Monthly Archives: January 2023

Some pictures

I took pictures a couple days ago of the place. We didn’t yet go to the kitchen place, but we made an appointment. Our firewood came and we are using the stove. Nice and toasty inside, and that’s good since it was -2C last night.

Our eating experiences have been interesting. After eating two nights from the rosticceria we decided to try the Indian take-out place. It is relatively new and we had waited to try it until we moved. I got the rice with chicken and Luther got a kebab. I opted for the picante (hot) sauce they had. It was a creamy sauce, light green. He said it was spicy and boy! Was he right! I think it was the hottest thing I’ve had since vindaloo. But good! We will be regulars. The kebab was huge and cost only €3. 😳 We also bought prepared food from our local supermarket. Luther had baccalla – salt cod. He liked it. I went veggie and had spinach and a fresh salad from the local “Egyptian” veggie market. Tonight we will try the sushi place in town. They deliver and have all sorts of options. Looks very good. We shall see!

Here are some pictures. Miraculously when Luther hooked up the TV, we had Sky TV again. I was happy

Living room
New frig
Kitchen that was removed downstairs.
Office in progress, upstairs.
New washer/dryer. Tested them yesterday. Excellent

Above, is the view. This picture doesn’t really look like it looks! If you get what I mean. Monte Acuto, our biggest mountain is in our view and it is very pretty. I will try to do better in the future.

Tomorrow is our appointment with the kitchen people – LUBE. And, while in Castello, I want to visit SIDEFORM to get the lighting started. Later I want to visit our shop with all the jumble of furniture for a couple more pieces. I keep telling myself I am not in a hurry, but somehow, that never sinks into my head! Andrà tutto bene 🌈.

Moving – finally here

Where to start! It has been a casino. One of my favorite Italian words. Means a mess. They say ‘che casino!” What a mess. And so it has been. And will be for a while. I am trying to be upbeat. It’s a bit hard though.

We spent our last night at the rental apartment. It was ok, not terribly comfortable. It is an odd property with lots of interesting organic gardening. Since it’s winter you can’t really appreciate the grounds. Alesandressa, the owner met us when we were leaving and she was very nice. It was a bit hectic because a number of items had not been moved by our movers and I had asked if they could move them. The said 8:30am the day we were leaving. I had also organized that Valeria, my cleaning person to come clean the apartment. So Luther and I split the duties, I met the movers, he met Valeria. But we also had a 10 am appointment with the caldaia people to fix the heat at the new house at 10am. It is really cold here. And the first thing we had encountered yesterday was no heat or hot water.

We managed to get the movers moving and Valeria cleaning and lickety split we grabbed all our suitcases and the cats, and the giant litter box and went to the new apartment. In time for the appointment. It was super cold. We were all bundled up. The guy came and much explaining of the Caldaia ensued. We also got the upstairs Caldaia reconnected to the thermostat so it began to work. When they pulled out the old kitchen they disconnected it. Well, all things don’t alway work so easily. The caldaia continued to quit and there was no hot water. Luther downloaded the manual and read some stuff. Changed a couple things and bingo, hot water. But no one knows why the hot water upstairs suddenly started working because the two systems are independent. It is still a mystery. If it keeps working it will be a miracle.

We went to Formica, our family owned appliance store. Super nice folks in there. We ordered a refrigerator and a washer and dryer. They were pretty quick and they were delivered today. I find it is hard to keep in my mind what has happened in any chronological order. Just too many moving parts. It is one reason why I am writing this now. It will help me remember.

The last three days we have both been unpacking. There are so many boxes everywhere. And no place to put the stuff. I decided I needed to start ordering stuff for delivery to get organized! The sellers took all the ceiling light fixtures and sconces. They even took the light bulbs from the light in the hall and in the master bath. I ordered more bulbs. Then I ordered lamps. A bunch of floor lights to scatter about and some table lamps. Next I ordered a bunch of furniture from IKEA. Places to store stuff mostly. A dresser for our room. Night stands for both ours and the guest room, an armadio (armoire) for the guest room. A hall cabinet and a big storage unit for the third bedroom. They will come February 8. I also ordered assembly. So that’s another step.

Today, I completed unpacking the office. I also organized all medicines. One thing that’s nice here are cabinets in the bath that will hold all our vitamins, meds, and supplies. So I got that organized. The kitchen is still a work in progress. Too much stuff. No place to stow it.

