The Easter Break

Happy Easter wonderful WP People.

I know on Sunday I’m supposed to post but I’ll have to take a two weeks break but I’ll be back soon with new Truly Madly Ordinary adventures.

But because I know you are all loosing your sleep I can give you ahead up saying that Mr.M has eventually showed up to replace my bathroom tap and that my new bed has arrived,after an odyssey of phone calls .Only problem is…….after they assembled it we realized is damaged๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Good news are I have finished the first draft of book two, and that’s where all my writing time went and so now ,before the real work stats,the editing, I ll take my family for a break in the west of Ireland.Well, I’m sure they would tell you it is them to take me for my birthday but , as you you know truth is always in the middle๐Ÿ˜‰

In the meantime you can take a break too and if I can suggest somewhere I would suggest Seacross where Lies,murders and love affairs will keep you entertained and where secrets refuse to stay hidden in the past!

I know….shameless self promotion……just forgive me ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธand in my defense I’ll try to use my break to catch up with your posts๐Ÿ˜˜

A Truly Madly Ordinary Interview…….

On Thursday I had my first interview as an author on Instagram. Live streaming.
Lovely Brandy who helps and supports authors and writers asked me if I would have liked to be her next guest and I, in a raptus of total lack of any common sense, I said yes.
Only after we agreed on the day and time of the interview, I eventually realised what I have done: Me, in front of a camera? Live with people looking and listening to me? I must have been temporarily insane when I agreed. I am a bubbling person but in my little group of people. I am certainly not someone who likes To be centre of attention and I am usually that someone who reacts at it most awkwardly and clumsily.
After I thought to fake an attack of tonsillitis right on the day of the interview, I felt like the biggest coward ever. So, rather than keep running in my garden with 1 degree Celsius and wearing only my underwear in the hope to get the most significant sore throat in history, I tried to focus on transforming the panick in excitement. And because the power of our mind is limitless, it worked! At the idea of me, answering questions about my life as a woman, a mother and a “writer”, I developed a total blind and irresponsible excitement but, still excitement: “Feck tonsillitis, I am going to d this, and it will be great”.

In the following weeks, after Brandy and I spoke about the interview, so many things happened that I didnt even think about it again, until the day before “the event”, (because let’s face it, this could be the highlight of my entire year).
I texted Brandy, we agreed on a few topics, I even wrote down a few answers, on a piece of paper that it is superfluous to say I couldn’t find on the day of the interview, and the whole thing was suddenly real and making me predictable anxious again.
That evening before going to bed I practised in front of the bathroom mirror to speak slowly.
First of all, because I know my fat chicken, that in this very case it is nobody else but me, and I notoriously have the tendency to talk too much and too fast when I am nervous. Second, because as slower you speak and as higher are the chances to camouflage the accent. In particular when, and I will quote my daughters, it is as silly as mine.

Thursday morning, I woke up feeling good and driven to give my best. Nervous as well as my hands were disgustedly sweating hours before the interview but, never mind. I had decided to play, and I was going to play it entirely, to the point that I advertised the conversation on all my social media pages.
Of course, after every time I pushed the button “post”, I immediately regretted, but it was too late: I was in the game, and I had to play.
Eventually, it was afternoon. I came back home from collecting daughter number two from fiddle at 4.45. The Interview was scheduled to start at 5.I had fifteen minutes to instruct the girls not to enter my study unless the house was on fire. And by that, I specified that I meant the whole house because if it was just one room, they could close the door and move to another one or even better in the garden, along with the dogs.
Breath in, breath out…I was officially agitated and the proof was that I went to the bathroom three times in ten minutes. I made sure to have a glass of water handy, the I pad fully charged and my lipstick impeccably applied with no trace of it on my vampire’s tooth. I was ready and waiting.
At 5.20pm, nothing had happened yet!
I checked my IG account, but there were no messages from Brandy. I must have got the time wrong, I thought, and possibly the wrong day too.
I went back to the conversations with her, and I was definitely on the right time and day.
I checked my connection, but even that was correctly working.
Worried that Brandy was somewhere out there in the web introducing me as her next guest and I was nowhere to show up, I texted her.
With my significant relieve none of those scenarios was true. The interview was merely supposed to start at 6 pm, my time, instead of 5 because while in Europe we changed the time in the States they didnt.
A simple misunderstanding that causes no harm to anyone but that reinforced my hate for the DST that not only for six months takes every day a precious hour of sleep from me but it also nearly ruined my interview.

