About bonnybard

A weaver of tales of truth and fiction.

Happy Birthday Darling Boy

This post is a month late, the Boy’s birthday is February 19th. I’m a terrible blogger / mother, but so far as I can ignore this blog for extended periods of time, I still can’t let a birthday go by unnoticed, the yearly letter unwritten, because my children are probably going to be the only two people in the world really interested in what I have to say, I’m mostly doing this for them and for myself so there are moments in time that can’t be ignored for this whole blog endeavor to make any kind of sense.

Anyway… here goes:

Happy Birthday Darling Boy, you are six years old. Six years old is so, so big! When I held you in my arms as a newborn I couldn’t even begin to fathom six years of being your mother. You are so grown up, that at times I hardly recognize you, you are so big and tall that I often wonder how on earth you managed to fit into my belly. You start elementary school this year and it feels like which school to send you is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. You are starting to want to be independent, you want to ride your bike around the block alone, and you want me to leave you at home when I go pick up your sister from her friend’s house, literally a 3 minute walk away. I constantly struggle with letting you spread your wings and my obsessive fear of some terrible tragedy befalling you, of the shady, lurking predator, of the car coming too fast, of the silly yet serious accident. How do I protect you while allowing you to learn independence from me? This is the modern mother’s biggest conundrum!

You are learning to write words, and one of your favorite pastimes is just copying words from whatever text you find, a while back you came to me, all proud of yourself, waving a piece of paper where you had copied all the words on the vacuum cleaner, of all things. You love watching leapfrog videos on words and letters and reading. My goal this year before you start school is to start teaching you to read in English. I wish I remembered how I learned to read in English, because it’s completely different from Italian, and I think it’s better for you to learn English first. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to do it, but I try my best!

You can now have a full conversation with me in English, which makes me so happy! You’re still shy around others, but it helps that many of your friends speak English to their parents too, so it’s not quite so weird.

You started playing soccer this year, you love it, it’s one of the few things you never ever complain about, especially since we bought you your first pair of indoor/synthetic grass cleats. You are so precise with all the footwork, you work really hard at it, and you run up and down the field like a maniac when you play a game. You’re still a little unsure about taking the ball and running with it, but you’ll get there!

We just finished the skiing season, as usual the first five weeks you’re super excited and can’t wait to get your skis on, and then the last few weeks it’s a battle of the wills to get you out of the house! But you’re a natural. This year, first lesson of the season, you put your skis on and you took of for the ski lift like a pro, on your own, no questions asked. You did not get your skiing abilities from me!

You are still the whiny willy of the family, when you’re tired or something makes you mad or upsets you, hoo boy! Let’s just say I sit back and let you rant, there have been times when you have gotten on a roll that you’ve ranted even half an hour none stop, pacing up and down the house, waving your arms, occasionally wailing and crying but mostly complaining about how unfair life is, how terrible being you is, and how horrid your parents and/or sister are. Let’s just say you have a flair for the dramatic. Thankfully these performances only happen every couple of months, and mostly you are a pretty easygoing guy. I guess you just occasionally need a good vent, and who can blame you.

You are still an awesome big brother, though you are starting to complain more when your sister gets on your nerves. I’m pretty sure things will be better once you’re in elementary school and not interacting so much on a daily basis. When she’s not around though you walk aimlessly around the house, bored out of your mind, cause you miss her.

I wish you would ask for cuddles more often, I try not to smother you, but sometimes you just look like you need them. I love that you always draw me with freakishly long arms, and when someone asks you to explain, you always answer that it’s because I give big hugs.

You are my favorite guy, you amaze me every day, you bring a smile to my face, a spring to my step, you make my heart sing, I love you miles and miles,

Mama

A little optimism this way comes…

There seems to be a lot going on extended family wise lately.  Birthdays, pregnancies, drama… All families have drama, I know, but my tolerance for it is getting shorter and shorter as the years go by. I’ve probably simply just had my fill of it, between the Girl’s birth, the Husband’s illness, the in-laws’ health and financial insanity, the nanny leaving us, we’ve had drama up the wazoo. And now, well, now, I just try to live my life as drama free as possible, if only other people’s drama would quit encroaching on my oasis of level-headed beatitude (or so I wish it were).

