Monday, March 30, 2009

Jet Lag Wins

The score: Jet Lag 2, Katrina 0.

A short trip is painful. Our trip was just long enough to not quite get adjusted to time in Italy, only to come back and not be adjusted to time in Oregon. Whew. The last couple of mornings I've woken up at 3am. Sunday I went back to sleep eventually but this morning I finally got up at 4:30am and just started my day.

The funny part was, once I'd walked on the treadmill, gotten ready for work and was making breakfast in the kitchen at around 5:45, Brandon says "Hi Mom!" He was sitting at the computer playing a game. I ask him when he got up, and he answers,

So he decided to watch a movie as I was leaving and watched a movie before getting ready for school. This is the kid who you have to drag out of bed at 7am usually after 10 or 11 hours of sleep! Jet Lag wins another one.

I'll get adjusted just in time to head off again. I have an official leave date, flight out and everything: April 14. Two weeks from tomorrow! Patrick and Brandon will be a few days later as we have to get their visas (consulate appointment Wednesday!) and they will wrap up the moving out of the house and the cleaning.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our New Apartment

We are back and we have an apartment! After looking at 12 different apartments, we found one that we love. We checked email this morning and got news that the owner has accepted the requests that we made and they have settled on a price, so we definitely have a new apartment! Yay!!

The apartment is in Vedano al Lambro, just north of Monza and just a few blocks away from the giant Parco di Monza. We are so close that we will here the sounds of the races at the Autodrome in the summer (and will have to worry about traffic jams). We also have a public park right next door to us with a playground. We are two or three blocks away from Brandon's school on Via Schiatti. It will be a 20 or 30 minute drive for me to work (depends a lot on traffic, it is only ~5 miles but lots of roundabouts away).

The apartment is very nice. It is 148mq (1593 sq ft), which is actually bigger than our house! We are going to be spoiled living here. It has: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large living/dining room, kitchen, laundry room, balcony and a one car garage (or "box") under the building. There is lots of storage in the apartment with wardrobes, shelves, cabinets in every room. Go here for pictures of the apartment. These pics aren't fantastic but you will get an idea of what it looks like. I will post more once we are moved in and settled.

You can also go here for a Google Maps view of the area.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bye, Bye Plants!

The last of our houseplants was given away today. Patrick sent out a first come, first serve email to folks and the response was great! The plants now have new homes. It's funny though, through this process we've realized how many of our plants have a story to go along with them!

There's the college plant, the one that Pete and I bought to put into our senior design project - "Environmental Control of a Greenhouse" - for the senior project display day. That's been with me since college!

There's the Disney plant, grown from a cutting from the store in The Land pavilion at Epcot in Disneyworld.

There's the Mom plant, from Patrick's Mom, she gave it to us way back when we were first married. We figure that one is over 20 years old and still doing well!

There's the Brandon plant, from one of the flower/plant baskets that we received when he was born.

Some were cuttings from other people... Laurie brought some back when she worked in a greenhouse at her college in Texas. I think one was a cutting from my Aunt in Ohio. Others were just random plants we've picked up here or there for a good price.

All have been nurtured and kept healthy by Patrick, the green thumb of the family. Time for new plants - Italian plants!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shedding the Stuff

This weekend we started with serious sorting of what is getting stored, shipped or given away. We have to have a complete household inventory of what is stored and shipped, along with replacement value, before the movers come. Holy cow, do we have a lot of stuff! Even in our small house, we've managed to accumulate a lot.

The amazing thing is, for the last 6 months, since we've known we've been going, we've been shedding the stuff. Trips to Goodwill, toys to people with smaller kids... and yet we STILL have more to go!

Patrick commented that we've spent a lot of money on this stuff that we are giving away. He is right! This kind of effort will make you think twice before you buy anything and bring it into the house. Do we really NEED it? Will we really USE it?

Whew. This is a big project. We now have the family room done and Brandon's room almost done. We're working through the house together and Patrick is also working through the garage during the day. I'm glad that we have a couple of weeks after the preview trip to get this stuff figured out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring is Here

Love the daffodils! Patrick bought me these daffodils. Yesterday there were all closed up and today, they are open and blooming. How quickly they change. Patrick also reminded me that Brandon used to call them "da'odils" when he was little. How quickly he has changed too, he'll be 8 years old in a few weeks.

We've made plans, we are going to Italy for spring break! We will only be there for four full days, five nights. We are hoping to be able to find a place to live, so that we don't have to live in a hotel for very long, if at all, when we move there. It's not much time but hopefully things work out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's here!

My passport is back... and it has an Italian visa in it! Wooohooooooo! That was really quick.

We are targeting a preview trip to find a place to live for spring break (we would leave in 11 days for that!) and then moving by April 15. We'll see how it all pans out.

One more thing to check off of the list...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sold the Car!

Italy Move To Do List:
Find home for Tasha - check
Decide what to do with Stevie - check
Sell the Car - check

Yesterday we sold the car to the first people who came to look at it. What's left? Besides the paperwork (tiny little detail if we want to be legal), we are really getting down to the details of moving, cancelling phones, internet, etc. and then renting our house. We can't do anything on the house until we have a date... so we're still waiting on the paperwork!

We are now down to one vehicle. It will take a bit of coordination but we have to get used to it, we'll only have one car in Italy. Things are moving!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sister Weekend

I spent the last few days with my sister Laurie up in Portland. She flew in for the weekend for a little bit of sister time! We stayed two nights at the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland, and hung out with her friend Brandy and our friend Rainie. We went to the scrapbook convention on Friday, took a few classes, did a little bit of shopping, drank some coffee and Friday night had a FANTASTIC Greek dinner at Greek Cusina. Mmmmm...

It was an enjoyable and relaxing weekend of sister time. I wish that Laurie lived closer! Strange to think that the next time we see each other, we may be in Italy...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"A quilt that fits me"

A long time ago, when we were tucking him into bed, Brandon said to tell Meemaw that he needed a "quilt that fits me."

You see, my mom had made a baby quilt for him that he just loves. It's been played with, snuggled with, packed with us on trips, used for forts, wrapped around stuffed animals and is generally always around. If I fold it up and put it in the linen closet it always finds it's way back out. The only problem with it is that Brandon has grown, and the crib-sized quilt doesn't work any more as a blanket. His feet stick out!

So, for his birthday Mom made him a quilt that fits him. She made it with lots of red (Brandon's favorite color), bright colors and some cats thrown in (in the stitching and the fabric). It arrived today, and even though it was a month and a few days early, we asked Brandon if he wanted to open the box, knowing that he wouldn't be able to resist. (Hey, I wanted to see it too!)

He is very happy to have a quilt that fits, and has already deemed that the comforter on his bed must go. Thanks Mom! A beautiful work of art and of love. And look - it fits!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Consulate Visit

Today I went up to the Italian Consulate in Portland, to get my visa application reviewed. More official stamps to be applied and signatures. All documentation is in order, so the next step is to mail it off to the San Francisco Consulate office tomorrow with a check for the visa fee. It was a 3 hour round trip drive for about 15 minutes of meeting, but that is better than having to travel to San Francisco for the same!

Next, waiting for the passport to come back with the visa.