Some things

Apparently, even this weekend, he will be “making excuses” for why he is there and, also, why I’m not with him. The excuse (which, in fact, is partially true) is that he has come to “sort things” about the house. The reason I am not there is “because it is raining a lot so it’s better for me to be at home with the dogs”.

And, I am told, we’ll only spend 4 days or so down there at Christmas. We won’t be staying at New Year because it’s too “sad”. The reason it will be too sad is because we shall have to stay with the dogs (because of all the fireworks) and that means we shall have to stay in the house which is unfinished (or, rather, not started).

Instead, we shall come back and have our usual New Year’s Eve party. Our normal visitors for Boxing Day will, instead, probably come over on New Year’s Eve – which will be nice but that does, however, mean that another friend may not come as the two women don’t get on.

But, of course, this is what I’m told now. This is fluid and will depend on many things, non of which are within my control – but that’s OK.

On the other hand, last night we ordered, online, our Christmas present to each other. It should be delivered within the next 15 days or so.

And, of course, F isn’t really sleeping very well and, as a consequence, neither am I. So, in one way, I shall be glad he’s not here this weekend as, maybe, I’ll be able to sleep a bit longer.

p.s. there are STILL no Italian Christmas stamps issued this year. They’d better bloody hurry up. I would be most disappointed if they don’t do them or they’re too late. Sometimes, this country is incredibly frustrating.

Sighs and questions

We have the occasional deep sigh. I can’t imagine how much this is hurting by I am impotent.

i gain a little more information. The timescale is unknown. Now I don’t know if this measures weeks or months or, indeed, years.

But, maybe, neither does anyone else.

Sometimes, the lack of tactility and information surprises me for Italians. At times, his family seem more “English” than mine! Keeping everything hidden. He continues to make jokes as that is his way of coping. Although, last night, the joke was quite black and I had to force a laugh.

And then, unexpectedly, we have a deep sigh. And I feel terrible (although, I’m sure, not as terrible as he does.)

So, I wait for the next bit of information. And I have a lot of questions that I simply can’t ask.

We are, in fact, going down for Christmas. Except he needs to make it an unexceptional event (us going down for Christmas). So he needs to make an excuse. Apparently. So now I know that not everyone knows that he knows. And, I know that during this particularly “unfestive” period, he will make jokes and laugh and act as normal. And, so will everyone else.

And it will, indeed, be very weird.

In which I become old and, thankfully, not crippled and have a strange dream

Monday. 24/11.

This morning I didn’t shave as normal. What I’ve left, could become some sort of goatee, I guess, if I let it grow. The reason for this was the event on Sunday. I was angry with myself. And, not a little worried.

Have I become one of those “old” people who fall and injure themselves?

I’m taking the dogs out for a rather long walk. We’re about 5 to 10 minutes from home. We come to a crossroads with traffic lights. The lights are green (for us) and so I shorten the dogs leads so that they are right by my side.

We step off the curb and the next thing I know, I am hurtling towards the ground where my chin hits the road and my glasses fly off.

A load of people are racing over to check if I’m OK. First I check the dogs. Bless them, they have stayed exactly where they were when, eventually, on my fall downwards, I let the leads go. Of course, the reason I hit my chin was that I didn’t let the leads go immediately and so had no time to brace my arms/hands against the fall.

Next is my glasses, which someone has picked up.

i check with someone if my chin is bleeding. It seems not but the skin has broken. Already I can feel it’s going to bruise.

I toy with going back home but he is cleaning so I don’t want to do that. I really feel like I need a sit down but there is nowhere to sit. I go on.

Later, I see the chin is red and puffy. F wants me to go to the hospital but I say no. After all, this is just a bruised chin.

But it does hurt.

And i realise that I never said thank you to the people who helped me and I feel really bad about that. But we don’t always think straight at times like this, do we?

During the night, I had a rather strange dream, part of which was to do with the “accident” I had earlier.

I’m driving (quite fast) and I see, a little way in front, cars stopped (as if at traffic lights. I have plenty of time to stop but, for some reason, I am distracted and don’t stop. Instead I go plowing into the back of the last car causing me to fly through the windscreen. I fly over the four or five cars in the queue, each one getting battered by the car behind as the crash acts like an accordion being closed.

I eventually land on the ground, in front of the first car in the queue, unsurprisingly, smashing my chin on the ground.