My Grandma turned one hundred and four years old yesterday. 104. Every birthday that goes by is more amazing than the last. Obviously, we went down to Sao Paulo (Brazil) for the celebration.

For the first time ever the Husband managed to join us. We were supposed to be there two weeks, one of which would have been at the beach but of course the Husband’s entirely too short umbilical cord with the office started tugging at him and we had to change our plans and only stay one week (office drama). It was fantastic, though, to spend a week in the sweltering heat of the Brazilian summer coming from the dead of the most annoying winter we’ve had here. We haven’t had much snow (other than, typically, on the day before we left for and the day we returned from Brazil) but everyone’s been crazy sick, for months, just one thing after the other. I was sick literally from January 1st until halfway through the trip, so a little over a month, with everything under the sun, from laryngitis to bronchitis to sinusitis with and without the sniffles, fever, etc,etc, and the kids right along with me. The only healthy member of the family, shockingly and happily, was the husband. God only knows how that happened.

Suffice it to say, I was thoroughly enjoying being healthy and in flip-flops, I had absolutely no desire to come back to the crappy weather we’ve been having in Italy, I even briefly considered mutinously (and passive-aggressively) “losing” our passports.

So back to my Grandma or Vovo as we call her in Portuguese, her birthday went by without a hitch, she had a great week, she was very lucid and communicative. We don’t really understand her much when she speaks, which is tied to her age, but she’s perfectly capable of making herself understood. She spent a fair amount of time sitting in the living room watching the kids playing and going through the picture albums I take her every year, she had fun at her party and had her fill of champagne. What more can we ask for?

And now we’re back, hoping that “The Money Pit”, i.e. the stupid stable we’re still renovating, will soon be finished (and by soon I mean before retirement), settling back into our routine of school, skiing, and surviving the winter blues. The days are finally getting longer, if not warmer, there’s still some sunlight when we leave the house at 5.30 for soccer, which makes a gigantic difference, as you really feel like you’re finally on the better side of winter (the one closest to the end).

I have a weird excitement this year of good things to come, I can almost smell spring, I can almost see the end of the money pit sucking away at all our money, I can see better health, better weather, better moods just beyond my fingertips, but so close, so close, I just need to stretch a little bit more.

I guess that’s the best part of our trip to Brazil, all it takes is a few days with family, with nice weather, with good food, with love and just like that a little optimism this way comes…

 

New Year, Old life

I like the idea of fresh starts. The new year, my birthday, a fresh season, heck, even a new month, these are all occasions that trigger expectations of new beginnings, renewed efforts, opportunities… but not this year. This year I don’t want to start out with resolutions, with hopeful plans of a new and improved me. This year I’ve decided to start out with more acceptance of the old me, the flawed, familiar me. I have a whole list of things I’d like to do, I’d like to finally completely eliminate processed foods and artificial products from my life, I’d like to exercise more, I want to get back in a dance studio, I want to be more patient, more fun, a better more engaging mother. I want to be a nicer wife, I want to have more sex, I want to lose lots and lots of weight, I want to be healthy, and less tired and less irritable… I could go on for pages…. But that’s exactly what I don’t want to do this year. I don’t want to start the year with a series of HAVE TOs.

In fact, I’m going to try to not make plans for “this year” at all. All I want is to be happy. Happy, right now, today. I don’t even want to worry about being happy tomorrow, or next month, or when spring arrives, I don’t want to worry at all, in fact.

I realize I’m not going to be able to eliminate worry from my life completely, I’m always going to worry about certain things, I just want to let go of some of the completely useless weight I’ve been carrying on my shoulders forever. I want my life to be lighter, both in weight and in intensity, I want it to be light as air, light as a bright sunny day, light as when you’re floating in the sea in the summer.

I’m a control freak, but I want to let go of some of the control. I’m tired of fighting to control the things I have no actual control over. I’m not saying I’m planning on becoming a completely laid back person. I’m not, I couldn’t, there’s not enough weed in the world for that… I’m always going to fight to get dinner on the table at 7 no matter what the circumstances are, but there are some fights I’m just not willing to fight anymore.

