On the funny side: For whatever reason that is incomprehensible to me,
the Boy has managed to bang his head on some surface in the kitchen every
single day this week right before leaving for school. I have no idea how he
does it, one minute we’re all: ok, shoes on, finish your juice, let’s go! And
then: whack! And screaming and wailing.
Yesterday he banged his head on the counter, today he banged his head on
the door. He was walking backwards. That could be why he didn’t see the door…
but why was he walking backwards? Every day, I tell you. I just don’t get it,
and I hope it’s just this week or his teachers are going to call social
services on me.
On the frustrating side: One of the reasons I stopped working when I had
kids was because I was exhausted at the idea of yelling and coaxing people to
do stuff all day only to come home and have to do the same thing with my kids.
Because, honest to God, I don’t understand how people in Italy work. We’re
buying a house, in point of fact we’re buying a stable from the 1600’s and
converting it to a house… this actually sounds way more historic and romantic
than what it is in reality. We’ve been having some delays on the actual buying
part but as the bureaucracy in Italy is biblically long we’ve decided to go
ahead and get all the plans ready for the restructuring and hand them in to the
proper authorities so they can take their sweet time to give us approval and
let us start the works. What I don’t understand is this: I’ve been having to
call the architect to task weekly, he makes excuses, he sheepishly tells me he’s
sorry and there will be no more delays, he calls my husband – because apparently
I’m too scary – when a delay that’s not his fault happens, today after I called him he told me that the plans I was supposed to see yesterday will be ready on Monday. I don’t get it, I’m not his
mother and yet I feel like it, with the coaxing, the wheedling, the negotiating
and the yelling. And this is what any type of construction work (or really any
type of work where you need to get anything done) is like in Italy. Why can’t
people just do what they say they’ll do? I’m already exhausted at the idea of
what the next few months of my life will be like.
REVISION:from the comments and emails I’ve received it appears that the
following is indeed not a reaction restricted to Italians, therefore, I
apologize to Italians for my rash words and would ask my readers to mentally
substitute “some people” where they read “Italians”. I don’t want to change the
text itself because otherwise none of this would make any sense (if it even did
to begin with). Thanks!
Fair warning: this is going to be one of those posts where I rag on
Italians, so if you’re Italian please stop reading. I realize that I’m half
Italian, married to an Italian and live in Italy, but sometimes the cultural difference
is just too much for me and my head wants to explode so I vent on here, this
is, in fact, why I started this blog.
So anyway, I’ve mentioned
before that the husband and I are going through a rough patch and we’re at a
place right now where we don’t know what will be of our future or whether we
even have a future together or not. This has, of course, come up with people,
granted not an awful lot, because thankfully very few people we know in “real
life” actually read this blog, but the most significant question that any
Italian has asked me as soon as they heard we were thinking of separating was
“but what are you going to do about the house?”, this from my therapist, to
friends, to family members.
It’s a fucking house. Ask me how we’re doing, ask me what we’re doing
about the kids, but don’t ask me about the house, because that is so far down
my list of what’s important right now that it absolutely boggles my mind to
think that anyone would be worried about it.
Yes, we’re buying a house, but guess what, the kids and I are going to
be wanting to not live under a bridge
if the husband and I separate. And if, in the future, it turns out the house is
too big, or I want to move somewhere else or whatever we’ll sell the house, or
we’ll rent it, we’ll do something about the house, but it’s so not a priority
when you’re thinking of breaking up your family. How can they think it would
Hello dear friends and welcome to coffee! We’re having a really quick
coffee today, more like a one sip espresso standing at the bar counter Italian
style. Well, maybe we can sneak in a mini-croissant while we’re at it too…
We’ve been busy, busy, busy lately. We’ve finally spent the weekend at
the beach apartment and this afternoon we’re taking yet another trip to Ikea to
get some of the last odds and ends we kept forgetting. Our best friends from
Milan came to visit us there for the day on Saturday and it was heart-warming
as always to see our five kids (soon to be six kids) playing together since we
all met in our coupled but unmarried living la vida loca partying days.
Our nanny-less month and some is proceeding more smoothly than we had
any right to expect, thanks, in part, to a wonderful young lady that works at
the girl’s daycare who occasionally babysits for us. Last week the Husband and
I went out for sushi en tête à tête to talk about “our situation” and tomorrow
we get to not get divorced directly
at Ikea since we’re not bringing the kids with us. So, yeah, she’s a lifesaver.
