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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A little happiness and light....

Yesterday, what began as a very uneventful normal day, turned out to be one of the best.

First, I had a hair appointment over near the Frari. I have to say I was mighty thankful NOT to have to walk all the way over there from way down in Sant'Elena in the rain!!  The vaporetto strike scheduled for all day yesterday was miraculously postponed. So, doing the happy dance and yielding my little purple umbrella, I hopped on the #1 vaporetto headed down the Grand Canal.

Since we've moved, I haven't quite gotten my timings down right to use the vaporettos to get from one place to another. I used to have everywhere I needed to go timed perfectly. I knew which boat to get on and exactly how much time I'd need to arrive in time. I was about 5 minutes short to make it to my appointment on time yesterday, and it was driving me a little nuts as the boat pulled up to San Toma. I made a dash off the boat, and glanced up at the clock on the wall ( wouldn't it be great if there was a clock on the wall near every boat stop? )- it read 10:25. My watch said 10:30.  Wow, if this clock is correct, I thought,  I just might make it in time if I make a run for it. In the rain, with umbrellas up, that's just not possible. All of us were doing what I call the umbrella dance through the narrow calles. Someone tips their umbrella to the left, you tip yours to the right and hopefully you both can pass. I was only a few minutes late.  I entered the hair salon voicing my apologies to Simone, my hairdresser.  " Don't worry!", he shouted.

Simone was singing at the top of his lungs along with the Italian music coming over the radio, as was his other client, a woman sitting in the chair next to me. This didn't let up the entire time I was there. Simone was in rare form, singing and dancing. I said, "Wow, you certainly are happy today".  His response " Yes, it is raining today, I don't like the rain. So I sing, I'm happy. "

I left Simone's headed to the fishmonger in Campo Santa Margherita, needing to purchase some fish for dinner. Paolo, the fish guy, yells to me "Ciao, Carol! "  (that's right, no one can say Karen here!).  I've still got a silly grin on my face from all the happiness back in Simone's shop, so I continue to grin and return Paolo's greeting.  We discussed some fish choices, I ended up selecting some salmon and some shrimp. While Paolo was cleaning my shrimp he was singing.  What is it with Italian men and the singing??

We completed the fish transaction, Paolo telling me he was giving me a little break on the total.  I had a Euro in change coming back to me, I told him to keep it. He wouldn't hear it, pushing a Euro back into my palm. Then he says," I've got customers now , or we would go have a drink. Next time, we will  have some nice red wine together, yes? " Yes. I'm not a big drinker, but I will have a glass with Paolo. I turned to head to my next errand and Paolo turned back to his stall, singing.

Later in the afternoon, Mike decided to do alittle DIY project we'd been putting off- installing new lamps over the sink in the bathroom.  Our new apartment came "vuoto"- empty- which means there were no light fixtures in the whole place, except for the 2 large Murano glass chandeliers in the living room and one bedroom. Scattered through the rest of the apartment were light bulbs dangling  from wires for light.  I don't know what it is with DIY projects, but they are never as straightforward as they seem to be. There is always some fluke. Always. And, not to be contrary, this one reared it's ugly head before too long.

Mike measured from the top of the wall to where the fixture was supposed to go, and also from the side of the wall to the fixture, and made sure he marked the same measurements on both the left and right sides of the wall above the sink, as we had 2 lamps to install, one for each side. As careful as he was about the measurements, when he had the holes drilled and the bracket that holds the lamp screwed on to the wall, the two brackets , one on the left and one on the right, were not level.  Duh!  The wall isn't straight. It slopes from left to right slightly, causing the newly drilled holes on the right side to be slightly below the ones on the left. Crap. Mike tried to re-drill the holes on the left to make the whole thing level, but for some reason, the drill would just not drill through the wall. Whatever he was hitting behind the plaster was solid.  He tried on the right side, same thing. The darndest thing is that he was able to drill both sets of holes originally without this kind of trouble.  We did the only thing we could do before we both started to scream- we walked away from it for a few minutes to chill out.

