Just when I thought I couldn’t go at this parenthood thing any more ghetto-like, I stopped looking for a bi-lingual preschool/daycare situation for Joey and just settled on ‘taking him everywhere/sneaking downstairs to the market in front of our building while he naps’ route. So far, so mediocre, but we’ll see if we can’t tweak some things.
Mingling with the neighbors.
Today marked our 7th Monday in Italia, and like most of the other Monday’s before it, dawn found my trusty nanny sister Christina and me on duty once again. Dave has been working like a dog since the whole no more Pope situation reared its sad/exciting/confusing/mostly stressful/hopefully sanctifying head, so he is gone for 12 hours most days, with the exception of weekends, where we see him for all but 4 hours during the day. Wee.
“Is this an adventure, Mom?”
Having digested a grim forecast via Weather.com for a ‘100% chance of rain,’ we did what any sane caretakers of children would do in such a situation, and after one too many hours indoors over the weekend, and made the executive decision to go to the beach. Because everyone knows the only thing more fun than a rainy day at home is a rainy day at the beach. With babies.
Regardless, fortified by espresso, we marched our charges down to Stazione San Pietro and settled on a regional train bound for a medieval castle/town place, complete with a large lake. Close enough, right? Besides, the beach train wasn’t leaving for another 45 minutes. Now, lest I leave the impression that I am some kind of adventurous spirit who enjoys washing her undergarments in the bathroom sinks at local hostels and eating everypartofthepig at local kitchen table establishments, I’m not. I like eating at chain restaurants of the Mexican variety, and I really used to like my washer and dryer back home in the good ol US of A. But that’s neither here nor…well, actually, I guess it is there. But the point is, when in Rome…okay I’ll stop, I promise.
Scraping powdered dish soap out of the latch with scissors. Or teaching Joey a vocational trade. I don’t know.
We’re here now, anyhow, and life is hard. It’s beautiful and exhilarating and rewarding and once-in-a-lifetimeing…but the overarching theme is most definitely ‘hard.’ I spend anywhere from 1-3 hours per day doing basic household maintenance like laundry, dishes, and light cleaning, and if that doesn’t sound like a lot, then I’d like to cordially invite you to my former life where I cranked out 45 minutes, tops, on a good day, and called it health-code compliant. Dear God, I miss my dryer and my Bissel upright. And Super Target. But I promised myself I wouldn’t cry while writing this, so I’d better stop there.
The dryer with a full load.
Not to go all #firstworldproblems on you people, but I think my issues are becoming legitimately of a second-worldly nature. I have turned like 30% of my wardrobe greyish green because I can’t figure out how the flip to use the washing machine, and we have no dryer. That might not sound awful, but it is awful. I spend like 2 hours a day on laundry alone, and if I don’t we wear dirty clothes, because we each have so few options. And it takes hours for stuff to dry in the humidity. 24 hours, precisely, for most adult-sized pieces. And about 30 hours for jeans. And we each own 2 pairs, so…you do the math.
Speed drying on the radiator.
Also, we walk or take the train or bus everywhere, except the one time per week when we take a cab somewhere, during which period I anxiously watch the fare climbing on the meter and mentally tabulate how many bottles of wine could otherwise have been purchased. Let me tell you something, until you have schlepped home enough groceries and drinking water for 5 people for a day or two on your back, you haven’t lived. Truly exhilarating. When I’m going on a specifically water-seeking mission, I usually take the (empty) double stroller and load both seats down with 1.5 liter bottles. (We also drink the tap water, but we have been warned that the estrogen concentration is so high that the boys and Dave really shouldn’t, so we try to limit how much of it we consume.) Now, I realize this is hardly walking 4 miles each way to a plague and crocodile-infested river with a jug on my head, but it sure as hell isn’t Costco with a car. Somewhere in the middle, I guess.
Speaking of carseats, this is pretty much JP’s now…and he loves it.
Also, the complete!lack of any discernible! order! Oh my gosh, these people run their businesses like, um, well, like they run their government. It’s a shitstorm, I tell you. Case in point: we still don’t have our permanent internet. We signed the contract in January, but it’s only March, signora, and you can’t rush these delicate matters.
I realize I sound like the world’s most ungrateful and depressing downer right now, but I have to be real about how much I’m missing my friends, my parents, my car, my gym membership, and my beloved dryer. And Windex. And Oxyclean. Okay I have to stop now.
What I do have? Amazing coffee. The most incredible front-row seat to this historic moment in the life of the Church. Kids who are learning to speak Italian and interact more comfortably with adults than with other children (okay that one’s kind of sad, actually, but there just aren’t any here!), a beautiful view of St. Peter’s dome from my balcony, a balcony, great wine, a husband who is doing an amazing job and loving his new responsibilities, a very helpful and generous sister who is staying with us an entire extra month.
And really, really cheap train tickets to nearby adventures. Just so long as I try not to think about the laundry they’re going to generate…