OCEANSIDE (CBS 8) - When we first heard about an Oceanside man constructing the city of Paris inside his North County home, we were dubious to say the least. But when we laid eyes on it, we said "c'est formidable."
What makes this story special isn't that Alessio Indengo is building Paris in his living room, it's why.
"[My wife] basically had a lump on her arm and she asked me, what is that? I said go to the doctor, I don't know," Alessio said.
It was melanoma, and the doctor immediately gave Alessio's wife Shirley a five-year outlook.
"So I was really upset and I told her 'This is not happening. In five years it's going to be our 15th anniversary, I'm taking you to Paris,'" he said.
Alessio and Shirley had a lot to live for.
"We've been together every day for 17 years," Alessio said.
When the diagnosis was made, their children were 6, 4 and 2 years old. She's now cancer-free. The only sad part of this story, according to the kids, is how that five-year outlook ended.
"We were going to Paris, but of course that never happened because someone's a cheapo," Alessio's son joked.
Instead, the family took a trip to the Paris resort in Las Vegas. Alessio couldn't afford to take Shirley to the real Paris, so he's bringing Paris to her, which is terribly romantic.
"That's what I keep telling her," Alessio said.
The funniest part of this story: Alessio is as Italian as it gets.
In all, it was a 300-hour labor of love and light bulbs.
"I think I'll keep him," Shirley said.
When you're self-employed, you work when you want. But let's face it – everybody has a boss.
"Whatever she wants, she is going to get. And one day I'll take her to Paris for real," he said.