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July 29, 2012

The Guest Residence


The guest residence is inaugurated! Tested and approved, by our test sleepers from Germany!

The bed is comfortable, the shower works, and no mosquito bites :-)

July 24, 2012

a not so lucky day

Yesterday, after the storm, two "minor" accidents happened in our family, independently from each other, at different times of the day and at different sights.

In the morning, my mother-in-law tried to cut bread for breakfast. Italian bred, especially if it's older than a day, can be very hard. Very. It was a tiny rest of bread she wanted to cut, and the knife slipped, and she cut her finger, deep. In the afternoon, she decided to show the wound to a doctor. He send her for stitching to the hospital in Vibo Valentia. It was late evening when she was waiting to get three stitches.

About the same time, CC played football with our son, between the dining table and the kitchen, where I was cleaning dishes. I had given up to stop them kicking a tiny ball and using a wall as goal. All in a sudden son was screaming and crying on the floor. When I turned around, in the same second, there was a power failure, and we were in the dark. Son still crying, screaming. CC asking for candles, an alarm was ringing, and I tried to find my way to somewhere... As the laundry was drying inside (it was raining all day), I had to go the other way around the table - and stumbled over son, who was still lying on the floor.

What we did not know at that time, and only learned the day after, is that his tiny toe was broken! CC kept asking for a candle, and I was surprised how unprepared we were. No torches or candles... And then something funny happened. Our nine year old, injured and crying, on the floor, advised: "take the iPad, switch it on for light!"

I am still impressed, how he was able to have such a clear mind in all that chaos, and helping his disoriented patents out of the dark.

After CC had switched on the iPad, that was on the table, I grabed my iphone (sorry, it sounds like product placement) and used the app "flashlight" (very useful indeed!). I then managed to find a candle and even a lighter. After we had candles burning, the power came back. And the alarm stopped ringing. But son was still on the floor.

As it was already very late, I carried the patient, who was not able to walk by himself, upstairs. I gave him some paracetamol (I am always traveling with a little pharmacy), red him good-night stories, and around 11 pm we switched off the lights.

About the same time my mother-in-law left the hospital, her finger stitched.

And this is were we went first in the morning, today. To the "Ospedale di Vibo Valentia", where some decades ago, the patient's father, CC was born.

I have to say, our run through emergency, x-ray to the orthopedic doc (with patient on wheel chair) was quiet efficient. It seems kids have priority. Unfortunately in front of the door of the orthopedic there were a lot of kids and teenagers waiting with all kind of injuries.

When it was our turn, the friendly doctor pulled the tiny toe in the right position (the patient's screaming scared others waiting in queue outside), and applied a bandage.

We have to come back for check-up next week, we were told. And we need to get wooden shoe(s?) for the patient. Since it was lunch time, and shops are closing, and we were getting hungry, we went to "la nonna" of the patient, the one with the three stitches, as spaghetti vongole were in the making.

I am curious to see these wooden shoes. I have a bet running with CC whether the patient needs one shoe or one pair.

July 23, 2012

A Rainy Day


 
Tonight, there was a big thunder storm. Directly above our house... at least it sounded like it. And it sounded like in a bad sound study, too loud, too much echo, unreal - but still scary! Lot's of lightening. Power failure included at some point. And lots of rain and wind from Northeast.

Usually these summer storms are heavy and short. But even now, 2 pm in the afternoon, the sky is still grey and temperature low. And laundry has to dry inside, as raindrops keep falling...

It is good for nature, it was not raining here for many weeks. They say, it has not rained since May! And I am spending a cosy and relaxed (even more relaxed than usual) day at home.

The flowers (above) are from CC, who cannot sit still at home like me, so he went to the fruit and veggie vendor. Oh, and they are not for me, they are for his mamma, to be cooked for lunch. They are zucchini blossoms and will be fried in a pan. It's an appetizer, called  fior di zucchine.

So, while CC and Angelo had to discover the countryside, I spent time with our son, playing, painting, reading, browsing the Internet, and blogging (while CC is on a mission, I can use his laptop).

I rediscovered some of my interior books, like "Italian Living", which unfortunately is not available via Amazon anymore. But I found "Italian Rustic" instead, which seems quiet interesting if you are renovating a home. No matter if in Italy or in the US, the Italian craftsmen techniques seem well explained to DIY.

I added the book to my blogroll as well as the "Bergamotto di Calabria" (Eau de Toilette) by Aqua di Parma. I am sure you can get it cheaper somewhere else than via Amazon. And maybe you prefer the other scents of the Blue Mediterraneo line better, at least they all have great names (great marketing): Mandorlo di Sicilia, Fico di Amalfi, Arancia di Capri (getting hungry?), Mirto di Panarea and last but not least Bergamotto di Calabria - a typical product of Calabria. All these scents sound and smell like sunshine and holiday! - I also love bergamotte marmalade, and latte di mandorla (almond milk), and onions from Tropea (but not as a scent!) - Mmmh, it is still raining...