Also, we realized although we love our kids to pieces we would not survive
without the occasional childfree moment or two.
Thirty seconds after this was taken she was butt starking nekkid in the water.
yeah, him too and all their friends
we even found and carried over a bench "for the pregnant lady"
In other news, the biannual (completely useless, and monumentally
annoying) time change which here in Italy happened this past weekend is totally
kicking my butt so I’ve been a walking zombie the past couple of days, both
mentally and, alas, physically, but I’m confident we’ll all be over it soon
(until October when, inexplicably, we have to do this all over again). Also,
I’ve finally succumbed to peer and internet pressure and have started reading
the Hunger Games. I gotta tell you, I probably did not pick the best emotional
state in which to begin the book as I’ve been intermittently crying every other
page. I really hope it gets better, or I may have to sue the author for the
worsening of my depression… or something.
"you wanna go in the water?" - "yeah, I kind of do..."
The Husband impersonating Lawrence of Arabia
Ok, all done, hope you don’t get too jittery from the espresso! And
don’t forget to say hi to our hostess Amy. Toodles.
A little over a week ago the husband and I sat down and talked about
what we’d both been thinking but hadn’t had the guts to actually put on the
table, the s word. Separating, separation, breaking up our family.
Rationally I know that it is very common, there’s no stigma, lots of
people do it because marriages don’t always work out, and let’s face it, back
in the “good ole days” we didn’t have the option and now we do. But still, it
isn’t like going out to the store for a minute, a lot of thought and
consideration are involved, are necessary in fact so that’s what we’ve been
doing. Thinking and considering the actual, practical implications of a separation.
Where would we live? When do we need to involve lawyers? How do we work out the
logistics of the children? How is he going to survive not seeing them every
day? Do we still raise them in this rural backwater if only one of us actually
needs to be here day in and day out? We’re buying a house, a rather large
house, do we keep it and go ahead with the renovations, do we divide it in two
houses, do we sell it and start over?
Taking a minute (or ten) and actually working these things out in our
heads resulted in not an awful lot of fighting and bickering over the
furniture, as one would assume, but in a rearing of our stubborn streak. Really
seriously thinking about breaking up our marriage took us back to why we got
married in the first place. We started putting each other first. I can’t move
back to America, not because he would stop me if that’s what I wanted, but
because I wouldn’t want to be that far away from him. When the Husband got ill
I had to imagine what my life would be like without him and now I don’t want to
live my life without him in it whether we are married or not.
The reality of separating made us nicer to each other, it made us more
caring, ironically it brought us closer together. I honestly don’t know what we’re
doing but I don’t think we’re ready to give up on each other. The Boy came up to me the other day after I put him in time out for
something or other and said: Mama don’t be mad at me, we’re a family. A family.
I don’t know how or if we’re going to
work it out, but I guess we’re not done fighting. I just hope it doesn’t kill
Hello dear friends, and welcome to coffee! Today I’ll be having a green
tea as I’m on one of my “it’s spring, time to detox” kicks, which, much like
the weather is a fickle friend but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
I have a love/hate relationship with spring. The weather drives me nuts,
whenever I leave the house I look like I’m off on a trip as I’m usually
carrying at least two jackets and a sweater per person, you just never know how
it’s going to change from one minute to the next (just this morning it was hot
and humid then chilly with some wind, then overcast, then sunny and now it
looks like rain).
My vegetable garden makes sad eyes at me whenever I look out the kitchen
window, probably wondering when I’m going to start fertilizing and planting and
what not, but the likelihood of at least one more snowstorm is holding me off
And the pollen, I swear the pollen is trying to kill me. The one thing I
truly, sorely miss about living in a big, polluted city is not having any
allergies as green areas are kept at a minimum in Milan.
Of course, I also love the colors, and the pretty pink flowers blooming
on all the trees on my street, and alternating my dark and dreary wool sweaters
with my bright and happy cotton ones, and the smell of renewal and possibility
in the air that just says spring to me.
Pretty flowers, also, five minutes before taking this picture it was sunny. Crappy spring weather!!
I’m also in full spring-cleaning mode, part of the reason is that my
live-in housekeeper/nanny is enjoying her hard earned holidays back home with
her family. I thought this month and a half without her would be pure hell, but
I actually enjoy having full rein of my house again. Sure, we’ve had many an
organizational bleep as I’m used to having someone trustworthy to watch the
kids whenever I need it, but apart from that it’s been easier than expected.