Being happy, happy with me, happy with life… it seems so simple and yet so daunting. So that’s my plan, that’s my goal, for right this minute and hopefully the next one and the next, but I’m not going to worry about them, I’m only thinking about right now for now.

 

So, friends, Happy New Year, may 2014 be whatever you want it to be, and may you always love yourself and be good to yourself… because, well, you’re with yourself a lot, aren’t you now…

Venice, eternally beautiful (or for however long it lasts)

Birthdays are pretty important to me. My mom always made a big deal of our birthdays, it was probably the time of year when she made the biggest effort when it came to us kids, it was our special day. This is in sharp contrast to the Husband’s family that made a huge gigantic, twenty really awesome presents per kid on Christmas, but not much fanfare at all on birthdays. All this to say, I like to make a big deal of birthdays, I mean before kids I would have week-long celebrations for my own birthday (just to give you a frame of reference). But, for whatever reason, I never seem to manage to make a big deal, or even any deal at all, of the Husband’s birthday, this year I completely forgot to even wish him a Happy Birthday until he hemmed and hawed for a while… poor thing. And this year, of all years, I should have remembered… because this year his birthday present from me was a weekend in Venice. I mean, we woke up in a hotel in Venice and quite literally the only reason we were there was for his birthday, and still I forgot. Not sure what deeply rooted psychological issue is going on there…

Anyway… I had good intentions… His birthday is so close to Christmas, and I’m so crap at celebrating it, that this year I organized a family trip so he would have something special. I had just read one of those apocalyptic meme’s on facebook about the ten (or twenty or something like that) places to visit before they disappeared forever and Venice was on the list. It’s relatively close to us (compared to, say, the great barrier reef in Australia) and it’s off season there now so hotels do not require one to take out a loan to pay for them as they do in high season.  It was a wonderful trip.

We drove an hour to Turin and took the train there for Venice. It was the kids’ first train trip and the excitement was palpable. I’m sure all the other passengers were just as thrilled. Everything was cause for wonder, especially the bathroom, as evidenced by the frequent trips we took there.

The hotel was great, I would definitely suggest it if you’re ever in that neck of the woods, Hotel Moresco. It’s a small, very new hotel, the staff is very helpful, the prices are average for Venice, the position is quite good without being too touristy, and the rooms are large, clean, and modern (also wifi is free, which is not standard in Italy).

We arrived Friday evening, Saturday was freezing cold and foggy, perfect for a romantic gondola ride…

And Sunday and Monday morning were beautiful and sunny. Overall, we had a wonderful, if slightly more expensive than expected, time. Even though we forgot to wish the Husband a Happy Birthday.

Christmas Cheer, oh dear!

Sometimes the United States infuriates me, seriously, what is with all the hullabaloo over Christmas, Xmas, Happy Holidays and whatnot spearheaded by my greatest source of hilarity and entertainment Fox news. Since when is there a war on Christmas? How can we even talk about war on Christmas in a place that starts playing Christmas music in all the stores of all the land right after (and oftentimes even right before) Halloween. Christmas cheer (or insanity, however you prefer to see it) is shoved down our collective throats two entire months before the festive event, and here we are debating whether or not there’s some sort of covert war on Christianity going on, in a country more fanatically Christian than the Vatican. It boggles the mind. Of course, Italy being second in the running for country with most pointless debates about useless things, I shouldn’t really be all that surprised or shocked at the US, I’m used to it after all.  Moving on.

This year was the in-laws’ turn for Christmas so we didn’t have too far to travel, in fact we took full advantage of their hospitality. The Husband dropped the kids off on Saturday and drove home after dinner. The five plus hour round trip drive though was worth it as we had a blissful two days of alone time at home. We finished shopping for gifts, we watched movies, we ate with nary a threat or chaos of any kind, we slept in, we went back to bed after breakfast just because we could. We missed the kids terribly and the house was too quiet, but as the husband remarked we talked more in those two days than we usually do in a week.

Christmas at my MIL’s is what Christmas should be, too much family, too much food, too much wine, too much yelling, too many presents and way, way too much chaos. It takes two full days to get over it, but it’s wonderful. I just wish my family could be there too.

Hopefully your Christmas was just as chaotic and joyful as ours, if not, next year you can come over here, the fun is guaranteed.

