Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And the work continues....

This morning we woke to the sound of pounding and tumbling coming from upstairs. I was having a hard time getting up due to a late night with the Danes and their visiting friend (sometimes known as “the other American”) Tom. David said, “I think Agusto is doing the wiring.” I didn’t really say anything but it sure sounded a lot louder than wiring.

Sure enough, when David and I wandered up the side of the house to go to work we saw this:

Actually, that photo was taken several hours later. What we really saw at 8am I wasn’t able to get a photo of because I was in a bit of shock (and running late for work). See that channel running up the side of the house? That used to be our chimney. It was terribly ugly and had a huge crack in it. I don’t think that I even have an old photo to post as evidence of how awful this tube was. It kind of emerged from the wall there at the bottom of the channel, held in place with an excess of cement and went outside the wall up through the tiled roof. We could never figure out why it was installed in such a hideous way until the other day it hit David. The previous owner (of the downstairs) couldn’t run his chimney through the upstairs wall since he didn’t own it. So, obviously he would do what any do-it-yourselfer would do - create the Frankenstein of chimneys.

Anyway, Agusto, who now obviously feels a certain investment in the appearance of our house, decided that it needed to come down. So, this morning he jack-hammered it out of the wall, installed that little vent for the pellet stove, and started at the job of filling in the channel. He is doing such an amazing job that this 1’x7’ strip of wall will make the rest of the wall look like shit. Agusto suggested that we tuck-point the whole house like this, “you know, David, when you are retired.” Yeah, we’ll just wait on that job until then.

When we came back at noon I was able to watch an episode from the Italian version of King of the Hill. How does this happen when I don’t own a tv? Yeah, well, we had the live version happening right out there by our ex-chimney. There were 4 guys hanging out by the wall drinking beers and each giving a commentary on the work, the ex-chimney, the weather, and I’m sure, life in general. Actually, they weren’t talking much, they were mostly just standing there drinking cans of beer. Then Agusto started working at cleaning the stones that he had just cemented in place and the rest of us watched. I felt so Italian, there we were, 5 of us watching one man working. That lasted about 5 minutes until it was time for lunch.

I don’t mean here to give the impression that Italians are lazy. The 2 spectators for the Cornwell Casa Circus (other than us), Franco and Gianni, are on holiday (which happens for all Italians in August) so they have time to do, well, what a lot of Italians like to do which is watch the action and then talk about it. And Agusto and Andrea have been doing anything but slacking. Check out the incredible work done in just a week upstairs.

(We decided against a built in fireplace and to use our old wood stove instead. I think it looks cute, no?)

Check this out…

Yep, that hole in the wall is going to be a SWITCH. An actual light switch! So, like, when I walk into the room, I can push a button that turns on a light. Whoa. Be still my heart – I can’t stand the technology.

And check this out…

Those are the plugs. Look at how many of them there are! And they aren’t connected by hanging, exposed wires – they are hidden in the wall! Oh my god. This is too much.

I would like to say that my blanket-that-is-really-just-a-lap-warmer is experiencing the same progress but I cannot. The work has been slowed up considerably since I bought this (I’m sorry to say) wool/acrylic blend for the last few squares which is less than inspiring to work with.

Now I’m going to go to the patio to stare at the full moon over the sea for a while wishing dear step-daughter Emily a happy birthday and then hit the couch.

Happy happy birthday to you Emily.


  1. Hi.

    In your post, you mentioned the four guys with beers commenting about your house. This is normal in Canada. If you need help with a chore, you buy the beer, and help will come. (I think "help" is over-stating the description of the guys. Who, after a few beers, can't remember the purpose of their visit.)

  2. Olive - the work on your house is amazing!!! I can not wait to see the finished product. I would not worry about the lap warmer now that there is potential for heat(andlight) in the bedroom.

  3. EarleinDenver5:43 AM

    I think we are going to arrive too late. I really should of seen the place before it is totaly modernized. I mean electrical outlets in the wall? Come on you can have that in the States, I was looking forward to the bare wires taped up with black electrical tape.

  4. Oh My God! It looks fabulous.

    You're keeping the old stove ? I thought that was just a method for burning up your used wood and fillng the room with smoke!

    When do you start shaking the olive trees ?