm and I haven't even started. And I wasn't going to start, either, because it occurred to me that I should probably go to the police station and report being assaulted earlier in the day. Because, you know, if he did it again to another woman in the building I would feel like it was my fault. Ugh.

This is the part where I cry. I went in the bedroom, shut the door, turned off the lights, sat down in the corner, hugged my knees, and just cried for about 10 minutes. Then I pulled myself together and walked over to the police station.

Instead of building furniture, eating a nice meal, or going out for cocktails and dancing, I ended up sitting in a police station until 4am. FOUR O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. But I could have never lived with myself otherwise, so it had to be done. I shoved all the garbage off my bed and went to sleep until noon the next day.

And now it's {Day 8} The day that never ended.

Day 8 started at noon when IKEA arrived with my bed and coffee table. I didn't say hello or thank you to the delivery guy -- so rude, I know -- and didn't even blink when he dumped my furniture on the corner. Whatever. Let's just get this over with.

The contractor arrived to install my new light fixtures and paint as much as he could in the time we had left, while I got to work building furniture. I had planned to spend my entire Saturday shopping with Amy and buying flowers and accessories for the apartment, but I would be lucky if I even saw the light of day. I had no idea how I was ever going to finish any of the rooms by 9am the next morning. Remember, my client was arriving from the airport at that time and I was doing an on-camera reveal of the finished apartment.

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I spent the next 20 hours painting, building furniture, and creating mountains of IKEA trash.

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***You should know that these photos were taken less than 12 hours before my client's arrival.***

After working all night long, stopping only to drink too much wine and do camera interviews, a miracle occurred...

The apartment had somehow gone from this:

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To this:

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HALLELUJAH. I FINISHED THE PROJECT.

Sidebar: I was working all the way up until the last possible second, so I didn't have time to take after photos of the whole apartment before I left for the airport. You'll have to watch the documentary film to see the full space!

At 9am on Day 9 my client knocked on the door. I was vacuuming, hadn't showered in days, and still hadn't packed, brushed my teeth, or put on deodorant. I threw all my stuff in the kitchen, closed the door, and let her in. She LOVED it and it was exactly the type of space she had wanted: punchy, bright, graphic, and comfortable. She was over the moon and it honestly made the whole week worth it. She was so in love that she couldn't stop talking about it, but I couldn't risk missing my flight home and definitely put on deodorant on-camera while talking to her in the living room. #noshame

I have literally never been happier to be in a taxi on the way to the airport. Until we passed by an IKEA, and then I started having a panic attack.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_FV8FCPVeY[/embed]

I hope you liked my story! And the film will be ready to share very, very soon, so I will let you know when that's available for viewing. I know it was a crazy, stressful, and at times awful week, but I would totally do it again. That probably means I'm insane, but I'm ok with it.

And, as always, thank you so very much for sharing me with all your friends!

Apt E on Apartment Therapy

Apt E on Apartment Therapy

{Part 2} I'm pretty sure Paris was a mistake.

{Part 2} I'm pretty sure Paris was a mistake.