Friday, June 18, 2004

ANOTHER WEEK GOES BY

TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2004

THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS

The good news is: that bag of chocolate that I’ve been nibbling on for the past week, two or three or five pieces at a time, is finally empty. The bad news is: this means I ate a whole bag of chocolate…..damn! I really think there is a good reason for the term chocoholic…..the cravings seem to be just as intense, and just as uncontrollable as an alcoholic must face. As long as the chocolate isn’t in the house, or as long as I don’t open the bag, I’m okay. Once that bag is opened, however, I just can’t seem to stop until it’s gone. I’m sure many of you know how this makes me feel…like such a failure, such a weak and out of control person…I KNOW that I shouldn’t be eating it, or at least so much of it so often, but I just can’t seem to stop….I make a new resolution every day to put the new cable on the TotalGym and start exercising…but so far, it hasn’t happened. Once I do start, I will exercise and eat with an almost religious fervor…I’m just one of those all or nothing people…and basically lazy. You can’t be lazy when you like to eat an entire bag of chocolate!

We went to the Commune today so that Art could get his new Carta D’Identita. We had gotten the necessary pictures taken last night while we were at the Coop in Marsciano. At first the man wanted us to go to the Carabinieri to report the loss, but once we shoed him our police report from Prague and the spot where it listed, (in Czech), the Italian identity card, we were in business. Luckily for us, we were able to make out enough of the words in Czech to show that this was what was stolen. Once the man was able to find the punch that’s used to attach the photo to the card, we were finished. Now we’ll have to get the codice fiscale replaced in Perugia.

We saw Dino, the window guy, yesterday, and we THOUGHT he said he was going to stop by after lunch. Maybe he meant after lunch ANOTHER day, because we never saw him. We need for him to change the new back door so that there is a handle on the outside of the door…so we don’t get accidentally locked out while we’re in the back yard. WE had had the discussion with Mauro and several others who thought this was a dangerous idea…but since the door is glass anyway, it seems to us that if someone wanted to break in, it wouldn’t be that difficult even without a handle. Luckily, Dino agreed with us…if an Italian doesn’t like or agree with an idea, there’s always a good chance that they’ll just refuse to comply.

We also wanted Dino to measure for our new bedroom window, complete with a screen, and to fix or replace the faulty latch on the downstairs bathroom window. The window latch isn’t too important now, but when the weather gets colder, it will be. The new window isn’t as important as the screen, but we may as well have both done at the same time…chances are we would have to replace any temporary screen once the new window is installed anyway.

Wendy’s friend was able to fix the printer that had broken right before we left for Prague. What precipitated this problem we still don’t know, but the printer ground to a halt one day with the most awful sound, and the cartridges were hopelessly jammed. When I finally freed the cartridges up, a small piece of plastic that helped to hold the cartridge in place broke off, and after that, the printer wouldn’t recognize that the cartridge was there. The missing piece must have held the cartridge down a little firmer, or in some way let the printer know that it was there. Wendy says that he doesn’t want any money for fixing it, so we’ll just get him a nice bottle of Brunello for his trouble.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16, 2004

The trip to Ford went very quickly yesterday. We arrived there about 2:45…and of course we knew they had the part because Art had called to check earlier in the day. I guess we were there just under an hour…pretty quick, we thought. But Art didn’t try the hood before we left…he said he didn’t want to insult the mechanic. I just hope we can get it open if we need to!!

Although we picked up the printer, I haven’t’ hooked it up yet. I do need to print some forms for the BC/BS claim, and also to make a copy of Art’s new Carta D’Identita. Someone had told us that we could have our cards laminated…mine fits into my wallet very nicely, but Art’s wallet is smaller, and his card takes a beating. Having it laminated would help keep it in good shape. .Tonight while we were at Ternana’s, Art asked Pino where we should go. Pino said, "Marco can do it…ask Marco!” Is there anything this guy can’t do?

