New Blogs About Il Poggiolo…

OK… the builder… please note that he is still in a demoted mode… came last Thursday to discuss building the fireplace in the l’Appartamento Azzurro… formerly called the Upstairs Apartment last week. Dr. You thought Upstairs Apartment was too common a title. I’m not sure l’Appartmento Azzurro is any better but, the apartment is certainly blue!!!
I thought work could begin almost immediately. However, in Italy, there is this series of Vacation Days at the first of November… a reminder that I Live & Breathe in a Catholic country… which has suspended construction until at least this Thursday. Ogni Santi… or, All Saints Day is on Tuesday followed by i Morti… or, Dead Folks Day on Wednesday. This last is my English title. Traffic will be insane in & around any & all cemeteries. Mostly old folk in their FIATs, who should never be allowed to drive them, heading pell-mell to put bouquets of gaudy flowers on the tombs of their long-gone-loved-ones. Terrific traffic aside, these two Vacation Days is a boon to all Italians fortunate enough to make un ponte… or, bridge of a holiday from Friday to this coming Thursday… nearly a week of vacation!!! Dr. You is one of them.
And, no word has been received as to when the electricians can come & finish the items on their Task List. I doubt any news will be forthcoming until this coming Thursday.
While in this forced Holding-pattern, I’ve been busy setting up a couple of new blogs on il Poggiolo… in the interest of renting its 2 apartments ASAP!!! Here are the addresses…
www.ilpoggioloacodiponte.com... has information about renting La Casetta & L’Appartamento Azzurro. Liberal discounts will be given to any follower of www.italianhouseblog.com!!!
and…
www.ilpoggiolo-guide.com… has blogs about where you can chow down on the local pasta testaroli, load up on liters of latte… or, milk and not get too lost visiting a few of the 120 castles in these Lunigiana parts of Tuscany, etc. etc. etc.
So, if you too find yourself in a forced Holding-pattern, hit these new blogs. Gads.
  

Towards A Brighter Future…

A Good Word from our Geometra… the builder WILL put in the fireplace for the Upstairs Apartment!!! It may even happen next week. I credit this change in events to…
1. Our Geometra knowing how to finesse The Negotiations…
2. Dr. You’s insistence upon sticking with the builder. To him, hissy fits are superficial inconveniences…
3. Time. It may not heal all but, it does allow a moment or two to regain one’s senses, for all concerned…
4. My Tranquilizers!!! Amazing what 5 little drops can do 3 times a day. Too bad it can’t help with The Pocket Book Issues. 
and…
5. I made A Little Speech to Our Geometra… the gist being… at the end of the day, the builder…
1. is a good one, honest & hard-working… 
2. he solves problems…
3. his crew of work-guys is excellent… the best around… ignoring their cigarette butts wherever I look…
and…
4. Dr. You & I are well satisfied with the builder’s reconstruction of il Poggiolo. 
5. it’s important to Recognize & Affirm this, regardless. And anyway, I doubt I could stand another week of being lectured by Dr. You. He just DOES NOT let up!!!
Now, if Our Same Geometra can deal with sub-contractors, who present invoices for twice the estimated amount, he will be Tops on My List. Gads.