Tomorrow we will drive to Citta di castello to a kitchen design store. We need to get that started ASAP. And next week we will probably go to SIDEFORM which is a lighting store there. We got all our nice track lighting done by them at our old house. I counted seven overhead lights that were missing just upstairs! And in the living room we need a chandelier. There are also some built in fluorescent lights in the living room which I hate. They are those tubes you used to see in offices, ugh. I need to replace them with nice track lights. One bath also has no lights. Big job. I hope they will handle installation.

We are super lucky to have a rosticceria literally next to the main entrance to our apartment. The last two nights we have bought our dinners there. The food is pretty good. Now we have a frig we will do a shopping trip for some groceries. We do have a microwave.

Oh, and I ordered a load of firewood from my friend Quinto. He is bringing it tomorrow. We can use the ginormous wood stove in the living room. The thought of the utility bills here is scary. So maybe it will help if we use the stove. It belongs to the sellers but I figure, if they left it here we can use it.

Sorry I have no pictures for this post. I also have found out there is a glitch with my website host that has impacted my email notifications. I will look into that soon. It seems to be pretty random. Some folks are getting the posts, some are not. Ciao a tutti!

Step 3 — moving out…and in!

Today is the coldest day of our winter so far. -1C. Damn cold. But it will be sunny at least, no snow. Still, it is not a great time to be moving. 🥶

We walked to the apartment. The guys were already there. They had moved the elevator platform trailer into Via Grilli. Stomping their feet with cold they began to work. They filled the platform and lowered it un-filled it and sent it back. I think it will be a long process. The moving truck is in the middle of the Piazza. We decided to camp out in Bar Mary. Irene is sad we are leaving but she knows we will be back. I had a cappuccino and a cornetto, then later a macchiato. Jim showed up with additional papers and the keys and picked up our garage keys. He is taking over our garage.

Here are pictures of the truck and the “elevator” platform.

It was a super hectic and chaotic day. We had to go to the bank and cancel a check and then cut a new one because the selling agent gave us the wrong info for the check, and this is supposed to be a professional real estate agent! Then we returned the corrected check to the agency. We got a call and returned to our house on via Grilli for questions by the movers. Now that we had keys to the new place we decided to go there.

Even though we have been living here for almost 9 years we are still surprised by things. First thing we need to mention is that Italians take – EVERYTHING. We did stipulate they leave the downstairs kitchen and the ceiling fans and lights. Welll….turns out you have to be even more specific in the wording. We were surprised that they left part of the kitchen. The top cabinets, the built in hood, and the lights. But the bottom cabinets, sink, stove, and dishwasher were gone. Sigh. At first it was a shock. But now I realize we can get those cabinets replaced cheaply and (hopefully) easily and new appliances. We need to buy these and soon. Also a refrigerator from our local shop and a washer and dryer.

Even more of a surprise is that they dug up every single plant and bush from the terrazzo. Even a mature olive tree! I had like that tree. Who would have thought! But now I think of it, it is the Italian way. You need to spell out each and every thing you want left. Very specifically. To look on the bright side, I didn’t want all the plants that were there and now I don’t need to dig them out! It is a blank slate for me!

Surprisingly, the movers finished before Pranzo on Via Grilli and arrived at Via Fratta. Moving in was a chore. Our sellers were not completely out. They had a s*&$load of stuff in the cantina still to go and they wanted to keep one garage for 2 months. We want to stay on good terms with them since there is much to know about the house so we are trying to be agreeable. Oh well. It will all work out in the end. Piano, piano as they say.

Pictures. The elevator from above.

The next ones I’ll caption under the pictures.

Hall from front door to living room
Living room
Hall in the “zone di notte, or night area. Where the bedrooms are.
Guest room
Master bedroom
This will be a storage room and second office or studio. It is the third bedroom.

We have a little more to deal with than we thought because of the mistakes/misunderstandings…but it is not insurmountable at all. We have nice house and over the next year or so we will make it ours. Piano, piano…

Step 2 — packing — Imballaggio

Today was a vile day. Snow and rain and cold. But I do admit it was kinda pretty. Not the best day for moving out though!

We got up early to go meet up with the movers. I had a few things to do that I thought of while I was supposed to be sleeping last night — I always do that 😑 They arrived on the dot and began packing. We made ourselves available for any questions they might have and hung around until they were nearly done. Walking back to our rental was disgusting.

