Monday, February 16, 2009

State of Mind

Well, so I am being pestered by a sister or two on an update of the "ruin", or "paradiso" depending on your outlook to life. We were back on track this last month with the thought of trying to buy this little stone house. Unfortunately, however, Andrea sees the ruin and I see the paradise and we can't get on the same page. I am going to step back from my obsession and let the house go at this time. We can buy it, I think, at a price we can cover, but the work to be done is so extensive and expensive that for Andrea it is a burden. For me, it is another reason to keep me tied to a life in a country that sometimes can feel as though it is just too challenging, and to develop deeper, more substantial roots here in Italy. I also love the prospect of planning the projects, the work and sweat - of transforming it into a home and a place of nature, beauty, serenity (not to mention being able to host a slew of family and friends), even if it does take the next couple of decades. And it would be a good opportunity for me to practice speaking in Italian.

But the reality is our car is breaking down and we are shopping for a more, environmentally friendly machine. Ray is really not happy at school and I am thinking of enrolling him at the International School where I work so there will be an additional monthly cost there (and they charge €8 a day for lunch no matter the age which equals $10.40 in USD. I know the lunches are hot and healthy but I can feed the three of us dinner on that. It reminded me of how we paid just 2 cents for milk when I was in elementary school in the 1960s in NJ.). Anyway, in the end, it would just make us less financially strapped and I can visit the US more often and we can plan a little more traveling. And just reading the headlines on the economy is enough to keep my spending emotion in check.

So unless I find a couple of more pigeons to do their business on my head, the crumbling stone house on the hilltop will just have to wait for me a bit more. I haven't given up completely on her, yet.


paula said...

In times of love, the heart speaks louder than the head, and it's very hard to not to listen. But I think you are right in loving from afar... the ruin, that is. Funny how couples hold each other in check! When you both can agree wholeheartedly on a very large purchase, then go for it!
Thanks for the update.

Sophia said...

I miss you dearly! can we please set some time aside to talk one of these days. I love you!

paula said...

Hey Chris,
I was watching House Hunters International and a family (american wife/italian husband)were looking for a home in Tuscany. They looked at two converted farmhouses and a converted castle (which was a "duplex"). The area was lovely, and they bought a tiny (1100 sf) converted farmhouse on two acres with a pool for about $630,000 - if I remember correctly. They had 3 kids but wanted some isolation from neighbors, thus the house they picked. They said that due to strict codes, they could not build an addition to the home (it only had one interior bathroom) so they were trying to change the interior for another bath (there was an outdoor bathroom they could access). Even for the beauty, I couldn't see getting a too small house with no chance of expanding it for a family of 5! Anyways, the prices for the finished homes that they looked at were in the $600-725,000 range. Very expensive! I just thought about your ruin, and the price you thought to offer, and the price of the renovation... but how much it would be valued at when finished! Anywho, just wanted to share. Hope all is well and there is less of you!

Christine Ricci said...

It is a bargain, Paula, which makes it so hard to walk away. It is true that we would have to restore the exterior to its original "look" and as it is originally the house for the parish priest, it is very simple. But that suits, and we could do the interior the way we would like (currently 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 2 fireplaces and room to expand on the lower level). Also, there is no restrictions on gardening, and so I can imagine that being the best part of being there (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, and lavender).

Also, being on the border of Tuscany but not officially there, the houses in the Emilia-Romagna region are substantially less but share many of the same benefits (views, great food and wine, scenic routes and quaint, historical Italian towns).

Wanna time share? :)

paula said...

I now have over $500 in my paypal account...