Friday, August 11, 2006


Okay, I’ve tried to ignore the feelings, but I’m officially freaking out. Remember Art’s project to re-seal the side of the house? Remember how it turned into a major project…and one that probably WON’T solve the dampness problems it was intended to??? Well, it’s gone from bad to worse, and combined with other factors, the whole situation is making me feel…stressed? Out of control? I don’t even know how to describe it, but it’s definitely not good.

The general consensus now seems to be that the moisture is coming from below, from the rock on which the house is built. I suspected that all along, and never could get anyone to explain how they thought redoing the wall would help with the problem. Sometimes Art’s even more impulsive than I am, and in this case, he rushed in where I would have held back.

So now the wall has been cleared of all the cement and sand in between the rocks. When Wendy came for lunch she asked if we were going to leave it like that. “Oh no!” we said, “We’re going to cover it up just like it was.” “But it looks really nice like that….you could use malta anticha on it and it would look great!”

Apparently malta anticha is cement mixed with sand, and it’s more yellow in color, less gray. We started thinking about the idea, and decided that maybe it really would be possible, and Art spoke with the two guys who’re going to do the work. They said of course they knew of this material, and yes they could do it. And yes, it would even cost less. Halleluiah!

Right now I’m on the verge of throwing in the towel and moving back to the states. The exchange rate has conspired against us since the day we moved to Italy. I was finally breathing a sigh of relief last spring when the dollar finally rallied a bit and the euro only cost $1.18.

According to my calculations, we can survive on anything less than $1.23, so I was actually ready to relax. And then, for whatever reason, the dollar began to fall yet again, and not hovers just under the $1.30 mark, a rate that puts us in the red every month. Obviously we could hold out for a few months, but for the long haul, we must have a better exchange rate or consider moving back to the states. That’s just the reality. It has nothing to do with what we want; it’s just a hard reality.

So….here I am stressing over the exchange rate, worrying about where we’ll find the money to pay the €800 ($1000+) we still owe on the roof, wondering if I’ll EVER get the credit card paid off, wondering just how much this malta anticha will cost, and today, at the front door was Sandro, our neighbor, saying that he really liked what Art had done and that he’s like to get an estimate to do the rest of the house this way!!! NO! Stop!

I said to Art, “you’ve just got to tell him that we can’t afford this!”, and Art said “well, if I could do all the removal, then they could just pay me, then maybe it wouldn’t cost us a thing!” God, optimists! They always see a silver lining….how do they do it? How can they be so oblivious to reality?

Right now Art, Sandro and Marco are standing outside discussing this project, while I’m in here trying to decide what to do first….pack? Strangle Art? Apply for more credit cards? Run outside screaming “We don’t have the F#%*ing money!!” and hope someone listens? Shit.


At 8/11/2006 10:53:00 AM , Anonymous Kelly said...

Barb barb barb ... at times like this the best thing to do is sit down and have an ice cold beer and remember that life is really really too short to get your knickers in a knot over money. OF course this does nothing to help pay the bills but at least you are relaxed!
Trust me with my 3 kids, one paycheck, an old house and an old car I have plenty of freak out days!!

At 8/11/2006 09:06:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barb...remember what YOU said --- you worry incessantly, maybe more than you should. You CAN stay in Italy and everything WILL work out. Kelly said to sit down and have a cold beer and I say sit down and have a tall bourbon and ? You know, I have often thought you could develop a new business...take people like Louie and I on tours of Umbria. EuroBimbo has seized this opportunity and if you this interests you, you would be a fantastic tour operator --- just a thought from a dreamer in California! Bouna fortuna on the PROJECT!

Linda in California


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