The road to nowhere

The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. Though I agree with the sentiment, in some instances I think good intentions are much more subtle, and more pernicious than that. Oftentimes good intentions are just good excuses. In a society that daily turns less civil, less altruistic, and less kind, it’s easy to give ourselves an out. I meant to help, I planned to volunteer, I wanted to give a hand… but I didn’t have time, it didn’t work out, she never asked… and despite all this, it’s easy to still feel good about ourselves. Because our intentions were good, we meant to. We didn’t, of course, because, well, sometimes life just gets in the way, we’re all so busy nowadays. But I wanted to, I meant to, and that counts for something doesn’t it. Although… it really doesn’t, does it?

Meaning to do something is not quite doing it, wanting to is just shy of actually getting a result, and after all helping others, particularly with no recognition is really kind of bother. Good intentions make me angry, at myself when I realize that I’ve been using them as an excuse and at others when they feel self-congratulatory for not really doing a damn thing. Telling someone “you know I’m there for you if you need me” is not quite actually being there when they need you, it’s just a way for us to feel like we’re contributing and then not giving a crap.

Good intentions are a great way to be disengaged, to be selfish, to be miserly with our time, our emotions and ourselves, while still getting to feel sanctimonious about it. They give nothing, they create nothing, they really aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on so rather more than the road to hell then, good intentions pave the road to nowhere.

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.

No Bugs Bunny, keeps me sane

Bed time routines are a bloody nightmare, am I right???

I am not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never been one. The Husband, on the other hand, loses all cognitive ability after eight p.m. This was always a problem when we were younger and childless because he would clock out when I reached my energy peak, as you can imagine, this made many things difficult, not the least of which was sex. Over the years we’ve managed to find the middle ground on most things (the ones where both of us have to be active and present at least) and we’ve divided up the things that occur at our respective “best” times of day. Basically, I’m not expected to function rationally in the morning, so he takes over the child-readying operations while I’m in charge of anything that happens in the evening. It works out great for us. He gets up early, has a nice relaxed breakfast with his newspaper and no one talking and or needing anything from him, he makes everyone juice, he comes upstairs and wakes me and the kids, and takes care of all the wrangling, washing, brushing, and feeding that is necessary to get to preschoolers out of the house. While I only have to concentrate the two neurons that are actually active and awake in my brain on getting just myself washed, dressed, and fed in the absolute peace and quiet necessary to avoid my head exploding first thing in the morning.

Of course after dinner, I’m in charge of the reading of bedtime stories, brushing of teeth, and yelling like a deranged person to get the same two preschoolers into their damn beds and staying there. I’m also in charge of the repeated serving of water to quench the torturous thirst that presents itself whenever I try to leave the room. I imagine The Husband is sitting in bed, relaxed, and laughing at me the entire time.

Hands down, I think, bedtime is worst than the morning routine. I’ve done the morning routine, while barely functional, and it just doesn’t elicit the same levels of stress and murderous rage that the bedtime routine brings on. Every night, it’s one more book, they have to pee (again), they have to tell me something “super, super, important” right as I’m walking out the door, they lose their luvvies, they need me to tuck them in again and again, and they are so thirsty, so parched, that nothing less than at the very least three separate drinks of water will satisfy them. It takes half an hour to get them to settle down (after they’ve been washed and effectively put into bed for the first time), at the end of which I mostly just want to kill them. It’s very frustrating, mainly because without their constant interruptions and requests our bedtime routine is actually quite sweet. Once they’re in bed, I do a little bad dream banishing magic, I sing them a song, and then we say “good night, I love you miles and miles, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”, except that the Girl for some reason didn’t get the bed bugs part, so she would say something unintelligible, which later turned out to be “no bugs bunny”. I have no idea why, I mean, she likes Bugs, Loony Tunes was her favorite show for a while there, and yet every night it’s “sleep tight, no bugs bunny”. So of course, all of us started saying it that way, because, honestly, who could resist, but I feel kind of bad for Bugs, banished from our bedtime routine, for no apparent reason.

So bedtime makes me crazy, except for that moment when two little voices yell “no bugs bunny, mama” at my retreating back as I hightail it out of their room for the fifteenth, and hopefully final, time.

