Open the Fridge and Find Something!

Posted on June 7, 2011

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Dear Road Rage,

Seriously nana has some rage on these tiny streets here in Rome! She is constantly yelling and cussing and swerving and slamming on the brakes! It is a roller coaster of a ride whenever we are in the car but I LOVE it! It is the excitement in the afternoon. Every time that she says a bad word she says, “no sei dice!” to the kids so they won’t repeat her. But they do, they always try to sneak in curse words when they think I can’t hear them but I tell them not to say it either. Today I carried their afterschool snack and their Judo backpack downstairs to meet nana in the front seat row of the rollercoaster ride to school. I was worried for a few minutes since she is usually the one waiting for me and she was late. While waiting I saw two ladies taking their trash out and recognized one as our housekeeper. She said hello and asked me how and what I was doing. I have been here long enough that I actually run into people I know from the school or parents/grandparents from any of their 4 activities after school or near school! I thought about calling T and making sure everything was ok but soon as I heard honking I knew it was nana! Sure enough it was her calling someone a “stronzo!” out the window while greeting me. (Stronzo is pretty much a term for asshole!) We made it to the school and found the boys. I left everything in the car since from my instructions from T that we were to go straight to Judo. Matteo was hungry so we walked to the car to get his snack and then by the time that we found nana and Tommaso there was a change of plans. Some sort of basketball festa in the evening instead of Judo. I LIKE going to Judo I didn’t look forward to playing at home until 7 for some outdoor party with a bunch of screaming mimis. Still confused nana dropped us off and told us that she was going to get her dog and be back. After we fought (as we do EVERYDAY) about making them wash their hands and pee they began kicking around a blow up soccer ball. I agreed with them that if it hit the glass chandelier ONCE that it was going back outside and they had to play something else. Una Volta! Fiori! (One time! Outside!) I told them while pointing to the glass light fixture. They did well keeping it low while I painted an extra coat of hot pink to my nails. Soon as I was finished and they were wet and dangerous Tommaso asked if I would play with them. “Non posso. Bagnato…guarda!” (I cannot. Wet…look!”) “Dai!” He yells at me slumping and stomping at the same time! (Come on!) Matteo resumes playing with him and he forgets about me. After a while I think about calling T for the third time today and asking what is going on with the schedule and why we skipped Judo. Why didn’t we just attend both? Oh well. I sat with a magazine and waited for nana to burst through the door. I know that she was mad with Tommaso for not listening to her when we got out of the car to take his backpack and jacket so I was waiting for the repercussion. Soon enough she flew threw the door with her little dog at her feet and spanked him! She got a little swat on Matteo’s behind before we came up so Tommaso had to know his was coming. After some time we try to get them to watch TV and settle down. Nana realized what time it was (I still was confused what time that we were doing anything!) and rushed Tommaso to get ready for basketball. At first Matteo didn’t want to go with them then last-minute he decided he did. Nana took the Zoro sword from Tommaso and since he didn’t let go it snapped back at him and hit him in the back! He took serious offense and ran with tear down his face! I heard a door slam and knew that he had run into MY room! His door slides and doesn’t quite have the slamming effect that one wants when in this mood. I know from experience…I used to slam my door so often that I would get it taken away from the ages to 8?-15! I got him out of my room and sat him on his bed to check out his back with nana over my shoulder. A tiny red mark! Geeez. So dramatic! Nana and I rolled our eyes as she consoled him and Matteo just laughed at us in the doorway. After about another ten minutes of gathering water and a soccer ball for Matteo we were out the door.

This nana is seriously in the best shape ever for a 75-year-old! I get a little tired walking up the humongous paved hill and she only took 2 breaks and she had on wedged heels! I wouldn’t even attempt it in heels or wedge sandals. She took Tommaso into the gym and I took Matteo to play outside. She tried to explain to me in slow Italian that Matteo and I must leave before Tommaso finishes or else Tommaso won’t want to leave if he sees his brother playing. Ok. I understand but what time? A while later I ask her and leave Matteo playing with some older kids outside (which I got scolded for! Strike 17! “Non lasciarlo solo!”) what time that we should leave in order to beat them home. She tells me 7:30. 45 more minutes! Matteo played with the older kids but I could tell he felt left out and didn’t like that it was his ball that he wasn’t playing with. He came over to me and told me that he wanted to play with me and not them. My best solution since I didn’t know how to tell the kids to get lost and it wouldn’t make sense to just take the ball and dis-invite them. I told Matteo that we could go play up the stairs to the basketball courts outside to get away. We told the kids that we were leaving! That is the best I could do and he was happy and told me thank you so it worked out for the best. I need to work on this…

Playing basketball with a light soccer ball is not easy! I think I made about 5 shots. Not that I had many chances since Matteo’s turn was every turn. I showed him where to stand and explained to aim for the box on the board in order to make it and he understood and continued his lay-up shots. I told him that after he made 12 that it would be time to go home. He agreed and gave me another 2 chances to make a basket which I threw too hard and missed both tries. This hoop was lower than normal! Shouldn’t it have been easier!? After he made his last shot we packed up and headed home at 7:26. Once we got to the door nana and Tommaso were waiting for us on the stairs! I thought she said leave at 7:30! Not be home at 7:30! She didn’t have her key for some reason but told me they weren’t waiting for too long but I sensed they were and she was just letting this go this time! I misunderstood. It was close to 8 now and we needed to feed them dinner.

She put on some white fish and blended the green vegetables (minestrone) in the pot from earlier in the day. We fed them the fish and she told me that it was for them not enough for me and I told her it was ok. Then, I am pretty sure that she told me to open the fridge and find something! (“Aprire il frigo e cercare qualcosa per te!”) She was working on the rice with vegetables as our second course but my first course was up to me. I cut some cheese and poured the last of the wine. First course done. I shared the cheese with Matteo while we watched Kronk, their favorite movie, ad had some fresh bread together. When the rice was cooking she asked me how it was going and I told her, “non lo so.” (I don’t know) and she yelled (it’s not really yelling its her volume when she talks) ‘non lo sei!??” and told me to get my ass in the kitchen with her. She put some on a wooden spoon, blew on it and then shoved it near my face and told me to try it! Va bene! It needed two more minutes (due minuti) I told her. When she served us I told her that I only wanted a teeny-tiny (poco poco!) bit yet she served me an entire bowl! I knew that I couldn’t eat it all but I did my best and pushed it around until she went to feed Tommaso on the couch since we couldn’t get him to move. After she put on the yellow kitchen cleaning gloves and told me to get the kids to brush their teeth and put on their pajamas. This was the first time that I was asked to do this duty before bed! I had no idea…

Tommaso brushed his teeth on cue. But Matteo, I could tell he was getting tired, fought me and told me that he only was going to pee then go to bed. No way! I made him brush his teeth by blocking the door until he did so. He sure was mad at me though! I helped Tommaso change into his pajamas and then fought with Matteo some more about changing his clothes. I put his sleep shirt up to me and asked if I could try it on! I knew that he would laugh and then promise to put it on after me so I did so! They each laughed so hard and told me, “I like!” in both English and Italian (mi piace!) They tried to tell me to put on his tiny shorts but I told them I was way too big! I put one leg in and pulled the waistband over my thigh! They still laughed and Matteo put his pajamas on after me. Then together we looked at a book about the sea until nana came in to check on us and we heard their father come home. That was work getting them to brush their teeth and put on their pajamas but at least I know that I can if I need to again!

Nancie

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Posted in: When in Rome