It’s Sunday! Conversations That Shouldn’t Happen But Always Do No. 8

1.

Dad: So, when are you guys having babies?

Me: When we’re ready.

Dad: You are 32? What else do you need to do?

Me: Be ready.

Dad: You know, when old people have babies, their babies are retarded.

Me: What the hell is wrong with you?

Dad: What?

 

 

2.

Me: It’s really easy for women to get bladder infections.

F: Yeah, it’s a pretty delicate system you guys have.

Me: It really is! I mean, if you let an unwashed part anywhere near your lady bits you’re totally going to get some kind of death illness. Jesus! Can you imagine how many women died from hoo-haw related illnesses back when men only showered like once every three months? Can you imagine? Like, when guys came back from war probably half of the female population died from bacteria.

F: Uhm, yeah.

Me: Your favorite thing about me is that I make you think of things like this all day long, right?

F: Yes. Exactly. I love that we spend all day discussing the sensitive balance of the vagina.

 

3.

F: I don’t get your people. Are they angry? Nobody makes eye contact.

Me: Yeah, Americans don’t tend to stare people in the face for long periods of time unless they are going to have sex or beat each other to death. You know you can measure eye contact by culture. African Americans, for example, hold eye contact for the shortest amount of time before it becomes threatening. Interesting, right?

F: Yeah.

Me: Italians probably hold eye contact for the longest. It’s like they are performing a two-way retinal scan while they speak to you.

F: Ha.

Me: Seriously, you’re probably scaring the shit out of people.

 

 

 

 

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How To Overcome Writer’s Block By Renting An Apartment In Florence Italy

Im sure you’ve noticed but I haven’t updating as much in the past weeks. I’ve been going through some stuff and dealing with a bad case of depression/anxiety/writer’s block awfulness. Sometimes I want to write but no matter how hard I try it just kind of sucks. Sigh. It’s times like these that I wish I had some Aderol and a vacation. And meth. People on meth seem to be having the best time ever.

I write for a living so writers block can be disasterous and defeating. When I can’t think, I can’t write, and when I can’t write my reasons to live, and to get out of bed in the morning disappear. I mean, yes, I have a dog and a husband, and I love both of them and they are also a reason to live. But my self worth is based on the idea that one day I’ll have a book version of my bullshit. It’s something that keeps the future exciting and full of possibility. It let’s me avoid thinking about the probable which is that I’m going to burst every vein in my ass pushing out some kids, whine over the new condition of my previously awesome vagina, struggle with weight and self-esteem, lose my husband to a less negative but total dipshit secretary then I’ll be forced to turn to vodka/heroin coffee for a new reason to get out of bed.

I’m dramatic, and that is why writing is the only thing I’m good at, which is sad, considering I often forget where to place commas and get confused as to whether or not my verbs agree. Sigh. This is why writer’s block is devastating and why avoiding it is insanely important to me. When it comes down to it, it’s all about relaxing.

Nothing frees the mind and inspires like taking a vacation. It has to be a fun vacation, not one that includes the in-laws (Francesco!) and it’s best if it’s somewhere relaxing, weird, or totally fucked up. Depending on if you want to write after or during the trip. My favorite places are Hawaii, Florence, and Barcelona to write during the trips. Yes, yes, I live in Florence most if the time, but grabbing an apartment for a week in a different part of town goes a long way. Especially something beautiful, that I can afford short term but never actually buy. Nothing inspires like, “if I could finish this book, this apartment would be my bitch.” I highly recommend this for people who want to do a writer’s retreat but don’t want to pay 45 billion dollars and give away their first born. I tell my writer friends to just rent an apartment alone or with some other writers at apartments in Florence and work out a workshop schedule. It’s a cheap-ish, beautiful, fun way to refresh yourself and get some new ideas. Sometimes an apartment away from home is all you need to get yourself going and finish that masterpiece you’ve been contemplating suicide over. Many of my friends are writers and “Please GOD I NEED TO GET AWAY,” is the second thing we talk about after, “How much of this story can I share without being disowned?”

The reason I prefer renting an apartment over a hotel is that I need to feel at home when I travel. Hotels seem too sterile sometimes, too cookie cutter, and I hate that I can’t lock myself inside with food and my own coffee. You can find rental apartments in gorgeous areas all over Florence, ones with rustic charm, and details you can’t find in a hotel. They are perfect for writing, for balancing a sneak outside with the comforts of home. Plus they are almost always dog friendly. If you’re unable to make it to Florence to write, I’d find a hotel in another city and get to it. A home away from home really gets things going, like lube and the Kama sutra.