In fact, I’d been trying to talk her into using more “environmentally
friendly” cleaning products, mostly because I’m extremely sensitive to chemical
smells and most traditional cleaning products make me nauseous (I’m not
exaggerating, also, it’s a great excuse to have a housekeeper!). Of course, she
refuses saying that vinegar and water just don’t get the job done. I was on the
fence because, well, as she does most of the cleaning I’m not going to get into
an argument with her over it (I swear, it’s like I’m living with my mother!)
also, I didn’t have enough experience cleaning over a long period of time with
homemade products to judge. So I went out and bought some cute, colorful spray
bottles and have set them up in the two main bathrooms we use and the kitchen.
Well, you know what? Vinegar and water kicks ass. Seriously. Also, the kids can
play with it with no adverse effects. In fact, yesterday they cleaned the
windows and they thought they were
playing. How awesome is that!!
These spray bottles just make me happy.
I’ve been experimenting with essential oils to cut down the vinegar
smell, because the husband complained that the kids smelled like salad the
other day, so I’ve been using varying combinations of rosemary, eucalyptus, tea
tree, lavender, sweet orange and rosewood essential oils to find the perfect
smell and as a bonus the first three essential oils are also anti-bacterial.
Ok, after this little green propaganda moment I’m off to clean the
bathrooms, and I’m surprisingly excited about it!
Don’t forget to go visit our hostess Amy for coffee too, please!
Once you’re all grown up you rarely think about being a kid, and
actually when you’ve got kids of your own you tend to concentrate on the good
and bad things of having kids. This
week though, thanks to Stasha (aka Northwestmommy) at The Good Life, I’ve
decided to concentrate on the good things about being a kid. Both from my own, alas far-gone, experience and from
what I see in my own children.
Ten great things about being a kid
1. Running is fun, not exercise
2. Sleeping in the afternoon is not only encouraged but celebrated
3. Food can be smeared, squished, thumped and ingested, both separately
and all at once
4. Staying home and watching tv all day when you’re sick
5. Watching tv all afternoon because Mama’s sick or tired or irritable
6. Thinking it’s acceptable to throw a fit upon sighting broccoli
7. Going to the grocery store dressed as Spiderman any day of the week
and thinking you’re the coolest thing since sliced bread
8. Sitting on the swing for hours with your eyes closed while someone
else pushes you
9. Free cuddles whenever you want them
10. Crying, a hug and a kiss make everything better. Everything.
“Adults are just obsolete children and to hell with them” Dr. Seuss. How
often I agree!
Hello dear friends, and welcome to coffee. Or rather, if you’re in my
time zone, welcome to a pre-bed herbal tea. I’m not a lot of fun to be around
lately, which is why I’ve been participating in Amy’s virtual coffee so
sporadically, but I miss catching up with everyone so here I am, late, but
Since I’ve been mired down in a bog of bad moods, unhappy thoughts and
adult complications of our own creation today I decided to concentrate on the
happy, because, thankfully there’s always some happy to be found somewhere, all
we have to do is look for it. So tonight I’m counting my blessings and the
reasons to be HAPPY!
I’m happy for this glorious spring-like weather we’re having. The snow
is mostly melted, we can play outside again and the days are getting longer.
Today we even managed to go to the park until almost 7pm. Bliss.
I’m happy that the Boy now seems to really enjoy going to preschool,
he’s opening up and become very sociable and more confident.
I’m happy that the Girl is starting to slowly tone down her epic
tantrums. I don’t know if it’s something I’ve been doing, or if she’s gaining
more control as she gets older, but we’re ALL happy about this, neighbors and
grocery store cashiers included.
I’m happy that the Husband and I are managing to be civil and gracious
to each other and that whatever happens the fact that we’re friends and parents
will hopefully continue to stay in our forethoughts.
I’m happy that I’m starting to get a handle on my insano-moods lately,
without anti-depressants for now, thanks to a reader’s kind email that put me
on the right track. Things like this remind me why blogging is so amazing.
