Sunday, December 24, 2006

Window repairs and other observations 12.24.06

I forgot to tell you that the window screen got fixed that day they were supposed to come. Instead of the older guy who seemed befuddled by the whole project (the same guy who did such a bang up job on the door lock) a couple of young guys showed up on Wednesday with a new device but because the new version is bigger than the old one they had to break open the concrete door frame to make it fit. We have heard this sound in just about every place we’ve lived now. It goes something like this: hammer hammer hammer (pause) hammer hammer hammer (pause) hammer hammer hammer, and so forth, for hours on end. It is the sound of a chisel and a hammer breaking out concrete or plaster.

What amazed us the most was the speed at which they worked and the fact that they inserted the mechanism and mixed up the batch of plaster that one of the guys patched up the hole with (seemed like he could have used some of that plaster on his rear end at the same time, but that’s just a fashion comment), before testing said mechanism to see if it worked. We were certain they were going to have to rip it all out again when it didn’t, but it did in fact work like a charm! I must say the workmanship leaves a lot to be desired (a lot) but the landlady seemed fine with it and arranged to pay them later. I guess it’s just going to stay that way. This slap-dash approach to this type of construction project is something we have noticed everywhere in Italy I’m sorry to say. In fact, outside our door there are 3 sets of wires (for the TV? The lights?) taped together in a most casual, non building-code sort of way. Some things don’t quite match up and patches are made with whatever happens to be handy.

Ongoing Observations on Trash

On one of our walks we observed a very clever use of an old box spring, as a gate – affixed with wire to the opening. Not sure how functional that is, but I guess it works as well as any metalwork to keep an opening closed. Kind of a recycling program. Of which we are totally in favor. In Borgo Roma, in Verona, they recycled damn near everything. We had very little actual garbage that didn’t fall into one of the categories for which there are trashcans on absolutely every street. They recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper and, the one we really thought was great, food waste, but no meat. We had four different garbage containers in our apartment to keep it sorted out. In Sicily they recycled plastic and glass. I believe it was the same in Perugia. I am definitely all for recycling.

Which reminds me of the garbage here. They do have recycle bins here for glass but we’re not sure people are really using them. And periodically, like in Naples, the garbage piles up. Our neighbor told us that they go on strike when there is no more room to put the garbage at the dump. I don’t know what they are doing during these periods, jumping up and down on it? throwing it in the sea? I have no idea. But it definitely piles up. And then after a couple of days the garbage crew is back and they take it all away. Yeah! This has now happened twice since we have been here. I am always excited to see the garbage truck arrive, as I really hate the sight of that. I hate to make generalities about this but there definitely seems to be more of a problem in southern Italy with trash than in the north. In the north it seemed like they were a bit over the top obsessive about it (I swear one day we were driving through a mountain area and they had a truck out there that seemed to be cleaning up the forest, but I could be mistaken!) but down here it’s like they don’t even see it. I look at people passing by and I wonder: “How can you put up with this??” And then I think they are just “abitudine” a word we learned from Elio in Sicily which means, “to be used to something.” They must know that eventually it will be picked up, so why get upset about it. Seems to us they need a better recycling program but also there must be a way to make less garbage, to crush down what they have, to buy stuff without so much packaging, but in our modern society can it really go in that direction?? I’d like to think so.
Anyway, it just kills me that here is this gorgeous area, this wonderful sea and at times the garbage can be a real distraction for me.

In Perugia we used to enjoy seeing the clean up crew arrive every morning in Piazza IV Novembre to clean up after the revelers from the night before. I never could understand why they allowed them to make such a mess in the first place but at least every day they started with a clean slate. Then there were the street sweepers who came every single day and swept all the streets, picking up dog doo and everything else. This we saw in Perugia and in Marina di Ragusa as well. I have not yet seen a street sweeper here and they could certainly use it. Bob and I will say to each other “If I ruled the world…things would be different.” This really is a little bit of paradise here, I would just like it if everyone was a tad-bit neater about it!

Happy Birthday Bob

It’s Christmas Eve. And it’s Bob’s birthday. Strange topic of conversation I suppose for this day. My sister should have been here and she is not. I’m about to go and put a chicken in the oven to roast for Bob’s birthday dinner. Not at all a traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Italy and especially near the sea where fish is the main attraction. But this is what I have planned. Then we want to take a drive to look at the Christmas lights. Our neighbors Antonio and Nunzia from two flights up invited us to join their family in Cetara for Christmas Day dinner tomorrow since my own family can’t be here and we have accepted. That should be interesting. I baked one of my “cockeyed chocolate cakes” to bring to the celebration – maybe even more cockeyed since my oven is so wacky and I’m not sure what temperature I’m cooking at!

We’ll say once again Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Cool Yule, Happy Winter Solstice and all of that. We hope your holiday is a happy one, whatever you are celebrating.

Buon Natale,
Rosemary e Roberto


Annika said...

Merry Christmas - and happy birthday Bob!

Gil said...

Bob, I hope tha you had a great birthday and Merry Christmas to the both of you.

Adam said...

Oh, so how's Bob and your windows? Homeowners actually appreciate workers who act quick and get the job done, in quality fashion. You get the same quality, without the extra hassle. And how's your segregation? It can help a lot in saving the environment, plus there are ways to earn some money from junk. :)

Adam Waterford