I had now half an hour to wait. Half an hour to fit in the most significant number of housework possible, from getting some dinner together, to take care of the laundry and feed the dogs to avoid them to be heard hauling outside the study.
6 o’clock arrived and I had barely the time to go back to my desk and jump into Brandy’s video. That delay in the start distracted me and avoided me the waiting to start that usually builds up the anxiety.
Great, I thought, I am going to be so relaxed and spontaneous. I even decided to follow my friends’ suggestion just to be me. Something that in normal circumstances I would consider dangerous, in particular when my tongue is accidentally faster than my brain, but that, in this case, it instead paid off…..or, so I believed.
In one click I was out there, live in front of total strangers and familiar faces, that I realised was even worst. My ears and cheeks felt on fire, but Brandy was brilliant and made me feel complete at easy, and all those people participating were fantastically supporting.
I talked like a chatterbox about everything, and by the end of the hour, despite feeling emotionally drained, I felt unstoppable. I was enthusiastic about my performance.
Nothing could destroy how happy and satisfied I was, not even the fact that the travelling husband barged into the room in the middle of the interview: “Bloody Hell what are you thinking? That you are better than your daughters or your dogs. If the room is off limits it is for everybody, you included”.
Obviously I couldn’t say it, and instead, I smiled like the most in love of the wife and briefly introduced him to my public. It did cost me, because what I wanted to do was to kick him out the room as that was my space and he had no right to be there but, as my friend SJ, later told me: “it could have been worse, he could have come in naked”.Fair enough, maybe I should only be grateful he had all his clothes on instead of being pissed for the interruption.

The entire evening I was so proud of myself: “I am so a natural in front of the camera!”, except I am not and the reality hit me when I rewatched the interview.
As more I watched of myself and as more painfully my enthusiasm died.
Starting from the accent, I was so concerned that it was too strong and too Italian that I sounded like a German all the time.
To be clear, I have nothing against Germans. On the contrary, they are one of my favourite people and I love the language, but I don’t think it is a good thing to sound german when you are talking English and you are a native Italian. That said, this throws some light on the fact that I am always mistaken for french, german, polish or else but never for Italian.
Unfortunately, the video of the interview, also highlighted that even if my silly accent(to quote my darling daughters) doesn’t give me away, sure my body language does. As my gracious cousin confirmed with a text crowded of laughing emojis. She was right. Not only my hands were continually looping in the air, but my butt kept shifting in the chair from side to side and like some occult force possessed me, I kept stretching my neck back and forth looking like a turkey with red lipstick.
My famous /infamous frown had made its appearance a few times too, but always in its funny self: Pew!

So yes, the perception of yourself and your performances sometimes cannot be more different from reality.
If I am ever to be interviewed again, I will get someone to tie my hands behind my back and the night before I will sleep with a fan on my neck so to be sure to wake up the following morning with a stiff neck that I won’t be able to move. Or I will agree on a radio interview where only my voice will be heard. Of course, the accent will still be silly, Italian or German, but because I am quite happy with the contents of my answers, I like to think it will be them to get people attention and interest.

The Mills ,The Migraine,The Plumber And The Hairdresser…….A Truly Madly Ordinary Week.!

What a week!!!!.
The gardener came to prune trees and bushes; the fence man came to take measurements as we have to replace the trellis that the last storm took down, and the skip man came to take care of all the junks.
And all this just between Monday and Wednesday: quite impressive right?. Well, no. It would have been impressive if even the plumber had shown up.
On Wednesday morning, he swore me on the phone he was coming in the afternoon.
Not that I was so naive to believe him, but the fact that the travelling husband announced he was coming home a day earlier from his business trip, made me think that maybe there was something going on.
Maybe Mr M(our plumber for those who had not read my previous post) and he had secretly spoke and arranged to eventually meet in person.
The excitement of what could have possibly happened that day, gave me an incredibly writing boost and I wrote non stop all afternoon, but when by 7 pm, the husband was home but Mr M had not come yet, I had to give up the hope.
It might have been the rollercoaster of emotions , or (most likely) the fact I wrote in the kitchen instead of in my study embraced by my very comfy office chair, but an atrocious migraine accompanied by a very stiff neck assaulted me and didnt leave me for a few days.

The rest of the week was a nightmare: I could not write because the screen made me puke; driving was an absolute hassle but I had to do it, at least for the school run. Even walking the dogs was a challenging task.
My brain was totally messed up, to a point that I left one of the teachers cornered me and convinced me to walk daughter number two’ s class to the local mills for a tour that very same Friday.
In my defence, she caught me completely off guard but still: “seriously? “, said the wise and clever me to the naive me, “eight years in the school and you still had not learned to run as soon a teacher come towards you with the suspicious imploring face?”.

Friday morning the headache was slightly better but still there along with my sore neck and my extreme crankiness. By 10.15 am I am ready to leave home and meet the class at school gate by 10.30 as instructed , except I received a frenzy phone call from Mrs O (the begging teacher) saying she had given me the wrong time, she is very sorry but the class is already on its way to the mills.
A big smile started to form on my face as for a brief moment I thought I was off the hook. Pretty soon that smile turned into a grin as what she meant, it was actually for me to go straight to the mills, meet the class there, walk them through the tour and then back to school. “Boomer” . So now here I am at the local old mills reception. Of course, being so late when I arrived everybody turned to me and I suddenly turned into a third grader myself and felt the excruciating need to justify my indefensible lateness with everybody: Sorry I was given the wrong time, it was not my fault”, I started to recite like a mantra until one of the teachers approached me and gently caressing my arm went:”It is ok Mrs V. We know it was not your fault. You can relax now”. I am straight back into an adult, only a very stupid and embarrassed one.
The mills’ tour went better than expected and even the weather had held up. It was indeed windy and cold but dry.
Two hours later we finally made it back to school, I waved happily and a bit less happy I realised I had to walk all my way back to the mills to collect my car and so I ended up to walk also daughter number one class that was on the second mills’ tour.