Other than that, I am quite unhurt. After a few moments of getting my act together, whilst waiting for the police, I go back to the first car I hit which is quite mashed up. The occupants are no longer occupying the car and I find them sitting down in a cafe nearby. I go to the woman to say how sorry I am but her husband/boyfriend jumps up, really angry.

“She’s pregnant!” he explains. “Didn’t you realise she was pregnant? She could lose the baby!”

And he keeps going on about this and all I could think was how we never know how much our actions will affect others.

And then I woke up. It was about 4 a.m. Strange dream.

Up in the air.

So, Christmas is cancelled. Or, at least, curtailed.

At the moment, I (we) don’t really know where we will be. I suspect it won’t be the best Christmas ever but that’s OK. I also expect the House Warming party won’t happen. That’s OK too.

I’ve got to try and make F smile a bit and, certainly, give him all my support. Poor guy, this year is not turning into the best for him.

But, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.”

Give me a couple of days to get my head round it all though, please?

Christmas Decorations are UP! And other Christmas-related things

The Christmas decorations are up!

No, don’t worry, not in our flat. I mean in a street which I use on my way home from work.

They aren’t switched on but they are up.

And, talking of Christmas, I have still to do the cards. This weekend, is the plan.

At the moment, F is talking about doing a house-warming party around the middle of December – when he has decorated the flat! :-) Bless him.

As an aside, I tried, on Monday evening, to get my computer to display films on the TV. We already have the HDMI cable punched through the wall and I had bought an adapter to attach to my MiniDisplay Port. So, it should have worked just by connecting. Although the picture was fine, the sound only came from the computer which, being in the next room, wasn’t really any good. After hunting around, I found that Macs built prior to 2010 didn’t have a proper HDMI slot and no audio was passed through.

Wednesday, I found an adapter that WAS supposed to do the job for Macs of the age of mine. Except that the company making them had stopped making them. However, I found one on Amazon and bought it. It’s “on its way” now. Should be here by Monday but I’m hoping Friday – then I can try it at the weekend!

In the process of trying to make the sound work on Monday, I found, on Tuesday night, that one of my programs wouldn’t work anymore. After hunting around a bit, I decided to re-instal it. So that was that.

Except, on Wednesday night, I found that, as a result of my re-installation, Firefox wasn’t working properly and what-seemed-like-spam pages kept coming up. After much pratting around, I found the solution. Let’s hope that the new adapter I’m going to be getting doesn’t end up messing up other things on my computer. It’s not that I can’t fix it, it’s just that everything then takes so much longer.

It will be nice if we can watch films in the lounge, especially for Christmas!

Rubbing along, sometimes more like a cheesgrater rub!

“Tell me when you’re ready.”

I had started to take the glasses out of the cupboard. We’re putting some place mats into the cupboards so the glasses an sit on top of them.

Can I be really honest? I don’t know why. For me, to have theses place mats in means that we just have something else to clean. But, it will make him happy so it’s OK.

I clear the first shelf of the cupboard. I haven’t shouted that I’m ready yet. I want to clear the whole cupboard first.

I start on the second shelf.

He arrives, with cloth and ammonia to clean. He sits in front of the pen cupboard, right in my way.

So then he starts handing me stuff to put on the table temporarily. I am, just a little, fucked off by this. I hold my tongue but, for a moment or two, I think about going somewhere else. To not be there. FFS – say one thing and do another! It drives me mad. But not so much, as long as I don’t react.

Then he cleans all the shelves, then adjusts the top one so we can put the wine glasses at the top. Then the place mats go in and then I start handing the glasses back.

There are an extra four place mats for us to use on the table. They match the upholstery of the sofas and are the other shade of blue than the seats in the dining room. Now, much later, he has laid the table. There are the place mats and a couple of candles, a slightly darker shade. I must admit, it all looks rather nice.

Earlier still, we had been for breakfast – the rain is persistent, constant and heavy. We go to the supermarket. I had nearly said that I would go later but, as it was raining so much, I thought better of it. In the supermarket, after a few minutes, he tells me to go and do my own thing. I guess he finds me as frustrating as I find him. That doesn’t make it better, of course. I worry a little about our lack of synergy . I mean to say, on a practical level, day to day, we don’t really have the same ideas or, if we do, we would go about them in a different way. And, yet, we kind of rub along together quite well. Later, in the supermarket, when we go to scan our items through, I tell him to pack. He doesn’t want to. I explain that I don’t want him complaining like last time so he must pack. He does but grudgingly. However, this time, at least he couldn’t blame me for anything going wrong! Not that it did, of course. After all, he had packed everything :-)

And so, tonight, we have our second dinner party together. There’s some chickpea soup that he’s done, the fishcakes and then a lemon meringue pie which I have made because one of the guys likes it so much and made a specific request that I make it.

