Friday, November 14, 2003


NOVEMBER 14, 2003

A lot was accomplished this week. The kitchen floor was laid and grouted. The tile in the new bathroom and laundry room was finished. The ceilings will need to be painted and the bathroom fixtures installed, but that should be finished by Tuesday. We will then have our washing machine back, although I’m not sure where I would hang the clothes if I did wash them. It’s a bit too cold to hang them outside, and our space inside is shrinking by the minute. The master bedroom and hallway are being painted, so it’s not possible to set up the clothes rack in those rooms. Our bedroom for now, the future guest room, is much too small for the clothes rack, and if we put much more in the kitchen/living room, we won’t be able to move. We did buy a dryer, but it will be delivered at the same time as the refrigerator, so that won’t be for another two weeks.

The painter has finished the master bedroom, and I think the electrician will be here next week to finish the wiring…the outlets and switches need to be installed, as well as the bedside wall lamps and the wall sconces for the hall. Once this is complete, we should be able to move back into the master bedroom…once the new bedroom furniture arrives! Of course, we are still waiting for the loan money from the Postal bank to be deposited in our account. On Monday it was promised for Thursday. Today, Friday, when we discovered that it had not yet been deposited, Art went to the Post Office to talk with the director, Fabio. Once again, he apologized profusely and said it should arrive next week. Part of the problem is that we are straneieri, and they just don’t know what to do with us! Since we have no income except for Art’s pension, I think they are having problems verifying our income. We try to maintain a balance between being aggravated enough to keep Fabio moving in the right direction, without being mad or disrespectful. We do understand that some of this is not his fault, but he keeps making promises he can’t keep! We hope it all works out, or we may ask for donations!

The painter has also finished both the front and the back hallways. The back hallway, leading to our bedroom, is the same color as the new kitchen will be. It’s a light shade of terra cotta, really a peach, I guess. Our bedroom is painted a darker shade of terra cotta…I just hope the shade we picked goes with the bedspread, curtains, etc.! I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to pick out the colors. In fact, the hallway changed moments after the painter applied the first few strokes! The longer hall is painted a light shade of yellow, and the guest room and small bathroom will be painted the same color later. I wanted a pale, clear yellow. Just a wash, really. As soon as I saw the color I had selected on the wall, I knew it was wrong. I talked with the painter, (although talked may be a slight exaggeration), and explained that this yellow had too much green. We looked through the color strips, found what I wanted, and he made the change. He was so nice…I apologized profusely, but he insisted it was not a problem for him.

Work on the new door and steps continues. The geometra told us the steps will now be iron instead of concrete. This is because the porch and steps will be directly over the new laundry room, and the concrete would be too heavy. Why he didn’t realize this before, I don’t know. Anyway, the iron is fine with us. They have covered up the glass block skylight that was in the room that is now the bathroom, to prevent any possibility of leakage. The workmen are also digging a trench for drainage before the steps are built. The concrete at the base of the steps will be covered with a beautiful terra cotta tile.

We also bought a new mailbox, which the workmen will install next week. Being ex-postal employees, we noticed the mailboxes in the stores. Would you believe it…you can find the rural-style, Postmaster approved US mailboxes in Italy!!! We still haven’t figured that one out! The other night when we were shopping for the mailbox, we were standing next to another couple who were also looking at mailboxes. When they heard us speaking English, the spoke to us…the man was American and the woman Italian, but she also spoke English. The man told us they hade seen these mailboxes, with the “Approved by the US Postmaster General” stamped prominently on the front, and had thought it was a joke! Apparently he never saw a rural mailbox! We assured him that yes, these were really US mailboxes, exactly like the ones used in the states! We found the mailbox we wanted…the one that had “Cassette per le lettere” stamped on the front, but it cost 100 euro, and was much bigger than we needed, so we opted for the simpler, less expensive model. At 27.50 euro, it has to be the best bargain if you use the weight to cost ratio…I could barely pick up the box, it was that heavy. Even the workman today was amazed at how heavy it was. At least we shouldn’t have to worry about it rusting away.

Next week should bring even more changes…the fireplace building should begin on Wednesday or Thursday. The washing machine will be moved back. The fixtures for the new bathroom will be installed. The new caldaio is sitting in the kitchen and will be installed next week…then we will have heat, and plenty of hot water. The old water heater in the bathroom will be taken down. I’m not sure if the painter will paint the new kitchen before or after the fireplace work is finished.

We have discussed the changes we want to make to the smaller bathroom upstairs, and that work will be done in the spring. We aren’t yet sure when the old kitchen will be dismantled. We’ll wait until the new kitchen is completed before we worry about that! We have new light fixtures for the kitchen and entryway that will probably be the last things to be installed. I need to see exactly where I want the table to sit so the light can be centered over it. Eventually we plan to have shelves for storage and display built for the wall by the stairway. Oh, and we will also have a new wrought iron railing installed on the stairway.

With so much going on, I’m starting to get really excited! I am trying to remain calm because I know it will still be at least two weeks before everything is completed…assuming all goes as planned! The idea of having a new wonderful kitchen is overwhelming! We will have granite countertops, a counter-level corner fireplace, a wall oven, and built-in recycling bins! We will have a frost-free refrigerator/freezer, and a pantry under the stairs. I’m sure there will be things I forgot to consider, or things I might have done differently, but that happens no matter how much planning you do. For the two of us, it will be wonderful…a dream come true.

Pictures will be posted soon!


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