Troubles come with Christmas

This post should have been out last week but as usual in Ortensia’s life, things didn’t go according to plans.

If last year around this season we were rushing to find nappies for poor old Clara, who really seemed to be on her very last leg, this year we spent the time spreading big ears german with hydrocortisone cream and stuffing him of steroids and antibiotics after he dived, repeatedly, in a poisoning bush.
So the two weeks before Christmas I spent my days back and forth the vet and nursing the poor animal who barely left the couch and was dramatically indulging in self-pity.

Good thing that at least my Christmas shopping was all done and dusted by then. To close the circle, in fact, after Easter and all the family’s birthdays, even Christmas would be spent in lockdown, that meant that I had to be sure at least the close family and friends present were secured.
I researched curriers to have my parents present sent to Italy, after buying them locally and oblige my duty to support the small businesses, for afternoons until I found a reasonable one that would guarantee me the delivery before the 24th and the same I did with the husband’s and the girls’.
Daughter number one doesn’t believe in Santa for a couple of years yet, but she still believes in her right to have a gift, and this year she had her mind well set on a new bike. Nothing wrong with her old one but its time to upgrade to something technical, she told me and from there she went on for an hour about bike suspensions, back and front, off-road asset, cross wheels etc, etc.
“Ok, ok…..but maybe you better go explaining all that to your father …”I said still trying to figure most of what she said, and whishing her knowledge of algebra was half of her knowledge of bikes. Surprisingly I kept it for myself. It was not easy, but the fact the mean teenager phase seems to be put on hold in favour of a more civil and human one, made me do it. Certainly, we don’t want to go back there, and especially around a Christmas lockdown when we won’t even be able to send her out of the way for a while.
So while the travelling husband sorted the bike and daughter number one, I sorted daughter number two. Daughter number two didnt have a specific request, “I would like a surprise.” She said. From who is not clear and we both let it hang in the air. Daughter number two is still no chicken and no fish, she is what they call a tweenie (not a teenager but not really a child anymore). Does she still believe in Santa? Who knows. Do I want to be the one to break the news about the ugly truth? No. Find a nice surprise was not easy but in the end, I got the perfect present idea. I ordered it well in advance and by the schedule, it was supposed to arrive two weeks before Christmas, except it didn’t!
Every day I checked the tracking app and harassed the help centre and every day I was told it was out for delivery. What route the driver was doing to get here I don’t know but it must have gone through the North Pole considering how long it was taking. Maybe it was a tactic to make the Santa thing more real but more likely not because on the 22nd of December they ultimately admitted that my parcel was lost.
Panic!!!! And a lot of swearing!!!! 😱I certainly could not leave the poor child with anything under the tree to open. I started to check all the possible shops in the area that could have sold something similar and I found one. Relieved that there was a solution, I rushed to the shop, grabbed the last they had, spent triple of what I spent for the other one, but daughter number two had her present.
With a light wallet but a peaceful mind, I am a driving home when the husband rang, “A parcel for you had arrived. It could be Carla’s present.”
“We’ll never know if you don’t open it, love!” and I admit it, the tone was harsh and the “love” sarcastic but what the heck…..ever heard of the word initiative?
A few minutes later a received the picture of the open parcel.
Off I go back to the shop. I shamelessly lay saying my husband had already bought it but haven’t told me and I return the purchased.

All good, in the end, apart from my level of stress even considering g that my car charge is nearly down as I was not supposed to drive for so long and I didnt charge before leaving the house. At least my credit card is back to be slightly chubbier.

Home sweet home. I park and dream of a coffee with a mince pie because after all this stress and driving I’ll be damned if I don’t deserve it except the doors guy are still in the house, there is dust everywhere and the house is freezing.

Yes the doors guys, did I not mention we are replacing doors, stairs and repainting? Of course, I didn’t because it was all supposed to happen back in October but once again all my planning fell through and so the stair will be replaced with the new year. That’s ok we just need to be sure not to lean on the bannister as it’s as wobbly as child milk tooth about to fall. The painter instead will probably show his face, hopefully, by February but at least we (the husband and I) achieved an agreement on the colours. There is only one problem….we now can’t remember which one we choose. Not too bad as we sure have plenty of time to stare at the test patches on the different walls of the house and try to remember.😝

Yes, things don’t always go as planned, and Mr Covid sure doesn’t help but even this year we had presents, lot of food and wine🤢 and a working wifi to video call the grandparents.💗

We’ll see what the new year will bring, hopefully some normality under form of jab😉
Happy holidays season everyone.