Everything (more or less) is ready to go and we’re three hours away from them arriving so it should be fairly easy. I hope.

A Policeman Calls

The old, Art Deco-style phone by my bed rings.

I pick it up. The mouthpiece is large and made of metal. It’s quite a beautiful example of its kind.

“Excuse me, sir,” the mans voice says, “this is the police. The alarm appears to be going off downstairs.”

I remember now, F had told me a few days ago that the alarm had gone off and he had had to go down. In the end there wasn’t anyone there but, you never know.

“Are you here?” I ask the policeman. He has a typical policeman voice. A little bit “west country” – Devon, Somerset, perhaps?

“No,” he replies. “We’ll only come if there is a real problem.”

I suppose I’d better go down then, I think. But F is away and what if there are people down there. I look across at the door. It is dark; it is the middle of the night. I see the shirts hanging on the bedroom door handle. I know they’re shirts but, for a moment, they could be a person, crouched down. I knew it was only shirts and I knew that if I looked at them, they would look like someone was there. My heart is thumping like crazy. I really don’t want to go down and see if anyone is there.

I am surprised that the dogs are not awake and by the side of the bed. It seems a bit strange.

I now need a drink. That means going to the kitchen. I don’t want to go to the kitchen either.

I lie back down, as if to go to sleep. My heart is still thumping like it wants to leave my chest. I realise now, some other things are strange.

Let’s take the phone call. The guy was an English policeman. He spoke in English!

Then, of course, the fact that I don’t have an Art Deco style phone by the bed (it’s in the hallway, not connected and, anyway, has a black Bakelite handset.)

Then, in addition, there is no downstairs!

But, at some point, this changed from being some sort of nightmare to real life. In fact, it became real life just before I looked across at the door at the shirts.

So the bit about F having had a call from the police before was obviously not true.

Or was it?

Changing Address

“Don’t you have any Italian document?” he asks me.

I hand over a couple of pieces of paper – one is the original codice fiscale document (a little like the National Insurance number in the UK – I only have the document because the card never came) and the health document which I renewed two days ago.

These are, apparently, not really what he wants. He grabs for my passport (which I had given to him and why he asked the original question) and opens it again.

“I need a photocopy,” he states.

“I don’t have a photocopy,” I reply.

“I need a photocopy,” he states again. I feel somewhat exasperated. I suspect this is the end of the whole deal. I am now prepared to walk away and forget the whole thing. Perhaps he can sense this?

Of course, it hadn’t really started that well from the time I got into the room. There were two “ladies” at reception. I say “ladies” when, in fact, they were there to obfuscate.

“I need to change my address,” I say.

“Why?”

Well, to be honest, I really don’t know what to say. The reason “why” is not that clear. It is, really, because, two days ago, when I renewed my health card, I explained that I had never received the card. The “Mrs Bucket”, who was actually very nice (apparently, she had a daughter-in-law whose mother was English and she came from the next town to where I work – so she was coming into Milan to work as I was going out to work!, which she seemed to like.) She had explained that, even though they had a note of my address (both the old and now new) on THEIR computer system, the address the card was sent to was the one on the computer system that held the “living at” address. Being a different system (even though the two systems were connected) meant dealing with a different governmental department in a different building in a completely different part of town.

Obviously.

We are in Italy.

So, back to this morning. I tried to explain that the lady at the Health Department had told me to come here to change my address.

“But, haven’t you changed it at the Council Offices,” she said or questioned (but it seemed more of an order, to be honest.)

“No,” was my simple answer. Did she not understand that I was British and stubborn and absolutely, completely, utterly fed up with this Italian need to do this bureaucracy stuff?

She did some sort of huge sigh, without actually sighing. He whole body seemed to let out air as if she were a tyre with a huge puncture – but just for a moment before it all seemed to come back in again. She gave me a form and a ticket.

I guessed that I needed to fill in the form, which I did. I waited for my number to come up. I went to the cubicle number 7, as instructed. I smiled at the guy.

Nothing.

I waited for a few seconds for him to speak; to offer me a chair; something.

Nothing.

I went to sit down.

“Tell me,” he said. That’s not as bad as it seems as this is often the “greeting” in Italy. It’s not as rude as it seems. They don’t really DO a “Good morning, how can I help you?” with a smile so broad they look like they’re auditioning to be one of those synchronised swimmers.