My writers block is out of control right now. I haven’t written even a page in my book for two weeks. I’m feeling like total shit and hoping to make a reservation to my favorite apartments soon. I hope this post can help my other creative friends who have their heads up their asses right now and are struggling to produce something that may or may not save their lives.

Which reminds me, because surely a few readers will ask for recommendations. Honestly,if you want a great place to go, to relax, write, paint, be creative, get away, bring your dog, in Florence, Italy, I’d recommend Piazza Belfiore: They have gorgeous, affordable apartments. Also, I’m annoying so tell them you heard about them from me and who knows, maybe they’ll hook you up with a little somethin’.

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Apparently America Is All Bumper Cars And Skype

Since importing my husband to America temporarily for business (me turning surviving in Italy, and Dirty Filthy Things into books), things have been crazy. First, we had to spend two months in my mother’s basement. It wouldn’t have been that bad if my mom’s cat wasn’t the size of an african lion and didn’t HATE OLIVER WITH A BURNING PASSION and if my mom didn’t smoke so much that one could easily confuse her house for an oil refinery (sorry mom). Those two things combined were difficult. Then brother drama ensued when I disapproved of him fathering yet ANOTHER baby (he seems to think he’s responsible for the entire next generation) despite the instability in his life. I told him that I felt he was irresponsible, it broke into a fight and my mom decided after a few beers that the best solution was to lock us into a basement together because we’re five. We haven’t spoke since (and if you’re reading this, STOP BEING SO GODDAMN STUBBORN!). Oliver had his testicles removed in what seemed like the most BOTCHED SURGERY EVER. Seriously, you guys, he couldn’t move for like a week and his entire underside was purple. It was shit-tastic and I felt like a horrible human being. The good news is he has yet to sexually molest any humans, dogs, or stuffed animals since. I haven’t slipped in doggy splooge in over a month! It’s the small things, people. Then my mom adopted Flower, who passed away a few days ago from Lymphoma and kidney failure, I wrote about it here and I cried a lot. Then F found a killer job in AZ so we moved to Phoenix and are currently renting a house. Since my job is writing, I can do it anywhere, but coming back to the US I didn’t imagine that anywhere would be in the dessert in fucking scorpion-land. The second night in this house we found a Bark scorpion (the most poisonous ones in AZ) and we ninja attacked it so hard to death! Oliver stared at us like we were terrifying creatures who were freaking out for no reason and now he won’t go out the patio door. I guess to him it would seem strange for your family to suddenly start kicking the shit out of a wall.

I have some crazy reverse culture shock happening where I have no idea how to interact with people. Also, my space issues are screwed up. I was asking a guy about dog food the other day (nothing sourced OR manufactured in China) and he kept giving me a weird look. I finally realized that I was standing so close to him I could have stuck out my tongue and licked his cheek. My vagina was practically resting on his leg. I was scaring him. So, thanks a lot Italy for making me way creepier than I was before. Francesco seems to be adjusting more or less except that he CANNOT DRIVE HERE and he’s somehow managed to wreck not one, not two, BUT THREE FUCKING CARS. It can happen, right? I’ve been in a number of accidents myself and that’s why I don’t drive. In Italy, Francesco was a fantastic driver but here it seems that he can’t quite NOT HIT OTHER CARS. The first time he backed my mom’s Geo Prizm into her husband’s truck. That time it “was-a deh cars-a fault!” and it cost us a few hundred in repair work. The second time he backed a rental car into one of the cars in my father’s driveway (no damage was done), and the third time was last night at my sister’s house. We were leaving and he just decided to go ahead and back our car into a brand new truck parked across the street while the owner watched in horror. I heard CRUUUUNNNCCCHHH and F jumped out and apologized profusely to the owner and his five friends who materialized out of the soil. Luckily, there was no damage done. I texted my sister, “Oh shit! We just hit your neighbors car!” and she came running out yelling, “These damn foreign drivers!” because it’s my sister and she’s hilarious. When we left the scene of the minor collision F seemed somber. “Babe,” he said, “I have to remember that there are actually consequences here. In Italy if you hit someone you just give them an apology and 100 euro but here they call insurance and stuff. Here is so stupid.” Seriously, guys, fuck laws.

Aside from the driving F has only about 345,323 complaints starting with, “everyone here dresses like dog shit, I’ve never seen more workout clothes in public in my life,” to, “the food here is like deh a plastic,” and, “it’s a too a much a space, eh,” and, “I hate restaurants here! Deh just want you to eat and leave-a! It’s-a stupid!”  He also looks terrified that everyone smiles and waves at him, “What deh fuck are deh waving at? What do deh want from me?” We also got into a fight today that sounded like this:

Me: Please do the dishes.