The flu, gay families, and other thoughts

The flu this year is a bloody nightmare. I’ve had it twice now. And no, I don’t get a flu shot. Incidentally, I was totally amazed at how commonplace the flu shot is in the US now (not so when I was a kid), every drugstore has the “flu-shot available”, “get your flu shot” signs out, even the pediatrician asked if my kids had had their flu shots… why does everyone in the US need to get a flu shot? (Also, the chicken pox vaccine… what the hell?)

We have a great family doctor here, who comes to the house and everything, so we saw him this week as we’ve all been felled by the flu, and I mentioned the pervasiveness of flu shots in the US, and he said something to the effect that he’d recently read a study about how, statistically, Americans are less healthy than Europeans, so maybe that’s why. Sweeping generalizations aside though, I don’t get it, in Italy mostly only the elderly, the very sickly, or people who work in healthcare or childcare positions get flu shots, the rest of us just either get the flu and get over it or don’t get it at all. Anyway, I had it twice this year, felt like death run over, survived both times, and am now hopefully done until next winter.

I recently started reading this blog: Mommy Man: adventures of a gay super dad, which, incidentally, is just more proof, if more proof were needed, that a two dad family, or a two mom family, or a mom/dad family, or a just one parent family, or a two parents plus multiple step parent family all really just sound the same when talking about their children. Anyway, Jerry wrote this post: How to talk to your children about gay parents, by a gay parent. It was a good post, nothing earth shattering, just a lot of common sense, which, alas, is apparently lacking in a lot of people.

And I’m not even talking about the far-right, ultra-conservative, don’t believe in evolution and God speaks to me directly whack jobs that we wish were just a figment of an overly-zealous Hollywood writer’s imagination, I’m talking about otherwise reasonable people. This piece has been published in quite a few places, and the comments on it just blow my mind, I don’t know how the author keeps his head from exploding, seriously, exploding brains all over his computer screen. Even the respectful comments, most of them run along the lines of great, I’m sure he’s an awesome dad, but kids need a mom and a dad, gay families are actually harming these children because they’re not giving them something intrinsically, atavically important, which are the biological parents. Or something along those lines anyway.


Can we all agree, first off, that children mostly just need to be loved? And that, frankly, there are more different combinations of families out there than most of us can even imagine. Cause there are kids being raised by single parents, and kids being raised by grandparents or other family members, and kids being raised by step parents, and by the state, there are also kids being raised by complete assholes whether they be biological or not, and any of these combinations are pretty much acceptable and accepted (even the assholes) but for some reason two same-sex parents is just more than our minds can conceive?

I was talking to the husband about this once and I was surprised to hear him say that ideally kids should be raised by a mom and a dad. But then I thought about it and, sure, ideally, kids should be raised by a mom and a dad, ideally the mom should stay home and take care of the family and be happy while doing so, the dad should make a comfortable salary and always be home in time for dinner, ideally they should all be happy and healthy and vacation at the beach every year. But we live in the real world, not in a sitcom set in 1958. There is no ideal, there’s just several billion people on the planet trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities, and some of them are gay and some of them want to raise families and so some of them will adopt or find a surrogate or a sperm donor and start a family, and this affects me and my life not even remotely.

And it is no harder to explain to a child than a hundred difficult situations, if done with a little common sense.

Personally, I’m not a gigantic fan of surrogacy, because there’s a lot, A LOT, of kids that need families and should be adopted, but adopting is a long and difficult process, even for a “traditional” family, and some people just have a very strong pull towards the biological imperative of genetically reproducing themselves, so who am I to say that they shouldn’t? I did (reproduce myself, that is).

So as long as they’re loving their children, and raising them, and just generally doing their jobs as parents, what do we have to be so judgy of? After all, we’re all going to manage to screw up our kids one way or another, right?


And on a conclusive, and completely unrelated note, does anyone else watch White Collar? Because, Matt Bomer is unequivocally hot, but doesn’t Time Dekay also have a little “je ne sais quoi…”? No? Just me?

Because, my friends, I’m nothing if not rational and there’s little I love more than teaching a good lesson.