Our agent, Jim, will do the closing for us. That is at 3:30 and it usually lasts an hour or two. Then we get the keys. That should be significant! We meet up tomorrow at eight for the removal of the household goods from the apartment which will be Step 3.

Step 1 — finito!

Today was very busy. We had to wash linens and try to organize all our electronics and cords. And clean things, throw away trash, etc. We did all that as best we could. Then we packed for ourselves for four nights away from home. All our computers, plugs, wires, clothing, etc. Then we turned to the cats. We packed up all their stuff. Bowls, food, litter, litter box, scratch post, heated pillow… They had more than we did!

We walked over to the apartment/BnB we rented and checked in. Then grabbed the car and went to get all the sundry stuff down our beloved 53 steps. Mission accomplished. Whew. The BnB is cute. Only thing is I think there is only one outlet in the whole place. That’s a complete exaggeration 😁. But there is only one in the downstairs area for sure. These old places are often wiring challenged. Here is a picture of the living room.

The cats have very different personalities. Simba, the smaller, is the alpha and not at all laid back. Rocky, the gentle giant, settles in quickly. They are going through all their rituals. Exploring, eating, Simba is jumping his brother. Much caterwauling. It will take time for them to settle…only to have to do it again on Thursday. Poor boyz.

I am not one to ever let a fireplace go to waste. So I got afire going and it’s quite cozy.

Tonight we are going to order takeout from Osteria del Boccojolo. It is just steps from here and I’m getting a pasta dish.

Tomorrow, at 8am we meet up with our trasloco company who are moving us. They will do the packing. Stay tuned…

Last fire…sigh.

Cold and blustery today. Snow predicted for the next few days. We won’t get much here in the valley. All is on track for the move. We move out tomorrow to the agriturismo. Our friend and agent Jim, is going to do our closing. He has been amazing! He seems to be able to get anything done. He probably doesn’t read this but thank you Jim, for everything!

I will post for the next few days little, short posts about how things progress. Wish us luck!

Tick, tick, tick ⏰

Well, time winds down. Doing the final move stuff. I am a Capricorn and therefore a very organized person. Also, my OCD husband says I am OCD too. Well, maybe so. I have a system with all my rooms color coded. We shall see how that works!

All of my boxes and furniture now have colored dots on them. I really want to limit the necessity of moving the boxes around once we are there. If I can get them in the approximate right places then I’m good.

Today I emptied out our chest freezer. We had begun to eat all the food frozen in there over the last couple weeks. Mostly what was left was frozen hot peppers. 😏 but also a ton of pesto, frozen cranberries — which I WILL NOT relinquish — crisco, chocolate chips and pecans from the US. Now that we have emptied both freezers I was able to save most stuff. Just had to throw away some peppers. It will all stay here until after we move.

We will be moving out of here Sunday into an agriturismo here in town. We will move the cats (and all their stuff!) and also several suitcases with all the things we will need for the beginning. I don’t want to have to be hunting in boxes to find the things we need first, like towels, sheets for the bed first night, etc.
For fun stuff, we had a really nice time at the Books for Dogs quiz night. We teamed with friends, Ben and Karen. We had a favorable showing of third place. Tonight we will dine with our new friends.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. More as we progress…Ciao for now!

Spinach soup

I made this soup that is now one of my all time favorites. I am not sure if the broth I made, made it special. I will make it again without that broth to see. We save cheese rinds in the freezer. And when I get a big bunch I boil them for an hour or so. The kitchen smells like cheese. I strain out the solids and use the broth in soups. I don’t do it often because it takes a while to save enough rinds. Anyway, this soup used this broth. But any broth would do. All you do is chop an onion, carrot and celery and sauté until soft. Add broth. I used chicken broth and the cheese broth and then some water. I cooked it all together for about 30 minutes. Then I added pasta. The rice shaped one. (Did you know orzo is barley here! I wonder how the US started using that word for rice shaped pasta?) Anyway, I cooked the pasta and then put in a huge amount of washed chopped spinach. I did not cook it. It just wilted into the hot broth. Even a huge amount will practically disappear into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. The soup was delicious, and so comforting…felt like chicken soup for the soul. Except…no chicken!

This is our picture window in our living room. It probably was the reason we bought this apartment. It brings real meaning to the phrase “picture window”. It changes by the minute. It looks like a painting. I never tire of it. I should have taken more photos like this. Oh well…

One week from today

So, I’m happy to report things still are on schedule for The Move. We had our meeting with our sellers. It was good to get back into the apartment because it has been a very long time since we viewed it. They are obviously working on getting out. They had SO much stuff. I can’t imagine. And they told us their house is not ready so they are storing their things and renting a small apartment.

