So, what’s been happening…
Well, my goodness, I feel like I’ve been rushed off my feet. So much, but all little things, that of course, can mount up.
Before we moved here, we talked with the folks who lived here before about the internet connection. They shared one with the woman (Renata) downstairs. Which makes sense. Because this easily could be a one family house. They said that only occasionally they would have a problem with the connection. That the connection is fast and reliable. We were happy to hear that. We moved in. Just a few scant days later Ben was saying we have lost the internet connection. I will not go into the shenanigans I had to go through to get the connection back. And since Renata works and is gone a good bit it was difficult. So, we have a connection but it comes and goes. I went down and Renata and I chatted about it. Time passed. The connection still comes and goes all the time. I am pointing out to Ben, that before we moved in, the connection worked. And that Ben and I are the new things introduced and MAYBE, just MAYBE we are the problem. ‘Oh no’ he says. (eye roll from me) So I am back to discuss with Renata. ‘Oh, she is irritated too! She is changing providers.’ Time passes. One day we have nothing. And the next day nothing. And finally on the third day when I am able to catch Renata she explains that when she called to discuss changing providers with the old company they must have decided to cut her off. And now it will be a few days before the other starts. It is as if life support has been withdrawn but we manage to squeak through the next few days, with help from Richard at where we used to live. The new connection and a note from Renata with a password arrives. We connect. Things are fine for maybe 5 days and then back to the same old thing. Chat with Renata again. More time passes. We can track that we lose the connection everyday at the same time. It really is annoying. I am whining and whining about it. My friend Tania sent me an offer from the company she uses. It takes weeks for me to hang on to the connection long enough to see their web site and what they are offering. It turns out that we can get an internet connection and a VOIP phone connection for 35 Euros a month. (When we moved, we no longer had a house phone and we do not have a monthly plan for our cell phones, instead, recharging them as needed.) The first few weeks we were here I spent over 50 Euros recharging my phone so having a house phone makes sense. Finally, we carve out enough time to go visit the folks offering the plan. (It is now November) Now mind you, this is the same group we visited 5 years ago trying to get a connection where we lived before. I did not really hold out much hope but this time, we at least made it into an office and the young woman and I watched on Google street maps as we searched for my address and found it. She declared that it received a signal, slam bam, thank you mam, sign here and someone will be there next Friday to install at 11:00.
Well, okay. The next week it rained a lot. I was sure that that would really throw off the installer’s schedule. But no. Early Friday morning I got a call. ‘Could I come now instead of 11?’ ‘Well sure, honey, com’on down’. He came, huffed and puffed around about climbing through a very small space to get to the roof but did it anyway. Less than two hours later we had a connection. Let me backtrack, BEN had a connection. It is his, all his, no one else even looks at it. I still share the connection with Renata. In these last three weeks I have not lost that connection ONCE. When I sit down to my computer and open my one internet window it always works. And when Ben sits at his computer all day long with 5 or more internet connections open they always work for him. So I guess I was wrong when I said that MAYBE WE are the problem?????? (draw your own conclusions)
And what else. Well, we have been trying to get Ben’s long term stay document renewed. Of course, it expired exactly as we were moving in September. And then his resdenzia expired. (Resdenzia shows where you live.) And then his health card expired. In our minds getting the long term stay renewed should be the first document. And then once that is done, start to work on the others.
For the long term stay, there are folks who will help you fill out the document, so one day at the early part of September, we stopped packing one day and went down to Monte San Savino to get help with the form. ‘Oh, that man is not here today. But you can go next week to Castiglion Fiorentino. He will be there.’ So we stop packing another day and go across the valley. The man is there, fills out the form for us. Then we spend another hour or so the next day going to the post office, paying the fees and sending it off. To my surprise, at the post office Ben is given an October appointment date with the Questra in Arezzo when he will interviewed. The date comes, we go. They only want to see his U.S. social security statement. His long term stay should be ready in a month. But before the month happens we get a call from them and have to return. They have discovered that we have moved and that the address we used on the application (our new address) does not match the records of the folks who hand out the resdenzia. That’s true. At every step of the way, we have told folks we are moving. This is the new address. But we have yet to go change it for a resdenzia because he doesn’t have the long term permission to stay in the country. At the Questra we hear, “Oh, my. Oh well. Show me your rental contract.” Okay. That is all fine. We go away.
