Tuesday, January 4, 2011


 This being Italy, today started out great. And then there was no electricity. As on most wintry mornings, to warm up my bathroom, I turned on the wall heater whose swinging lever swung right into action. Next, I turned on the little-but-effective space heater I bought from Lidl and got ready to face the day. But then suddenly, all of that nice flow of warm air came to a halt:trouble in paradise!

    Of course I figured it was all my fault. But I had done the same thing every morning without incident for the past few weeks, so for once it didn't seem like a case of mea culpa.

    I hadn't yet eaten anything, but fortunately for me, someone had left the fruit salad out of the fridge, so there was no need to open it and jeopardize all the stuff jam-packed within. But then N got a hankering for some of those delicious Slovene beans perfumed with the neighbor's sausage, left over from yesterday. He pulled them out of the dark fridge quickly, ready to chow down. "And just how are you going to heat them?", I ask. "In the microwave, of course." Whoops!

    Next, we realized that there might be no water of any temperature, since its entry into the house is via an electric pump. Does this mean no flushing, either? N's joke about how much fun it was going to be to "camp out" started to take a bad turn.

   What to do ? After checking all the fuses and finding niente amiss, we do what we always do when in Italian doodoo--call our architect friend, Daniele. Where would we be without Daniele? NOWHERE! He said that this was clearly a case for the SQUADRA CONTROLLATA, who would be shortly on their way. Visions of Supermen enveloped in capes started dancing through my head.

    Since not even the delivery guy can ever find our house, and with it being lunchtime to boot, we were skeptical that the SQUADRA would interrupt their lunch and post-prandial siesta to come rescue us. But just as 3/4 of our household was driving out to dump the stinky garbage (another self-service in our neck-of-the woods) and to snag some pizza, we had a surprise. LA SQUADRA E ARRIVATA! Wearing no masks or capes, they came in a small white Fiat, dressed in confidence-inspiring blue overalls, but also looking ready to be shot out of a cannon in the circus. Not only that, but they had brought some tools, too, and voila! The electricity went back on!

   It's little miracles like that that remind us not to take anything for granted--just part of the charm of life in middle-of-nowhere Italia.

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