Friday, October 26, 2012

Damn rain

So, it's pissing rain in Maberga right now.  It's also raining in many places inside my house.  At 9.45 on a Friday night I text the wife of my general contractor.....Ha ha...yeah, that's a funny way of saying I sent a message to my friend Lina who is the wife of my other friend who does all the work on my house... maybe you've heard me talk about Augusto.  Within 3 minutes my phone was ringing.

"cosa c'e'?"
"Yeah, well, my house is raining inside, well, in lots of places."
"vicino la stufa?"
"yeah, of course near the stove...that's been going on for years.  But I'm not worried about that because you said you'd fix that.....soon."
"e allora?'
"well, 'and so''s also raining in my studio in like 10 places and the window in the stair well is crying."
"piange la finestra?"
"yes.  the window is leaking water at both's crying."
"Yeah, I don't expect you to come tonight. I'm just saying that my house is frinking not water proof.  Wouldn't you say a house should be water proof?"
"yeah.  It should be.  I'll just put towels everywhere for right now. And of course move my precious jewelry and very NOT water resistant paper mache to another place.  Dude, problems.  we got us some problems."
To my "general contractor", my good friend, almost my brother, I say..."have a good weekend."...Knowing full damn well that dude won't sleep tonight and will be knocking on my gate at about 8am tomorrow.

Damn rain. It really sucks for people who try to keep it out of other people's houses.

Correction to last night's post....He came this morning at 10am.  I was off by two hours.

I got this super cool video from Mike, of the comments fame.

I'd have to take some measurements, but I 'm pretty sure they couldn't do that in downtown Taggia, or, well, any where in Italy.

Completely unrelated....thank you to everyone who has sent me supportive and thoughtful emails/comments about my last post.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

So I got word yesterday that a dear childhood friend of mine took her life on Monday.  We hadn't had much contact since we'd both left our parents' homes, maybe two emails in 20 years.  This happens, it is normal, to be expected and still it's not acceptable.

Another friend, from this same era in our common lives sent me her obituary.  Reading it, and not knowing because of our lack of contact, I can only glean that at 43 years old she was still the same remarkable person I knew when she was 10, 11, and 15, 18 and 22.  It's all very sad, painful, and, yes, a waste.

This morning, before I got the obituary, I went on facebook to see if anyone, any of the facebook "friends"  I have from that time in life, had any information. A couple of things became really clear...

1.  I have very little contact, even in this age of gluttonous communication, connection with people who meant very much to me at very crucial times in my life.  and

2. In this age of gluttonous communication, in this time in history where we can tell each other whatever "is on your mind" at any second of the day and send it to with everyone with a computer (with photos) what we actually share with each other is totally banal. 

I won't make it to the memorial for my friend on Sunday to hug her parents or to meet her children.  I won't be there to tell them all how important and incredible their loved one was to me, too.

In memory of my friend, with whom I shared innumerable life experiences many of which influence my life still and with whom I regrettably lost contact, I will instead write 10 letters.  Real letters, not typed, written in my own script, written with my real voice and written about my real life experiences to people important to me.

This is not enough to honor the end of what should have been a long and beautiful life, but I think she would appreciate my action.  Alicia was a woman, and a girl, of action....she would like letters.  Letters are a gift to receive, filled with drama and, if you're paying attention, immensely real and filled with potential action.

Please, join me in reconnecting...really reconnecting with people who are and have been important to you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

autumn harvest

Mine looked like this
Yes, my orto, despite not being watered for 3 months (by me) is still giving me free food.  Awesome.

Being as thrilled as one could be, I did a harvest dance. Then I went down the hill to find a door mat and I saw this...

and his sister
Sister clocks in at 280 kg and brother at an even 300 kg.  Dudes not familiar with kilograms, let me do the math for you....that's 617.3 lbs and 661.4 lbs, respectively.


As impressed as I am by their girth, I can't help but feel a little sad for them.  Do you think they wanted to be so obese? Do they look happy?

On a completely unrelated note, expect that it was my reason for going down the hill, seeing the big ass I went to 4 (count them, f o u r) shops looking for door mats.  I didn't find one that didn't say "welcome!".  Yes, in english.  Whoever wins the US election, I'm pretty sure that the selection of door mats will continue to be more extensive than in Italy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seriously, you guys, if we do any more to the house I'll have to stop writing this blog 'cause there won't be anything left to write about...except knitting, of course.  In how many posts over the years have I written about Casa Cornwell's black water (aka: the shit tube)?  Yeah, ok, in reality it's probably only been like 3 or 4 posts.  In 6 years of blogging, that's not so much.  It does, however, seem like a lot more to me because even one problem with a shit tube is really a lot. 

Well, friends, I'm here to tell ya, we bought a house for our black water.  After 8 years of living in this house, we now know where our poop goes.  What a feeling.

It now goes in here...

which is buried here
Yep, there's Augusto working hard.  He's the one on the right....outside of the hole, holding no tools.  He's more of an "organizer"...and damn if he didn't organize this project.  Just before my parents arrived I asked him if he could find a place for our poop to go, since where it had been going isn't really working out so well any more (don't ask). "But not until my parents are gone", I said.  Mom and dad left Thursday, this is how it looked on Friday afternoon.

Isn't that the nicest looking septic tank you've ever seen?  Here, look again...
Here's me giving it a thumbs up

And a high five...
'Course it's not actually hooked up to the toilet yet, but this is a step in the right direction, I think.  I feel hopeful

I was actually so excited about it that I did my annual ironing session outside just so I could look at it between blouses.

