Saturday, December 22, 2012

The unpacking continues... guests arrive in 24 hours or less

My household goods (so many crates of it) was delivered 2 weeks and 3 days ago.  I have worked hard on unpacking the many boxes and hauling stuff either up or downstairs.   Of course, I am limited in my unpacking because I still have to work and there is only one person:  ME to do the unpacking!

To give you an example...   This is how much paper was in a big box (almost to my chest) and when I get to the bottom area of the box... I do have to tilt the box forward and lean my head deep down inside because I am not tall enough nor are my arms long enough to reach to the bottom foot of the box!

But this is how much was in the big box... (well, most of the items were found in this box).   I finally found:  PLATES!!   I was beginning to wonder when I'd ever get to eat off of real plates again!   I had even bought some new  'paper plates' with holiday designs on them 'just in case' I never found the plates before my company from Germany arrived this weekend.
Here's a close up of some of the Polish Pottery plates and mugs.   The white mugs are from the German Porcelain Factory/Store that was in a nearby town near to where I used to live.  I was able to buy white bowls and serving platters from them to go with my varied assortment of 'mix and match' dishes that I have.

The last time that I was able to go to Poland for POLISH POTTERY DISH SHOPPING... one store had these adorable chicken designs.  I had enough money (last store our group stopped at) to buy 6 plates, 6 bowls, and one casserole dish.  I thought that they'd be cute breakfast dishes!   Or anytime actually!

If you look closely to the left hand side of the 'green baker's rack' you'll notice some ceramic hand painted CHICKENS in the floor!   I bought those from 1998-2000 when I lived in Italy the first time.   They are from various towns in northern Italy.   Each town has it's own designs that they paint on the chicken pitchers.   So, you can now see why I was lured in by the 'chicken designs' on the Polish Pottery plates?

Ok, my friends will be here soon... and I need to start putting away ANYTHING that doesn't already have a home, cleaning up, making the beds with the clean linens, washing clothing, and hauling empty boxes and endless papers that were used to wrap items in the boxes to the garage, and find lampshades and the light bulbs and put those items together in rooms.   Right now, I have only managed to put together all the parts for 3 lamps.

At least, I do have rugs down in the floors and at bedsides... the marble floors in this house are nice... but, in the mornings one needs something warm under your feet!   So, I must get busy and continue this last minute effort to make it look like SOMEONE LIVES IN THIS HOUSE and is ready FOR COMPANY TO VISIT!!


Friday, December 14, 2012

First snowfall and other news

It snowed last weekend.  Nothing much... only about 1 1/2 inches.  This is my neighbor's yard to the immediate right (open gate/driveway is mine) and then the next neighbor over has old statues in the front of their yard.   Actually, they make a great landmark when telling people where your house is located.

I woke up this morning to more snow.  Same amount.   Maybe 2 inches?   School was not delayed or cancelled.   The kids stayed INSIDE for recess.   ALL DAY LONG.  INSIDE.  Only one MORE WEEK before winter break.   They don't usually get much snow here.  

I rushed home after work to be here in time for a delivery of a new and long awaited purchase.   Pretty, huh?

Can you guess what it is?  No, it's not a new couch or a pillow, or....

Ok, I know you'll never guess... so, I have to tell you.... *click on photos for larger, clearer views.

it is a new 'memory foam' mattress!   Ignore the room.   I just moved and nothing is up on the walls, stuff is still in boxes, and the truth is that I'm just happy that there aren't any boxes showing in the photo.  Because trust me... it is still a 'sea of boxes' around here in most of the house.

The bed was made for me 12 years ago... when I lived in another location in northern Italy.   I have never gotten to use it as a bed.  It's been in storage all of this time and I'm pretty excited to have my most favorite bed set up and with a mattress on it so I can actually use it!   I did sew the bed skirt a few years ago and I used it with my other bed.  I guess I'll have to figure out another way to sew up a bed skirt for it or maybe I could see if the BX has one for sale?

