Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Forecast: Cold, windy and wet. And we aren’t even going outside

Isn’t one of the reasons people come to Italy for the warm weather? Instead, our first night back was windy, cold and wet – both outside and, unfortunately, inside. For reasons unknown, the light in our methane heater was out, which left us without hot water for our radiators and sinks. I was able to make a run to Trony, an electronics store, just before closing time to get a little electric space heater for our bedroom, but with the wind howling all night and the house poorly insulated, the only place really warm was under the bed covers. Since it was already late afternoon and we were tired from the long journey, that didn’t prove to be an immediate problem.

However, around 8 in the evening, water started dripping from the attic through the bedroom ceiling, and that meant me climbing into the attic while Lucy passed up buckets and pans so I could catch the drips coming through the roof tiles. At the same time, she discovered that the rain, driven sideways by the wind, was beating against the double doors outside the kitchen and finding gaps under the doors to pour onto the kitchen floor. Lucy mopped up the water and I placed about 10 pans and buckets in the attic. Although the rain and windstorm continued throughout the night, the water assault lasted less than half an hour. We think it must have taken a freakish blast of wind and rain to cause the temporary flooding, because the bedroom and kitchen had shown no fresh signs up water damage last fall or when we first arrived yesterday. With that in mind, then one could say we arrived at just the right time to stop any damage. However, we will have to figure out what to do to prevent any re-occurrences, since we won’t always be here to clean up.

Ah, the joys of home ownership. Two years ago, upon arrival at the Casolare dei Fiori, the heat didn’t work, but all we had to do was huddle under blankets for a couple of hours. Roberta sent for a technician, who came out immediately, even though it was evening, and he fixed the heater. Now, we have to figure out what to do ourselves.

I called a heating technician this morning, and he came out about an hour later. The problem, though, was not with the heater itself but rather a lack of electrical power to the heater. This would take an electrician to fix, the tecnico said. Our neighbor immediately below us, Juri, is an electrician, and last fall we had hired him to upgrade our electrical outlets, install some lights in the kitchen and put in a doorbell. He did the work while we were in America. Chances are that something he installed had interfered with the power to the heater, so I called him at his work in Pistoia, and he spoke with the heating tecnico. Juri said he had to work late tonight, but he will come early tomorrow to check on the circuitry. It looks like we will spend at least one more night without heat. The high temperature today will be in the low 50s, and though it is clear now, winds of 20 mph are expected to continue all day. We may spend a quiet day in our semi-warm bedroom.

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