More Post Big Builder Blow-out…

And, there are many things I STILL MUST LEARN!!! 
One Lesson I keep unexpectedly banging against is… culturally/spiritually/other… Italy and its Peoples… on the peninsula and including its island orbs of Sicily & Sardinia this time… DO NOT LIVE in a Black & White World. This rude realization is a chronic problem for an American living outside the confines of the 48 contiguous United States. The Big Builder Blow-out was a dramatic Refresher Course… dammit.
Yet, what really hurt about the Post-23rd of September was Dr. You-know-who fell squarely with the Italians. His objective perspective on the previous day’s proceedings… he was several hundred kilometers away in Milan… bent me totally out of shape. We had a HUGE fight!!! Heavily tranquilized on the Saturday after The BBB-out, I decided to treat myself to a be-nice-to-me lunch at a local & favourite restaurant. I wanted their freshly made French fried potatoes… for medicinal purposes, you know. It was too early in the day for potato-chips. Dr. You called while I was nursing a highly chilled & sparkling white wine… for additional medical reasons, you know… to find out how I was. Here is our conversation…
Buon Giorno! Come va?… an obnoxious & upbeat How are you? in Italian. I was in no mood.
A pezzi, Dottore, migliai e migliai di pezzi. My Italian intimated that Dr. Guess-who needed to arrive with a broom to sweep up the debris.
Oh? Well…
I feel like I have had a head-on collision and more than my front bumper got crunched!!!
The builder is a Sardo!!! What did you expect?
I expected a responsible & professional business person to be greatly aware of the three months delay he dictated to us AND the payment of the penalty fee for it… as per the contract he signed!!!
Sbagliatissimo! An obnoxious & exaggerated way to say… You fucked up!!! He’s a Sardo!!! You should’ve known better than to have said the “P” word even within 25 kilometers of him!!!
Whose side are you on? I was vulnerable. I needed Feel-good, not a Lesson in Sardo Reality.
I am on the side of Good Sense.
Oh? Really…?
won’t bore you with the rest of our discussion, but to say, I raised my voice… loud enough to be heard in Sardinia… and Dr. Guess-who hung-up on me. Our tempers have since cooled. I am left with the consequences of getting angry… dammit. I am, however, hopeful the builder will see fit to give me a date AND maintain it for putting in the fireplace for the Upstairs Apartment. Then, we will be done with Phase III… and, Thank God!!! In the meantime, where are my tranquilizers? Gads.






Lessons From The Post-Big Builder Blow-out…

After 25 years of living in Italy, I’ve discovered a few things about Italians. Sardinians, such as the builder, are NOT Italian!!! They are a whole other category of person. Comes from tending sheep on ricky terrain, I suppose. Italians are imbued with many dynamic & varied pursuits which influences their collective character.
Back during WWII, the US Defense Department asked for a study of the Italian People before sweeping the country free of Fascism and their friends-in-crime, the Nazis. The general summary of the report was… The Italians are a clever, ingenious & industrious people but… ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED!!! 
Well, yes and no. Yes, for ever thinking to trust their dispicable politicians, with Mr. Berlusconi tippy-top on The List. And no, since, if you trust them to stick close, you can learn IMPORTANT things… like… they never get really mad at The Big Stuff. After 2,000+ years of history, rife with dominantion/invasion/other, the Italians know that getting pissed-off ONLY brings unexpected surprises/ consequences/lots-of-un-fun-stuff.
I got real mad at the builder… well, he did get angry first, but then, he’s a Sardo!!! I followed suit… and now… damn-it-all-to-Hell!!!… I need the guy to build me a fireplace in the Upstairs Apartment. Otherwise, if I have a water-infiltration problem after Builder #2 has poked a hole through Builder #1’s roof for the chimney-thingy-ma-jigger, the litigation of blame could last years… while I live with buckets full of O2!!! Sorry I got mad.
So, OK… while negotiating through Our Geometra to a successful conclusion of having a built-in fancy & functioning fireplace in the Upstairs Apartment, I have decided to get pissed-off ONLY & EXCLUSIVELY over such things as… the 10 cent increase for the Genoa-Aulla autostrada trip. Costs a lot less. Gads.