Once I put the “Mills’ affair”behind me and I eventually headed home in extreme need for painkillers to ease my headache that by then, no wonder had gone worst.
Not even five minutes in the house that someone knocked on the door.
I peeped from the window and I see a huge guy with a toolbox.
I opened the door and he introduced himself as one of the guys who help Mr M and says he was there to replace the tap.
For as much as I cared he could be whoever he wanted, as soon he changed that bloody leaking tap.
All excited for the unexpected visit, I escorted him upstairs and I didn’t even get upset when he didnt remove his shoes(obviously MR M had not had time to properly train him yet).
Ten minutes later, he walked out my door while I was left in my bathroom looking at the drops that kept spilling and cursing the travelling husband who bought the wrong tap.

That was far too much for one morning: my head was pulsing and my mood was dangerously bad.
I drove down to the village and annoyed by everything and most of all my hair that kept going into my face with the wind, I stepped into the hairdresser and ask for an appointment:
“When”, she asked. “Now”, I answered.
Lucky me she had a cancellation. She sat me on the chair and asked what I wanted to do. “Chop it all off”, I said exasperatedly.
The young girl looked at me puzzled, but also a bit scared. Understandably scare, as I had the face of someone who had not had a proper sleep in three nights, had a pounding headache for the same numbers of days and, on top of it all, had a very bad morning. She, of course, could not know all this and probably just thought I was a psychopath or a potential serial killer ready to jump on my feet and make a massacre in the saloon.
“Oh ok, I wash it and then we will see what we can do”, she told me with a stupidly far too patronising tone, because if I was really a psychopath that would have sure triggered me off.
Lucky her, and the test of the people in the shop, I am a pretty stable person and calmly followed her to the washer!
Her gentle and light little hands did very well to my head, I have to give her this.
Back to styling chair and in front of the mirror, she approached me suggesting a restyle of my bob.
“I don’t want a restyle, I want to cut it short”
She started cutting and then stopped: “no no”, I say” cut more”.
She suggested to blow dry it first and then if I still think I want to go shorter she will cut more.
I frankly thought it was a waste of time, but her terrified expression told me she must have had some very traumatising experience with unhappy clients and so I graciously agreed to do as she said.
When she had done and I look like I am wearing a mushroom hat on my head, she asked: “So? What you think?”
” Still too long”, I sharply replayed, and even if I was really tempted I kept myself from adding, “I told you!!!”. She cuts the first lock of hair and looked at me for approval. I nodded with my head and we kept going like that: she cuts and I nod until there is not much left to trim.
I feel lighter, and even the headache is gradually starting to fade off.

Saturday the head was much better, the mood had dramatically improved, and even the weather was back to spring. I gardened all day planting and repotting flowers and vegetables and in the evening realised that the migraine was completely gone๐ŸŽ‰
Only on Sunday morning, when I got up the bed, I realised that after all that kneeling, bending, lifting and digging, the pain had simply shifted from my head to my joints. The joy of ageing they say, but when I look at my garden and my new hair I can’t care less!

Have good week everybody.

here is the new hair๐Ÿ˜€

The Plumber

When my Argentinian friend asked what was my next post about, I genuinely answered “the plumber”. With the complicity of a couple of glasses, he quickly responded that in most of the movies from his teenage years, there was a plumber. From the kick his girlfriend gave him under the table, I can only imagine at what kind of cinematographic masterpieces he was referring.
Anyway, this post won’t talk about “that kind of plumber”.

Our Plumber, Mr M., is a very nice guy and he is with us since we moved into this house.
According to the family tradition, that wants us to have heating problems in every single house we move, the very same day we stepped into this house, we realised that the lid of the oil tank was misplaced, and there was a high risk that some rainwater had mixed with the leftover fuel.
Coming from a family who had always been in the oil business, I well knew the potential danger for the boiler, of mixing oil and water. We needed an expert, but we knew nobody in the area, plus it was Saturday. Our only option was to ring the number of the plumber indicated by the oil company on the tank.
The travelling husband dialled the number, Mr M. answered, and that was the beginning of their “special” relationship.

” A Special Relationship” in the way that it is purely telephonic but durable. The traveling husband and Mr M. never met. They only occasionally spoke on the phone, but for some reason, every time Mr M. is called around the house, he never fails to inquire about my husband and never forgets to send him his regards. Of course, in the same way, he sends his apologies to not taking my calls too. It must be some sense of brotherhood he holds deep inside him. Still, I am always tempted to remind him that since I am the one he has to deal with, and most importantly I am the one who pays him, he better worries about me and how much he can piss me off instead!
Anyway, once you know what you are dealing with, you act accordingly, and when Mr M. doesn’t pick up the phone, I keep calling over and over again. I keep hoping he will never get involved in any suspicious accident too, because the first person the guards will go to it will be me, thinking I was stalking him.