Yesterday I participated in one of MamaKat’s pretty much world-famous writer’s workshop, and one of the prompts (that I didn’t do) was write an open letter to a man. One of the many bloggers who followed this prompt DeanaBo brought up the fact that when you send a man to the store they often come back with something similar to what you asked for, but not exactly what you asked for, and that prompted one of those light bulb above the head moments for me.

I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had over the years with countless women about this very subject. Just a few weeks ago, in Houston, one evening my mom was positively hysterical (and not in a oh, she’s so funny way) because she sent her husband to the store for “some garlic” and he came home with a gigantic tub of peeled garlic. My mom hardly ever uses garlic. Seriously, they haven’t been married that long, but it has been three years, what on this green earth did he think she was going to do with a tub of garlic, ward off a vampire invasion??

I don’t get it. There are times when I ask The Husband for a couple of lemons and he comes home with exactly two lemons (really? does he think that warrants a trip to the store?) at other times, to the same request, he responds by returning with an exaggerated amount of lemons. What goes on in their heads?

No, it’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know what the hell they are thinking when they go to the grocery store. The Husband is perfectly rational in other aspects of his life (well… he does seem to have a flashlight fetish, he can’t walk by flashlights at the store without buying one, but that’s pretty minor, right?) what can possibly be going on in their brains when they enter a grocery store that turns them into complete morons.

A few years back, when I was pregnant with The Girl I couldn’t eat meat. I don’t know what happens to me when I’m pregnant, any other time in my life if you present me with a steak and any other food, whether it be pasta or cake or cookies or pizza or any other delicacy, whatever time of day, I’ll pick the steak. When I’m pregnant I can’t even look at cows.

But for some reason, with the girl I could eat cheeseburgers, probably cause they were so loaded with stuff that I couldn’t see the meat. Anyway, I get a craving for cheeseburgers and I send him off to the butcher to get the meat so he could grill them for me, and remember now, I was pregnant, so this wasn’t an oh I kind of feel like a cheeseburger marijuana induced craving, this was a full on I will massacre you with my bare hands until you are but a bloody, pulpy mess on the kitchen floor if I don’t get a damn burger craving.

He comes home with chicken breast.

Yes, you read that right. I mean, it’s not even in the same category. What the hell am I saying? It’s not even in the same universe as a cheeseburger. What was he thinking?? I never got the chance to find out because the sheer volume, the actual decibel level, of my shrieking was so loud that dogs for miles around our house covered their ears and cowered in fear. Obviously, he went back to the butchers and came back with hamburger meat. But, honestly, wouldn’t it have been easier to just get it the first time around?

Next time, just for fun, when he asks me to buy him something specific I’m going to buy something similar, but not exactly what he wants. I can’t wait to see his reaction to a tube of say, hair removal cream, when he asks for razors…. Then maybe he’ll understand, and learn… I mean seriously… Chicken breasts. Sheesh!

Just call me Grumpy


I’m in a phenomenally bad mood today. Likely, this is due to the fact that I’ve been stuck in this stupid hospital for almost a week now. You want to know what the biggest difference between a hospital in Italy and a hospital in Texas is? Everyone here is polite. And you have to be polite back. The entire day is punctuated with Hi, how are yous, you have a good day nows, cheery alrights and thank yous.


You’re constantly greeting people, and smiling at people, and no, no go on aheading at people. Yesterday, during the attending’s visit she was saying how the infection that the husband has is very severe, that it could lead to a rupture in the gut, which is why they’re keeping him under such strict control, that he does have a little GVHD but it’s just a level 1 out of 4, so not worrisome at all, and one of the fellows, I swear to God, clapped her hands excitedly and said Yaaaaay! Seriously, stop being so flippin’ cheery.

In Italy, everyone is much less polite. You don’t aknowledge people in the elevator, you pretend you’re in there alone. Despite the fact that most of the time you’re packed in like sardines. The doctors and the nurses don’t give a shit how you’re doing, unless you’re the patient and are answering specific questions. And no one, no one, would ever get excited about a diagnosis or prognosis or whatever. I used to hate that about Italy. Everybody’s so grumpy. But this morning I kind of get it, I’m tired, I’ve got cabin fever from being stuck in this room for so long, I’m running out of ways to entertain the husband, and I really, really, miss my kids, so I kind of resent having to expend even the minimal energy required to enquire about the nurse’s well being today. I don’t care. Just leave  me alone and let me sulk in peace.