New Car New Life

Back in May I sold my car. My companion of many adventures was handed to a not even yet licensed girl, and a pretty lucky one if you ask me; I mean, my first car was older than me and before it came into my life I had to endure years of car pooling and public transport.

Anyway, with great surprise just a few days after we put the car for sale, a lady rang us interested to see the car for her daughter. I am not sure if the girl was enthusiastic about the car or not but the mother sure was and she was the one who had to pay. Not even the big dent on the passenger door stopped her.

“God only knows how many she is going to give it” She replied when we told her we had a quote to fix it and we had all the intention to deduct it from the asking price.

Obviously the poor woman, after months of driving practice with her daughter, had enough of finding new scratches on her car. The daughter needed her own car to torture.

 In a few days, they came back with a family friend who was a mechanic, just to be sure the car was ok. While the mother was chatting away with us and the daughter was dreaming of her soon to be road independency, the man inspected the car to obsession and kept asking questions and in the end suggesting a price drop. In the beginning, I thought I saw some embarrassment on the woman’s face but when the guy kept going about the fact that it might have been better to also see something else for the same price, I realised she was not embarrassed, she was pissed off.

“Do you mind if we have a word in private?” she asked us and we graciously stepped back to let them talk.

They talked for a few minutes with very low voices and then we suddenly heard,”For God’s sake. Is it in good condition or not and does it worth what they ask for?” She said exasperated and not caring for the volume of her voice.

 “Yes, indeed, I was just trying to get you to pay less, you know…” we heard him say apologetically.

She didn’t even let him finish and turned to us, “We take it.”🚗🎉🎉🎉

And that was the end of it .

By the end of the summer, we desperately missed the car. To be precise I didn’t miss the car but I missed to have a second car. Bad enough that it’s since march that we are living 24/7 altogether in the house, with only one car, we had to do everything together even outside the house, and then the new hunting season approached and the girls’ hockey season so, no staying with just one car was utopistic.

The decision was made. We were going to get the other car and this time I chose it: small, iconic and fully electric. After all we also installed solar panels on the roof ….it’s a choice making perfect sense.

So here I am, a couple of months later, sending commands to my newly arrived electric car from my phone: cool!!!! I feel like a Californian girl: plug, unplug ….except for the fact that in the morning I had to activate the climate to defrost the car rather than cool it down.

If you still haven’t realised it, I love my new car, but there is just one slightly small problem with it: the noise. When I had my test drive I didn’t have my new Dyson hoover and so I couldn’t know. Now, you are probably wondering what a vacuum cleaner has to do with an electric? They do the same noise when you switch them on. Apparently, I am the only one in the family to have noticed that. 

As they say: You can take a housewife out of the housework but not the housework out of a housewife. 🧹Or simply I am the only using the hoover in the house, more likely. But even the most desperate of the housewives can be saved and so last Monday, after dropping daughter number two to art class, I switched the car from green mode to sport and myself from eco mum to cool gal. I had a nice spin around and also grabbed a fancy soy chai latte from the fashionable coffee shop. I felt like a diva and slowly drove back to the art school still with half an hour to wait while sipping my dring and browse around IG. I drove into the parking and there there was a poor kid in the pitch dark shivering for the cold.

“Jeez, poor pet, where the hell are her parents?” I muttered under my breath.

In their new car!!!!!! 

The art term was over the previous week and the poor pet waiting fir half an hour in the pitch dark getting her ass frozen and risking some weirdo to get to her was my daughter😱🙈

What a lousy mother I am. I felt so sorry and terribly bad!😭😫

“Honey I’m sorry I’m sorry, I’m sorry…..but they dint send any email to say last week it was the last lesson…. “I tried to justify myself with her and myself.