F: I can’t I’m-a skyping with my dad and organizing their trip to Germany to see me.

Me: You’re going on a BUSINESS TRIP to Germany. Why are you spending two hours on skype every day with your parents to bring them to Germany while you’re ON A BUSINESS TRIP.

F: You wouldn’t understand because you don’t have a family!

Me: Wow. I think what you mean is that I don’t have a family that is still BREASTFEEDING ME.

F: You’re yelling at me for talking to my parents!

Me: No, I’m yelling at you for having shitty priorities. Your job is your priority, not your mom and dad coming to Germany. Also, I’m pissed that you have 3 weeks of vacation and decided that we’re spending all 3 weeks with them.

F: Well, we go to Italy for 2 weeks and they come here for 1 week!

Me: That’s what I said. 3 weeks vacation, 3 weeks with them. That is not a vacation! Being told every five minutes that I need to gain, lose, weight, change hair, clothes, face, personality, etc., is NOT A VACATION FOR ME! Two weeks okay, the other week is pushing it.

F: They are-a my-a parents! I moved away! I need to see-a them!

Me: I’m totally aware. I’m not denying you your family. I’m saying that you’re being totally weird and creepy and your priorities are off, dude. Like, you’re bringing them to Germany while you’re there with your boss at a work fair. It’s WEIRD. And ALL of our vacation? It’s weird. Can’t we just spend one week without them doing the sex in Hawaii or something!?

F: YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING!

Then he stormed out to go clothing shopping with our brother-in-law, which is adorable.

And I get it. I love that he’s so family-obsessed and such a dedicated son. It’s one of the reasons I married him because I knew he’d be a great father and husband. But still, a little balance would be nice. 

This is where I’m at in life: You can take the boy out of Italy but you can’t teach him to drive or get him off of skype long enough to vaccum. 

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Flower: A Post That Has Nothing To Do With Italy

As everyone knows, my husband, poodle, and I took a hiatus from Italy to come to the US for business stuff. I still haven’t figured out the best way handle this blog and the move. Document our temporary life here? Use my dozens of saved Italy posts until we get back? Mix it up? No idea. Until I figure that out I’ve made it a point to not write about non-Italy related things here but I’m going to go ahead and break that rule for today because I’m super. fucking. bummed.

This morning I grabbed my cell phone to do my usual social media stalking before rolling out of bed and I ended up sobbing into my pillow instead of reading people’s inspirational posts. My newsfeed was full of pictures of my mom’s Boxer, Flower, with messages like, “We love you,” “Goodbye!” “I am so sorry! We’ll miss you!” Everyone who knows Flower is saying their goodbyes. Tomorrow is Flower’s last day.

My mom knew Flower, a female boxer, for a while through her neighbor whom she was close with. The young man would often bring his dog with him to my mom’s house to chat or have an occasional beer. My mom has always been afraid of dogs so it took her months to pet her or become friendly with her. Eventually she learned to trust the sweet dog who is gentle despite her size. When the neighbor’s father died a few months ago, the neighbor was evicted from the home and unable to take his large companion with him. Distraught that Flower might fall into the wrong hands, my mom offered to adopt her, a decision that shocked the shit out everyone who had ever met my mom. We never thought in a million years she would own a dog. “She’ll change your life,” we told her, “are you sure?”

Goodbye Flower

Goodbye Flower

For the first few days she regretted her decision to take Flower. It just seemed like too big of a responsibility but after a couple weeks she got used to the new schedule of letting her out, playing with her, feeding and watering her, giving vitamins and making vet trips. She’d lay on the ground with Flower and take naps in front of the T.V., she’d wrestle and roll around with her. She fell in love with Flower to the point that she became a little weird. “I can’t leave, she gets sad. I can’t walk her because a mean dog might bite her.” She found doggy love and wasn’t letting go EVER. Since we’d been staying with my mom, F, Oliver and I, all became attached to her, too. Oliver and Flower would play all day every day, they’d look for each other, fall asleep cuddled together, and steal toys from each other. Oliver would occasional pee on her butt for no reason at all but we like to think he was just marking his BFF so someone else couldn’t steal her but probably it’s just because he’s an asshole even to his friends. Then baby Jesus was all, “That dog is badass, DIBS!” and now we’re all puffy and red and heartbroken.

