Originally written Oct 9.

The excitement is in the air. I can breathe it. I can feel it. Our trip to Italy is set and we are packing and getting ready to leave.

Of course, it is tainted with the fear of flying. But slowly I am loosing that fear. I like to think I am progressing positively in my self-diagnosis and therapy. On the last trip to Italy, I even got up and out of my plane seat. On this trip, I plan to do the same…..without the assistance of someone holding my hand, the tears, and the attendants asking me to stop talking so loudly.

Back to our trip plans:

We are going to Italy for about three weeks. This is going to be what Rusty refers to a ‘working’ trip; He refuses to call it a vacation. Yeah, right. As we all know, all working trips to Italy end up being more vacation than work.  It’s a working vacation until we find another village to explore, new sets of friends, and another bottle of wine. However, we do have a lot of work to do. Most importantly, we have to make choices. We are meeting with masons, electricians, plumbers, and other people who I am not sure what they do but they have an ‘official’ title. I just hope what they do is legal and it doesn’t cost much. 

It is easy to try to find laborers in Italy. I found it remarkable that if you go to the local bar and ask around, you can leave with the number to any laborer or professional you may need including the cook, baker, and candlestick maker. Who knew they actually lived in Italy!!!  However, because this is going to be a bed and breakfast, we can’t just go with the third cousin of the bar owner’s twice-divorced daughter’s husband.

Our geometra is the connection to these laborers. He has made arrangements for us to meet with all the laborers and professionals we are going to  choose from and have the contracts ready for the renovations.

We also plan to visit as many home improvement stores as we can. We need to pick out floor tiles, light fixtures, toilets, kitchen sinks, colors, textures, etc.  If all goes well, we will have signed contracts with the laborers, picked the materials, and put together a renovation plan by the time we leave to go back to the US.

We are not going alone. My very good friend, Norma, is going with us. She is someone special in my life and she wanted to share the excitement.  She has never been out of the US and so this trip is a grand trip full of new adventures. We want to show her the sites in our valley, our village, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, have her taste new foods, drink Italian wines, and …..wait one minute…..she is also there on a ‘working’ vacation. Yeah, right!  But she won’t be the only one joining us. We are also going to meet with some of Rusty’s family. A couple of his female cousins and one of their husbands are coming to visit for a few days. Rusty made these plans after learning that they would be in Italy at the same time we would be. Rusty and his cousin Chris have stayed connected throughout the years. This is going to be a sweet, small family reunion for them. I can hardly wait to meet them.

Okay, now I am back to being excited.