The 23rd of September…

Three times is a charm? Read on…
…ahhh… a day like any of our recently splendid Indian-Summer days of September in Codiponte… a good-weather-insuring-breeze out of the South, a cloudless blue sky, birds tweeting in the persimmon tree outside the Upstairs Apartment and only a light rumble of heavy truck-traffic over on the Strada Statale 445. Maybe the breeze was NOT out of the South… because… A Day of Great Promise… all went PUFF!!! about five minutes after Our Builder showed up on site.
He had come by to tell me he would not be able to finish the last items of Phase III by the end of the day. Oh? Well, I’m not the one having to pay A Penalty… for what? 85 days now? That was all it took. Our Builder went gigantic-nuclear-war-head-carrying-exterminate-the-entire-fucking-world ballistic!!! His highly radioactive Rant & Rave went on for 45 minutes. I was berated, assailed, castigated, criticized AND insulted!!! A scary performance. The man was so beside himself, he shook all over…. lips & ears included. When I saw the man draw-up both hands into tight fists, I felt sure he was going to sock me into 2012 or… worse still… out & over & down the 25 foot drop to the Cortile!!!
I fled to a safer elevation and promptly called Our Geometra. My message was simple…
Get your butt over here ASAP!!! I will accept nothing less.
Above me, Our Builder attempted to call the same. I was faster on the draw… ha!!!
I called Mr. You-know-who too. My message to him was simple…
that man has spat on the plate which feeds him!!! And, am I supposed to say… Thank you? Mr. You listened and then excused himself to go operate on some person. I really should call him by his 6 years of medical school title of Dr. rather than that lightly insulting Mr. However, I am NOT the one who insisted upon Anonymity!!!
I also called Our Lawyer. His message was simple too…
Am I standing on solid ground if the builder sues me? What I got was an appointment for the following Monday. I believe hysteria is always better in person than over the telephone.
Our Builder… now brusquely demoted to plain ol’ builder… had left the premises, loudly dragging his work-guys with him. We’re off your lousy project!!!
Out with one and in with another. Our Geometra appeared. We sat down & looked at the contract for Phase III. Lo’ & behold, I was standing on solid ground though Our Geometra cared not for the bad feelings running rampant between the participants. We adjourned for the weekend, allowing tempers to cool until Monday.
I left to buy some ricotta for my pasta lunch at the village’s convenience store. Inside the establishment’s door, my nose decided to erupt into a gusher of a nose bleed. Ruined one of my favourite blue & white striped shirts. Panicked, I called Dr. You. He was fresh from slicing into some person’s… well, never mind that. Dr. You exclaimed that my blood-pressure had probably shot through the roof. Oh, great! Am I going to have a heart-attack? No, a stroke. Take an aspirin… be quiet… lie down. These are Dr. You’s Standard Remedy, irrespective of any symptoms, etc. I obediently did All-of-the-above.
So now, let me ask you, please…
…how could the builder ignore the Penalty Fee? He was in the office when we discussed the time frame and a penalty, if the work wasn’t finished on a specified date… Our Geometra set June 30th as The Date of Completion… OR, those items on My Construction List such as, the electrical plant, painting, flooring, windows & doors and a kitchen counter, might be held-up due to the builder’s tardiness. The previous penalties for Phase I & II were Euro 50 for every date late. The builder managed to deliver those on time. This time, for Phase III, we agreed… Our Geometra suggested the amount… upon Euro 75 for each day late. I imagined, to give added UMPH!!! to the Due Date. The builder brushed it off by saying he & his work-guys would finish by the middle of May. Fine. 75 Euro it would be. We then both signed the contract. The Builder immediately began to screw up the schedule from Day One. Delays, excuses, absences. Then, he started with his hissy fits. But, enough about those.
…how could the builder also ignore being late by 3 months? T’was him & NOT US, who decided to completely shut down work for 3 weeks in June because, we hadn’t selected the flooring. The builder could very well have gone on with the Plumbing Plan & the Laundry Room. Did he? No! He certainly did NOT!!! T’was the builder who, again, shut work down for a month and a half from the first week of July to the end of August, giving priority to other building projects… ones I later learned he risked loosing more than any Penalty Fee of ours… and, bucking August 15th, vacations for the work-guys.
The builder accepted & signed the contract AND spent his time ignoring it!!! Yet, a Big Mystery.
Tempers, emotions or, fears of heart-attacks cooled over the weekend. On Monday, I met with Our Lawyer. Yes, I was standing on relatively solid ground but, it would be better to write & have signed by the builder another contract for any settlement, a Penalty figured into the equation. I felt that would just upset the waters more. Dr. You agreed.
On Tuesday, I met with Our Geometra. I made an offer for him to present to the builder… I would stop the Penalty clock, pay the builder what was his due, as soon as he had finished all the items on the contract, minus a discounted Penalty Fee. I got something yet, I had to give something up for some Peace & a completed Phase III.
The Mighty Gist of all this construction Sturm und Drang… and, it is a bit irritating to admit to… is… at the very, very end of the day… the builder is a good one… we trust him to do good work we are happy with… he solves construction problems… and… damnit… breaking in a new builder might be the end of me. Gads.