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas I still hope you had a wonderful Wednesday, cause it doesn’t have to be a holiday to make a day good and family members love each other a little more, even for just one day.

“Delayed Italian Thanksgiving”, entertaining, and a few considerations.

This post is woefully late… I forgot to put it up, but here it was all written and ready and I felt bad just letting it sit, forgotten, in a word document, so we’re taking a leap back in time today, to Thanksgiving. And my Christmas recap will go up later in the week (not tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to shock my readers with too much, too frequent content!). So off we head, back into fall, for a few minutes we can all be a month younger.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I don’t let the fact that I’m married to an Italian and living in Italy get in the way of celebrating it! Thankfully, I have a few other like-minded expat friends here so we all get together, with a few additions from other Anglo countries, and eat the hell out of a turkey. This year we held it at my house as the place we used to have it was unavailable, and as Murphy would have it, it was the first year that everyone invited showed up. Basically I had sixteen adults and fourteen kids in my house. Surprisingly, I learned quite a bit about myself by hosting this party.

First, and most importantly, I learned, or rather confirmed, that I’m an unbelievable control freak. My wonderful housekeeper, who offered to come in a few extra hours to help, looked on disbelievingly as I meticulously set the table with rigorous geometrical precision. She jokingly offered to get me a ruler to better measure out the place settings, at which I scoffed, I’ve been doing this since I was ten with a mother who could judge a table with barely a glance, I’ve got this down.

I also learned that in the first half an hour of a party I’m the world’s worst hostess. I had asked the guests to bring their food and drink contributions table ready as my kitchen was a war zone and also the place where I was setting up the buffet so having someone come in and do last-minute prep felt, to my stressed out self, something akin to drop kicking a grenade in there and laughing hysterically at me as I simultaneously dived for cover and tried to save the food. Almost everyone complied, even a friend who came in from Milan (a two and a half hour drive) in a snow storm. One friend though brought unwashed salad still in the grocery store bag, a whole tomato, and no dressing and then proceeded to compose her masterpiece on the dining room table, at which point I had steam coming out of my ears and yelled at her. I would’ve liked to be a gracious hostess and just smile seraphically at her, I’m working on that though.

Aesthetics are important to me, which is surprising because I’m not the primping and preening type (much to my Mother’s despair and disapproval), but it would seem that genetics do have an impact and I’m biologically predisposed to needing beautiful, matching wine glasses on the table and appropriately folded napkins and such. I would sooner cut out my own tongue than serve food in the pot it was cooked in.

I love a party. Moreover, I love hosting a party. I love that feeling a couple of hours in, when I’m finally relaxed, everyone has a glass of wine in their hand, chatting, little groups coming together and disbanding, rearranging conversations, laughing and enjoying themselves, and I’m finally, finally, contented in the feeling that all that work was for something important, after all, friends coming together and “making merry”, if you will.

The best part of any Thanksgiving, the going around the table sharing what we’re thankful for this year, was the absolutely most perfect moment of the day, when all the Italian husbands and boyfriends, despite the wine already freely flowing (or because of it) joined in in sharing their thankfulness, and each and every one of them did it in English, certainly an effort for them, but the perfect showing of love and respect for traditions that are slowly becoming their own.

 

Happy Birthday Darling Girl

I should have posted this on November 23, The Girl’s birthday, but lately everything gets in the way of this blog. I didn’t want to skip a year though so, better late than never, right?

You turned four, but all day I kept telling people you were five. I even forgot to change the number on the Happy Birthday garland in the living room, the same one I’ve been using for years, that still read 5 from your brother’s birthday earlier this year. I’ve always had a hard time really understanding how little you are compared to him, in fact, most times I act like the two of you are twins, even though you’re not, you’re almost two years younger. I expect so much from you… But you’re so grown up, so independent, how could I not? You act older and I forget… even when you melt down every once in a while because sometimes you get overwhelmed or tired or you just plain want cuddles, I forget and I scold, and then I realize my mistake, and I hug and cuddle you. It must get confusing… and I’m trying to do better, to be better at remembering that you’re still the baby of the family.