If you think that Mr M. is not actually as lovely as I say, you must know that if you are really in trouble and your call is urgent, he will show up at your doorstep in no time. Unfortunately, if your request doesn’t qualify as critical, then better you sit back, relax and prepare for a long wait. How long? Who knows!
Now you are probably wondering why sticking with him; I mean, there must be someone in between right? Not really. I had tried a couple of other plumbers for minors job, but it didn’t work. First of all, I felt like I was cheating on Mr M.; and second, but most important, he is the only one who devotedly removed his shoes before stepping on my white carpet. To me, that gesture worths the wait! And that, it is precisely what had happened with my kitchen tap: we waited from November 2018 to March 2019 to have it replaced.

One morning, last November, the travelling husband went downstairs first and found the kitchen island covered in water.
The tap had leaked non-stop for the entire night. We immediately called Mr M., and he promptly came. Thankfully he considered the waste of all that water an urgent matter. So now we know another virtue of his: he is sensitive to the environment.
Unfortunately, not sensitive enough to keep considering my tap an urgent job even after he slowed down the spillage and suggested to wrap a towel around the base of the valve to protect the counter.
It was winter, and the tap with the scarf was cute, for a couple of weeks, but then it started to annoys me every time I looked at it.
In fairness, my annoyance was not only with Mr M. The travelling husband contributed too. In the beginning, it seemed, in fact, essential for him to come with me tap shopping. Then after we went to a couple of shops, suddenly I could go on my own, but the tap had to be a pull out one, because much handier. Now you don’t think that to find a tap that is extendable and filters the water is easy.
Weeks of researches and boring trips from shop to shop paid out, and I had it. Except the pullout was not a good idea anymore. Too many clumsy hands in our house: “it won’t last”. Thank God I am a resourceful person and I had my back up plan ready.
Not even a week later the new tap arrived.
I didnt waste time and rang Mr M. on the very same day: “Brilliant”, he said. “I might make it to you tomorrow late afternoon”.
That conditional verb should have rung a bell in my head because it was only seven weeks and multiple phone calls a day later, that Mr M. ‘s van eventually pulled over in front of my house.
Before opening the door, I rushed to put a bottle of champagne in the fridge for the husband and me to open that night.( Let’s face it: the event deserved a proper celebration. ).
While doing so, my eyes fell on the tap’s box , that was still sitting in my utility routine unopened. A shiver of pure panic ran through my spine: what if it was the wrong tap?!?.
Like he had telepathic superpowers, the travelling husband phoned me to check if Mr M. had shown up. The lack of enthusiasm in my voice raised his suspicions, and I had to share my concerns.
“No matter how wrong it is…we will have it fitted in, even if it is the ugliest of the taps. If we lose this chance, only God knows when we will get another one”.
Pragmatical as always, the travelling husband was right, but I didnt feel any better.
“I don’t want a fecking ugly tap. I want the stylish, funky one I carefully picked.”, I mumbled on my way to open the door to the plumber.
Lucky us, it was the right tap, and I love it!

The morning after Mr M. came to replace the kitchen tap, a quite annoying noise coming from the ensuite of our bedroom, woke us up: “ti,tic tic….”
I could not believe my eyes; the bathroom sink’s tap was now leaking.
To be continued……when , Only Mr M. can say!

A Truly Madly Ordinary Food Delivery

They say you only understand what having kids means when you start to enjoy going to the supermarket, because it is your only chance to move around on your own!
I learned on my skin that it is true but, I also soon realized, that it was a big waste of those free few hours. They were too precious to go food shopping; shoes shopping maybe, but grocery shopping? Seriously?!
And so I started to go to the supermarket with the girls. At the beginning it was easy with just daughter number one on the baby seat of the trolley. When daughter number two joined the family, I started to use the carts with the double baby seat, but then daughter number one’s legs began to be too long and I was risking to break her ankles every time I had to sit her in or out the trolley’s seat. She had to go inside the cart, literally. Daughter number two was still fitting in the baby seat.
This arrangement worked pretty well for a while, but then daughter number one body started to grow along with her legs, and the space in the trolley for the grocery began to be very limited. Thankfully, by then, they were both walking, and they could follow me on feet. Unfortunately to toddlers doing the weekly food shopping can be quite boring and they started to complain about it. – Really? You tell me how boring this fecking things is?-, I always thought in front of their whining,that, I cleverly stopped buying them a little toy trolley each.
Happy days, weekly food shopping became fun……for them. For me, it only meant that once I was done, I had to go back around the aisle to put back what they filled their trolleys with.

Food shopping day became the worst day of my week as on top of the supermarket hassle, the carrying the bags in and the unload, I had then to store everything away that always took me ages.
Then, one spring day, my life changed forever, and my food shopping troubles disappeared all at once.