We had a lot of questions which we got answered, but there was one pressing issue in my mind…that the floor plan I had was not the most recent. In my pictures of the apartment there appeared to be a room that was formerly a terrace. So, with our friend Jim we went straight upstairs and saw that I was right, there is a big room that was formerly a terrace. Marcella, one of the selling couple said the work was all done legally and there was a new Catasto. So long story short, the work was done but the Geometra did not do the paperwork and register at the Comune. This also happened to us in our present apartment. We moved the kitchen, which is a major change that needed to be registered. We didn’t know at the time that it was needed, and that it was not done. We got it done and all was well. Today we heard it was an easy fix and they would have it finished before closing next week. It made for a stressful weekend of waiting. Here is the mystery room! I love the space and have no idea what I will do with it. I need to decide this week if I want our office things put up here. I am leaning towards yes.

Here are a few pictures of the bathrooms and some other spaces. I was pleased to see they were leaving some of the built in storage closets. Not all, but enough. And all the built in bookcases. They will look pretty empty because we don’t have a lot of physical books anymore. Nor a lot of decorative things. I am sure we can make it nice…

Main bathroom
Guest bathroom

This is the top floor. When I came up I smelled a lovely aroma. It was Marcella’s two lemon trees! See them in the photo above on the right? She keeps them inside in winter. They call it a lemonaia. The trees were full of flowers which have a very sweet aroma. This is also the space I will use to make my open plan kitchen. Behind that large china cabinet is a wall and a minuscule kitchen. We will remove that kitchen and the wall. Then across that whole back wall will be the kitchen and in front, an island. Looking forward to that project! Here is the minuscule cucina.

Very odd to me that Marcella and Walter do not have an oven in either kitchen. So strange. Do they never roast anything? Or bake anything? I couldn’t live without one. I am buying one that sits on the counter for the downstairs kitchen. But for the new kitchen it will be a very nice range, this time free-standing. Not built in like our present one.

So there you have our latest update. This week I have to do a lot of final stuff. We also are meeting some new friends for dinner Thursday. And there is a Quiz night tomorrow night — a benefit for books for dogs. Should be fun! Ciao for now! 🌈

Lemon tree, very pretty…

Today is a good day. I am finished with my procedure and I am fine! A relief. I seem to think the worst will happen and at the worst possible time! Like now. In the middle of the big move. I went to the hospital in Città di Castello. They have a very nice new hospital with all modern facilities. People around here call the town just Castello. It is about 20 kilometers and takes around 25 minutes using the good, old E45 super strada that runs north and south through our valley. Once it was part of the Via Flammina. An old Roman road. But I digress. They were super efficient and fast. Even mindful of my modesty…many are not here. And the doctor and nurse were friendly. So, now I am done with that…I am dusting myself off and going back to the business of living here.

You all must know of my little lemon tree. I had always wanted to be able to have a lemon tree. One of the first things I bought was a small one from a local vivaio or nursery. I wrote a post about this little tree way back in 2020 when we were in the strictest lockdown because of Covid. It was titled Day 46 Covid 19 and I had a bit of fun with my lemon tree. At that time I was trying to keep myself entertained while being locked down. This post was just one day…I blogged for 83 straight days. You, my reader friends, helped me keep sane. This blog helped keep me sane. What a time it was. Anyway. If you’d like to read that post, here is a link — Day 46 Covid 19.

My tree is still flourishing. I am still pinching off all the leaves on the one side. And this year I got 19 —yes! — 19 lemons. She is doing very well and she is coming on our move. I will take off all the lemons to make her easier to move and take the weight off. She will love our new terrazzo and she will be getting a bigger pot. 🙂

As for news of the move, we are making forward progress. I’m making copious lists. Lists of things to leave here for Jane and Christie, things I need to keep away from the packers that I many need first at the new place, cat stuff (of which there is a lot), some clothes, our computers, wires, chargers, remote controls…on and on. We are using up all the food in our freezer. Sadly I’m going to have to throw away most of my frozen peppers. But I’ll just grow more! And we have a meeting with our sellers this coming Friday. We are bringing our agent friend Jim along. We have many questions and much measuring to do.

Ciao for now! 🌈