You’re still as headstrong as ever, you want to wear what you want to wear, you want to do things the way you want to do them, when you want to do them and beware anyone who gets in your way. You still have epic meltdowns, dropping to the floor with flailing arms, but they seem to be getting shorter, like you suddenly get bored with them, and for this I’m thankful.

And you’re still the most affectionate person in the family. The minute daddy walks in the door, you’re the first to drop whatever you’re doing and run to him, literally running with open arms, for a hug, what better greeting could there possibly be in the whole world? You give us lots of kisses, lots of loud, smacking, wonderful kisses that make all of our adult boo-boos go away. You insist on doing our nightly bad dream banishing ritual right back at me, because you don’t want me to have bad dreams either. You love your brother so much, he sometimes gets annoyed at all your displays of affection… but when you aren’t around he walks around aimlessly waiting for you to come back cause he misses you and is out of sorts without you.

You are the family socialite, you love to go out, out for a walk, out window shopping, out for dinner, out of town… you want to see the world near and far. You love hotels, you love sleeping in a big bed with your brother or with me, you love hotel breakfasts, you just generally love new experiences and spending all day, all night with us doing new things.

You are light, you are joy, you are boundless, uncontainable energy, you complete our family.

Happy Birthday Darling Girl, I love you miles and miles, your smile lights up my life, you make my heart sing.

Sometimes a little French Onion Soup is enough

This October was one of the craziest months I’ve had all year, and, honest to God, I have no idea of the why or the how of it. All the kids’ activities kicked in at once, as well as my own, my mom was supposed to arrive, then didn’t, then reset the date, and then changed her plans again, then finally arrived, which kept me in stand-by mode for two weeks, not being able to make any plans as she was arriving “any minute now” and then kept me busy for the two weeks she was actually here. In fact, now that I think about it, it all makes sense, October was taken over by the tornado that represents my mother’s visits.

A visit, which incidentally, was much better than expected, in part because I kept my expectations way low and in part because I sent the kids off to their other grandma for three days. My mom has a low tolerance for children and I always had unrealistic expectations as to her magically (and inexplicably) becoming a kid person as a grandmother. She does really well the first few days, then she usually overloads, but this time we got to spend some quality mother/daughter time for a few days and then the kids came back. Though I felt bad sending them away since they only get to see her once or twice a year, I’m perfectly aware that it’s all in my head. They didn’t care, their other grandma was ecstatic, my mom got to decompress, and I got to go shopping all day, cook with my mom, and go out to dinner with absolutely no organizing required and no guilt at leaving the kids home with the babysitter. Definitely the way to go for all her visits, until the kids start into the tween/teen years, at which point I will be able to just leave her to it and go enjoy myself in total independence.

The Husband’s health saga continues, he’s not terribly ill, he’s just not terribly healthy either, and quite frankly, it’s starting to get annoying for all concerned (directly, or indirectly). He’s actually starting on a path of self-discovery of sorts, which hopefully will bring him some positive results and, even more hopefully, won’t drive a wedge between us, as these things often do. Things between us, they have been tense lately, so we’re all hoping that some good will come of this, and I’ll leave it at that, for now.

We went out for lunch today, a rare occurrence on a week day, which, in this case, mostly involved taking the cars to get the tires changed for winter… oh so romantic, I know. As chance would have it though, we decided to go to a friend’s restaurant that we always enjoy greatly and is usually too far to drive to in the rare evenings we manage to dine out sans kids what with the babysitter waiting at home impatiently counting the minutes till she can leave and go out with her own boyfriend.

This restaurant, The Baluardo, is fantastic, the chef Marc Lanteri is French and his wife, my friend Amy, is American and their diversity really shines through, with the Italian wholesome ingredients, the American boldness and French sophistication. If you’re ever in the area it’s definitely an obligatory stop, especially if you’re into Michelin Guide starred restaurants.