Abigail, my American friend, had just moved from Atlanta to Enniskerry, a little town at the feet of the Wicklow mountains where I drove my girls to school every morning and just minutes away from my house.
One day she rang me asking for help. When I got there I expected some emergency, and it was actually to her, but thankfully nothing serious: she was just fed up with the postman to look at her like she was a total idiot because she could not understand a word of what he was saying.
My first reaction was a big loud laugh, and still giggling I asked her:” you are serious? you, American, native English speaker, are asking Italian, to translate the Irish postman for you?!”
Anyway, back to the point, once the postman was sorted, the Tesco man it happened to arrive while we were having coffee and she asked me to talk to him too. His accent, even if better than mail carriers, was still incomprehensible.
I didn’t know the local supermarket was doing home delivery: I could have saved years of hassles if I had only known before. Since then I started to shop online and having my grocery delivered at home, except for my meat. That still requires a visit to the butcher, but that is easy and rewarding as every butcher in Ireland has been cleverly trained to make their female customers happy calling them a variety of nicknames that can go from:”luve’, to Sweetheart”, or ” Honey”.

Back in the old house, the Tesco man was always the same : a nice little man on his sixties, kind and cheerful that every time there was something freshly baked in the house(those were still the days when I was a much more efficient housewife), never said no to a slice of cake or a bun.
At the time, our old cocker had just died, and we only had little Clara who always ran to him as he was, to her eyes, the man who brought her treats.
When big ears german came along, it was a puppy and not a threat yet, either for the Tesco man or my groceries. After we moved to the new house, I didnt start shopping online from the very beginning, but it didn’t take long before I was back to my old routine of ordering with one click from the comfiness of my couch.
The difference is that here, the Tesco men change nearly every time, and big ears german is a fully grown brown version of my mini pony who welcome the arrival of the Supermarket truck with incredible excitement.
Tesco man equal Food, a simple equation in Kurt’s head.A simple equation that brings jumping and barking at the window while the poor delivery guys look inside the house with terrified eyes. They usually started to unload the track pretending the dogs don’t bother them, but I know it is not true and before letting them in I always graciously lock Kurt and Clara in the garden. The food carrier with the same gracious always say I should not worry because they are fine with dogs. I usually smile thinking that they can be as comfortable as they want, but once they will be caught in between Clara, Kurt and the food it won’t be pleasant!
So, because it is always better safe than sorry, the entire time the Tesco men brings in the shopping, the dogs whine from outside with their noses smashed on the garden door.

All this, of course, after the Tesco truck makes it to us, a thing that is always a bit of an adventure for any new driver. For some reason, the coordinates linked to our address on cars satellites are wrong, and they end up to absurd locations unless they are local and have a vague idea of the area, but then the problem is another: They usually stop at the house down the hill. “AH, NO. For God sake. You people already took my t-shirts and Swiffer dusters. You are not going to take my grocery too!”. Thankfully the food is not as tempting as a parcel coming from Italy, and they are told to come up.
This morning was no exception, and I received the usual phone call from the Tesco man saying he got lost.
The guy was bright enough to tell me what he could see on his right and left-hand side so that I knew where he was, and I could give him precise directions, starting with the fact he had to turn around and come the opposite way.
“Oh Ok mam, I have to reserve, yea.Stay with me on the phone.”
I tried to suggest him to go ahead for a 100 meters and turn at roundabout instead of reversing on a countryside road that can barely fit two cars, but the noise of horns and swirling tyres told me it was too late. Now he only had to go straight and turn to the first lane on his right: easy peasy! Except, he missed it and with breaking voice told me he was lost again.
At that point, my maternal instinct kicked in: “ok. don’t worry, stay where you are, and I walk down the road so you will see me.”
So I did, and there he was eventually in front of my house.
Did he park on the road as the others do? Nope, this one reverse, obviously something he adored to do and popped on my path running over half of the flowers I had bought to plant.
I am stood there baffled and probably with an idiotic expression.
He got out the van, gave me a thumb up and thanked me for rescuing him. He brought the shopping in, wished me a happy Paddy’s weekend and went back into the truck.

I am still standing at the door bewildered and quite honestly so glad to see him go, but he doesn’t go. He starts the engine and rolls down the window: “Now I know my way for next time”, he says with a cheerful face.
I look at the desolation of my front path, raise my hand to wave him goodbye and mumble:”I hope there would be no next time “.

Strange Things Happen

After the disappointment of discovering that I couldn’t open a facebook business page without a private account, I had to go back full speed on the platform.
My memory of FB was families and friends sharing pics of their holidays and their exciting and luxurious life, that could not be more different from reality. That aspect is still there, but so much had changed, and with my greatest shock I discovered that the trend of the current days is using the platform as a dating site.
In the beginning, I thought it was me being a bit paranoid, but then it turned out I am not the only one.

Shamefully but truthfully, I found my return to FB incredibly complicated and so I had to ask a friend to help me out.She gave me plenty of tips and hints but also confirmed my impression that there are an awful amount of men using FB as a fishing pond.
In the beginning, I couldn’t understand why with all the young chicks around the web, they wanted to befriend a middle age woman. My friend, wisely explained to me that apparently is “the older, the better”! And not because “the old chicken makes the best soup”, as they say in Italy, but merely because there are a lot of not any more young women, desperate for company, and very easy to get trapped in the net.
I find it sad, upsetting and infuriating, not to mention time wasting, as now I have all this list of dodgy men friends requests to remove nearly every day.
Let’s hope they will gradually lose interest and stop.

