Our house from the top of our vineyard. You can see how the basement level sits into the hill where the drive is gouged out. Note the tiny workers in the field across the valley.

We currently own two homes on two continents purchased with two different currencies in two different decades and right now it’s all TOO much for me. Both houses are simultaneously undergoing massive revisions and neither is habitable and both are costing a FORTUNE. I’m feeling really stuuupid. We’ve made several costly errors lately and our good spirits have vanished as completely as a pizza in a room full of hungry Italians.

Going over the plans with Alberto, our wonderfully talented and patient Architecto

Worry and I are old friends. But now his big brothers Anxiety and Panic have come calling. Like ravenous wolves they are eating their way through my wallet and my stomach lining.

Neither of us is sleeping well and Chris’ face and neck have broken out in a pattern that reminds me of one of the alien characters on Star Trek. For your sake I will abide by the First Rule of Travel Writing and won’t speak here of my alarming very personal gastronomic woes. DON’T ASK.

Somehow we have to divide this tiny space into bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. I'm not sure it can be done.

The last couple of days have been brutal. To-wit:
  • Our departure delay from The States caused by the perpetually striking French.
  • The anxiety caused by those same French losing all our luggage including all our photo gear (thankfully recovered after much hassle).
  • The meeting with our architecto where our nightmare scenario of double the anticipated price came true.
  • Like pouring salt in our wounded wallet: we learned of the not-one-but-TWO fines we somehow unwittingly incurred while driving in Torino thanks to some facist hidden traffic camera.
  • And l’ultima Agony and Ecstasy of deciding whether or not to make an unscheduled, unbudgeted quickly-trip back home to attend daughter Hayley’s sooner-than-anticipated college graduation.

We currently live in an apartment that is smaller than our garage in Houston. Sky-high energy costs make clothes dryers and dishwashers practically nonexistant in Italy. We'll be here until Christmas!

On the positive side:
  • We ARE after all, in Italy.
  • Our Italian car (Ippy is her name) started after 5 months alone in our garage.
  • It’s Primavera (Spring) and the weather is gorgeous.
  • The wine is every bit as good and cheap as I remember.
  • We had our first official Italian baby oogle when we ran into our language teacher/friend Valentina and her adorable newborn during passegiato (traditional evening stroll).
  • Best of all, landlord/friends Mario and Tilde have invited us to dinner Tuesday night.
Come to think of it, that alone just about makes up for all the bad stuff.

But with neither of our houses currently inhabitable we are essentially: HOMELESS - without a house or country or even continent to call our own. It’s disconcerting, disorienting, discombobulating and shockingly, horribly, excruciatingly expensive.

In this dismally low state of mind and bank balance we begin the Herculean task of remodeling our Italian home. It currently is just four bare walls filled to the brim with our hopes and dreams and NOTHING else. There is so much to figure out and we are at such a disadvantage due not only to the language, but also the culture – houses are built differently here using a different hierarchy of workers, different materials and don’t even get me started about what we don’t know about living in a cold climate. Radiators? I thought they said Gladiators so I only ordered one - extra large…

Right now it feels more like we will be stuffing the four empty walls full of euros instead of tile, fixtures, furniture, gladiators, etc. This is scary stuff and I’m not feeling brave. I hope I have the fallopian tubes to pull it off.

But FAH-GEE-TAH-BOUT-IT! And fill my glass with more of that fantastico vino.

In the words of M. Scott Peck: Life is hard. Nothing worthwhile is simple or easy, but then who promised me it would be? I’m doing my best to enjoy the journey as much or more than the hoped for destination. But right now it’s very tough going. Are we doing the right thing? Should we stop this insanity and go home? What would you do? Words of advise as always would be appreciated.

More later down the road less traveled,