Sunscreen and a Lesson about Doubles…

Posted on April 12, 2011

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Dear Tiny Red Spiders,

I went out onto the balcony today to sun bathe and start a new book. I put on my green polka dot bikini and found a beach towel to spread out on. I started on my back and utilized the small book as reading material and shade from the burning sunshine. I was pretty comfortable and once I felt the sun tanning me I decided to turn over to make my “color” even. Once I got situated I noticed some  tiny movement out of the corner of my eye. I focus and slowly lower my book and realize that there must be over 400 teeny tiny red spiders. or mites? or monsters? or maybe they are minding their own business as am I? Trying to ignore them I continue to read but cannot shake the thought that maybe they are in my hair, on me or behind me. I stop to watch them scattered around and look lost on the green terrace. Some are no larger than a dot from a pencil. A few mama (or papa?) ones are maybe the size of a magic marker dot. I don’t know them so I don’t like them. Disappointed and uneasy I try to ignore them but cannot relax. I slap my leg and find that I killed a middle-sized 8 legged devil. That is it! My tanning session ended much too fast. I want my money back. I probably was outside only for about 30 minutes but I suppose a little color is better than nothing. I decide to go online and try to find how to make my own tanning oil to start using. I asked T to pick up some more sunscreen from the Farmacia and she told me that she would leave it for me. Unsure if that means that she has it and will leave it out or buy another I will find out tomorrow. Or this week. I find a few simple recipes and am happy to know that I have all the necessary ingredients. Perhaps tomorrow I will try again in the morning before lunch with the girls.

Today Tommaso had a school play that we attended. I have no idea what they were all saying or singing most of the entire hour but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. At the end of the play one of the teachers handed out awards for their participation announcing each of their names and taking photos. There were about 30 kids and several of the children had the same names. I listened intently and quietly applauded the students. There were two Luca’s, two Gianluca’s, two Matteo’s, two Tommaso’s, two Chiara’s, and two Elinora’s. That is almost half the class with double names! Once it is over I find our group outside waiting for him to change back into his normal clothes. Matteo is running wild and becoming very anxious. Or nervous, as they like the say. He swings on the older nana and S does not let this slide. He grabs him by the ear and puts him in a corner for a “time out.” I have seen other parents grab their kid’s by the ear but not him! It was pretty awesome to see him stop what he was doing and actually listen to his father. These boy’s are constantly surrounded by women. The real dominant figure is obviously the man in the family. It is after 6 by the time that we head home. The parents have their motorbikes so I get into nana’s car and sit bitch while the other nana takes the front. The car is tiny, yes, but for some reason they both insist on leaning on me and trying to put their pizza fingers on my clean jeans. Not on purpose, just out of habit. Every time that the boys have their pizza  rossa (red) I always think of my little nephew and miss him. His favorite pizza is also just bread and red sauce. This is normal here but at home a huge request! He would love it and there would be no problem with asking for pizza with no cheese since it is normal either way. Once we get closer to the house Tommaso is yelling at his nana to stop at the paper shop so he can buy some soccer stickers with the coins the other nana just gave him. There is nowhere to park and cars are hollering and honking at us. A woman on a scooter drives up right where she was trying to park and right before nana starts to swear we realize it is T! She caught up to us and was just saying hi! The looks on their faces was priceless. T tells us that she will buy the stickers and for us to just head home. T almost got hassled by her own mother!

Once inside I start to run a bath for the kids. Tuesday is their bath day but T forgot since we didn’t go to Judo due to the play. She asks me to chop an onion and small carrot for the sauce for dinner while she helps the kids bathe. I am so excited to chop something I pull out the sharp good knife, find the cutting board and consider opening the wine. I am used to drinking when I cook but since I am only the assistant chef here I decide against the wine and just start dicing. I make two perfect piles of minced carrot and onion and ask her if she wants me to finish dressing the children or start the sauce. Matteo was fighting with her over putting his underwear on (what kid doesn’t love to be naked?) so she hands the bright yellow underwear to me and says, “here, you try.” I don’t ask I just act like I am super interested in the basketball scene on the underwear and get him to calm down. He lets me finish dressing him while the boys open about 10 packs of soccer stickers and throw them all over the floor if they are doppio. “Doubles, ” I tell them and Matteo argues as if I am pronouncing “doppio” incorrectly. “In English it is double. In Italiano, doppio.” “ohhh…double!” He exclaims, obviously remembering that this is not a new word that he has learned in the past two months. When I learned doppio is was for a double caffe. When the kids learned double it was for having the same sticker in another book. In that moment double shot of whiskey crossed my mind.

I was looking forward to the tortellini for dinner. They are fresh and hand-made by some local and are the best. Perfectly ground meat that is soft and tastefully seasoned to perfection. The tiny detail of each is amazing for how much work goes into this kind of pasta. The outer edges are like tiny ruffles on a fancy  and expensive throw pillow. A simple crush of tomato and extra oil finish this dish and we enjoy a dinner and movie. Well the kids do. Not us. When I saw that Matteo chose Scooby-Do (the terrible Goblin story) I went back to couch to read until it was absolutely time to come to the table. I am not interested in watching Scooby-Do ever again if I can prevent it. It was never my favorite to start with so it isn’t as if the kids ruined anything for me. I just don’t prefer it. Right before S came through the door T threw a tiny pot holder at his head to get his attention since it is the hardest part of the night to get him to eat if he is watching the tiny TV. I laugh and Tommaso still doesn’t flinch. She gives me the wide-eyed, annoyed, rolling of the eyes and points to her son. I know. S joins us at the table and we finish the conversation that T and I began. Tommaso didn’t start talking until he was about 4 they tell me. We agree and acknowledge that Einstein didn’t speak until he was 5 and look at him! The conversation changes to me telling them that last night I could not sleep well and I believe it was because my mom was missing me and thinking really hard about me so it was interfering with my sleep. They understand and know the feeling. When S tells me that when his minds is going and he cannot rest it is because his mind is on the “giostra.”  The translation is like a merry-go-round. The mind just circling and circling and will not stop. I couldn’t agree more with this sensation of the carousel. As we finish dinner we realize that Tommaso didn’t take his backpack home from school. Whoops! Isn’t that part of my job??

For dessert T prepared some fresh strawberries cut up and ordered in tiny bowls and then sprinkled with sugar. I think of my nana and remember how she used to say that if these berries didn’t have sugar and orange juice they were “raw.” I wasn’t quite finished with my last few tortellinis (since they are one of my favorites) but was rushed by the words of Matteo. “Le fragole sono pronte!” (the berries are ready!) He told me this a few times and I realized that even though everyone else started to eat theirs he was waiting for me to eat mine with him. He is such a little sweetheart he makes my heart happy. We give each other the nod and smile while enjoying the red ripe  deliciousness of the season’s fresh pick.

Nancie

I found the sunscreen on my bathroom sink!

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Posted in: When in Rome