Another thing that I forgot about Facebook was the time you end up to spend on it. Without even realising it, it will suck you in. Time and space have no limits on FB, and so the other morning I found myself be twenty minutes late to collect the girls from school. How did it happen? I innocently lost track of time browsing around and deleting fake profile friends requests. As simple as that.
Lesson learned, now I check my account only when I am home and with no imminent engagements, that it is basically evening time. It sounds smart and harmless but, unfortunately, it is not either.The other night, the husband was as usually travelling, the girls were in bed, and I started to catch up with blog posts. Then, right before going to bed, I had the unhealthy idea to have a look at Fb. “Just five minutes”, I said to myself. Twenty minutes later I was still there selecting friends requests until the dogs, that in the meanwhile I had let out for their evening weewee, started to howl at the kitchen door in the desperate attempt to make aware of the fact that they were done and wanted to come back in.That was it for the night โ€” enough of that stuff.

Off we go,(me and the dogs ),to bed.
I picked up my book and read a few pages before collapsing: glasses still on, book in hands and a pile of three pillows behind my head that will remind me their presence for the rest of following day thanks to a sore neck.
Around probably midnight, the phone rang and I answered to find on the other line a deep scary male voice calling my name. I jumped up on a sitting position with drops of sweat on my forehead and a terrible feeling of fear and unsafety running throw my entire body. I turned on the light, and then it was when I realised it was all a dream, well more of a nightmare. Definitely, all that facebook thing before going to bed it was not a good idea, and so after cursing the network I scattered the pile of pillows on the floor and went back to sleep. My rest didn’t last long as Kurt started to growl and get agitated. -He must have heard some noise outside, not unusual, most likely my neighbor,or considering the rain and the wind that had never stopped since the early hours of the afternoon, he must have heard the back gate banging-, I thought trying to calm him down. He is not giving up, and in between a bark and a growl, I hear what it sounded like a knock on the door.
I stayed still for a few seconds, trying to hear correctly. The night was noisily windy and rainy: may be I only thought it was a knock on the door. The second knock was loud and clear.It was not the rain or the wind and I was not dreaming either. Kurt and Clara were already downstairs barking like they wanted to eat alive whoever was out there. Well, to be precise, big ears german was already downstairs. Clara was barking big time, but still upstairs trying to figure out the way to get down. The unfortunate little pet: in the dark her vision gets even worst. Eventually, after she had tried every possible direction and banged multiple times on the different walls and doors, she followed me. I, in fact, had got up and threw myself down the stairs.

When I get down, Kurt is at the living room’s window barking. I go pipping from the sitting room and see a little van half parked on my path. I am not sure what to do now! Another knock on the door and Kurt is right below the alarm sensor in the hall barking and growling and howling and making the alarm go off.
I ran to the entrance to stop it but I have to switch the light and so now whoever is outside my house knows I am in and I know they are there. I can’t pretend I am not home or I haven’t heard them.
It is passed midnight of a dark and stormy night and there is a stranger knocking at my door.I certainly don’t want to open, but by now it is quite clear that if I don’t do something, he will keep knocking and the dogs will keep barking, and the girls will eventually wake up. How they stayed asleep in that mayhem, don’t ask me, it is still a mystery! Only thing I can say, is that I swear the only thing I put in their bedtime hot milk is honey! What kind of nectar those bees pollinate, better not to enquire!
I go back to the sitting room and open the window, and the stranger comes toward me holding a package: “here it is your pizza mam”.
It was a fecking delivery guy who got the wrong address. The poor guy! As much as I was upset, I bet he was more upset than me. I suppose me cursing Facebook for giving me nightmares was nothing compare to him cursing whoever gave him wrong direction in the most wet and windy of the nights.

Happy House

Happy wife, happy house, or at least that is what they say! And what does a woman happy, besides receiving presents with clear sparkling stones of many shapes and sizes embedded in them? The answer is simple: Renovating and redecorating her house. I know it is a terrible fifties cliche’, but I had to find an opening for my post.

Last weekend I was a very happy wife in a very happy house but not because we installed new upstairs windows and a new front door. It was more of psychedelic collateral effect happiness.

The job was supposed to be done on Thursday but because the alarm guy couldn’t come to disconnect the wires before Friday, we had to postpone everything to Saturday.That, in total honesty, it didnt make me happy at all. The last thing I wanted to do was getting up and be ready by 8 am on a Saturday, but, it was not really up to me.To optimise the time, I asked the girls to sleep in the guest bedroom on Friday night so that I could cover all the furniture in their rooms the night before, and on the Saturday morning, I only had to prepare my bedroom and bathroom.

Friday evening, the travelling husband who was not travelling but working in the Dublin office, rang me saying he had missed the bus and had to wait for the next one at 6.45. “Right, what a coincidence and what a pity he had missed the bus on a Friday night and had to go to the pub to wait for the next one just when he could be home enjoying covering furniture with dustsheets in your wife company”, I think.
Was I annoyed? Mmmmm, maybe a little, but after we covered our bedroom furniture together the following morning, I realised that him missing the bus, had been a blessing……for me! While we were working as a team, in fact, I had a definite feeling that we were one too many in that room.Of course, none of us said anything but our poorly concealed frowns said it all. If I was pulling one side, he was pulling the other and for one side of wardrobe covered the other would be exposed. If I was to cut the sellotape, the pieces were too small, but if he was doing it they were too long, and half of them end up rolled around my fingers instead of that on the sheets to keep them still and steady.

