First things first. I'm sprawled on my couch, with my laptop on my lap as it should be, and the dictionary is on the very opposite end of the room; I just couldn't reach it, unless I was Mrs. Incredible. So you're going to have to make do with my verbose explanations of things that would probably require only a couple of words if a normal person was referring to them.
I've just lost about three hours of my very productive and thrilling life to a meeting of flat-owners. See, there's probably a word for that. Warning. Verbose explanation ahead. In France, when you own a flat, you have a "flat-owner meeting" once a year. With a fucker called a "managing agent". I've already expressed all the love I feel for that particular sub-species. That's when you decide what works need doing in the building, with the "help" of the aforementioned fucker.
As the aforementioned have been doing bugger all for near-on 2 years, we've decided that before the next meeting is due next week, we would prepare. So we had us a little meeting, neighbours and never friends, being very careful to spew all the hatred we have for the managing agency and none of the contempt we might feel for each other. We were rather good, I dare say.
The upshot of this little get-together was this: we're giving them one last chance (and quite the bucketload of dough in the process), and if they screw up, we'll start looking elsewhere.
The more important upshot of the evening was that, as, I repeat, nothing was done for two years (this is not a figure of speech, I do mean nothing, sweet FA, nada, zilch), said building has fallen into a state of borderline ruin. OK, that I might be exaggerating a tad, but still. We need to fix and change (or change and fix) all the pipes in the building - 16 in all, yes, dear reader, that's sixteen, let me spell it out for you, s-i-x-t-e-e-n - and basically rebuild a wall that's allegedly leaking into the flats on my side of the building.
Now, as you can imagine, no-one is ever gonna do that for free. Or a piece of candy. Or my never-ending gratitude and appreciation. No no no. We'll have to pay. A lot of money. A loooot of money. For eight years. Or something.
I'm out of a job in 6 weeks. I'm not sure yet that I'm ever finding another one. I'll soon be living under the bridges, and that song has already been sung. I'm screwed.