|Sunrise seen from Montecarlo.|
The attic is also much brighter and more inviting, especially since it’s no longer cluttered with some 30 buckets and pans formerly needed to catch intruding drops of rain. We’re also pleased with other work that we authorized our neighbor, Juri, to contract on our behalf. We have two new persiani doors on our terrazza, each overhung by a little awning. These were needed to keep the water out as well, because during a hard rain combined with a driving windstorm, the rain would beat against the side of the house and enter under the doors of the kitchen and bedroom. We’re on top of a hill with a western exposure, and that’s the side where the storms roll in.
|Lucy enjoying the view from one of our new skylights.|
We are thankful to have a savvy neighbor who oversaw all these projects, and Juri is probably thankful to have someone to share the costs of improving the house. Our apartment had been empty for several years, and before that, it was occupied by Silvia’s grandmother, who probably didn’t have the resources or interest for such things as painting the outside or improving the hallways.
I do have some trouble fully enjoying our view from the skylights, however. That’s because there were supposed to be four of them instead of three, they weren’t all installed in the correct locations, and they are not the sizes and models that we wanted. We don’t understand fully how this happened, and we haven’t asked Juri to explain it yet. We are waiting for a chance to speak with him with an interpreter present, because we don’t want there to be further misunderstandings, and we don’t want him to think we are ungrateful for all his supervisory work.
But the fact is, I gave Juri a detailed drawing before I left last spring, showing the location and size of each of the four skylights. It also included model numbers. We had agreed that we would pay for the three east-facing skylights and share the cost for the western one, since one was needed by code to access the roof. Apparently, Juri thought these were just suggestions and didn’t share the drawing with the contractor.
|That large beam at the top is the center of the attic.|
Just below that is where two skylights should have
been. Instead, there is one, installed much lower.
|The skylight facing west is right next to the center beam--just what we|
wanted for the ones facing east. Oh, well. Life goes on. And it's a good life.
|Our retractable staircase, which blocks|
We’ve decided to stick with the plan and live with the existing skylights. If we get a good stairway installed next year, it will be easier to add another skylight or two and also make other improvements in the attic. All of this is complicated by the fact that I really want to sell our road maintenance business and retire fully. Living only on Social Security and my pension from teaching will limit our income. Is being able to stand up in the attic and having a better view really worth another summer of hard labor?
|Sunset on the same day, taken from our terrazza. These are the hills between Lucca and Pisa.|
We’ll have until next summer to ponder. For now, we’re going to enjoy this month in Montecarlo and be thankful for what we have. We know that our lives have been blessed. My ancestors who grew up scratching the soil here to eke out a living would probably be ashamed of me if I grew preoccupied over something so trivial. But I hope my grandparents would also be pleased and proud to know that because of the sacrifices they made 100 years ago, one of their own is able to enjoy and appreciate the stunning beauty of Tuscany and this amazing house.