“It’s ok, I’m just a bit cold” She smiles at me and I smile back. No, actually after the first ten minutes of mortification and self fustigation I laugh thinking how lucky I have been it happened to her and not her sister, aka the mean teenager.

Yes, being the quiet one is not always rewarding. 

What instead it is indeed rewarding, is not to have that ugly red light from the petrol level indicator to haunt me all the time. Of course ow I need to mon tor the battery as if running out of petrol can be easily solved with a walk to the nearest garage; running out of charge has only one solution, the tow truck; and that is an experience I don’t want to go through again. Yes again, but this story for another time because now, I have to go and put my girl in charge as tomorrow I’ll venture into town.

Happy Weekend everybody🤩

The Last Witch

And as promised here it is what kept me away for all these months:

“Back in 1974 the dormant Irish village of Seacross is shocked by the gruesome circumstances of young Margaret Morehouse’s death. Forty-five years later history seems to repeat itself and the quiet life of the coastal Irish village is suddenly shaken by a series of ritualistic murders.
Someone had broken the pact of secrecy to obtain justice, but if the truth comes out nobody will be spared, from the future Taoiseach to the local men of power. Inspector Billy McCabe is called to investigate but not only will he have to face his demons and test his beliefs but he will also have to watch over his shoulder because nobody can be trusted, not even the ones closest to him.”

The long way back

It was the 23rd of may and suddenly is the 16th of October.
I was supposed to take a few weeks breaks but obviously, things span out of control.
In my defence, Ortensia’s alter ego, the bully writer, took advantage of the lockdown and produced her third book,(shameful promotion soon to come).

I know, I know it does not excuse to neglect the blog but unfortunately, days still have only 24 hours and women still have only two hands.
Yes because since we are all happily living together 24/7 the time lost a bit of its value and even more since the schools had reopened because even if I get rid of the offspring, the husband and the dogs stay and they sat to eat and be walked out and some days they even want clean and ironed laundry. Now, of course, I trust your judgement on guessing who demands what.
Since the last time I was with you, the travelling husband became officially a sedentary husband, at least until Christmas. Daughter number 1 hit the full of her teenager years ad there are days I wonder if she is seriously mine. Daughter number two is still human and smiling but developed an over-attachment to her mother. Let’s say, she’s a bit like a mussel with her rocks: glued to it and I am her rock!

”On My Own” “Alone” feelings and conditions that had completely lost their meaning with this pandemic and the worst is that if you can’t be alone at home you can’t even be alone outside because there is nowhere to go. The only alone space left is in the car. And so the once dreaded waiting in the car for the girls is now the most wanted time. My only chance to stay at least 1 hour in the only and absolute company of myself.

Of course, the last few months had not all been bad. We made it for a week to Italy to visit my parents after six months of skyping them, and we went on vacation. It was actually our Easter vacation that became our summer vacation. One full week in North Of Ireland, technically abroad so not qualifying as staycation, but still fun and we eventually git to have those so desired surfing lessons. Nice experience if only I had managed to stand up straight at least once on that bloody board.

Overall it was a nice summer, and we all proved to have a certain degree of psychological stability as we didnt try to murder each other.
Hopefully, the new season will see us as stable.
Who instead had his best spring /summer ever was for sure big ears german. He had his first vacation with the family, he started to come swimming with us regularly and he always some two legs at home to keep him company. Even cranky old Clara after a few rough months, she is doing great and the nappies are no longer needed. She is still as blind as a bat and greatly demented but thanks to the new medication she also has a newly regained energy.
She is good enough for us to start fostering again and so a little 10 months old German pointer, with a ridiculous name he didn’t even respond to, came into our care and we renamed him Hans. Little Hans (who is already tall enough to scavenge the kitchen countertop) had a very rough start in life and needs a lot of training. He is undoubtedly adorable and as disruptive as Kurt was at his age and the two of them together are cute and spend hours playing. As for Clara, we are not sure she had realised its tow of them now, but anyhow it seems to work and she growls indistinctively to one or the other.
So, even if I swore I didn’t want another big ear german full of beans in the house, here I am four weeks later signing his adoption papers.

Have a great weekend everybody, it feels good to be back.

