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Salem, Mass (Witch City) resident with deep southern roots! Love New England - let it snow! Still making up for all those years south! I'm a widow attempting to make merry but it is very hard. This is my way to vent, share, and talk about my path to finding happiness again. September 2006 I became a widow. My road out of the abyss of grief, guilt, and anger hasn't been easy but I'm clawing my way to something better. Seeing rays of hope and joy. Feel free to comment, share words of wisdom, or just read about my fairly mundane life. Slainte!

Friday, March 11, 2011

O Sole Mio

or crazy old Italian men! I know this is a little off my regular track of soundtracks but it is appropriate. I live in a two-family house that is over 100 years old. The landlords are from a little island (Ischia) off the Isle of Capri and are in their mid-80s. They have been like adopted parents the 20 some years I have lived here but are sometimes a real pain in the butt! Antonio is a typical old Italian man - he speaks broken English despite having been in this country for many, many years; eats only Italian food if he can manage it (pouts when he doesn't) and is always right about everything. I mean everything!

He has been a good landlord for the most part but now he has heart problems and can't do much upkeep. So I try to do what I can and ask my awesome guy friend (the finish carpenter) for help when I can't. If it is a big or costly job then I ask Antonio to get someone to do it. We've been good to him too. During every snowstorm, Ian and I were out there shoveling his driveway and a path to the backdoor as well as getting our two cars out. So for the most part our relationship is very good; they ignore our late nights and sometimes some noise and we don't see a lot of each other.

Did I mention Antonio has a reputation for being a little tight with his money? He squeaks sometimes and I know how much they made when they sold their house on the island many years ago. It would have been enough for me to think about retiring! Anyway, one would not think that changing a light bulb would be a big deal. My bathroom light is one of those long fluorescents over the sink. It kept taking longer and longer to come on. It got the point that we learned to do several things in the dark...hoping we didn't miss badly.  Finally one night, Ian changed the capacitor for me and we discovered the light bulb itself was almost gone.  Luckily I had a new soft white bulb stashed away.  We changed that and voila - bright light that I had never seen in that bathroom.  There was also this stupid plastic shade that wrapped around the was old and dirty and broken.  We saw how much it blocked out the light and tossed it in the recycle bin. Two days later it is the night before trash pickup.  I put out my trash and recyclables.  Now I've seen Antonio go through my recyclables before but didn't think anything about it.  Sometimes he trash picks; sometimes he adds his own recyclables to my bin.  Fine.  Well the next morning just after Ian leaves Antonio says "I got to show you something".  He then pulls my broken light shade out from behind his back.  He is PO'd!  I say yeah it was broken so we tossed it.  He wants to know why I didn't call him to fix it.  I told him we replaced the light bulb and all is well.  No I have to have the stupid shade or else the light can cause a fire.  A FIRE?!  What have I been living with all these years if a fluorescent light can cause a fire?! I think.  He says he will get a replacement and slams the door.  Fine - it is his house; I just pay to live here. I tell Ian about it and he immediately feels badly because he threw out the shade. Big deal - I didn't want it.  So we forget about it...until the next day when Antonio stops me again (always after Ian is gone). He is not mad at me or us.  But he wants to replace the shade. Fine do what you need to do I say.  He has gone to five places...names them all...cannot find a replacement.  Well it was pretty old I tell him.  No I put in new when you moved in...well that was over 20 years ago and he was in Italy for two years when I moved in but let him think what he wants.  I tell him I like the brightness of the bulb so it is fine.  I am working at home on the phone with a customers when I hear a beep for another call and let it go to voice mail.  It is Anna (landlord's wife) wanting to know if Antonio can come up and look at the light.  Oh sure what else do I have to do...He comes up but not alone.  He has an electrician with him! Granted the whole visit only takes 10 minutes but here is the electrician in my bath checking out the light with Antonio repeatedly telling him it is notta safe.  I ask the electrician if there is any chance of fire.  No.  Any safety issues?  Just don't touch it while your hands are wet.  Duh! Antonio then says you can't use when you shower...turn it on if the boy (Ian) wants to shave.  If the boy wants to shave?!  What about me with makeup and hair?! Oh I forgot I am just a woman...I am clueless right?! Antonio is adamant about the shade.  I ignore him and tell the electrician that if there needs to be one that is fine but can it not be that ugly yellow color that blocks out the light.  He promises me it will be something modern gives off more light. 

Well I am still waiting for the shade to appear.  I am sure it will at some point.  Antonio - God bless him - continues to appear to tell me to be careful I don't start a fire.  I relate this to Ian who shakes his head and says I hate to say it but my 88 year old father would be the same way.  It is all about control and being in charge.  He relates a similar event about light bulbs.  But Ian's dad isn't Italian and speaks English.  It is frustrating but not with the added elements of waving hands, gesturing, Italian words I can only imagine what they are, and posturing. 

So now I am wondering what else does Antonio find in my recycle bin that he doesn't say anything to me about but may be to the neighbors?!?  He is a notorious nosey gossip too.  Wonder what he thinks of those tequila bottles and beer cans, not to mention odd oil and ointment bottles.  Geez! What happened to privacy?  He also steals my Salem News every day and reads it before I do.  Sometimes I find whole articles cut out!  He's so tight but it's his right because he picks the paper up off the step for me?!

Rant, rant, rant...I appreciate him, God bless him....he needs a long Italy...far away from here. Still waiting on the shade.

Peace all...venting over for now!