So friends, here's to no more blog posts about reconnecting shit tubes with duct tape.  Cheers.

PS.  Can you believe that I actually received 3, count 'em, THREE requests that I forward pictures of my new septic tank?   I won't name names, you guys know who you are.   I mean, I'm excited about it but it's my shit.  Do most people get excited about sewage and I'd just never realized it until I organized my own?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

short but really sweet...

was my family's stay in Italy.

Maybe sweet is not the right adjective.  Monumental, is probably more accurate.

Let's start here...

My dad had his 72nd birthday.  It was lovely, even though my car broke down, I had a row with a toll booth operator, and was pulled over by the cops. 

Yes, all that shit is about me and not my dad....but, well, I'm not a parent but I think these thing affect them twice as much as they do the children.  You can see this in that photo above.

No, he always looks like that.

Anyway, we did this

and then a lot of this

and then some of this

Mom got to join the knitting club for a day (note that she's the only one knitting.  Mom takes her tasks seriously)
And dad got to kick Teddy's ass in cards (truly monumental.  I think it's sweet that they coordinated their outfits)
Mom taught Christine and me (mostly Christine) to make her famous chocolate/orange cheesecake
Whilst the other Wisconsinites watched the Packers....seriously, if you are from Wisconsin and can watch the Pack play while on holiday in Europe, monumental....even if they lose.
AND, are you ready?

Cousins Bumpy and Doug got engaged (ummm, they both aren't my cousins, just in case you were wondering what Wisconsin people do...for the most part cousins don't marry cousins.  Doug's not my cousin but he's been around so damn long, he's already a cousin of mine, married or not)
Yes, that is a chilly pepper on her finger.  Seriously monumental moment.  I was there, got it on video but the participants would rather I keep that shit to myself (just between you olive readers and me, check YouTube in the future)

September 2013 wedding in Maberga. Yes.  they are marrying in Maberga.  Monumental.

I'd also like to take this chance to tell you all how totally monumental my parents are. Maybe monumental isn't the right adjective, but it fits with the thread I have going here on this post.  They are sweet, loving, supportive, and really good sports about my life...however that life might be when they happen to find it.

Like, for example, my latest obsession with bikes with 4 wheels.

Like, for example, helping me with my jewelry business and changing the seat on my toilet (sorry, no photos), vacuuming my dogs' hair and preparing dinners in my less than equipped kitchen.

You guys are pretty swell (I'm talking to my parents now, but of course I think all you olive readers are swell too, but really I'm talking to my parents)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

mom and dad, day 1

So, a much anticipated day has arrived.  Today.  Mom and Dad arrived today.  I love when they come to visit.  I love sharing with my parents my life here -- my house, my friends, my life.  Wonderful.  I love spending time with them.  Unless they lie to me, they love it all too.

As always, I also have a little anxiety when they come.  It's not just them, it's when anyone comes to Maberga.  I don't know why but shit always breaks when I have visitors. Just ask TFC, Denise and Wayne.

This year, for the first time, mom and dad didn't rent a car.  I said, "come on!  Save a few hundred euro and use one of our cars."  Knowing full well that this was the ultimate jinx on my cars.  So when I went to the airport this morning and my car made it like the fiat 500 champ it is, I said a little thanks to the universe.  Doubly so when we made it back to San Remo with no motor problems.

umm, other things that could break while they are here are: the washing machine, the toilet (don't's a longer post at another time),  my computer, or my stove.  The heaters could go out too but it's not heater season yet so I wasn't so worried about this.  Of course, all these things would be a big bummer for ME but not them because they are staying in a hotel.  So, I'm pretty safe, right?

So we spent a lovely day, coming  back from the airport, checking into their hotel in San Remo and then dinner at Casa Cornwell.  So far so good.

Then I sent them on their way home to their hotel in San Remo.  I sat down in the kitchen, poured myself a glass of wine and said a little prayer that they would make it down my road.

As I sat in the kitchen, checking email, thinking that I have a half hour until I call the hotel to make sure they made it I heard a crash.

Um a big frickin crash.  "what the f....?"

the shelves in my pantry/wardrobe/storage for everything came down.  I hadn't touched them.  I hadn't even walked pasted them.  One of the braces just decided it was time to retire.


So I started cleaning this up.  I lost all my vases and candles.  All my sweaters and blankets and quilts and towels and winter clothes were just there strewn amongst the shards of glass.


So I started cleaning it up.  Not a big problem, except....where am I going to put this stuff? Yeah, well, here

in the kitchen.  Fine.  No problem.

then I remembered my parents.  I called the hotel.  "Can I speak with the Signori Serpe?"

"Sure, they are right here."  at the desk?????

Mom gets on the phone and proceeds to tell me how lost they got getting back to the hotel.  It took them an hour and a half (should have taken 25 min).

I've created this life here that is, shall we say a little out of the norm.  When people come to visit I try to put a cap on the weirdness of how I live.  Which means that I clean the house as if the Queen were coming, I try to keep all "normal" services working (eg: car, heat, stove, bed, water, you know...that stuff).  I dust and vacuum my house, I wash all the floors, try to get rid of as much dog hair as possible, I stuff the fridge and the cupboards to the point that everything is beautiful.....then, life happens.  The shelves fall in.

Parents get lost sometimes.  And kids sometimes have to pile their shit in the kitchen.