I'm having company visit from Germany during winter break (as in: NEXT WEEKEND) and I need to get this house unpacked enough that it looks like someone lives here... at least in the public areas.   I just hope to get enough unpacked that I can shut the doors on the 2 rooms that have boxes stacked in them.   They will NOT be a part of the house tour!   I also plan to invite some of my new friends (people that I met while I was staying in the base hotel) over for Christmas Day 'food, movies, board games, and fun.   So, I really need to get busy over the weekend and finish this up.  

AND, put a few things up for Christmas decorations... if possible.   I looked around and there is NOT an electrical outlet outside on the front porch area-- so, any lights will have to be taped to the inside kitchen or living room windows.   I don't think I'll be able to manage a tree this year.   I did put a wreath up on the front door when I unpacked it.

I still haven't mailed any of my Christmas gifts... but, at least this time... I have a good reason...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

IPAD saves the day!

Or rather one of the apps that I have downloaded on my IPAD was very helpful.

I was sitting in my 'new' almost unpacked living room 'taking a break'... before I started another nightly round of unpacking boxes from my recent move to Italy.   Ok, the truth is... I had opened up a Christmas gift that had come in the mail, and I was eating some candy that was in the box, when suddenly all the lights in the house went out.

AND, let me tell you... the first time that that happens in a NEW HOUSE, and you are sitting

Well, first of all... I have no idea as to where my tiny yet powerful 'military flashlight' is even located... and I was trying to remember where the fuse box/es was/were located from the quick 'here's how the house works' intro by the housing office and the landlord.  

I finally remembered... that there are actually 3 different fuse boxes.   One is in the hallway by the front door (way, way, way above my head  ? Yeah, I don't get that either!), 3 are in the lower level of the house (note: down slick granite stairs in the dark).  One of those is at the bottom of the stairs (controls only the heat), one is in the tiny storage closet that is located after walking down the dark granite stairs, through the lower level casual kitchen, the dark hallway w/ boxes and who knows what stashed along the walls, and into this tiny storage closet which is once again full of boxes.   Yes, that fuse box is way above my head too!  It controls the outside lights and the alarm system.

I'm not quite sure what the deal is with 8 foot tall fuse boxes?  I guess it would keep children from flipping the switches off?  However, it also keeps everyone else from doing the same thing too.

So, I decided to tackle the easiest one to find- the one in the hallway near where I was sitting in the now dark living room.   This is also the one that would most likely have something to do with the lights in the house going out.

However, I KNOW that there is NO WAY on this earth that I can even reach it- so, I have to find the BROOM.   Something that I can use to push up any downward switches so that POWER can once again be restored to my house.   AND, I promise, really promise that I will start unpacking boxes as soon as the lights come back on!

Now I have a new problem... Where is the broom located in this new house?  WHERE?   I remembered that there was something with a long handle on it on the front porch that I had used to sweep the 1 1/2 inches of snow over the weekend.   Now, I have to find the key chain with the 7 house keys on it.   Sigh.   Where is my book bag?  I didn't see it in it's usual place (like I can see anything, right?) in the hallway by the front door.  

This is when I remembered that my IPAD which is in my backpack (if only I could find the backpack, right?) has an alarm app that I had downloaded and used as an alarm clock this summer and that it had a nifty little feature of a FLASHLIGHT on it!   *Now, not nearly as bright as a real flashlight-- but, far better than the 'no flashlight' situation that I currently found myself in.

AND usually I'd have candles and matches in my house in various locations--- but, the German movers wouldn't pack any candles (actually they got to keep all my nice smelling candles) and of course matches can't be shipped for obvious reasons.

I looked around feeling along the hallway walls; I finally found the backpack, and took it to my bed to dump it to get the IPAD out and to find the house keys.  I finally located the house keys and then I unlocked the 2 front doors and got the broom.   Can you picture it now?  I'm holding up the IPAD towards the over 10 foot high ceiling.  I immediately realize that I am just too short for the fusebox installed by the family of giants that own the local 'fuse box installer company'...  My little IPAD 'flashlight' device is nifty... but, it just can't shine up towards a dark ceiling that far up.  I can't see how to open up the door that is closed on the fuse box switches.

Then, I remembered that I had unpacked my step stool.   Was it still downstairs?  Or had I finally moved it upstairs?   If it was upstairs... it would be in the dark kitchen...

