Wednesday, February 25, 2004


First a few odds and ends before I start into the details of the “Grease” dinner dance….

It’s been raining a lot here lately. I don’t know much about the situation, but I do know there was a drought here last summer, so from that aspect, I’m happy to see it. Of course the cloudy, gloomy days are hard to take, just like they were in Kentucky. But, I keep telling myself that all this rain must mean that spring is just around the corner. Keep repeating to self…“spring is just around the corner, spring is just around the corner…”

For the last two days our water has been brown, and the water pressure has been very low. Apparently this is common when we have a lot of rain, I just haven’t quite figured out why. Since we don’t drink the water because of all the salt necessary to soften it, we did have plenty of water on hand for drinking, making coffee, and brushing our teeth. And luckily we also had enough pressure to flush the toilets, so that I didn’t have to use bottled water for that. I did have a load of clothes waiting to be washed, but that was nothing urgent.

This afternoon when we returned home from school, the pressure was back to normal, and the water looked normal, i.e., clear. Our neighbor had told us that the situation might go on for a few days, so we were glad to see things return to normal so quickly. I washed a load of clothes, but when I filled a pot with water to boil for pasta, it seemed to have a film on top, so for now, I’m still using bottled water for anything that goes into my mouth!

My other news is that I have a new hairdresser. Art plans to try one of the barber shops here in San Venanzo, but I was hesitant for myself. I decided to ask one of my teachers at school what she thought. In my best, albeit broken, Italian, I told her that we lived in a very small town, and although we have three beauty shops, I was afraid that they would only do “old lady” hair. And, good news, bad news: she agreed with me. The good news part of this is that her parents live in or close to Marsciano, and she was able to recommend someone for me to try. “Valter”, she told me…spelled Walter, but pronounced Valter. She told me where he was located…just around the corner from the Coop, the hardware store, etc…right in the center of town. Great!

I had made an appointment at the Jean Louis David place in Marsciano, but decided to try Walter instead. I needed a haircut, and wanted to have it done before the party on Saturday night. As we were cruising through Marsciano past Walter’s shop the other day, it looked pretty slow in there, so I decided to see if he could cut my hair right then and there…and he said yes!

The shop was unusual, in that Walter was the only one working. There were four stations, but whether or not anyone else works for him, I don’t know. There was a girl, Nicoletta, who was helping Walter with the lady who was before me. And the good news…Walter uses scissors!!! I was afraid that it was normal in Italy to use only the electric clippers like they used at Jean Louis David. Apparently not. Anyway, Nicoletta was handing Walter the brush, the blow drier, etc, as he was working on this woman’s hair. Now this makes some sense if you understand that most Italian women have the thickest, longest, curliest hair you have ever seen. I can’t imagine how long it must take some of them to dry their hair! So, in order to expedite the process, Nicoletta was definitely a plus. For me, I didn’t think she would be necessary!

My hair is short in self defense. It’s fine, has no body, no curl, no wave. It’s fairly thin, and I have absolutely zero talent in fixing it. For me, the shorter the better…before I had my face lift I used to say I would just as soon shave my head, but now that’s not even an option. So…a good haircut is VERY important.

As I sat there waiting, I began to think…Here’s Walter, obviously the owner of this shop, and he has a girl who hands him his brushes, for crying out loud! How much is this going to cost me? Should I say I just remembered a previous appointment and run out the door? Or should I just suck it up this one time, and plan to never return? But wait a minute…Roberta recommended Walter to me…she goes to him…she’s a teacher, and I know she buys her clothes at the consignment shop, so…maybe it will be okay.

Once it’s my turn, I explain in my terrible Italian to both of them that Roberta sent me, that she’s my teacher...oh wait…my terrible Italian might be taken as a reflection of her teaching skills…gosh, I hope not! And Walter cuts my hair VERY short, and when he’s finished, it looks great. And then, I wait for the bill, and it’s 23 euro, which is LESS than the chain salon. I’ve found my guy!

The TV Tax bill arrived the other day. We had heard that they only ones who pay it are the expats. So…should we pay it or ignore it? This bill is generated when you buy a TV…apparently the electronics stores are the stooges of the government and supply the names and addresses of everyone who buys a TV…what a crappy set up! Anyway, we knew the bill would arrive eventually, and we knew it would be 100 Euro for one year. Can’t you say it broke after a y ear or two and stop paying? If you have satellite TV, they probably track you too…I think all these companies are owned by Berlusconi, and he probably has some way to siphon off the tax money, making him even richer (and more corrupt)!

Okay, so we start asking around,,,to pay or not to pay? After all, it’s only 100 Euro. But then what have you opened yourself up for…years of being chained to a tax that could go up…way up, I mean, who knows? Maybe TV tax will be like cigaret tax and eventually be more than the cost of the actual product. Anyway, I guess we’re going to go ahead and pay it, trying to be the good citizens, as if that will carry any weight should we have some other type of “official” problems. Well, let’s just hope that never happens. But next week I guess we’ll go to the Tabacchi store and pay it…unless we find out that it can be paid at the Post Office.

Okay, I think that’s all…now I can start to write about the Grease dinner!


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