Sunday, December 07, 2003


The electrician arrived on Saturday, as promised. The only real problem we had was when he saw that the tile work had been completed. He had wanted to wire the under-cabinet lighting before that was done, but I had not understood clearly enough exactly what he wanted. He told me he would install the lights after the cabinets were installed, and I took that to mean that he wanted to wait, and install all the lights at the same time. That, combined with the fact that Mauro had told us the electrician would return after the kitchen was finished, had caused the misunderstanding. Luckily for us, our electrician is as good as all the other workers, and he found a solution that worked for all of us. He simply routed the wiring through the inside of the upper cabinets, and the result was perfection.

He then hooked up the stove, oven and fan, moved the ceiling fixture, and left for the day. He will return on Tuesday to finish the wiring for the rest of the house. There is still much to be done...the bathroom, laundry room and pantry still need fixtures, the entryway will get a new light, the wall sconces will go up in the hall by our bedroom, and we will change the overhead light that is now in the living room, replacing it with the one that came out of our bedroom. And we will get a new doorbell. I still need to ask Mauro when the phone line downstairs will be moved, and how will do it. The wires are still lying on the windowsill in the kitchen, but the line needs to be over by the stairs.

Once Elvio left, I had my work cut out for me. The tile man had told me to wash the ceramic tile floor with white vinegar and water the first time. Since there was so much stuff on the floor...pieces of grout, drops of paint, etc, it was a job that needed to be done on hands and knees. So, bit by bit, section by section, I scrubbed with a vinegar soaked cloth, then rinsed with water. I decide not to tackle the pantry, under the stairs. My back and shoulders were begging for mercy! Once that job was completed, I mopped with clear water, and we left to buy some fireplace supplies.

At the hardware store in Marsciano, while trying to decide what we needed, another couple walked up and joined our conversation. We discovered that the man was the brother of the guy who owned the hardware store. Once the brother found out we were American, he got really excited. He pointed to the baseball-type hats that he and his wife wore. They said "Texas Longhorns", and he started telling us about this organization he belonged to. From what we could gather, he loves Texas and cowboys. He runs some sort of school or program to teach western-style, cattle-herding horseback riding. Art and I were amazed, bewildered, and amused.

The brother who owns the store brought out a huge poster advertising this school, or program, whatever it is. I should have taken a featured an Indian with a full headdress. The brother told us that he had one of these headdresses at his house, and then we found out that he lives in Ospedaletto, which is a small town just past San Venanzo. We were practically neighbors! This so excited the brother that he insisted we come to dinner at this house on Monday. He told us what a good cook his wife was. And all the time, his wife is standing there, looking like a deer caught in the headlights! I had to laugh at the universal similarities here...the husband inviting guests without ever asking his wife. I'm sure he won't be the one to clean the house or cook the dinner! I told the wife, in the best Italian I could muster, that I understood. She smiled weakly.

Back in the hardware store, the owner told me that he and his younger brother had been interested in everything western since they were little boys. He showed me pictures of him in his cowboy Stetson and real cowboy shirt. Once we had finished with our talk of America, Texas and cowboys, we bought the grate, screen and fireplace tools, and came home to have our first meal in our new kitchen.

We lit a fire, cooked some pasta, opened a bottle of wine, and then we had dinner in our wonderful kitchen! The bottom drawer under the sink is still missing...we have to pick it up on Tuesday, and the railing for the stairs hasn't yet arrived, but everything we need for a functional kitchen is finally in place! Here are a few more pictures of the work as it progressed, and of the end result. Eventually we will have shelving or cabinets on the wall by the stairs, and once the water softener is installed, the area under the stairs will be our pantry.


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