Unfortunately, I grew up here, and apparently it is physically impossible for me to enter an elevator, or get in line, or walk into a waiting room, and refrain from asking everyone around me how they’re doing and talking about the weather. It’s a little like having Tourette’s, I imagine, but without the satisfaction of pissing off everyone around me.

It has finally stopped raining, the sun is out and instead of lifting my mood it’s actually made it worse cause now I really want to be outside! So just call me Grumpy today, and when I ask how everything’s going, keep your answers short and to the point, cause I don’t really want to know. Harrumph!

Because TV and cancer just don’t go hand in hand

Let me just start off by saying that I don’t have high hopes of this post actually making sense to everyone, but bear with me because I’m pretty pissed off. But first a quick tangent to get the new readers up to speed: my husband had leukemia, he was diagnosed at the end of 2009, he had chemo, radiation therapy and a bone marrow transplant in 2010. And we thought he had beat it. In February 2011 he was re-diagnosed, he had more chemo and another bone marrow transplant. He’s been in remission since. And now back to the point of this post.

I’ve just recently found a way to watch Netflix in Italy (not available here) so I’ve been doing a LOT of the watching of tv shows. In fact, I’ve started watching Brothers and Sisters. It’s a decent show, funny at times, sad at times, Rob Lowe is in it… I’m about half way through season 4, and if I wasn’t so late to the party (it aired a couple of years ago, I think) I would contact the writers and tell them to go screw themselves. Or, you know, to do some research before writing stuff. Now, I’m not an idiot (most of the time), I know that tv shows aren’t real and much of the stuff they portray does not reflect reality, I also get that most of us watch tv to get away from reality not get slapped in the face with it. But still.

One of the characters, Kitty, has lymphoma, she has chemo, she loses her hair, she doesn’t seem to be getting better, the second round of chemo doesn’t work, so she has a bone marrow transplant. Three weeks later: she’s fine! In remission! In fact, she’s home with her baby! Her blood white cell count is up! And OMG a few months later she’s considering running for office. WOW!

To be honest I’m not sure why this pissed me off so much, I don’t think we’re actually going to have a zombie apocalypse nor do I believe that the vampires are among us, but these episodes hit a little too close to home.

The Husband had his second BM transplant over a year and a half ago, and he still hasn’t recuperated his energy. When you get a BM transplant you’re in a sterile room for weeks afterwards, once you get to go home your immune system is still so suppressed you have to wear a mask everywhere, even in your own home, your child gets a cold and you have to stay away from them, and you’re certainly not hugging and kissing all your family members with tears and soulful music moments before a transplant.

A year and a half later, and the Husband still has to take a crap load of meds to keep his immune system suppressed, because if he doesn’t his immune system will attack his body. He’s got scars all over his torso from GVHD (graft versus host disease) which happens when they adjust his meds, because his liver or his kidneys are overloaded, and he gets these horrible red splotches all over his skin, because his immune system, the transplanted bone marrow, doesn’t recognize the rest of his body. He gets tired, easily. His heart is stressed, as are his lungs, from the radiation therapy.

He’s better, of course, every day that passes he gets a little better, but he’s not fine. Not by any stretch of the imagination. His hair hasn’t even grown back. The first time around it was all back after six months, but the meds he’s taking now are keeping his hair from growing back, and he hates it. He hates being bald, because he didn’t become bald “naturally” he’s bald because of the disease, so every time he looks in the mirror he remembers how sick he was, and how unwell he still is.

A few months ago, he had some very bad stomach pains and he was nauseous, there was a stomach flu going around. He felt horrible for twenty-four hours, we had to call the doctor in the middle of the night. The doc gave him two shots but told him that if he wasn’t feeling better by morning he had to go to the hospital, that he should have, in fact, gone straight to the hospital. I have never seen anyone more terrified of anything in his life. He was shaking, not from the pain, but from the fear of having to go back in.

This is what it’s like a year and a half after a bone marrow transplant. You get better, slowly. You go on with your life, partially. You get stronger, hopefully. But you certainly aren’t back to normal. In fact, you can’t even see normal off out on the horizon. And you absolutely aren’t off running for office.