Lola never met her father, and her mother took her own life when she was still a toddler. Raised by her aunt Mara, a callous woman who never showed any affection towards her niece. As soon she turns 18, Lola moves to Malta where she meets her future husband, Fergus. The two of them will ultimately build their dream life in Ireland. Lola’s past seems forever forgotten, until the day her aunt Mara dies under suspicious circumstances and her cousin Giulia vehemently discourages her from being involved. Uncertain about what to do, in the end, Lola flies over to Ponte Alto with her husband.The old town had not changed much, and neither had the twisted dynamics inside the Kopfler family. Lola is transported back twenty years, and the ancient feeling of being an outsider is back. But that is not all: her presence is a threat to someone; someone who doesn’t hesitate to leave a trail of blood behind to keep their secrets safe. The events unfold a spiderweb of evil acts, lies, and a truth that is far crueller than anyone can imagine, and soon Lola and Fergus find themselves at the centre of a killer hunt. What they cannot imagine is that the search for the truth will bring them back to Dublin. The vicious attack of their neighbour and friend, in fact, is some way connected to the savage murders in Ponte Alto, but how? Inspector Furio Zamparelli and Detective Enda McCarthey will have to join forces and start a race against the clock to stop the killings. The deception of the powerful Kopfler family had started. There is no coming back: Will Lola be spared?

Quarantine Birthday

The highlight of the last two weeks?Mmm🤔,my birthday, of course!!!!. And not because I ‘m a ruthless prima donna, but because I am genetically inclined to worship birthdays. Anyone birthday.
I grew up with a woman who is, in fact, a sort of birthdays freak. My mother,aka Nona, remembers anyone’s birthday and religiously calls the birthday boy or girl on the day. If then, they belong to the category of close relative or friend, she will gift them with a present. The present will be promptly delivered on the day of the birthday, and if that it is not possible, then it will be handed a few days in advance. Not too much in advance or else, they can think you want to get it out of your way and absolutely never after the birthday had passed or else they might think you had forgotten.
The same goes for the main festivity like Easter and Christmas.
When still a child, I clearly remember my mum, address book in hand, sitting on the chair beside the console where the telephone was, (in those days there was only the landline and even not cordless), and dialling numbers like there was no tomorrow.
When a bit older, and according to my mother in one of my most rebellious phases, I tried to suggest that maybe she could wait for them to call for once. Superfluous to say that it didn’t go down well!
Despite all her effort to train me, I have never felt l the pressure of the religious occurrences, maybe because I am not religious at all. A thing this one, that I am sure good old Freud could link to my upbringing, but I won’t go deep in this because I have learnt that Nona , (thanks to google translate), regularly reads the blog.
Where her imprinting didn’t fail to stick, instead, is on the Birthdays worship. As for family tradition, even in my house birthdays are sacred, and my clan never had a birthday without candles, balloons, cakes and presents.
Unfortunately, the travelling husband didn’t have the same family imprinting I had, but I trained him well. Still, genetic is unquestionable, and while daughter number two took after me, daughter number one took after the paternal side of the family.
Father and daughter are present last-minute buyers and normally going on a shopping trip the Saturday before my birthday. Something that this year they couldn’t do. I think they thought to be off the hook because of the quarantine but I’ ll be damned if I skip my birthday full pack of birthday celebration and even more damned if I get involved in it. Rule number one of a good birthday is that everything must be a surprise.
So, here I am, actively but discretely reminding them how long deliveries take in lockdown…Hoping that message is clear: I still want my present and my cake and on the day. When I noticed that the stock of wrapping paper I keep in the study has gone, I know the message has been received. Never mind the present is a tin of beans (better if it is something else of course) but it must be a surprise, and it must be nicely wrapped.
Now I only have to be sure that they remember the decorations, and so I leave the basket with the party stuff in the middle of the landing where they can all trip on it.
With a bit of anxiety about what is awaiting me, I got up on the 24Th to find balloons, handmade signs and lovely gifts, handmade and not.
Despite the odds, it was one of my best birthday ever and the first when even Nona had followed the suggestions she was given. Well, not that she could do otherwise considering that no shop is open in Italy and so she had to turn to Amazon. Something in a normal situation unthinkable as a birthday present must be bought only after careful research and some effort. Every gift is carefully planned and thought according to the person that goes to. There are no generic gifts to click on a screen in Nona’s world, or at least there weren’t … until this year when she had to capitulate and buy me a bath tray, with the promise that she will get me something else as soon life will go back to normal.
I, myself, would have thought to ask for a bath tray in a million years, but that was before the self-isolation when I barely had time for a bubbly bath once a year. Now, in this new life, I can bath weekly, switch on the bubble and now even bring with me a glass of wine and sky go.
Now I’m just waiting for the next trip to the supermarket to show off the lovely handbag the traveling husbnad got me. In the meantime I must decide if let the girls clean the windows or polish the silver first. Poor creatures, still so naive to gift me with a voucher booklet for domestic services.
So, yes, quarantine can have bright sides😉.