Back to Friday night, I started with daughter number one’s bedroom and progressed to daughter number two ‘s. Asking the girls to get from their rooms anything they might have needed because they would not have been able to reaccess their bedroom until the following evening, made my job pretty easier as they took me on parole and moved half of the content of their bedroom in the guest bedroom. The essentials, according to them, that as I discovered after I already sealed their wardrobes, obviously not included a pair of clean knickers and socks for the following day. .
When I was nearly done covering everything my vision got a bit blurry, I blamed my glasses on being dirty, but that didnt explain the fact that I was feeling a bit dizzy too. Maybe it is all that up and down the ladder, I said to myself but as more as I was working away with the dust sheets and as more the feeling of dumbness was stronger.
I was not feeling unwell. I was feeling…..strange.Everything around me had a funny light. It was like to be in a Jimmy Hendrix video clip. When I had finally finished my balance was affected too, or at least I thought, and I could swear my eyes’ balls were wide and wild.
I didn’t know what to think, but because it was so absurd, I just decided to ignore the whole thing, thinking it was probably me imagining things. Except, daughter number one came to me saying, “wow, these sheets are cool, if you look at them for a while, they make you feel and see funny”.
So it was not me imagining things, those were not simple disposable colored dust sheets, they were psychedelic free mental trip dust sheets, and I was looking at them for a while now. No wonder I felt like Mowgly after Kaa tries to hypnotise him.
Glad I was not imagining things, I quickly closed those bedrooms doors behind me and still feeling dumb I went to take a shower hoping that feeling of just had an LSD trip would vanish.
It didnt, but in the meanwhile, the travelling husband came home. He cautiously stepped in not sure how my mood was: was I upset because I had to do all the work on my own? You bet I was, but that was before I experimented with the disposable dust sheets. Relieved I was in a good mood, he offered me a glass of wine, that leads to a second one …..Guess how happy I went to bed that night, wobbling but serene.

If you are wondering if I had another dust sheet trip the following morning packing up my bedroom, well, with extreme disappointment I have to say I did not.
I think those things work only with the dark. While the dark activates their flower power color source, for some reason the light impairs it. So here it is my recommendation: if you ever want to feel a bit ……”.seventies”, cover up your furniture with disposable coloured dust sheet but make sure it is dark outside.

Was it the lack of psychedelic trips or was it all the cleaning after the workers left, on Saturday the wife was not happy, and neither was the house.
In fairness to the two guys who installed windows and doors, have been brilliant, quick, precise and nit. The only problem was that they were identical twins and I spent the entire time they were there repeating over an over the same things because I was always speaking to the wrong brother.I kept saying to myself to memorise what they were wearing to help me remember who I said what, but I kept forgetting.
When they eventually left, and I had finished the cleaning, we were tired but indeed delighted of having noise and drafts proof windows in our bedrooms and a flashy red new front door with no doorbell to drive the dogs mad and no sleeved letterbox bringing every possible lousy weather in, along with our post.
That delight didnt last long because soon we realised that we had not thought about our posts. Where were we going to receive the correspondence? We needed a wall mounted letterbox, and we need it now or else on Monday the postman would have not to know where to leave our post.

Thankfully, the most popular day for DIY is either Saturday or Sunday, and the shops are opened all weekend. As on Saturday, it was too late, Sunday we went. We bought a new wall mounted letterbox, and the travelling husband fitted it, as neither he nor I would trust myself with a drill.
Unfortunately Sunday there was also Ireland vs Italy for the six-nation rugby tournament, and it is superfluous to say that the husband was not impressed to be out shopping and drilling instead of being in front of the tv. Graciously he understood that we had no choice: we could not afford to have other posts missing or lost!We needed that letter box before Monday!

Guess how many letters we received Monday?None ! And Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday.No post has been yet delivered after we got the new letterbox.
Does the travelling husband know? Of course, he doesn’t! It s been all week I put old correspondence inside the letterbox. Last thing we want is for him to have the impression he had missed the rugby match and waisted his Sunday …..all for nothing,right?!

Grab It Today , It Can Be Gone Tomorrow

The good thing about shopping in TK Max (TJ Max I suppose it is for the Americans), is that not only you can get unbeatable deals, but you also get inspired with wonderful slogan. Anyway, despite the title of the post, I am not going to bring you shopping. I am, instead, simply and shamelessly advising you all, that Fields Of Lies will be available for free on kindle this weekend end.

Thank you for your support and patience you wonderful WP people๐Ÿ’—and I promise Ortensia will be back with a proper no book related post very very very soon.๐Ÿ˜€

Fame Or Not Fame…..This Is The Dilemma!

Every time I used to see an article starting with: “you wrote a book, now what?”, I found it weird, but now that I wrote the book and it is out there, the sentence makes perfect sense.