Linking up today with Shell from Things I can’t say

A little of this and a little of that

WordPress is driving me insane. My old blog was on blogger and though missing some of wordpress’ more interesting features, most of which I do not use as I’m neither curious nor computer literate enough, blogger had a fantastic widget for blogrolls. My blogroll automatically updated each blog’s new posts so I always knew when to go read them and could conveniently click on them directly from my homepage. I didn’t need to check my reader, my email, and my carrier pigeon, it was all in one place, sorted by most recent, the pinnacle of convenience.

Word verification irritates me. I understand that very, very popular blogs need some sort of filter to minimize the amount of spam they have to deal with, so they make their readers register. Fine. But these blogs are few and far between. Regular blogs can probably do without this, and those blogs with 20 followers and no social media anything probably don’t get all that much spam to begin with. So, why, why make us jump through hoops to leave a comment? I hate word verification. I hate having to try and decipher the stupid letters that look nothing like letters that spell out words that don’t exist. And half the time that isn’t even enough, I have to put in numbers too, or worst of all, do math. Gawd! I mean honestly, isn’t the pleasure of reading your readers comments enough to justify spending a couple of minutes erasing the crap in your spam folder?

I don’t know what to watch on tv lately. Italian tv, even Italian satellite tv, is just abysmally terrible this year. I keep downloading stuff on itunes, but it gets expensive. Also, most of my favorite shows are over (permanently) so I don’t know what to watch. Any suggestions on this front would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to find (or put together, though it’s quite possibly more work than I can handle right now) an honest to goodness book club for me to join. One that suggests a book, gives reading assignments so everyone is always on the same page (double entendre intended), and moderates regular discussions on the book regularly. Is there such a thing? Where might I find it? Also, I’m on goodreads, if anyone would like to befriend me…

I’ve been going to the gym regularly (almost every day) for three weeks now. I’m pretty upset that I have lost not one kilo. Though my jeans are starting to fit a wee bit more comfortably. Apparently, this is a good thing, though honestly, I’d like some reassurance from my scale.

I have a very, very, sweet husband who is a very, very good guy, and I’d do well to remember this fact more often. I’ll tell you why in the next post. (or rather the next, next post as the next post will likely be the Monday Listicle). Creating some suspense….

Okay… all done with this week’s inanities. Leaving you with some stuff to read:

I have no concept of brevity, and also, I don’t have my passport.

Yesterday I was in Milan with the husband, I had to go to the Brazilian Consulate to get my passport and register the kids’ birth and get a few other documents. For those of you as confused as I am on my heritage, I was born in Italy, I grew up in Texas, my Dad was Italian and my Mom is Brazilian, when I lived in the US none of the responsible adults got their act together enough to get American citizenship, although my Mother is now married to an American and merrily on her way to being naturalized. So, though I may well go about my life feeling American and wanting to go “home” to Houston, I do not have American citizenship, I do, however, have Italian citizenship and Brazilian citizenship, I foresee the latter soon becoming the bane of my existence.

The reason for my distress, which, though not overtly apparent, is pronounced and far-reaching, is due to the fact that I’ve come to the realization that all government workers are actually sadistic assholes who basically get their kicks making the rest of us jump through hoops of burning fire. (I know, redundant, but effective imagery. I’m referring to “burning fire” here, not “sadistic assholes”, though that qualifies as redundant as well.)

About a month and a half ago I called a friend of a friend at the Brazilian consulate, cause I had a lot of things to get done there and wanted to go about it in the most efficient way possible. This very nice gentleman kindly walked me through all the steps of all of the things I needed to get done: get a crapload of documents from a variety of offices in Italy, many of which are not commonly used in Italy, but hey, no surprise there. Make the relevant appointments through the consular website, send them the forms they need ahead of time, get pictures taken, I then divided up all my documents in neat little folders, got in the car and drove two and a half hours to Milan and spend the night in a hotel so I could be there bright and early (and most importantly, on time) for my appointment. I got to the consulate fifteen minutes early and waited outside with two hundred other people for them to open their doors (ten minutes late).

All this to say, I was fucking ready to get my passport.

