Saturday, February 25, 2006


The rain’s come back. It’s not bad enough that the dreary, rainy and cold days of January and February are so depressing, but all this rain just makes the humidity and mold problems in the house worse.  What really pisses me off is the fact that I began asking to have the gutters repaired back in the summer, hoping to avoid having to endure another winter of this crap. All this “let’s wait until the park is finished” shit is really starting to get on my nerves, and every time I have to clean the mold I get madder and madder.  Even if the roof hadn’t been cleaned, in my opinion the gutters still could have been cleaned out and repaired. Our friend Frank offered to make us a curved piece to fit on the hose so that we could use it to clean out the gutters, but honestly, with years of accumulated gunk in there, I doubt that a blast of water would dislodge the mess. Once the gutters are cleaned and repaired we’ll certainly use this device to deep them clean. 

The drawers in our nightstands are completely stuck. I had the foresight to leave the top drawer of my nightstand half open so that I could reach in and get my nightcap if I needed it, but Art didn’t think to leave his side open. His blood pressure machine is in there, as well as his wrist brace. Today we moved his nightstand into the living room and have it sitting by the radiator to try to dry out the wood and get the drawers open.  When we moved the nightstand we discovered that there was more mold behind the nightstand that I didn’t know about. So, today we moved the bed out from the wall, moved the chair and the dresser and wiped everything down with bleach water. I then turned on the space heater and the fan to dry everything out. It just grosses me out to think that we’ve been sleeping with all this mold in the room! Yuck! 


Yesterday we went to Perugina. We had planned to go with Anna and Ramon one day and give them the factory tour, but for reasons unknown they’ve completely withdrawn from us. After about four weeks of silence, during which time we both racked our brains to think of what we might have said or done to offend them, we received an email with a brief apology for their silence and the explanation that they just needed to pursue the house hunting on their own, without outside influence. Fair enough, but wouldn’t it have been nicer to give us a quick call before FOUR weeks had gone by? Couldn’t they have told us this on the phone rather than with an impersonal email? Both of us were quite hurt by their actions (or lack thereof) and think there must be something else going on that we don’t know about. But as usual, I digress.

We went to Perugina for several reasons. First of all, my sister read somewhere that Smarties are supposed to be so much better than M&Ms. We agreed to bring the Smarties to London and Terri will bring the M&Ms and we’ll have a taste test of our own. Personally, I think the Smarties have a thicker candy shell, which makes them less desirable. Think about it: a thicker shell means less chocolate inside, and that just can’t be a good thing. So, Smarties are made at Perugina, and since I couldn’t find any large size packages at the grocery, I thought I’d look at the factory store.  Additionally we discovered last spring, much to our dismay, that the chocolate bananas aren’t produced after Easter, so I made a special note to get some in March of this year. (As if I’d forget!!!) 

I took some chocolate to my daughter for her November birthday, but I only bought the Tre Re, the kind with nuts. I thought those were her favorite….until she mentioned over the weekend that it had been over a year since she’d had any chocolate bananas since I hadn’t given her any for her last birthday! I knew right then that we should get to Perugina as quickly as possible in order to avoid disappointment again!  We decided to go to the factory grocery first before we went in to see Corinna. As I searched for the Smarties, Art said “they don’t have the chocolate bananas”. WHAT??!!?? How can that be? We asked the girl at the register and she said they’re only made for Christmas. When did THAT happen?   We looked at the assortment bags that are usually near the register and discovered that each bag had a few chocolate bananas. Since Angela (my daughter) had asked for some bags of assorted chocolate anyway, we bought a few of these.

As we entered the museum I told Cristina that I wanted to file a complaint! How could they be out of chocolate bananas??? And how could she have let this happen to me? I need to know when the production is going to stop so that I can stock up!  Corinna asked how much I needed, and when we were returning to the states, and told me not to worry…she’d get me some bananas! Wow…thank goodness! As we stood there talking to her about this and that, she suddenly pulled out a bag of the new Kit Kat Popables. We’ve been seeing these advertised on TV but haven’t tried any yet.  I though she was going to open the bag and offer us a few, but then she reached down and got another bag of Popables. Then she pulled out a bag of chocolate bananas….and then she proceeded to fill a goody bag for us to take home. It’s nice to have a friend who works in a chocolate factory!

While we were there, Corinna called Maurizio to find out what time he wanted Art to come down on Saturday morning. Art had called him to ask about a good place in Marsciano to get the oil changed. Maurizio’s response was to tell Art to come to the house on Saturday and he’d take Art to a friend of his who works on cars. Helpful and generous to a fault, we’re always so touched by these acts of kindness.


One of our dear friends, also an expat, has been diagnosed with cancer. To say that we’re in shock is SUCH an understatement! I’ve spoken with her recently and she’s going to start chemotherapy next week. I wanted to take her copies of some photos we’d taken during the holidays, but she wasn’t quite up to visitors yet, so I thought I’d just stick them in the mail.

While picking up the photos from the shop in Marsciano who should walk up but Giacomo! We’d just spoken with Belinda the day before, and she’d told us that Giacomo would be home soon. He’s been in Milan working as a chef on a trial basis. We’d try to call him but apparently we had the wrong cell number.  Anyway, here he was in the flesh! I invited him for lunch on Sunday and hope to hear more about how the job in Milan is going. On the one hand we’re excited and happy for him, but on the other hand we hate to think of losing him and Belinda as neighbors.   

The thought of losing our friend to cancer has scared the crap out of us….and made us think even more about the importance of friends. The importance of friends when you’re a stranger in a strange land is something that just can’t be denied. To have Corinna and Maurizio as our friends is such a blessing. To have lost, even if only temporarily, the friendship of Anna and Ramon has caused us great concern. We get to see so little of Belinda because of her job, and if the job in Milan works out for Giacomo, we’ll see even less of both of them!

When we were in the states, because of our crazy schedules and Art working two jobs, we had little time to spend with friends. Going out in the evening was never an option because of our early mornings, and the weekends were always given over to the racetrack. Now that we finally have the time to be with friends, we want to take advantage of it!   We love getting together with friends for lunch or dinner, whether it be a pizza at Ternana’s or a dinner I’ve cooked at home. We also love enjoying a day of visiting wineries or driving through the countryside with friends. We’re trying to make up for lost time, and trying to enjoy every day to the fullest.


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