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.

One week down, how many more to go?

Week one of school is finished, and I survived. Unbelievable. Because, let’s be honest here, getting the kids back on a school schedule after the summer is much harder work for Mom than for anyone else in the family. I’m not a morning person, and quite probably neither are my kids, whether it’s survival instinct (who knows what I would have done with one of those children who wakes up every morning at 6.30 all chirpy and talkative?) or their natural inclination I have no idea, either way, I tried to bring their wake up time up (and consequently all the related sleep times up) for the two weeks prior to this and I clearly failed, if the amount of tantrums, hysterical, over-tired crying fits, middle of the night wake up calls, and generalized grumpiness are any indication. I’m hoping this week will be better.

Although, as I started planning their weekly activities I already wanted to pull out all my hair… I don’t know how mothers with more than two kids do it (and I quite envy mothers of singletons right now, for organizational purposes, at least). The Boy wants to play soccer this year, they start them at 6 here, but as he’s tall they’ll take him anyway, the Girls wants to do a dance class, and I would like them to do a swimming course before the start of the skiing season. It shouldn’t be that complicated, I thought, I don’t want to over book them, but an activity each and a joint one shouldn’t overextend us. I am so naïve.

Oh, and I need to keep one afternoon for their American babysitter because I’ve realized that when they have someone (other than me) who speaks English to them they’re more prone to speak it in general. Easy peasy. Right.

So, this is what I found out after a round of calls and a couple of hours of scheduling: soccer is Tuesday and Friday, because apparently 5-6 year olds who aren’t allowed to play in the tournaments and who are basically going to chase a ball around a field for an hour and a half need to “train” at least twice a week. Every single dance school but one in this god forsaken town, in an evil conspiracy to drive mom’s insane (I presume), decided that Tuesday was the only logical day for the 3-4 year old dance class, and the one that went against the mold already has a waiting list. Oh, and by the way, our lovely American babysitter only has one afternoon off from her primary job. Guess which day. Tuesday. And after a half hour of route planning and head banging (not the heavy metal kind) I resigned myself to the fact that without the aid of cloning or a teleporter there is no way I can get them both to their activities on Tuesday. Seriously, how does everyone else do it?

Anyway, before letting myself get sucked into the insanity of a new school year, I’d like to wrap up our summer. We got back from our extremely long vacation to a garden that looked like this:

my tomato plants

my tomato plants

 

cherry tomatoes

cherry tomatoes

Eggplants! I have 3 plants just like this...

Eggplants! I have 3 plants just like this…

Peppers, I have eight plants of lovely green, yellow, and red peppers. Not as pretty as the supermarket ones, but yummy all the same.

Peppers, I have eight plants of lovely green, yellow, and red peppers. Not as pretty as the supermarket ones, but yummy all the same.

So we had a LOT of this:

Caprese salad - the tomatoes and basil are from the garden, as is the basil in the pesto.

Caprese salad – the tomatoes and basil are from the garden, as is the basil in the pesto.

Tuna salad bruschetta

Tuna salad bruschetta

And since this was overflowing:

large lavender plant

large lavender plant

so I made sachets for my closet and drawers… but when that wasn’t enough I figured I could use it to experiment…

Sausage risotto with rosemary, lavender and saffron.

Sausage risotto with rosemary, lavender and saffron.

so creamy makes me hungry again...

so creamy makes me hungry again…

Have I made you hungry yet?

I’m slowly getting my act together again with the start of a new school year. I’ve got several posts I think you’ll like in the works, and I’m pretty confident I’ll even manage to finish them and post them, so yay for school, despite the scheduling headaches.

Two cutie pies on their first day of school. Sweet brother carrying his sister's backpack. A little southern gentleman in the making.

Two cutie pies on their first day of school. Sweet brother carrying his sister’s backpack. A little southern gentleman in the making.

Life Lesson #1: Chillax, dude

Living life, as one does day in and day out till one no longer does, we learn things, life teaches us things, but oftentimes we forget these small, seemingly unimportant lessons. I figured I’d try and remember at least a few of them when they hit me upside the head.

The other day I made the unfortunate mistake of making a comment on one of my sisters’ facebook statuses (stati?), but let me give you some background. This sister of mine, (half-sister, to be precise, different mothers) she has always had a ginormous chip on her shoulder, I dare say, this chip, it is the size of Texas, and just as loud, and occasionally obnoxious (I’m allowed, I’m from there). This chip, which manifests itself mainly on many maudlin and/or pissed of rants as to how utterly unfairly life treats her, along with very grave, justified-or-not, abandonment issues have led her to a lifelong search of “spiritual improvement” or “personal betterment” and other sundry related paths. So, what this means, for our purposes, is that if you enter into any sort of serious discussion with her about life, and the meaning thereof, death, and it’s ramifications, life changes and such, you do so at your own peril because, you see, she is always right, as she has “done a lot of work on herself” and you, clearly, have not. Unless you’re just like her, in which case good for you (!) and I suggest you stop reading right this instant cause you can only get more offended as you go on.

Unfortunately for me, though, I forget these things, in the general business of living my life in a manner as far removed as possible from unnecessary mental masturbatory, pseudo-psychological, life exploratory type of behavior. In any case, I was being distracted as I am wont to do, and read one of her statuses that went something along the lines of Do you really know who you are? I’m not sure I know who I am any longer… is that good… or bad? Or something very similar to this. To which I responded something along the lines of dude, lay off the wine before the existential mind fuck… (just more, you know, politely).

And, wow do I wish I had laid off the wine before commenting! I was kidding, maybe she and all her friends didn’t get it… then I apologized, but she was on a roll, so I re-apologized and stated I hadn’t meant to intrude on a serious conversation and boy were her friends on a roll! So I shut up and ignored the rest of the very serious, very self-righteous, discussion.

But honestly, all I really wanted to say was god, guys, relax, live and let live, peace and love and all that. I mean really, maybe lay back on the wine, have some fun and stop being so freaking serious, because life, it is hard enough, painful enough, and just plain unpredictable enough that we shouldn’t be getting so involved in and up in arms about the stuff we write on facebook of all places.

Mostly though, what this little episode did for me was remind me that a certain measure of laid backedness, of that chillin’ feelin’ is very important in life, as is a proper grasp of irony, and humor – misguided though it may be. It also reminded me that my Dad always used to say that the women in his family had no sense of humor… that may have been generalizing just a smidge, but in this case, I kinda see his point so… sorry Dad for all the times I over-reacted, I’m glad I’ve mostly chillaxed enough now not to care whether everyone’s opinion is exactly on board with mine.