I got my IPAD and holding it outwards... walked towards the kitchen and I finally found the step stool!  I went back into the hallway, opened up the step stool, got my IPAD and the broom and managed to get close enough to the fuse box that I could open it and I noticed that none of the switches had 'flipped' down to the off position.  (I sure hoped that the downward position was universal the world over?)

This meant... walking down the dark granite staircase with my IPAD flashlight APP guiding my way.  I made it down the stairs and none of those switches had flipped either.   So, onward towards the very dark hallway (no outside light of any kind shining in this part of the house) and towards the tiny storage room.   I can't step that high up and I don't have a step stool down there.  Nothing seemed amiss.

I went back upstairs.

What to do?  

I went back up the step stool and used my IPAD flashlight app... and just flipped the switches down (in case things are backwards here?)   Nothing happened.   I flipped them back upwards.  Nothing happened.  

I then noticed what looked like another fuse box right over the doorway.  I opened that door.   Finally some switches that had flipped downward.  I flipped them back up.   Instant lights and sounds of electronic devices switching back on.

Shopping list has already been made:

new flashlight (after all once I find my wonderful, small, powerful, little one that I had purchased at
                          military uniform sales store on base-- IT still will be a good idea to have a flashlight
                          at the lower level)

AND, I did keep my promise... I did unpack boxes/sort things for the next 2 hours.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let the holiday season start....

Found in in a holiday display at a German Christmas Market somewhere? 

I love the crooked smile of the guy on the right.

I will miss going to the great German Christmas Markets this year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

You know that sinking feeling...

Well, I just drove home and pulled into my driveway... and like most people in Italy with any sort of yard/driveway... you have a wrought iron fence around the yard and enclosing the driveway.   My landlord (yeah for him!) had installed an electric gate... and I'm still working out the logistics of 'how far away the thing works and how quickly it works' to make it safe to pull into the driveway with cars behind me.  

I do turn my signal on 'ahead of time'... to at least alert drivers that at SOME POINT I am going to be turning RIGHT and to please don't hit my car!   However, I just don't know how far ahead of time I can push that button to start the unlocking process... (35 seconds later it automatically shuts unless you click the button again to pause the process).

I pulled into the house and grabbed my keyring, for the house, with it's 7 different keys and I thought that I had my car KEY IN MY HAND... because I clicked on the 'automatic door lock' on the door handle... and as soon as I shut the door... I knew, I KNEW that my car keys were still in the car!   I checked all of my pockets (pants and my coat) and sure enough NO CAR KEYS...

Despite all logic... I still checked the car door to make sure it was REALLY LOCKED.  It was.   Of course, it is dark and I can't see into the car.

In inspired desperation, I grab the house keys and unlock the downstairs entrance. Rush upstairs and try to imagine WHERE ON EARTH IN THIS NEW HOUSE FULL OF BOXES AND UNPACKED HOUSEHOLD GOODS  (ok, only about 1/4 of my possessions are unpacked) would my extra car keys be located? I know where they were kept in Germany. But, where did I have it in the hotel room for 5 weeks? Where is it now in the new house? I go to the wardrobe/closet thing that is in the guest bedroom where all of the things that I drove down with in my car, boxes that had been mailed to myself, and all the stuff that I had with me in the hotel room were stashed, in my new house, before the movers came. I put everything in this wardrobe closet thing (the length of a bedroom wall).

I opened one of the doors and I grabbed my old purse (that I haven't been using for about 3 months) and I looked through one of the pockets of my old purse and "YEAH!" "YEAH!" (insert the Snoopy dance of joy here)

 I actually found the extra set of car keys in the first place that I looked!!!

I was already thinking HOW COULD I GET TO WORK IN THE MORNING and WHO ON EARTH COULD I CALL?  I DON"T REALLY KNOW ANYONE... and any phone numbers that I MIGHT HAVE are on my IPAD, in my backpack, in the LOCKED CAR!!!

I think that I need a break for a few minutes before I start unpacking boxes.  


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Felting success and good intentions...

I knitted this purse 1 1/2 years ago.  I used the new yarn line from Knitpicks (at the time anyway) that had a gradual long color change.   I used a rainbow colored yarn and I also used a solid blue to tie the colors together.

