Million Dollar Loo

photo, group, shirley, josef, walter, carol Shirley, Josef, Walter and Carol, form one of today's Groups of the Week.

Wilmington City of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 19. April:–  It is a real change of pace to be passing on forecasts of good weather instead of whining about trash skies lurking along the Channel and coming down here where the good people just want to sit outside on the terraces without interference from the lousy elements. What I don't understand is how these forecasts are turning out to be true. They're not like real weather sports and news.

For the past several days the forecasts have been hinting at a degradation of conditions, kind of like a smell of the wrong dude winning the election next Sunday. But, instead, the weather just keeps sailing along on a peaceful sea, being more sunny than predicted and a touch warmer. For example, we seem to have a 1, 2 and 3 coming up.

After telling us about a major swirl over the UK on France–2 TV–news and weather tonight, no more was said of it for tomorrow for around here. No breezes. A little cloud up on the northern frontier, some clouds around the eastern Pyrenées and the Riviera, and the rest of the map wiped clean. Blue skies. High temperature was predicted to be 21 degrees.

photo, orange juicesGrove of orange juices.

On Saturday the little bits of cloud around France's extremities are nearly non–existent. Around here nothing but sunshine hand–in–hand with 22 degrees. There may be a few lonesome clouds floating over Brittany on Sunday but don't expect to see them if you are in the Ile–de–France, out watching the French troop to the polls. Sit on a terrace and enjoy the 23 degrees all day long.

The Million Dollar Loo Report

Well, that's it. The cemetery across the street has disappeared behind a sheet of green leaves. It is the third week in April, a short month since a feeble winter was left behind on the calendar. In my memory spring is a season that struggles to kick in and usually doesn't get the upper hand until about a week before summer is supposed to start. I can't help feeling distrustful.

photo, walter's cap, tour de france Walter's official cap.

It feels like, in many ways, that summer is already here. Is it a trick? Does the weather have a horrible surprise in store? Are we being teased with this tender climate, only to be ambushed by low clouds and humid, wet cold – in May, in June, and in July? In the past we have had that without having had any spring at all. Who will win the election on Sunday?

These are the kinds of questions floating around in France these days. The suspense is getting acute. Will we be freezing in July and have a short president? Enquiring minds desire to know.

I have so much on my mind when I go out the door to go to the club meeting today that I forgot to buy bread. I will have to get it on the way back when it is not fresh, plus I need some bananas, and I must send a fax. Does anyone remember when there were fax places everywhere? The fax business is almost as dead as the Minitel. Does anyone remember spam faxes?

The escalator was working again at the Odéon métro which saved me climbing up a lot of steps. There's a lot of stairs to climb at the best of times so there's no reason to go out of the way looking for them. I have even heard that a lot of underground garages have stairs so that drivers won't totally forget how to walk. I jaywalked the boulevard Saint–Germain like usual.

photo, mark kritz Mark reflects.

My bridge was splendid this afternoon. The Quai du Louvre was dappled with shade and light. All the leaves on the trees must have burst out since last week. A good number of folks were in the red shade under awnings of La Corona when I arrived and all of the café's doors were open.

At the club's station the customary brand–new Waiter of the Week offered to take my order. When I said I was attending a meeting he backed off. This can be just as bad because later on he might become 404, unfindable. But I put that thought aside and pulled out today's Le Parisien. Headline– J – 3 LE SUSPENSE

Member in good standing since before the club started in 1999, Mark Kritz, pulled up and chair and sat in it. I can remember Mark's name quite well but I always have to ask him where he lives. "Los Gatos," he said. Not Santa Rosa? I asked. "I've lived there for 20 years and it's always been the same place," he said like he always does when I ask Los Gatos and he says Santa Rosa.

photo, jerry martererJerry total incognito.

"Neither of us is getting any younger," he said. Since this was not worth arguing about he decided to tell me about the movie he saw on the plane. This was Night In a Museum. He said parts of it were funny. Then he told me about his bathroom.

The point of this story folks are supposed to get is the fact that no matter how much of a shambles is caused by the execution, the result is probably going to be a better bathroom than what you had before you started, but you must nave nerves of stainless steel and a great capacity of determination. Then anything is possible, given enough time and some luc.

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