Anyway…

They had French Onion Soup on the menu today. I’ve been hankering after a good, authentic, French onion soup, which is strangely a much harder dish to find than one would think. Also, I’m extraordinarily picky when it comes to French Onion Soup. Mostly I only like the one I make, which is truly delicious, and for which I can take none of the merit other than being able to follow a recipe. If you want to try your hand at it I got the recipe from Deb of The Smitten Kitchen, since finding it I’ve tweaked it enough to make it my own, but the original is the best place to start experimenting. After eating it today, I wrote on facebook that French Onion Soup makes me happy. And it really, truly, does. It’s so simple, just a handful of ingredients, but it’s so comforting when done right, so light yet tasty, it has so much depth of taste and texture. I needed it today, I needed something simple to make me happy, I needed to be reminded that life doesn’t always have to be about the complicated dishes, that sometimes the simple things, if prepared with great care and attention – because that’s the only way to get a French Onion Soup to taste right – can be just the thing to set your world back right-side up. If only for a few minutes.

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Tick Tock says the Clock, Thirty-eight says the Date.

Tomorrow’s my birthday. Every year the approach to my birthday is a little bit different. Last year I was down in the dumps, this year, I’m neither here nor there, I’m pretty even keeled. It feels almost like it’s too early for it to be my birthday already, I haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that summer’s over, much less that I’m a year older tomorrow.

Looking back on the year that’s been, not an awful lot has changed yet I feel like I’ve changed a great deal. Physically, I’m stronger than I was, exercise has become a part of my life again, yet I haven’t lost any weight, which was an obsession last year, and more of just passing note this year. I thought I’d be in the new house by now, I’m not, yet I care much less than I probably should. I’m healthier, yet I’m also much more forgiving when I find myself hand wrapped round the chocolate bar right before bedtime. I’m more patient with the kids, yet, bizarrely, I’m stricter with them. I’m busier yet more organized. It’s all really quite surprising. And the guilt, well it’s not gone completely because that would, of course, be unrealistic, but it rears it’s ugly head less regularly.

My mom was supposed to be coming in this week, she didn’t because she was having some health issues so she had to postpone her trip by a few days. A lot of my ambivalence towards her seems to be gone, or dormant at least. I’m trying not to worry about what she thinks, how she’s going to behave, how she’ll react, how or if she’ll judge me, I’ve realized I have no control over these things anyway. I decided to give myself a break and hire some extra help while she’s here, and I’m thankful that I can do that.  It’s not going to be the perfect visit, I’m just going to try and not let the disagreements and the disappointments get to me. She is who she is, and I am who I am, so I’m just going to try and enjoy her visit and leave all the baggage at the door.

The Husband, he got me the most awesomest present in the world. (Hyperbole). I already know what it is, because I’ve been talking about it for weeks hoping he’d get the hint. And he did. It arrived the other day and as soon as it’s set up I’ll photograph it and share. Tomorrow evening we’re going to go out to dinner with the kids, to a mid-level fancy-ish restaurant that I love and where they’ll behave (with they’re ipods), I didn’t feel like organizing anything too complicated, involving babysitters and whatnot, and I wanted the whole family together (and I don’t feel like cooking). On Friday I’m going to a Spa with The Girls in the morning and lunch, I’ve got a great group of friends and I’m so happy to be spending time with them. It all feels very simple, I’m not stressing over anything, I’m not organizing anything complicated and I have no expectations that someone else will. And it feels good. So, tomorrow’s my birthday, and I’m surprisingly relaxed, a little older, and hopefully just a smidge wiser, can’t really ask for more than that now, can I?

Sometimes you can’t see the mountain for all the horse shit coming at you.

I’m in a ranty mood today, just thought I’d put that out there as a warning of sorts. The past few months haven’t been bad, per say, but they certainly haven’t been anywhere near the spectrum of good. I’ve been fine and the kids have been good and we’ve been going about our daily lives quite well, thank you very much, but the Husband, well, he could justifiably complain for a while.

He had problems with his eyes all summer. The industrial amounts of cortisone and other drugs he’s been taking in the last three years since the transplant have, amongst all the other side effects, given him cataracts in both eyes. Cataracts aren’t a huge deal, young and old people get operated all the time with few adverse effects. But, for whatever reason, his eyesight, which had been giving him problems off and on for a while went on a permanent vacation in July. He had to hire a PA from one day to the next to read him emails and drive him around. He became, for all intents and purposes, blind overnight. He called his doctor and threw a fit to have the operation on the first eye in the middle of August (unheard of in Italy, where August is considered the “vacation month”). He saw the light, literally and figuratively, for less than a week and then started having problems again – I had a mini meltdown on his one and only week  of vacation because I was feeling sorry for myself as I was having to shoulder all the responsibilities on my own again (boohoo). His doctor finally realized that he still couldn’t see because he had developed an infection from the cataract operation because… oh, yeah, his immune system’s suppressed. Surprise, surprise.

