Sunday, January 08, 2017

Technical Difficulties
This is the dinner T cooked us while F was gone. Don't look at me like that! It is good for her to learn these skills ..

This is how pathetic my New Year's was. It looks like I am solo during a drone attack. I was actually thrilled because I didn't hear even one electronic disco beat the whole night!

It is so great to have F home. Tuscany is officially cold, for Tuscany, at the moment. And in the most Italian way possible, this means everything breaks at once. 

We went to buy Job and Tina a stove for their new house. They didn't tell us the house was missing a stove; I guess they just assumed we would get them one. Of course, the car didn't start. F asked Stanley and Paul to give the car a push, but it didn't work. We then paid a taxi driver to do us the decency of lending us a cable. Even though the car started, it kept stalling out. F tried to keep the car in motion as I hopped out to buy the stove, and after that we found a mechanic to change the battery. The car still keeps stalling at slow speeds, so F will have to bring it back to the regular mechanic midweek. I hope we can still keep the lawyer appointments before then because Cool and Emmanuel are counting on us. 

We were a bit disappointed that Ezekiel asked us for more money for the job that we got him out of kindness. We paid him a generous amount, and we really didn't need his help to fix up Job and Tina's place. They are going to move in despite the fact that we know there are problems with the roof because the agent and the landlord were not smart enough to work with us in a cooperative way. They were defensive and denied, denied, denied. Therefore, we aren't going to put money towards solving the problems, which are clearly structural and their responsibility. The idea was just that Ezekiel could team up with Eltion who has the truck, team of specialists, and the certification that Ezekiel lacks; but that Ezekiel could get him access to the Nigerian community of clients in Montecatini. 

Cool goes around looking like a drowning man because he owes 700 euros in Enel bills. Stanley's wife Tina isn't helping matters because she uses a space heater that is really expensive in his spare room, and Stanley doesn't pay as much rent as Cool could get from a non-family member. She called at 8:15 this Sunday morning to ask for money for pampers and to know if I would take her to the doctor for the baby. He is throwing up, but I think it may be that I didn't teach her how to burp the baby, and no one has given her that piece of advice. She and Jennifer take turns stressing me out, so I have had to make some rules and put some boundaries in place. Mamma Peace is the only one who ever calls just to talk. And Emmanuel calls just to hear my voice sometimes, so I feel like the relationships are less about money with them.

Emmanuel is depressed because a woman who helped raise him and Job died in Nigeria, and he did not get to say goodbye to her. Job did go visit last time he was there, but he came home to Italy sick from drinking the water. Paul is about to lose his house sometime this month, and it is next to impossible to find affordable housing near the restaurant. 

When we got home from the mechanic, I discovered that our f--king hot water heater was broken. The regular technician has not answered the phone all week. The only other company authorized for this machine are those men who verbally attacked me last time, and they were unskilled crooks at best. Our landlord said he could have them come. I tried for two other of my contacts from helping the African group in Montecatini, but they both couldn't promise, although Eltion's guy, who was moving house that day, still called at the day's end to make sure I was okay! We were lucky because by using our landlord's name, we got the boss of the nasty company to come. He was lovely and cleaned the machinery enough to get us through a Saturday night. A broken hot water heater always happens on a Saturday in Italy. It is like they know that you will be screwed until Monday or possibly Tuesday, shaking in your frozen shoes. I was stressed to the point that I practically hid under the bed, until that episode was over. 

I don't think The New York Times is ever going to write the story of this group of people because despite the fact that these people are in a situation that could happen to anyone --they have to move because there land gets too dangerous-- and now find that they must live as virtual outlaws and beg for money on the streets to survive is not dramatic enough to deserve coverage. They don't live in tents and they are not covered with flies, but when they go to "work" they bring a cap and a cup with them to get people's spare change and are attacked when they don't gather enough rent and utilities and pampers money as irresponsible, do-nothings. Some weeks I just can't.

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