When I finally sat in front of the lady who was effectively holding my life and my sanity in her hands, I found myself helplessly going through the governmental equivalent of “who’s on third” with many rounds of: ma’am, you need a valid Brazilian ID to get your passport, oh, well, I’ve brought you 33 documents that state me to be who I am, including, but not limited to, my Brazilian birth certificate, both the one issued to me by the embassy in Rome in 1975 when I was born, and the transcription (from 2008, when I happened to be in Brazil) of my birth certificate in some Brazilian government office that does this just so they know I actually exist in case the embassy’s birth certificate and the myriad of passports I’ve had since my birth weren’t enough, the police report that states that my old passport was lost or stolen (my old passport that expired fifteen years ago, so no, no one has likely stolen my identity in the meantime), and no less than three (3!) valid Italian picture IDs, that, considering this is the Brazilian consulate IN ITALY, should have some sort of, if not legal, at least demonstrative value. The only way I could possibly have further proven my identity was getting her to google me, and befriended her on facebook, but, going back to my point, I don’t have any valid Brazilian picture ID because my passport was lost and I’ve never lived in Brazil. I understand ma’am, but you need to get an ID from Brazil, Yes, sure I get it, but you see, I tried, but I’ve never, not one day in my life, lived in Brazil, I have no proof of residence, they won’t give me an ID until I bring them a fucking passport (which is what the consulate it there for, incidentally).

So basically, I need an ID to get a passport, yet I need a passport to get an ID. Oh and, by the way, who’s on third?? When I finally managed to get through to her, that I needed to get the stupid passport FIRST, she comes up with excuse number… honestly, I’ve lost count… that the transcript from the Brazilian government office registering my birth was too old (2008), that person with my name, (I don’t have a common name, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only person in the world with my name – as far as google is concerned, in fact, I am – and no, it’s not Bonny Bard) could have died in the meantime and I could be trying to steal her identity.

This excuse, the one that made me get up and leave in frustration and defeat, is so ridiculous that I swear to you I had no comeback (right then, I came up with plenty later, but isn’t that what always happens?). I mean for the love of God and all that is holy! I must be a genius in identity theft because I had already apparently swindled the Italian government, since I had a driver’s licence, identity card AND A PASSPORT with my name and picture on it. I had birth certificates for my kids, a marriage certificate with my husband, copies of my Mother’s Brazilian passport and ID, and by God I was set on swindling the Brazilian consulate too! What next? World domination? Am I… could I possibly be a spy? Or a drug dealer? And rather than buying fake documents of the black market, like any respectable criminal would, I wanted to up the ante by getting an official passport from the Brazilian Consulate in Milan. I’m an evil genius, Bwahahahaha!

Are they fucking kidding me?

No seriously. Are they?

I left, unable to comprehend that I hadn’t gotten anything done. And now I’m pissed, mostly at myself, as usual, because I should have thrown the mother of all hissy fits right there in the consulate. It may not have helped me get what I wanted, though frankly I’ve seen it work lots of times, but I would’ve at least vented directly there and you wouldn’t be reading what amounts to practically the complete, unabridged, works of William Shakespeare, if not in style, at least in length.

Stuff that drives me nuts… y’all.

In my opinion the English language is sorely in need of a second person plural, “you” is simply not enough. Many languages have it, and the South has found a solution to this grievous problem: y’all. As far as I’m concerned y’all is just another personal pronoun, you is the second person singular, y’all is the second person plural. But… you’ve got to know how to use it, most people don’t.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and many of the books were set in the south or had southern characters. I get that the easiest way to make a character sound southern is to use “y’all” and “bless her heart” and arcane and/or seldom used colloquialisms like “faster than a dog with his tail on fire” or “longer than a ‘coons age”, but for the love of God can’t these authors just freakin’ do some research before using unfamiliar terminology. When I read y’all used instead of you (singular) it makes me want to rip my teeth out.

So, let’s just review, you can say: Sandy and Bobby, are y’all coming?  But you cannot say: Sandy are y’all coming? If you’re only referring to Sandy. (unless you’re asking Sandy if both she and Bobby are coming, but honestly, when in doubt don’t use it!)

Okey dokey. Y’all leave me some comments now, y’hear!