To make a very long, boring, and occasionally sad, story short, the past few months have been challenging. But that’s ok. Challenging is fine, challenging is not catastrophic.

We’ve also been having a long list of problems with the money pit that has become the house renovation, aka, the worse financial investment we’ve ever made in our lives, which, incidentally, is why I’ve never mentioned it again on here.

Apparently, renovating a house is what Italians do to atone for all past, future, and hypothetical sins. I’m starting to think we’ll be sinning a lot in the next few years due to all the atoning we’re doing right now (our past sins can’t possibly justify the hellishness we’re going through with the fucking house). I’m hoping we get over hating the stupid house by the time we move into it, if that ever happens.

 

But what I really wanted to talk to you about today is my friend. Because, I swear to God, I have no idea how she hasn’t yet snapped and started randomly yelling incoherently at people in the street.

This friend of mine, she is getting divorced. Divorce is a gigantic pile of horse shit, we know that, but looking at her I’ve come to the conclusion that in Italy there is no point in divorce, better just to kill the effing asshole and be done with it.

But let me give you some background. Last year, she finds out that rat faced bastard (rfb from now on, he doesn’t even warrant capital letters) is cheating on her, so in a fit of anger she kicks him out of the house. He moves to France and shacks up with the other woman. A few months later my friend finds out that rfb has gone bankrupt, she finds out because she has people knocking at her door and calling her house at all hours demanding money. Money she doesn’t have because rfb is MIA. So she sucks it up, sells all her horses (she bred mini horses), which she loved and hoped to find some sort of financial agreement with him. His family is loaded, with a capital L, loaded and shrewd as he has nothing in his name. Between insulting her wifely abilities, telling her she should have just sucked it up cause all men have lovers, and spreading lies about her in town, her in laws helped her pay the bills (after her car got repossessed and all her utilities, including electricity, had been shut off because he went bankrupt and hadn’t paid anyone in a while). Did I mention she’s got two kids? Both of which, hurtful rumors aside, are rfb’s. So between one breakdown and the next my friend gets herself a lawyer (paid by the state, because she can’t afford one, and won’t take money from her friends many of whom offered) and tries to put her life back together.

Unfortunately, she finds herself with a (female) judge who is really misogynistic or (likely) has been bought off by her in laws that gives her the most ridiculously absurd settlement offer ever granted in all the lands and then tells her to buck up and get a job to support herself and her two – school age, not independent – children. In a country where the unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in the past thirty years and only expected to get worse. Meanwhile, rfb is living in the next country over, which isn’t allowed after filing for bankruptcy in Italy, has opened another company under someone else’s name and is merrily working again full-time as can be evidenced by his girlfriend’s new car, house, and expensive toys and clothes for his kids.

But no matter, my friend she plods along, has started working part-time and teaching English to make ends meet. Did I mention she’s not Italian? She’s British. But she doesn’t have the option of moving to England, closer to her family where she could have some help (and quite possibly a better chance of finding a job), because rfb has joint custody of the kids.

But why am I sharing this tedious story? Because my friend, she came over tonight to catch up on the past couple of weeks, during which time she’s had to have her eight-year old dog, who she loves dearly, operated on (again), and has had herself several visits with her own doctor, as she hadn’t been feeling well lately. Her doctor tactfully (and I’m totally being sarcastic here) informed her that her thyroid is quite enlarged and along with the other symptoms she’s having, quite likely she has throat cancer.

Fantastic. Just fanfuckingtastic. Because, really, with the year she’s had what other news could she possibly have expected?

I’m in a really raving bad mood tonight, because life, it can be wonderful, but lately it really seems like a gigantic pile of shit. And the worse of it is that my friend, she sat there and told me this laughing and joking because the truth is if she cried I don’t think she’d be able to stop. And that just breaks my heart.