After awhile, we went back into the bathroom, looked at the wall, and both agreed we'd install the lamps just the way the holes were, slightly off level and be done with it.  The lamps got installed, looking absolutely gorgeous, if I may say so myself .  There are now 2 of these hand crafted Murano glass lamps by Marco Rubelli hanging above our sink, made along with a similar pendant lamp Mike had installed previously  in the middle of the bathroom.  So, be warned, if you come to our apartment, the lamps in the bathroom above the sink are slightly off level.  I don't care. They are up. They are beautiful. We are happy..   (Note: Prestige di Marco Rubelli, Fondamenta Daniele Manin, 2627, Murano)

After the lamp installation ordeal, neither one of us had the energy or inclination to cook dinner. The salmon would wait for the next day. We put on our coats and walked down the block to the local restaurant, Vecia Gina's, for pizza. I swear this place makes the best pizza in Venice. I'm not kidding. It's an old place where all the locals on Sant'Elena hang out day and night.  Very rustic, very local.

We devoured the pizza,  taking time to relax and have a good laugh about some of our bad luck with home projects.  Around 9pm, Gina's closes up. They lowered the louvered blinds outside the place, and lowered the lights. We didn't need to hurry to leave, everyone already inside was ok.  Barbara, (pronounced BaH-ba-ra) one of the waitresses, brought a red checked tablecloth over to the long table next to ours and began to set the table for six.  Red checked tablecloth, green paper napkins, plastic cups all around. She was getting the table ready for the staff to sit down to eat.  While she was doing that, the music on the radio was cranked up a notch, and all the staff were singing their hearts out  along with the radio.  They were still singing later when we left.

I ended the day as I had begun it- with Italians singing. Happiness.  Good day. One of the best.


samara said...

Hello Karen,
I was searching for the blogs about Venice life and I found your blog. listening to the schumann violin I read some posts, and I liked your experience so much. Im student here in Venice and I love venice so much. I wish you days full of joy and love.


samara said...

Ciao Karen.
I was searching for blogs about Venice and I found your blog. Im student here in Venice, studyng architecture. reading your experience was so interessting for me, another lover of venice that sees everything with attention and love.
hope you joyful days.
buone feste

Rob C said...

Nice shade.

It looks like you're really settling in. how's the weather there? We had a Spritz at lunchtime today, getting in character for the weekend :-) only 6 more nights to go.

Rob & Nat

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing a slice of Venetian life. It is fun to follow your everyday adventures. The holiday pictures from yesterday are wonderful! I always wanted to know how Venice looked decorated for Christmas!
Lori from upstate NY

Andrew said...

Love the lamps. DIY is never simple. Our heating failed last week. The builders had kindly built the cupboard around the tank and thermostat. I had to dismantle the cupboard as the heating guy wouldn't touch it. Grrr.

karen said...

Rob- weather has been quite chilly, rainy on and off. Bring warm clothes and socks! Although there has been some talk of snow we haven't seen more than a few stray flakes - yet. See you soon!!! Give me a call when you get here, we'll plan to meet up.

karen said...

Samara- Grazie! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and to send a message. How long are you here studying? You are so lucky to be spending time in Venice!! Hope you enjoy every second here, as I do! Buon Natale!

karen said...

Andrew- ouch! Your DIY project sounds so much worse than ours was!!! Would not want to have to go through the heater failing in this weather!!! You are a stronger soul than I am!

Dianne said...

Love the fixture. I almost salivate each time I am in Italy and see all the gorgeous lighting, especially the Murano glass ones. Makes me wish that I needed to replace our fixtures but that's not an option. Maybe one day...Anyway Buon Natale e Prospero Nuovo Anno 2013!

karen said...

Grazie, Dianne. I'm like you- I want all the Murano glass fixtures, but can't have them Marco Rubelli does some beautiful stuff, at pretty reasonable prices too. We also bought an antique Murano glass hanging lamp, in the style of the old old old Venetian lamps you see hanging in some restaurants and antique shops. Not a chandelier. We love that one too.. so I have one really old, and a few quite contemporary. Now I have my eye on a mosaic trimmed mirror to put between these two glass lamps in the bath. Buon Natale !!

Dianne said...

Not sure which old old Venetian lamps you mean. I know I love the pink Venetian streetlights. Is your chandelier like that. I'll be the mosaic mirror will be gorgeous. Maybe you will find some what to blog about both these items so that we can see them too. If I can't be in Venice actually, can I live a virtual reality in your apartment It sounds like it is shaping up to be a lovely place.

karen said...

Dianne- no, the lamp isn't like the streetlights. Not sure I can describe the one's I'm talking about. I think I will just have to take a photo and post it!
We feel like we've found home in this new place. The last apartment was great, but we just always felt like we were guests in someone else's home. This is different- a good different! Just what we needed, at just the right time.

Caro Drake said...

do love that lamp......