Be careful what you wish for

The last post ended with Ortensia ingenious wife planning g a week of painting for the traveling husband, while she would relax and enjoy the sun and some good book.

Well as they say, never wish to others what you don’t want to be wished to you, in this case, to paint a wall. Maybe it doesn’t say exactly like that but you get the concept. I am pretty sure it is one of the ten commandments too. And well, if it isn’t it should defo be… know just to avoid disappointments.

Anyway, back to the story, it turned out that Ireland is full of ingenious wives looking to make their husband helpful, or of ingenious husbands volunteering for outdoor odd jobs and take a break from their kids and brides. I am certain that by the end of this sanitary emergency Ireland will have the most groomed home gardens and the cleanest walls; finding external paint is, in fact, a mission impossible. Most of the hardware shops are closed and those that are still open only accept orders online or by phone, but they are so overwhelmed with demands that they won’t go back to you that easily and the variety of products available is poor. Or so the travelling husband said. He tried three hardware shops and could only reach one that only had black paint left.

“I know, but what can I do? If there is no paint there is no paint!”, he then would say from the couch, in response to my frown. And he really made it sound like it was not his fault. Except of course if he would have bought the paint last May when he first spoke about painting the wall, he would now have it safe and ready to use in the shed, but as every lousy DIY man, he only buys item by item and only when needed. And I won’t even highlight that if he had not only bought the paint last spring but also used it straight away as for initial plan we wouldn’t be here losing our dignity begging hardware shops nationwide for paint.

Unfortunately crying over spilt milk is pointless, but the ruined wall stays. matter of fact. And now that I spent the first week of the Easter break power washing the patio and gardening, drinking my morning coffee and see that awful wall upsets me more than ever.

Thankfully, any ingenious wife worth of that name is ingenious towards herself too.

The second week of the Easter break I promised the girls to make art and craft with them and so why not catch two birds with one stone and make art and craft on the wall?

We had acrylic paint of different colours, we had varnish to seal it, we had brushes and splendid weather, so let’s unleash our creativity.

While the three of us were happy out drawing and painting with great enthusiasm, the husband was looking at us with a grin expressing all his lack of confidence on the possible outcome of the project; and possibly regretting he didn’t try a bit harder on that hardware shop. If he tried at all, as suspiciously enough, that very same day both our neighbours had two big buckets of white paint delivered.  Too late anyway as we were unstoppable and once done highly pleased with the result.

The husband instead, was in shock for the surprise:  “I really thought it would be ugly you know! Instead, it is very nice. Great job girls.” he said and we decided to focus just on the second half of his sentence as we knew deep down in his heart he intended to make us a compliment.

The rest of the week went in between baking with the girls as promised on top of the art and craft and walking with the husband as he was getting beyond bored.

“Of course you are bored Darling, there is a limit amount of daily internet and tv a man can cope with!!!! Ever heard of cooking or spending some time with your daughters too?”

“Yes, you are right. I just didnt think about it. maybe I can help..or do something with the girls and the dogs” but once again, like with the wall, words and actions stayed unlinked until the divine providence intervened and blessed me with a massively painful ear infection on both my ears. I know its hardly a blessing and it wasn’t the first night that I couldn’t even sleep because of the pain but after I started the medication I was prescribed, the pain eased and I had the excuse to hide and rest in silence for an entire day withiout anybody following me around with any demands.