"Je suis desolee," I apologise, gesturing at my pyjamas and sticky hair.
"Balcon?" he points and I walk him through the kitchen to the outdoor area, often called 'the pool' due to its tendency to fill with water when it rains. Two years of the neighbours below complaining and our landlord has finally decided to get our balcony repaired. Asking them to make an appointment for another day is too risky: relations with our under-floor friends would not withstand waiting until Qatar hosts the World Cup.
Bzzzzt goes the door again, followed by Milly's barking. Two more guys for the balcony; two less that speak English. Our apartment is small enough for them to figure out where their workspace for today is, and I resume my position at the dining table: head propped up in one hand while reaching down to ruffle my puzzled dog's ears with the other.
A helluva time for Mr Migraine to come visiting. Just when it seemed that twelve months' of acupuncture sessions had done the trick he decides to make up for lost time by staying for three days in a row. Lying down in my room while strange men whose language I don't speak come in and out of my apartment doesn't seem like a particularly smart idea despite the painful messages my skull, bowel and gut are sending me.
Might as well put the laptop on and blog. Either that or vomit again.
Bzzzzzzt! "No Milly, it's OK." A couple more fellas, this time for the heating cupboard removal. This is an expected bonus; another two year-old request that has been granted. An original installation from 1970, we only once turned it on out of curiosity before it left the apartment choking in dust bunnies and what sounded like The Mother Ship about to land in our living room.
"Er, sorry, monsieur?" Thank Choc for Google translate: one wants to disconnect the electrics and the other needs a smoke outside before needing to go back downstairs to fetch a trolley...
The radio is now on, French Fogey FM featuring mid-nineties 'classics' and the skull-thumping sounds of tiles and cement being split apart. The phone is ringing, but it'll just have to be ignored as there's a press need to run into the bathroom and -------
Bzzzzzzt! I prop open the door, looking even paler but now with minty-fresh breath.
Who'd like a coffee? They all would, of course. The Burp Burp Burp sound of the DeLonghi machine just adds another percussive layer to the chisels, chat and chart-toppers. Edging my way around the six outdoor chairs, wooden table, pot plants and watering cans haphazardly stacked in the kitchen, I feel a sense of gratitude that all of them only wanted espresso and there's no need for any physical feats in reaching for the milk frothing nozzle.
Sod the toothpaste. They've seen what I look like, who cares about my breath?
Bzzzzzzt! "The door's open - if you have tiles or cement or a trolley or a spirit level or forms to sign or a beverage request, just come on in already!" The gut is behaving itself, but Mr Migraine has painted a broad-brush of pain across my eyes, cheekbones and back of my head. Of course, why not get the upstairs guy to start drilling as well?
Sitting at the dining table, I finally start to see the funny side. London, Copenhagen,Vienna one day; bra-less and barfing the next.
Milly's already lost interest in the Tradie Traffic occurring inside her home and is instead making the most of my left arm. Why not lie back and enjoy a belly scratch?
There is so much that I am grateful for.