Thursday, June 16, 2005


JUNE 7, 2005

Just as we were welcoming our guests on Thursday, a car pulled up behind us. Inside were our neighbors, the Farnesi’s and their spouses. They, like so many other Italians, had decided to take Friday off and make a four day weekend out of the holiday.

Sandro told us that it was very hot in Bologna, so they were very glad to be in San Venanzo were it was still nice and cool. We introduced them to our American friends and told them we were getting ready to go to the picnic. They told us they wouldn’t be going because they had just arrived and had to unpack the car and open up the house. We wished them well and said we’d see them later.

Not surprisingly we did see them at the picnic. They were sitting amongst their relatives having a great time catching up. Sandro told us that he was going to talk to the mayor, who was also in attendance, about the park clean- up (or lack thereof!)

On Friday Art and I met with Sandro out back to discuss the roof and the gutters. We’ve been waiting for the park to be cleaned and for the dead trees to be cut down before we had the gutters cleaned. So far, the park clean-up has been scheduled for October, then February, and now seems to be on hold.

Art has also been concerned that the roof will need to be replaced soon. Mauro told us that when the roof did need to be replaced it would cost about €30,000. Of course we would split the cost with the Farnesi’s, but €15,000 is still a LOT of money, especially if you don’t have it! A home equity loan, easy to do in the states, isn’t possible here…at least as far as I know.

Can you possibly imagine how relieved we were when Sandro told us the roof was completely re-done ten years ago? Whew! This roof SHOULD last a long, long time… hundred? I‘m not really sure how long, but at least long enough so that we’ll never have to worry about paying for a new one.

Sandro did say that the roof should be cleaned. When the pine needles and assorted other tree droppings accumulate on the rounded tiles, weeds can sprout, and I guess it adds weight and retains moisture. He told Art that the two of them would meet with Mauro on Saturday morning to discuss the roof and the gutters.

We’re expecting our half of the roof and gutter cleaning to cost about €1000…pretty expensive, but still cheaper than a new roof.

Additionally, we found out that the assistant mayor is a close relative of Sandro and Iris, and Sandro had spoken with him about the park. Apparently it’s definitely going to done, and it must be finished by November or else the money allocated for it will be lost.

When we ran into the mayor in the grocery store the other day, she told us that the company who has been hired to do the clean-up keeps promising that they’re going to start, but somehow it never happens. So say that we are anxiously awaiting the completion of this project would be an understatement!

Right our backyard is completely private. The park behind us just gives us a huge green backdrop and makes our yard seem larger. I don’t think that opening this area up to the public will create privacy problems, and we’re hoping that it will actually improve our view. The good news is that Sandro and family will be back in August for a full month, and although not much business will be done during august, I’m guessing that he’ll be able to get answers and light the right fires if necessary.

JUNE 13, 2005

Today San Venanzo celebrated the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. What the special connection is I don’t know, but there was a procession through town, marching band and all, then bread was blessed and passed out at the church.

Art and I walked down to the church after the procession had passed our house and several people told us to go inside to get some of the blessed bread. Since we never attend Mass, this wasn’t something I would have done, but since several people urged us to do so, we did.

Later we walked over to the local gelateria with our friend Frank and enjoyed the evening…until I got….too cold! Can you believe it, June 13th, and it’s really cool at night…how wonderful! I’m sure the summer will eventually get hot, but at least we won’t be suffering through three long months of it.

JUNE 15, 2005

We got new tires for the car today….finally. Tires here don’t last as long as they do in the states. These tires had 27,000 kilometers, which is less than 17,000 miles!!!! The main roads here are much rougher and have many more potholes. The large heavy trucks that travel up and down the E45 everyday really take their toll. Additionally, there are many smaller roads that aren’t paved at all…they consist of gravel if you’re lucky, and dirt if you’re not, and they’re usually strewn with holes. The real fun with these roads is after a hard rain!

Anyway, back to the tires. We asked around to see if anyone knew of a good place to get tires, and Wendy recommended the guy they use for the cars where she works. When she called to him ask about prices, he was very secretive and didn’t want to discuss business on the phone! Huh?!

Anyway, he finally gave Wendy a rough estimate, but when her boss Corrado heard the quote, he said, “No wait…let me talk to him!” Who knows how much the price changed after the boss talked to him, but we were expecting to spend about €100 a tire, so anything less than that would be great.

Today we drove into Ponte San Giovanni and followed Wendy to the tire place. It turned out to be one side of a gas station, but apparently is a separate operation. The “tire guy” had told Wendy that he had just received a new shipment, and that we had our choice of Pirelli’s or several other brands. Eventually we settled on a set of Pirelli’s for €85 per tire, and while we walked across the street for a quick cup of coffee, the tires were mounted and ready in less than 35 minutes. Even I could tell the difference!

Wendy and Giuseppe are coming for lunch on Sunday, and I think I’ll make one of those apple crumble desserts that Corrado likes so much…Wendy can take it in to work with her on Monday. Since Giuseppe also liked this dessert, maybe she’ll let him have a piece or two before she takes it to Corrado.


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