And lastly I’m quite happy that this day is almost over, the kids are
sleeping peacefully and I’m in bed fixin’ to watch one of my shows and go to
sleep relatively early. Meeting for coffee in the evening isn’t half bad, is
it, and tomorrow’s another day, full of possibilities!
started this series of posts on how the Husband’s illness affected us I never
thought I’d end up where I am right now. I actually thought I’d be at the
opposite of where I am right now. Cause where I am right now is at the dashing
of all my hopes and dreams. The other day I mentioned a quote by Dr Seuss from
Oh, the places you will go, if only we knew when we embarked on this voyage the
places we would go. We would at least have tried to veer off course, perhaps.
The Husband and I, we’ve been off for some time, possibly since a little while
before his illness. When I think back to when he was first diagnosed, how we
honestly thought it would bring us closer together, how such a serious hurdle
to overcome together would help us put aside all our pettiness and it would
bridge whatever divide had started to come between us, how silly of us. It did,
of course, for a time, it brought us back together, we clung to each other like
a drowning man to a life raft. And yet here we are discussing the dreaded S
word, the one that precedes the much more final D word, the point of no return.
lay in bed next to the Boy and all I could feel was guilty. The endless debate
in my head: how can I seriously consider tearing apart his stability, pulling
the rug out from under him, how do I break up his home? And yet, how do I not?
What am I teaching him, we’re his example of love, of companionship, of
partnership, we’re teaching him how to relate to others, is this really what I
want for him?
The Husband and I, we’re civil, most of the time, we’re friends, we talk and get
along but we also hate each other, we’re mean, and unpleasant, we’re not really
good examples. We could go on like this for years, most likely, but why? Why
should we, when we still remember what it was like to love each other, to like each other?
know where this is going, but I do know it can’t stay like this, because if no
one is happy then everybody loses.
the last living with leukemia post I’ll write, because it’s heartbreaking to me
that we managed to avoid the one and only really terrifying ending that could
have come from this illness, that of a life without the Husband, ironic then,
that now I may still be living my
life without the Husband.
remembered a little bit of who I was, I remembered my thing. You know that thing, that thing that
makes you feel better, that get’s your juices flowing, that amps your energy,
for some people it’s running, for some people it’s yoga… everyone has their
thing. My thing was dancing. Not professionally or anything, probably not even
very well in fact, but that was my thing.
As a child
and tween I took the obligatory dance classes, anything from ballet, to modern
dance, to flamenco. As an angsty teen I’d sit in my room with the stereo as
loud as my parents could stand it and dance around, and around, and around… for
hours. As I got older and more disciplined I went back to the dance studio and
pliéed my way to something akin to a nervous breakdown. I flitted from class to
class, spending time and money I really didn’t have as a college student,
trying everything you can imagine, classical ballet, contemporary dance, modern
dance, even something similar to African tribal dancing simply called Afro. All
this of course seasoned with a healthy side of clubbing on the weekends, where
I was probably the only one actually there to boogie rather than the drinking
and hooking up that normally goes on at that age.
And then I
got older, work got in the way, and relationships… because what guy in a
relationship is going to take you dancing? And life in general, it gets in the
way of what we really like to do. And then you start feeling self conscious and silly, at 36 I’ve
managed to lose the simple pleasure of being silly. I get embarrassed, I feel
like an idiot at the idea of jumping around the room with volume up, I’m too
old, I’m a mother… I don’t think twice about prancing around my living room,
neighing, with both kids on my back as I pretend to be a horse, but dancing, that’s too embarrassing. How ridiculous.
How sad. When did I start thinking I was too old to dance? When does anyone get
too old to dance?
biblically long preamble to say that today I got in the car and Stand by Lenny
Kravitz was playing and I got that giddy feeling one gets when the endorphins
start pumping, I laughed out loud, and I imagined myself dancing (I was
driving, I couldn’t actually dance), I even bounced around in my seat a little
bit. And it was fun. And it made me happy, well happier than I’ve been lately
anyway. When did I get too old for fun?
So I got
home and I downloaded the song and I got the kids and we played it really loud
and danced around the living room. I could see my reflection in the windows, I
looked idiotic, I was embarrassed, I wasn’t sure what to do with all those
limbs flailing about haphazardly. But it was sort of fun.
And my two
kids, they had no compunction whatsoever about dancing around and being silly,
more proof, if any was needed, that children are so much smarter than adults.
up the volume! (I linked up the Glee version of this song because I like this video better than the official Lenny Kravitz video, which is a bit ridiculous and won't let you concentrate on the music. Also here there are cute boys in suits dancing about.)