We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A trip to the US- day 2

I'm in the USA to empty the contents of our house and get through settlement, and have made a long list of tasks I need to get through. I need to interview and hire someone to do an estate sale, I need to get estimates from several international shippers and decide which one to hire, I need to have some antique dealers come look at my pieces and hopefully buy them from me, I need to sell several rooms full of old books to a used book seller, I need to sell my car, I need to get tons of stuff to Salvation Army. But first on my list was to get cable and internet installed back in my house for a month, as I needed the internet to function.

Today is the day the cable guy is scheduled to come at 11 am. I had called Comcast a few days before from Italy to set this up, they said no problem and scheduled it for the morning of my second day back in Baltimore. The cable guy arrives on time, but has trouble getting the internet to work. After fiddling with it for a long time by himself, he called some tech support people to assist him over the phone. That seemed to work, we were in business. He handed me a few papers, I signed on the dotted line, and off he went.

As soon as I returned to my desk after showing the cable guy the door, I notice my computer is disconnected from the internet. Nothing I tried worked. I'm fairly technical, but wasn't able to make any magic happen. I resorted to calling Comcast. The woman on the phone found the problem right away, my account had been blocked. That made no sense to me, as the cable technician was just there setting it up. She explained that this is common, when they send someone to work on site they often block the account. OK, whatever you say, please unblock it, I need the internet. Now. She makes whatever change she needs to do and I am in business. Thank you, internet gods- and the Comcast woman. Funny how reliant I am on the internet. Five years ago, I would have not even cared.

Today I line up 3 antique dealers to come look at my furniture, talked to 6 estate sale people and set up meetings with 2 of them, and also scheduled 3 international shippers to come do estimates. I've talked to Mike back in Venice a few times via Skype - another reason I desperately needed internet hooked up. I made arrangements with my sister Denise to come on Saturday and Sunday with a truck to take things she wanted, and also with my two daughters so they could pick things they wanted to keep also. One of them would come on Thursday and Friday, the other one on Monday.

It's completely strange being back in the house after a 12 month absence, and its a little odd to be here all alone. The thought of 5 weeks of being alone is not appealing to me at all, nor is the thought of all the work I need to do to get this big sucker emptied out. I've spent time assessing what needsto go to Salvation Army, I have a project plan worked out for everything, and Mike has emailed me a list of his personal items he wants me to be sure not to sell.

After all that, I am exhausted. Thankfully, my dear friends Steve and Lisa down the street have invited me for dinner. I know I'll eat well, and tomorrow is another day.

Oh- and before I forget to mention this, Mazda has called me to tell me they don't know what the problem is with my car, but they THINK it is something called the immobilizer chip in the key. Oh boy.

My blog absense- a trip back to the USA - day 1

I have been very blog-negligent, but I have been having some little adventures which are certainly blog-worthy. I was in the USA emptying our Baltimore house and getting ready for the settlement. The house finally sold!! Now that I am back in Venice, and fully rested from a very exhausting 5 weeks, I'm ready to blog that experience.

Our living in Italy hinged on a couple of key items:1) getting my Italian citizenship so we could be here legally, and 2) selling the Baltimore house so our money wasn't tied up supporting two residences at the same time. We just aren't wealthy enough to do that, and our long term financial plan required the equity from that house. I received my citizenship on October 30 after a very long 10 1/2 months, and we got a signed contract on the house on January 16, after almost 11 months on the market.

With a signed contract in hand, I quickly booked a flight to the US. All along our plan was to return when the house sold to dispose of our worldly belongings. So, my task was to arrange an estate sale, and ship a few selected items over to Venice. I also had a car to sell, as it unfortunately had not sold yet either. I wasn't very upset about the car, as I would need one to get around during the time I was there, and, probably more importantly, I love that little Miata convertible!!!

I arrived back in Baltimore very late on a Sunday nite, having a flight delay on the NYC to Baltimore leg of the trip. The next morning, I went out to the backyard to start up the car. A few weeks prior we had a friend come put a new battery in it, and come every few days to run the car for awhile, so I knew the car would be fine. The car started right up, I let it warm up a bit-- it was January and very cold-- then got in the car and drove down the street. I was out running errands for two things-- I needed socks, forgot to pack them, and I needed to get a replacement drivers license. My US drivers license was stolen along with the rest of my wallet while in Florence several months earlier.

First stop was a Wal-Mart about 8 miles away for the socks. The car was running well, it felt pretty good to be driving again after being away car-less for 12 months. I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, and the car just stops. No noises, no warning lights on, just stops. I try to re-start it, nothing. I push it into a parking space, and call road-side assistance. I needed to be home in a few hours to meet an international shipper who was scheduled to give an estimate. Two and a half hours later, after sitting in the bitter cold, road side assistance shows up. They were supposed to come in 45 minutes. Ha. I will say that the guy redeemed himself because he worked on my car for a long time. He could not get it started either, but he tried everything. At one point it did start, but it cut out in a minute. We called a tow truck , had the car taken to my local Mazda dealer, and I used their shuttle to get home. So much for day 1 back in the US. This was not how I had anticipated spending my time.