Well another month passes. It is now December. I am getting scolded every time we use Ben’s expired health care card. So we finally decide to bite the bullet and ask our land lady to accompany us for moral support and translation to the office for the resdenzia (the comune or town hall) in Monte San Savino. And biting the bullet it is. The woman who works in the office is a known ‘Dragon Lady’. She is difficult with Italians so you can imagine what she is like with folks who don’t speak and understand Italian up to her standard. Which is amusing since she does not use standard Italian but uses dialect, which makes it doubly hard if you have not lived here forever. We go and Dragon Lady is not there. But we can’t change our address because the folks who lived here before have not told the comune that they no longer live here. Very nicely, the man (who is head of that department) prints off the forms that we need to fill out and the one for the former residents. I email their form to the former residents. They complete it and email it back to the comune. So this morning, the 17th of December, Ben, our land lady and I make the trip to the comune again to with our completed form. Bracing ourselves, we are happy to discover that once again, Dragon Lady is not there. The lady there handles everything and issues us temporary documents until the police visit (they have to verify that we really live where we say we live) and Ben finally gets his long term stay document. She will also pass along the info to change my voting registration and the address on our car title. So she is ready to send us off when Ben points out that his document has expired in addition to needing to change his address. “Oh well… don’t worry about that now. You need photographs and… Let’s wait until all this other is done then when you come back with those documents we can give you a new one.”
So now I don’t know what to do. He does not have his resdenzia or his long term stay both of which are needed for the health card. But we can show that we have applied. So we decide to try for the health card anyway. Off to Arezzo to apply for that. The documents we have are fine and the process goes fairly smoothly. Ben is issued a temporary health card with the permanent one to arrive by mail. I am so elated that we have gotten both our visit to Monte San Savino and Arezzo done in less than 2 hours and that Ben has a new health card that we are all the way home before I realize that I didn’t get her to change our address. Oh well… And still we have to figure out what is happening with his long term stay document.
When we were getting ready to move one of the things that we considered was should we move the stuffa (a free standing unit that burns wood pellets for heat) or not. We talked about it with a number of folks. And I can remember a number of folks saying ‘oh, you’ll really be warm.’ Just where are those folks now???? It’s not warm. And the poor thing is running all the time. In fact we have been so cold that we have even turned on the gas heat. But it has been fairly cold outside (30s during the day), rainy and cloudy. On sunny days it is much warmer in the house. Bring on the sunny days. On the plus side we got our first electric bill. At our other place we paid between 225 and 250 Euros every 2 months. Here our first bill for 2 months was 88 Euros. Hooray! And now we have received our first gas bill, for the two months (not using the gas heat) it was 105 Euros. We used to pay about 70 Euros a month not using the heat. So this is less too. Don’t know what it will be like since we have turned the heat on, but only to 60 degrees.
In the midst of all of this Ben’s physical therapy appointment finally happened. This was therapy for his knee that he hurt when he fell LAST December. We struggle to the first appointment at 8:30 in the morning in Arezzo. It is only an evaluation. He is to come back at 6 that evening for the actual therapy. And the next night. And the next night. And the next night. Turns out that he gets 10 sessions, 2 weeks worth of leaving the house at 5 to drive through traffic to Arezzo, the hour long session and then the drive home. Really screws up cooking dinner and I think it was raining or foggy for 8 of the 10 trips. Anyway now it is done. But after the first of the year we can return to have him work on balance issues.
I guess what puzzles me is how I used to deal with all these sorts of things and work too? And why am I whining when there are so many horrible things happening? Anyway, one of our recently, very rare sunsets.