When they say the hard bit is not to write your book, but what it comes next, they are right!
Publish it, market it, sell it: all this is far more overwhelming than I ever imagined. Out there it is a wild literary jungle where at every corner there is some guy or some company selling you the right help at the right price.
My head is overcrowded of informations.I am under the impression to waste all my time just surfing the web in the hope to find the one magic tool to promote my work and checking my Amazon’s account for those reviews that cannot possibly be there yet unless I am so lucky to be surrounded by friends who are the fastest reader in the world.

Whether they re coming from real life or the web, the closes of the friends are undoubtedly your first costumers. The one who had to listen at your rant during your writing time and that now are buying the book to eventually shut you up. They, of course, are not alone and you have another group of first in line: your fellow bloggers, whose majority is in your same boat and that sympathetically feel your pain and wants to support you as much as you helped them, or you will potentially do. Never underestimate the good writer karma.

So, one thing I understood, it is that compassion and solidarity make you sell your first copies.!
Unfortunately, solidarity has a limit, and you need more customers and even more if you have my significant disadvantage. I, in fact, cannot rely on my relatives’ network to boost selling. I come from a big family but because ” big” doesn’t necessarily mean “close”, over the years my biological potential audience self censured and reduced itself. I could anyway still be more than happy with my small but trustworthy and lovable circle if they only would be English speakers, but because they are not, they are business wise totally useless.

Find your niche, advertise, market, be visible!!!!! The mantra every fecking book I read and websites I surfed repeat. It comes naturally to think that if they all agree on this, it must be the right way to build up your business right? Right! But, do I really want to be that visible?
I am more than fine with mine “on line fame”, and I love blogging, twitting and Instagramming(this I don’t even know if it is a word, but you know what I mean), but the “real life” visibility is entirely different. Not only the ones who share my same interests will know what I am up to, but also everybody at the school gate.
Dilemma, Dilemma: do I want this type of attention locally?
I certainly do not but, I suppose there is no half way to do this, plus if I am the first to doubt myself how can I expect others to believe in my talent?!

My dilemma had its answer, and after consulting with my “personal editor” and friend SJ, I decided to gather all my courage and go back to Facebook with the intent to send all my old contact my new author page. I swear the intent was there and I was gonna do it , if only FB didn’t turn out to be so absurdly complicated.

Never mind, the first step to my nationwide notoriety has been done . Now I only need the papers cover, and the only way is to go to the local newspaper to advocate the cause of my book. Easier to say than to do because the newspaper office, that is also the village tourist office, seems to be never open and, of course, there is no sign with their opening hours.Probably due to the high volume of tourist and happenings we locally have they want to keep their options open and be sure they have time to rest from time to time.

Few days and attempts later, when it became more a matter of principle to get into that place than else, I finally spotted a bench with some article for sale outside meaning someone had to be there.More precisely , someone had been there.On the door there was in fact a note saying they were back at 2.30pm.
“Yess!”, I was going to wait and I was going to do this. Never mind it was that one day I threw myself out of the house as I was, and by that, I mean still wearing part of my PJ under my coat. Thank God, just in case something happened I had the right spirit to wear a cute pair of shoes and some red lipstick. As my mother would say, enough to deviate the paramedics’ attention in case I was involved in some road accident!.

I went round and round and when at 2.45pm nobody had yet arrived, I parked on the opposite side of the road and I waited in the car. Thankfully the neighbours could not give a dam about those people because otherwise, someone would have already reported the crazy woman in the long black coat stalking the local news.

3.15pm and the door opened, but now too much time had passed since a bravely decided to come here, and I am nervous and forgot the speech I had carefully prepared. Once I am in I can only say, “good day, I am….and I wrote a book”.
The lady from the news looked at me with puzzled expression first, and slightly worried after a few seconds when she realised I was panicking and I could easily hide a knife under my coat and stub her on the spot without nobody sees anything.
None of us speaks for a few seconds. I am trying to find something witty to say that wouldn’t give away the fact that I’m a first-time author desperate to advertise her work.The lady from the news is now not puzzled, not worried but simply annoyed for this waste of time and openly wondering what I want.
“The book is a murder mystery set in the village with fictional names, and I thought it would have been nice to have it mentioned on the local news considering it talks about the town.”.Here, I said it and I now definitely had her on board.
Let’s just hope she won’t expect something as juicy as Peyton Place!

We talked, she had been very nice and interested and asked me to send the book cover, the synopsis and a little bio by email. Then, when I thought we were done and I could eventually relax and stop giggling like an idiot, (that is something I always do when I am nervous on top of talking like a chatterbox ), out of the blue she jumped on her feet branding her professional camera and started to shoot.
“Just a few pics to put with the article,” she said.
“Damn, just today that I left home like crap”, I think.

I am still hysterically giggling and at the same time making sure my coat is fully buttoned up as my giggling open mouth, on probably all the pics she had taken,will be enough embarrassing without all the village spotting my PJs underneath.
Once home, I managed to regain some clarity and dignity. I mailed the info I have been requested and swore I usually am not as idiotic as I looked today and I hope the news lady had believed me, but even more, I hope she will ultimately use the pics I sent her, instead of the ones she took.


Thank you to support my writing beautiful people