Then, I felted it... dramatic demonstration of how much the felting changed the size of the purse,
 utilizing my 'fun fur' flip/flop that I made that summer too.

Have I put a purse handle on it?   No.   Have I gifted this to the person that I knitted it for?  No.
Have I knitted a purse for myself in a different colorway?   No...

Ahh, such good intentions.   Honest... I had them. 

Meanwhile, I need to get back to unpacking the boxes of 'stuff'... that the movers left.   Because, as much as I'd wish otherwise I know that they aren't going to unpack without my help.

PS  I discoverd a great 'local' neighborhood pizza/pasta/restaurant tonight.   Food was great, cheap, and served in large portions.   The bread served was also fresh and very good.   I wonder if there is a 'bakery' in town somewhere?

So, what have you been putting off?   Any knitting projects like this in the 'almost' finished stage/s?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bicycles of Amsterdam

 Thanksgiving, last year, I went to Scotland.  A place that I had always wanted to visit and it did not disappoint.   I went on a military base trip.  We drove by bus from Germany to Amsterdam (yes, it did seem to take forever!) and we had a 3 hour stop in Amsterdam... basically for lunch.   What a great place to stop for lunch, huh?  

I had had a 6 hour plane layover to Amsterdam in 1997 when I first moved to Italy.  I took the train shuttle from the airport to the city and walked around, had breakfast and lunch, saw Ann Frank's House and had a great although short visit.

So, I was happy for another visit to Amsterdam.  It was MUCH warmer (including SUNSHINE) than it was when we left Germany.   The canals are beautiful with lots of boats along them which are actually homes.

But, besides the endless canals and boats lining the canals... you see bicycles everywhere.  Large numbers of people ride bicycles.   I loved the old styled ones painted in bright colors.  I'll have to find some of those photos- I'm not sure if I had downloaded all of them to my computer or not?   I did charge the battery for my camera before I drove from Germany for my move to Italy... but, do I know where the battery is?  NO.   So, I've been taking photos with my Ipad.
Guess what the weather is doing this early evening in Vicenza, Italy?  It is snowing!   Today, at work, everyone was 'freaking' out about the possiblity of SNOW!  I didn't like the 7 month long winters in Bavaria, Germany... but, at least it did teach me to not think too much about some snow falling-- because after all... there is certainly MORE SNOW coming in Germany!
Anyway, I do doubt that not much will happen with this snowfall tomorrow.   I've got to get busy unpacking some boxes.   I was so tired of it all last night, that I only unpacked 2 1/2 really big boxes.
However, I did find some important things:  4 cereal bowls and my silverwear.   So, I can almost start cooking food!
P.S.  I am just so excited that the Internet is so much faster here than it was in GERMANY... it means:  I CAN POST PHOTOS and SHARE THEM!   Yeah!!
As always, click on the photos... for a larger/clearer view.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My new hallway... I love this marble floor!

This is the hallway in my new rental house in Italy.   The entire floor is laid in this beautiful marble.   Did you notice how the slices are matched up perfectly?  Not just marble tiles laid out.   I do have rugs in most of the rooms now-- finally a place big enough to use my rugs.   However, I think that on the really cold days I might wish that I had wall to wall rugs, except on the sides of course so that I could still see the pretty marble.   I guess I won't be walking around barefoot, in the house, this winter?   :D

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I've moved to.... (drum roll)..... ITALY

Yes, it is true!   I am now about 40 minutes from Venice, Italy!

My vast amount of treasures (know as household goods to the military) will be delivered tomorrow.   I officially moved to my new rental yesterday morning... And, 2 hours later the new heating unit quit working.  I slept (tried would be more truthful) there last night... Because... I was no longer entitled to stay in the hotel.

The Landlord tried to get it repaired today to no avail.   However, I checked myself into the hotel... Because it is even colder today... Mid-30's...  And no hot water was the deal breaker.

I'm typing this on my fairly new iPad... But, I can't figure out how to post photos saved on the iPad.

It will take some time to get a phone line/Internet in my house.... 

But, I am so, so happy to be out of cold snowy (but beautiful) Germany!    If it works... You should see a photo of the beautiful marble ... This is the hallway..