I also finished a book, that I cannot recommend. In German it's called "Ein Haus in Italien" and in English "A Valley in Italy" (by Lisa St. Aubin). I bought it as I was interested in reading another house renovation story in Italy. The author is a strange woman, who for sure can write, but among others, she needs two "au pair" girls for her six year old son and a housekeeper who prepares his school bag in the morning... waste of time to say more about her attitude (if interested, read the low rated reviews on amazon). But more disappointing than her lack of parenting for me was that the lack of description of the renovation project. It was large a large project, since it was a big palazzo with almost three times more windows that we had to do. But she does not only once say something about her flooring, wall colors, tiles, how they choose a kitchen, or where she found bathroom equipment. At the end she builds a small chicken house. The only thing she seems to have been creatively involved. - Well, time for me to write about my project! ;-)

Oh, yes, I published a book already! I forgot to mention. And it is about our renovation, 2006-2012. And it was dedicated to Angelo, and his birthday present. More about it another day, promised.

July 19, 2012

Buongiorno di Pizzo

We are here, in Bella Pizzo, already in our second week, and I have not posted anything here on the blog yet. It is more a technical issue. First I could not connect to the Internet. And even with my mobile phone I constantly lost network in our house with many one meter thick walls.

Until one sunny afternoon, when the Irish gentleman, who is Pizzitano since many years and chances to meet him in one of the bars in the piazza are good, told me that almost every bar in the piazza has wifi, and he knows all the different passwords from "franco62" to "iloveicecream".

Maybe I should sit in the piazza and write a post on the iPad... But what about photos? For me a post needs at least one nice photo. May I invite you to check our pics and posts on FB at www.facebook.com/PalazzoPizzo instead.

But what's up in Pizzo? Or our house?

Not sure where to start. For the insiders who spent here last summer, I would say, the pizzeria La Ruota, after 8 month of closure, has reopened at the Marina and Sasa La Divina is singing again in piazza every Wednesday night. (I still wonder if she is a twin sister or brother of our electrician.)

Since La Ruota was closed on the piazza, because the whole palazzo is under renovation (will we see another nice hotel?), the restaurant at the corner, Le Castelane, started offering pizza too, and is doing well.

Next to the gelateria and Bar Ercole, a prodotti tipici shop has opened. Le Chicche di Calabria has a few cute tables on the piazza where you can eat different (cold) specialities of Calabria, salami, cheese, sweets and of course taste wine.... Last night the triple grappa was too much for me...

Angelo still comes every morning to our house. First he fixed a window, then he lent me his Bosch sander. When he does not appear until 10am I already worry he might have felt off his Vespa... Yesterday, he bought new material to fix again part of the vaulted stone ceiling in our residence. Today he repainted a bathroom wall. We have some walls where the paint comes off again. In some areas it seems humidity with unknown source, in other areas it seems just a material problem.

My first days here, I was occupied with vacuum cleaning, grinding garden chairs, and painting those. While vacuum cleaning, I discovered a lake of water below one sofa. I thought of a broken tube... But it was condense water "only"! We thought of acquiring a "deumificatore".

My garden chair project took several days, because I only could work on the balcony as long as there was shadow - I've got a sunburn after my first visit to the beach. I thought I could sunbath like the Italians, and additionally did NOT use my 50+ suncream...

Now, my tiny chair project is accomplished, my skin feels better and I can go to the beach again.

Another big project however, is on hold: Pizzo harbor. The wind blows fine dust on our balconies and through the windows from the deserted sandy dessert around the unfinished harbor basin below the house. The new major wants to continue the project, but people say the commune has no money left.

Finding: La Torta Belvedere tastes differently this summer. Maybe my gustatory sense has changed, maybe the recipe - unfortunately. Although, it makes the decision easier: tartuffo!

Recently, our neighbour has painted a wall connecting our houses in the same color, almost same color, as our facade. And I did not notice!

Sunday evening, I was invited to celebrate my neighbour's (another neighbour, and friend) birthday with a BBQ on the beach at the Marinella. Beside a few Italians, some originally from the North, I met an interesting international group of English, Irish, Dutch and American - all very nice people, and all in love with Pizzo.

Today, the tapissiere passed by to have a look at our chairs and sofa. We explained what we want and he gave us a price. Since he is busy and we expect friends, we decided to only let him work on the upholstery after our holiday.

After lunch, when we were thinking of a pisolino, two window makers arrived with a zanzariera, a moskito net frame for one of our windows.

Tonight, we plan to have dinner with my inlaws and a friend from Rome at San Domenico restaurant. It was our favorite last year. Looking forward! :-)