Two days ago my mom took Flower to the vet for the second time because she’s been lethargic and breathing weird. Originally they thought it was allergies but after a closer look they told my mom that her new partner in crime, her adopted furry “daughter” has lymphoma and chronic kidney failure. The vet said that with the kidney failure they can’t do chemo and by the end of the week, tomorrow, she’ll be so sick and in so much pain it would be cruel to keep her alive. Flower is dying and there is no time left.

Tomorrow morning my mom has to somehow bring Flower to her vet’s office to put her to rest. As painful as it is she just can’t watch her suffer through her body shutting down and giving out. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that she’ll never play again, bound through the house like her ass is on fire, or roll on the floor with Oliver again. We’ll never get another chance to kiss her head or gaze into her big perfect eyes. It breaks my heart because this dog is such an amazingly sweet, loving, playful dog. It would be sad even if she were a pain in the ass dog because dogs are like little mentally “off” angels and I love them (and most non-sociopaths do) but her sweetness does add another level of WHATTHEFUCKBABYJESUS to the whole thing.

I’m not just sad for Flower. I’m sad for my mom who let her guard down just enough to get attached to something only to suffer through the pain of saying goodbye so soon. My mom has had to say goodbye to so many people in the past five years it just isn’t fair. She’s lost my little brother, my grandmother (who died punching and kicking everyone, smoking and drinking whiskey), a cat, and now her newly adopted dog who has become the light of her life and everyone else’s too. It’s with tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat I say goodbye to Flower, a good girl, a good friend, and a unique soul. Tomorrow, the world will lose one of the best furry people I’ve known. It’s all happening so fast, it always does.

It’s a soul-shattering reminder to not take anyone in my life for granted, my family, my friends, or my obnoxious four legged Oliver. In only a few days everything can change.

—————————-

PS. The vet thinks that her kidney failure is possibly separate from the cancer (only a hunch, not a certainty). Apparently there are dog treats Made In China that have reportedly CAUSED KIDNEY FAILURE in many pets. Read the label and throw that China shit out! These were duck breast treats and they weren’t cheap. Google that shit. It’s a real thing.

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Dear Husband: Top Five Reasons I Really Need A Capybara Infographic

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I decided to take my campaign up a notch by paying graphic designers on Fiverr to make me persuasive pictures. I’m not sure why there is an apple on point 4 instead of a capybara wearing a monocle and tuxedo, but otherwise I think this poster illustrates my points pretty well. Any other reasons why I probably need one are welcomed. Also, feel free to start the comment with, “dear Francesco who hates happiness…”

Living In Italy Sometimes People Yell At Me or This Guy Won’t Marry Me

Hey yankee, if MY wife would have written all this crap about MY country, I’d have divorced for sure.
No idea how your italian husband agrees on this crap. Tante belle minchiate che hai scritto.

…..

Dear person who would divorce me and also probably wouldn’t marry me.

I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that you would divorce me in spite of the fact that we would clearly have a badass relationship, what with your great sense of humor and all. Wait, that’s not you. I had you confused with my husband who is rad and doesn’t invest a ton in nationalism because last time Italy did that it nearly blew itself up. And Mussolini was all, “Darwin and shit,” and flames swirled around him and evolution was his bitch.

So, my point is that It’s probably a good thing that you didn’t marry M.E. Or a writer as hilarious as I think I am because divorce is frowned upon in Italy. I mean, it’s been legal for a few decades but people still gossip and get all judgy and stabby. Did you know that honor killings were legal in Italy until the 70’s? True story. So I’m basically saving your life by writing this blog. You can thank me later, no rush.
Now that I think about it, If we were ever married my shitty sense of humor would get you kicked out of church and I’d probably get stoned. Not the good kind of stoned that involves potato chips, brownies, and watching The Last Unicorn but the bad kind that happens when women get all liberal and whacky and start freely using words like vagina and burning bras and shit. So, really this blog is saving both of our lives because that’s what words and ideas do. Unless you put them on a building, then they just cost you jail time.

Back to my husband. He thinks I’m funny sometimes. This blog is about my perceptions in a place just like my other blog is about life and observations in ‘merrrrca. But, ya know, How dare he allow me to publicize my thoughts, have this blog, read, vote, or leave the house without a family member? It’s like he’s asking for you to yell at him. It’s not really his fault though. I blame my vagina. She can be pretty persuasive and according to a certain religious book she is also corruptive. Sometimes I’ll just be walking around thinking of how much I like flowers and princesses when BAM evil thoughts get practically sucked up inside my lady bits poisoning my mind. It’s like osmosis. But it’s Vagmosis. My vagina needs to be kept in line. If I were you I’d divorce me (us) too.