I gave him my filled in form saying that I needed to change my address because the lady at the Health Office had told me I needed to do this.

He asked me for documentation and that’s when I gave him my passport and that’s where we came in at the beginning.

I have to be honest here – when I had filled in the form, I had, besides asking for them to change the address, also ticked the box for a replacement Health Card AND for a replacement Codice Fiscale Card. This was three things on one form and, as I was filling it in, I had a thought of coming across some lady clerk who was going to put red pen through two of the options and tell me that I needed a different form for each request.

He didn’t do this.

But, back to where we were. He had asked for a photocopy and I said i didn’t have one. He had asked again and I was on the verge of saying “Forget it!” and walking out.

“You can get a photocopy done just outside. I’ll wait here whilst you do it.” Suddenly, he seemed much nicer.

“It’s OK, you can leave your stuff here,” he suggests. He means, of course, the bits of paper.

I go to the photocopier. Some little old lady is photocopying a lot of things.

“Do you need just one,” she asks.

“Yes,” I reply.

She lets me interrupt her. I ask her for help as I do it as I know she will like it. She helps me. While we’re waiting for the photocopy to be done she asks if I’m German. I reply that I’m not but that I am English.

“Strange,” she says, “you sound as if you have a German accent.” I’m not sure what to say to this. I tell her that, no, I am properly English. I think her very much for letting me interrupt her photocopying to get my one copy.

I go back to the cubicle where the man has been typing stuff in to the computer. I give him the photocopy.

“It won’t work,” he says, alluding to the computer system. I don’t really understand what he’s talking about. But it seems he can’t order a replacement Codice Fiscale Card.

Then he works it out. He has to change my address first. Once he’s done that, everything is fine and everything can be done.

After all, it wasn’t too stressful. And i am more used to just saying “no” to them these days and finding that there is a way round it, after all!

The weekend

Well, the weekend was lovely and not so lovely.

The visit to the cemetery was made on the Saturday, 1st November, which I thought was the Day of the Dead. I didn’t go. The Day of the Dead is, in fact, the 2nd – but they didn’t go then. The 1st is All Saints Day.

And the weather was glorious, all weekend.

But, I didn’t go (to the cemetery) because I felt rather crappy and constantly cold. So I don’t really know what it was all like. Still, there’ll be another time, I’m sure.

F realised how bad I felt by Saturday evening and, from then on, drove and made sure I was OK, bless him. He drove back on Sunday afternoon (for which I was grateful) and then insisted I went to bed when we got home. I half-watched a couple of films and then went to sleep.

He was rather sweet all evening, coming in to check on me and offer cups of tea and stuff. He insisted on taking my temperature and decided I had a bit of a temperature. He didn’t want me to go into work but he knew I would anyway.

So, here I am, still feeling fairly crappy but it’s OK. If I can get a good night’s sleep tonight, I’m sure it will all be much better in the morning.

What? No Christmas stamps??

This weekend, as F is away for the whole weekend (working), one of the plans is to write Christmas Cards.

I know, it seems too early but I want to be ahead this year rather than rushing at the last minute. Also because it means that, should I not have enough cards, I can ask F to get a few more.

There’s only one, slight, problem.

Every year, as those of you who are regular visitors will know, I get hold of the Italian Christmas stamps for that year. They only ever produce two, one religious and one not. I normally select the non-religious stamp and make up any difference with other stamps.

This year, unfortunately, I may not be able to get stamps from my usual source so I thought I would try to order from the local (to work) post office. Obviously, in the UK, this is easy and really not a problem. Here, in Italy, it may be more difficult. First, I will have to convince the staff that I need to order them and then they will have to actually make the order. Being Italy, this might involve a lot of paperwork and, therefore, the staff are likely to be unsupportive towards me. the last time I went to the post office, to send a card to a friend, they simply wouldn’t let me send it recorded delivery and, unlike me, I gave up on trying to persuade them. Every Christmas, sending cards and presents is always met with some unexpected new problem (using exactly the same two women at the post office!)

But there’s also a “new” snag. The snag is that, on the posteitaliane website, there are no Christmas stamps yet! Every year (except one), the Christmas stamps are shown by now with a date of release (usually October). Only one year was the release later in November.

So, I’m a little worried that my traditional card sending with the Italian Christmas stamp won’t happen this year.

We shall see, I guess. I will contact my usual source, just in case there is something I can do. I’ll let you know.