Monday, March 01, 2004


We took the car to the Ford dealership today for an oil change. When we bought it, it was a demo car, and had only 3,000 km, and we were told to have the oil changed at 15,000 km. Art looked at the oil a week or two ago, and it looked pretty dirty, so although it only has 10,000 km, we decided to go ahead and have it changed now.

To back up a bit, about three weeks ago, while having the car washed, the guy told Art that the tires were starting to wear, and suggested we have them rotated. Knowing this car was a demo, you know they haven’t been rotated, so we set up an appointment to have that done. In the meantime, one of the bulbs in our headlights burned out. Thanks goodness we don’t have those xenon lights…I know they’re very expensive. Anyway, while we were having the tires rotated, we asked the guy if he could change the bulb for us, but after fifteen minutes of trying, they were unable to open the hood!!!

We took the car across the street to an authorized Ford mechanic, since the car is still under warranty, but he wasn’t able to open it either. He suggested we take it to the Ford body shop in Ponte San Giovanni. At this point, I have to step back and remind you that for Italy, this is normal. There are no simple problems, no quick solutions. For some reason, things seem to get more and more complicated, and there never seems to be a good reason why…that’s just the way it is.

Okay, so we stop by the body shop in Ponte San Giovanni. They tell us that we will have to bring the car in one morning and leave it all day, because the car will need to be cold before they can work on it…the guy tells Art they’ll have to go up from below in order to open it. This doesn’t seem like an option…what are we going to do…sit around the body shop all day? Ask Wendy to pick us up…and take us …where? So, Art decides that he’ll just make the appointment for the oil change and let them figure it out then.

So, this morning we went to the dealership service center, bringing along the bulb for the headlight. Art explained about the light and also about the hood, and we drove right in. It took three mechanics about twenty minutes, but they finally got the hood open! And, a new part has been ordered, so hopefully we won’t need to get under the hood until it arrives. After about two hours, the car was ready….apparently no such thing as a quick oil change. And then I see the bill…135 EURO!!! WHAT?!?!

Turns out they did the 20,000 km service, since the car is over a year old, which I agree with. And of course, the oil change by itself cost more than it would in the states…after all, gas is more expensive, so it seems reasonable that oil would cost more too. And I know from experience that when those regular maintenance times roll around, they’re never cheap…my Acura cost close to $300 for one of the checks. So, after all is said and done, I guess it wasn’t too bad. But, be forewarned…when you are in a country and aren’t fluent, things like this become very difficult.

We drove to San Sisto, where the service center is located, by way of the back roads this morning. We had about an inch of snow last night, and this morning, although the roads were clear, it was foggy and still rainy. Driving wasn’t really a problem, but since we weren’t in a hurry, we decided to avoid the stress of the E45. While we were wating in the garage, it alternated between rain and snow much of the time, but seemed to be over by the time we left.

We had to make a quick stop in Perugia to pay for the Detroit-Louisville leg of our plane tickets, but after that, we headed back to Marsciano. We stopped at Ternana’s for a quick lunch and a loaf of Marco’s bread then ran in the Coop for milk and a few other necessities. As we started back up to San Venanzo, it started to rain, and I said to Art, “it’s probably snowing in San Venanzo.” I was glad to be wrong in that prediction, but it was still a gloomy day.

Once we got back home, we discovered that the garage door had been installed! Hurray! Gioberto was still added a few last minutes touches…mostly stuff that he wanted to do…he added some extra supports and screws….I’m not sure where, since I was in the house while Art was getting the lowdown on this, but as usual, if Gioberto is doing the job, we’re confident it’s being done right.

My throat was starting to get scratchy, so I decided to take a nap. Art told me that no sooner had I gone to bed than it started to snow…HUGE, FAT, WET flakes of snow! And it continued to snow for several hours. Our streets, which previously had just been wet, were covered with heavy snow by nightfall. Glad we’re all stocked up! Art said that when he went outside, it was snowing so hard he had to take the umbrella, and that the flakes were so heavy you could actually hear them hitting the umbrella!

On another subject, I bought material for the living room curtains the other day, and “made” them using the “stitch-witchery” bonding stuff I bought in January. The material we chose is a terra cotta color, with a tone-on-tone design…simple but nice. I’m please with the way they turned out, except I wish I could have sewn them, but you have to go with what you’ve got! At least they’re up!