September 01, 2012

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Italy

So yes, we are now stationed in an exotic location, but as we learned yesterday, life does go on with all its lumps and bumps.

Our frustrating day started when our little commuter car--the car we purchased just 3 days prior--died in the parking lot of the Navy Lodge, where Ted had gone to put a massive amount of laundry into the coin-slotted machines.  The good news is they have massive-sized washers and dryers over there, instead of the itty bitty machines that take about 9 hours per load here in the apartment.  Since we had been without laundry detergent for a few days (waiting in vain for a huge crate that we mailed to ourselves from the States TWO AND A HALF WEEKS AGO), we had fallen behind on our regular one-load-a-day approach.  (And by load, I mean one pair of jeans and a few t-shirts.  We've learned not to put the jeans in the dryer; otherwise that 9 hours stretches to about a week.)

So.  Doing a massive amount of laundry in a short time = good.
"New" car dying in the parking lot = bad.

Ted's other purpose for heading in that direction with the car was to pick up some items from the loan locker.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the Navy accommodations here (ahem).  They graciously stocked this place with the following:

  • 4 mugs
  • 3 small glasses
  • 2 shot glasses
  • 5 plates
  • 5 bowls
  • 5 knives
  • 3 forks
  • 3 soup spoons
  • 2 regular spoons
  • 1 can opener that doesn't work
  • 2 spatulas
  • 1 serving spoon
  • 2 extremely dull knives and a minuscule cutting board
  • 1 itty bitty pot (good for one small can of refried beans)
  • 1 bitty pot (good for 2 small cans of refried beans)
  • 1 small skillet
  • 1 2-qt pot, the most useful pot of the bunch
  • 1 non-functional toaster
  • 1 broken but still functional itty bitty coffeepot
  • 1 non-functional dishwasher (hence the slave labor Charis referred to in her blog)
As you can imagine, cooking for a family of 8 with these "supplies" has been challenging.  We used to live on leftovers for our lunches.  I haven't had space to cook enough food for a full meal, let alone having leftovers!

So anyway, at the loan locker, Ted filled a big Rubbermaid container with some very helpful items, such as, oh, silverware (!), plates (including an Elmo plate!), mixing bowls, measuring cups/spoons, a sharp(er) knife, bigger pots, a working can opener, etc.  He then hauled all this stuff back to the apartment while on foot.

Meanwhile, I was at the apartment preparing lunch and planning for us all to leave right afterward so we could all go on a house showing trip with an agent from the base housing office.  The plan was for Ted to drive his car with our little guys in their car seats while the rest of us rode with the agent in one of their vehicles.  Since the car broke down, we no longer had the option of all of us going to see the houses, so we sent Ted with the two fastest-walking children (Charis and Tobin) to go look while the rest of us stayed in the apartment.  Sigh.

So the house viewing was a total bust.  The agent had grabbed only the second page of Ted's list of houses he had requested to see, two of which were already rented and one of which was not, in fact, the house that was advertised.  Had the picture been accurate, we would have already rejected it as a possibility.  Additionally, Ted had already seen that particular house anyway!  So there was a waste of a trip.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment, potty training with Lucan was taking a toll on my patience.  You might even say the training was going down the toilet.  (Bwahahaha!)  I cleaned pee off the floor three different times, all within the span of a couple of hours.  The child has absolutely no problems whatsoever with being wet...or dirty, for that matter.  (I could insert an incredibly disgusting story here of what happened a few nights ago when he let himself out onto the balcony, had a bowel movement, and proceeded to tromp through it and smear it all over himself AND the floor AND the walls AND two chairs.  Oh, never mind--I guess you just got the story anyway!)

Ted returned from the "showing" feeling rather disgruntled with the whole situation, but he was looking forward to one more showing in the evening for a nice-sounding house with a pool.  While waiting for that, we got the idea to try jumping Ted's car, so we called a couple we recently met to see if they could help.  They were more than willing to try, but alas, it didn't work.  However, the guys managed to get the car pushed over to the auto shop, where it stayed overnight.  

Ted then left the apartment to walk to the place where he was to meet the landlord of the house he was planning to see...only to have the guy call and cancel the appointment.  (That turned out to be a good thing; we found out today that the landlord is asking 350 euro more per month than our housing allowance totals, and he isn't willing to come down at all.)

So all in all, it was a hot, humid, frustrating day.  Ted spent most of the day running hither and yon but having little to show for it, and I spent all of the day (aside from an early morning jog) stuck in the apartment with bored children, two of whom are not potty trained, LOL.

Thankfully, our God is a merciful God, and we received new mercies and grace this morning!  Today was a much, much better day.  I am happy to report that A) the car now works (and cost less than $150 to fix, praise the Lord!), and B) we think we've found our new home!  

I'll write more about our house viewings--we thought we had found our home on Thursday and actually went back to look at it today...and then we went back to view a house Ted had seen Monday evening without me, and it turns out THAT is the house we will probably get!  More details later when I'm not so tired.

In the meantime, my heart is singing "How GREAT is our GOD!"  It doesn't matter if we have a good day or a bad day.  He's always there; He's always faithful.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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