No, I DIDN’T fall off the planet!

(23 May 2016) I’m back in Spello for a couple months, and dreadfully behind in blogs posted. When I was here in the fall, I was scrambling to post the rest of the story from the previous spring, when my friends from North Carolina purchased a home here, moved in with me while they furnished it, moved to their new home, and then completed the rest of the construction (the kitchen) before returning home to NC. I wanted to finish the blogs about their story—and there were many photos—but then I had hoped to catch up to present blogs.

Today's sky over Mt. Subasio--rain on the way

Today’s sky over Mt. Subasio–rain on the way

Today's sky

The sky over the valley, before the hail began

That didn’t happen. I did finish their story, but I never got to mine. I became ill with bronchitis, and it just stayed for weeks, and then the recovery was very slow. When I went to the mercato down the hill, it took me several “sit down” breaks to catch my breath coming back up—I really was hit hard by being so ill for so long. I just kept up the hot tea therapy and paid back a huge sleep debt, but the blogs didn’t make it to a priority status at that time.

I came home to California to my condo, with Phase 1 of my total renovation already completed while I was gone to Spello. Walls were moved and removed, the kitchen floor had been jackhammered open to move plumbing, my laundry area was taken out of the kitchen and reversed to open into the entry hall, and my home was hooked up to gas for later stages of the renovation, yet to come. All interior doors, toilets and windows had been replaced, and the crew was waiting until after the holidays to start the rest of the renovation, determinted to finish before my date to leave for Spello in May.

My empty kitchen, before demolition began

My empty kitchen, before demolition began

Ken ("Animal") tears down cabinets

Ken (“Animal”) tears down upper cabinets

Rob and Ken demolishing the kitchen

Rob and Ken demolishing the kitchen

Pantry cabinet coming down, beside the fridge

Pantry cabinet coming down, beside the fridge

Down to the studs and insulation

Down to the studs and insulation

Kitchen demolition done

Kitchen demolition done

My new companion came home from Kentucky, where he is working on an investment property, and we enjoyed several weeks together seeing each other, rather than always writing and texting. We shared Thanksgiving, a special horse show in San Francisco, and then he was gone before Christmas arrived, back to Kentucky. Soon it was Christmas—shared with grandson Aiden, my daughter Julie and son Steve, with his fiancé, Liz. We had a wonderful few days together, I became a “senior citizen” on January 1 with my “Medicare Birthday,” and began a new phase of my life as a single woman on January 2.

Master bathroom shower

Master bathroom shower

Demolished master bath shower

Demolished master bath shower

Master bath cabinets coming out

Master bath granite and cabinets coming out

Master bath demolished

Master bath demolished

January 4 was the official restart of my condo renovation—from baseboards to attic—and demolition was done in only one day. I made it clear that I was going to stay, no matter what the condition of the house, and kept moving into smaller spaces (plus sold, donated or gifted furniture to help clear out the house). THAT was my blog time—or so I had thought. Instead, I was on the run nearly every day, choosing faucets and flooring and carpet, and going back when something I had chosen was discontinued. I had figured I’d be captive in my small room, and the blogs would pour out—catching up from the fall, when I had been ill and posting blogs from the previous spring. No, I was just not able to fit blogs into my days. It added quite a bit of time to each morning, my driving to a nearby cabana to find a shower to use. I depended on frozen entrees and prepared salads from Trader Joe’s, with only a microwave salvaged from the kitchen demolition as a cooking option–basically “camping” in my house. No complaints—it was my choice to stay, amid the dust and noise and invasion of carpenters, plumbers and electricians—but it was no picnic. And no time to be posting blogs, either.

When I left for Spello on 11 May, the very last of the details of my condo’s renovation were being finished—it was 95% complete, and 95% paid for already. I arrived here after having my plane to Florence diverted to Verona—costing me about 5 hours and nearly making me miss the very last train to Spello. I DID miss Leonardo’s birthday party dinner, which I would have easily made if my plane had not been rerouted with severe thunderstorms over Florence, Pisa, and Bologna—taking the plane all the way north to Verona, and then having a planeload of people put onto several buses to get them back to Florence.

That “welcome back” severe thunderstorm over Florence was just the beginning—it has rained all but two days since I have arrived, and once it stormed fiercely (the night after I had planted my window boxes, trying to have some flowers at my home for the Infiorata coming this weekend—the flowers are still trying to recover from the battering they got that night, and now today the hail). Last Wednesday was one nice day—until that big storm at night—and yesterday was the second fine day, prompting a Sunday drive with friends to the sea at Monte Conero, on the Adriatic, for a picnic lunch and tour of the area.

Grandson Aiden, 3

Grandson Aiden, 3–a visit with “‘onna” (who has toys!)

At the park in my condo complex

At the park in my condo complex

I’m anxious to get moving on catching up, on publishing the blogs from the last trip here, and on getting current so that the blogs can reflect what I am doing NOW. I know that I will be returning to a condo with nothing in the cabinets, with everything that should be there in boxes out in the garage, and with a young student from Florence, who will be spending the summer with me. Poor Chiara will be watching, and maybe helping me to move into my “new” condo. I’m excited to have the renovation project finished, to show her my beloved California, and to find out what my own life as a condo resident will be like. Lots of new experiences, always—and I’m looking forward to some travel and fun with Chiara, lots of shopping for new furniture (we both have bedrooms and bathrooms when we get home—we’ll be fine), and some time with my kids and grandson, too. I had a nice run of dating (with some VERY interesting stories about online dating, where “the odds are good, but the goods–can be–odd”), but I’m back to where I started, and I have plenty of other things to occupy me, for now. It will be great to be back home—and to make my renovated condo my home, again. Or finally my home—more like I never really had moved in.

At the top of the slide, ready to go

At the top of the slide, ready to go

My little "tesoro," who calls me "'Onna"

My little “tesoro,” who calls me “‘Onna”

Here begins the string of new blogs I hope to post—as many and as soon as possible. Again today, the sky is dark and rain is falling, the hail is the size of dimes (bouncing off the patio bricks), thunder is rolling down the mountainside, and so I am inside with a big pot of soup that I just made—trying to pare off some of the weight I gained from the holidays, from eating prepared foods for 4 months, from my son’s wedding on May 6 with the parties and showers that went along with that, and from an injury keeping me from my Kaia fitness program, darn. I’ve got this—here is “blog one!”

 

 

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