Tuesday, June 22, 2004


JUNE 22, 2004

Summer is finally here, at least according to the calendar. The temperatures remain cool though…maybe in the mid 70’s. These temperatures, accompanied by a nice breeze, are wonderful for everything…for the new garden, and for us! We keep the doors and windows open during the day, and sleep comfortably at night. We hope that the really hot weather doesn’t arrive until Dino has installed the screen for our bedroom window.

I’m hoping that my new tomato plants get settled in to their new home. Our neighbor, Mr. Farnesi, was kind enough to let us use his garden for four tomato plants and four more basil plants. His house is sort of triangular shaped, with the small garden elongating the smallest part of the triangle. Art was the one who had the idea to ask about using this space. He reasoned that if nothing had been planted so far, then nothing probably would be planted. Fortunately for me, he was right.

Finding tomato plants this late in the season wasn’t easy. Initially I had thought that it wouldn’t be a problem, but we ended up having to go to VIP, the large nursery where we had gotten our other plants. They did have quite a few tomato plants, but most of the varieties were new to me, and most of the plants were EXTREMELY leggy. I settled on the variety Costolutto Fiorentino, which I’m hoping is similar to the Costolutto Genovese that I’m familiar with. The owner of the nursery did tell me that they are good tomatoes to eat, as opposed to good tomatoes for canning. And, since the tomatoes were so leggy, he didn’t charge us for them at all. We also bought four basil plants for €1 and a large bag of soil for another €5.

I wanted to wait until Mr. Farnesi was home, to make sure I was putting the plants in exactly the right spot. The ground was as hard as a rock…not surprising, since it was also filled with rocks. I cleared an area, amended the soil, and gave the plants a good watering. Luckily, we had a nice rain the next evening. Since the plants were so leggy, I buried much of the stem, laying horizontally in the soil. Since this ground is so poor, I’m hoping that this will allow the plants to absorb more moisture and more nutrients. I’ll have to carry water to them, but since we have water in the garage, it won’t be too bad.

I’m going to post the story of our trip to Prague on the blog as soon as it’s published on the Slow Trav site. Not surprisingly, I thought of a few things to add, so the blog will be the most complete report. Advance warning: it’s VERY long! It’s a combination trip report, apartment review, and concert review, with a few bits of Prague history and a few travel tips thrown in for good measure. I never seem to be able to say less…always more! I’ll also post the link for the pictures with the report…maybe some of the pictures will make more sense. I didn’t describe most of the pictures on the ST site, since it’s just sooo time consuming, I dread our phone bill with all the internet time.

This reminds me, I need to call my friend Cristina and look into changing plans for the internet. I think I’m going to change to a plan that gives me unlimited time between the ours of nine a.m. and six p.m. The only problem with this plan is that six p.m. Italy time is only noon in the states, but since I don[‘t do a lot of real time chatting, I’ m hoping that it won’t be a problem.

We had Frank, our new neighbor, over for dinner on Saturday. Frank is the uncle of Marushka, from Ternana’s. Frank is an American who was married to an Italian woman from San Venanzo. They had bought an apartment here about six years ago and planned to retire here, but then the wife got sick, and she died last June. Frank decided to sell everything in the states and move to Italy.

Frank’s had an interesting situation in dealing with his wife’s estate. Although his wife was Italian by birth, she did become an American citizen, but retained dual citizenship. I’m not quite sure how this works, but… According to Italian law, when one spouse dies, the estate is divided in half. One half goes to the remaining spouse and the other half is divided among the children and the spouse. We just recently discovered this law, and apparently some think it will apply to us. We need to do more research on it, but for now, this is how it would work it the Italian law does apply.

If I were to die first, Art would get half of the estate, and my two children would share the remaining half with Art…meaning that they would each have one third of one half of the estate. This would give each child one sixth of the estate, and Art two thirds. Then when Art died, his daughter would receive Art’s entire share. At least I think this is how it would work. What we want is for the remaining spouse to get the entire estate, then when the last one goes, the three children would share equally.

Frank has had a few problems with the apartment that he and his wife owned here. The Italian authorities claim that his children should own a part of the apartment. Frank claims, correctly, we think, that since his wife was a U.S. citizen who died in the U.S., and since her will specifically stated that Frank was the sole heir, this is what should be honored.

We didn’t think that our American attorney would know about this, so we contacted the same immigration lawyer who helped us get my codice fiscale fiasco straightened out. His reply to me was that he didn’t think we had been given correct information, and that he could research this for us, to the tune of €200 to start. For now, we haven’t done anything. We each have a handwritten will that states our wishes, and will have will drawn up by a lawyer once we figure this out.

I learned when my mom died last year that having a will that clearly defines everything is the best way to go. Although my mom had asked us to make of list of things that we would like to have, she never amended her will to include these specifics. Luckily for us, we didn’t have a problem, but I think this is the exception, not the rule. To avoid not only hard feelings, but also the extra work and complications for our children, we would like to make things as clear and simple as possible. Another project!


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