After we had finished our dinner and things were slow, Marco came for our cards, and said he was going to put them in the oven. Art started wondering how he was going to explain to the guy at the Commune that he needed another new card because the last one was burned up in a pizza oven? I wasn’t worried…you have to have heat to make the two pieces of plastic stick together, and I was sure that Marco knew what he was doing. Sure enough, a few minutes later he retuned with our two cards neatly sealed within the same piece of plastic. He handed Art a pair of scissors and told him not to cut too close to the edges. We cut our cards apart, trimmed them a bit, and voila! our cards are now protected for life!!!

The reason we went to Ternana’s for dinner is that we spent all afternoon painting the barbeque. We had bought a small bottle of tint from Gino on Monday. Gino told us the color was more maroon, or cordovan, than tan or terracotta, but Art just wanted to get the job finished. I was afraid that the color would be too pink, and asked Art to try a test section. He left the color very light, and I suggested we use a bit more. Eventually we ended up using the whole bottle of tint, and the color was sort of pinkish, sort of peachy…we decided to give it a try. It looked pretty good once we were finished…definitely more peach than pink.

We returned from dinner, while the sun was setting and giving off a beautiful pink glow. Unfortunately, this pink glow extended to our new barbeque grill, and I think the idea of repainting may be in Art’s mind. I guess we’ll wait to see what it looks like in the morning! I hope we can actually USE the damned thing soon…we’ve had it so long…in pieces, put together, taken apart and put together again, put together but not painted, now put together and painted, but not yet ready. The first few uses will be very experimental….we’re going to try to use a mesh screen that I bought to catch the fireplace embers to hold the charcoal. I’m hoping that this screen will let the air flow under the charcoal and make it burn nice and hot. This was why I didn’t want a gas grill. The gas grill we had before just didn’t get hot enough to properly sear and grill steaks, in my opinion.

FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2004

Okay, the grill is pink. There’s just no escaping the fact. It’s not terra cotta or peach…it’s pink. In fact, given the shape of the grill, it bears a striking resemblance to a bottle of Pepto Bismol. I asked Art if he thought I could use silicone to attach a terra cotta decoration to the front of the chimney, and he said he thought it would work. The more I looked at the color, though, the less I wanted to do that. It would still be on a pink surface. The thing just needs to be repainted. That shouldn’t be hard…in fact, this last coat should go on quite easily, now that the rough concrete has been smoothed over with the first two coats of paint.

Yesterday we picked up our new, Italian credit card!!! Corrado had arranged for us to get one when we were thinking of leaving our first bank, Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze. At least now if we need an Italian credit card, we have one. Speaking of credit cards, we were telling our friend Cristina, who lives in Siena, about the fact that our new emergency credit cards couldn’t be used because the numbers had to be keyed in. She was really surprised when we told her that we couldn’t use our cards at the Coop…our grocery store. She said that in her area, the Coops don’t accept credit cards due to the high service charges. These charges are even higher for foreign based cards, which is why some places will only accept Italian credit cards.

Yesterday we also did something I didn’t think we’d ever do….we bought tomato plants!!!! One day while looking out the bedroom window, I wondered aloud why our neighbor, Mr. Farnesi, hadn’t planted anything in the small triangular strip of land beside his house. It’s a tiny plot, but has a walkway running the length of it, with just enough room on either side for a flower bed or a row of vegetable plants.

Art saw Mr. Farnesi the other day and asked him if we could use part of his yard for some tomato plants since this area received so much sun, and our backyard only gets a few hours. He was more than agreeable, and we offered to share the produce with him. I only want a few tomato plants and a few additional basil plants (so that I have enough basil to make pesto when the time comes!). Mr. Farnesi told us that it wouldn’t be necessary to shAre the tomatoes with him, since he didn’t like tomatoes!

We went to the garden center to get some plants, since the flower shop in San Venanzo didn’t have any left. We bought four VERY leggy Costolutto Fiorentino plants, which I hope are similar to the Costolutto Genovese plants we’ve had before. The owner assured me that these tomatoes are good for eating, so I think we’re okay. Since he had quite a few tomato plants left, and since it was so late in the season, he GAVE us the four tomato plants, sold us the four basil plants for €1, and gave us a deal on a large bag of dirt. We’ll need the dirt to amend the soil, and probably to make up for all the rocks we’ll probably remove. That will be a project for Friday or Saturday

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