Saturday, December 31, 2005


I mentioned earlier that we’d had a few not-so-great moments since we’ve been home, so of course that’s what I’ll write about first. The week before Christmas really hit us with a one-two-three punch, all completely unexpected.

On Monday I answered the door and saw our mail carrier at the door. “Oh goodie!” I thought…. “Our boxes have finally arrived!” But no….she told me she had a registered letter, and showed me where to sign. Hmmmmm….it was from Perugia, and since we’re not under the jurisdiction of Perugia, I couldn’t imagine what it was.

As I ripped open the envelope I could tell immediately what it was….a traffic ticket for €81, or about $100. Further inspection revealed that it was from August 31st, when we had been trying to get our friend Nedra to her new apartment. Inadvertently we had driven down a street that was restricted to taxis and buses. Part of the reason we had ended up on this road was because coming INTO the city the road was open to all traffic…’s only restricted in the lane that goes OUT of the city!

Once we realized that our lane was restricted, there was nowhere to turn around, no side street to take…we were stuck. We called Wendy to see if she knew about the warnings posted….warnings that said the street was monitored by cameras. She asked her boss who assured us that those cameras didn’t work or weren’t used, but of course now I knew that he’d been wrong.

On Tuesday we’d been invited to a dinner to celebrate the winter solstice at Judith’s house. She’d advised us to dress warmly, which is normal for me, and Art wore his warmest brushed cotton shirt under a favorite sweater.

After a great dinner conversations broke up into small groups and Art was talking with someone in the dining room while I was in the living room. All of a sudden I heard a commotion, and turned around just in time to see someone beating on Art’s left arm…..his sweater had caught on fire from a candle burning on a wall sconce. (Note to Judith: you might want to consider moving this sconce up a little higher!)

Although the sleeve of Art’s sweater had melted, the shirt was able to be salvaged. Unfortunately the man who put out the fire did burn his hand, mostly due to the fact that the acrylic or whatever it was just melted onto his hand as he put out the fire. Luckily the burns weren’t serious, and of course everyone joked about Art being the hottest at the party, but for me it was no joking matter. What would be the third thing to happen? Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have to wait long for the answer.

After spending the night at Judith’s, we drove back home the next morning. I carried most of the stuff into the house while Art backed the car into the garage. I left the blue shoulder bag and one other thing for him to bring into the house. Because he didn’t put the shoulder bag on his shoulder, both his hands were full as he came into the house and he couldn’t close the garage door. And then of course he forgot that it was open so it stayed open all night.

I always want the door closed to keep any small critters from wandering into the garage during the night. Art always thinks I’m being foolish about closing the door….he always says “This is San Venanzo!” I keep reminding him that especially in winter something might decide to make a nest in our wood pile, and that yes, once I DID have something taken from the garage when it was left open. It was only a bag or plant food, but nevertheless…..

So, Thursday morning we went to the garage only to see that the hose has been unrolled and obviously used. At first I thought it might have been the workmen from the park, but there was no one back there. Then Art got into the car and saw that everything was in disarray….all the stuff from the glove compartment was all over the seat!

At first we didn’t think anything was missing, but then I looked up and realized that the sun visor on the driver’s side was gone! There was a CD holder attached to the visor with about fifteen CD’s on it, so “they” just took the whole visor! Also missing were Art’s brand new leather gloves. Later we realized that Art’s toolbox and most of his tools, including his electric drill had also been taken.

We were on our way over to Montefalco to have lunch with Anna and Ramon, but we happened to see the carabinieri at the bar so we stopped to tell them what had happened. The officer told us that we were one of four houses that had been robbed. In San Venanzo! The officer assured us that this was the work of foreigners, probably Albanians.

Later that night we spoke with Adamo, who had also been a victim. Apparently the robbers had broken into the other houses while people were asleep! At least that hadn’t happened to us. Adamo lost two cell phones, a VCR, video camera, leather coat and who knows what else.

We decided to go ahead and file a police report just in case the toolbox and tools were recovered, but of course we don’t really expect to see any of the stuff again.

So that was it….Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday! Not a good way to start the week. Art talked with Armando, our neighbor whose son is a carabinieri in Perugia, but Armando told us that when he got a ticket his son couldn’t even help him, so I guess we’re stuck.

Pessimist that I am, I try to remain upbeat. Certainly any one of these things could have happened in the states, which means that I’m not going to want to pack up and move back, but wherever this stuff happens, it’s still hard to deal with….hard to be hit with unexpected expenses or have your private space violated. As I said in the title, shit happens. I hope that this is our share for quite a while.


At 1/02/2006 06:56:00 AM , Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

But Barb, Art's adventure gives me a great story to tell about the time my guest caught on fire.
The sconce is under a painting which it lights. You may have noticed I don't have a lot of unused space here, but I'll think on it.

At 1/05/2006 04:22:00 PM , Blogger patricia said...

Dear Barb and Art,

Welcome home!

I am so sorry to hear of those nasty welcomings. Hang in there. I know how you feel ...violated, someone took some things out of my cantina and some solar lights near my is the same the world over...good and evil. Concentrate on all the good!



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