Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"I la you dad-dy"

Last night the X Man said "I la you dad-dy", which is X Man-speak for "I love you daddy". It was the first time I've ever heard him say that and it made my eyes well up and my heart swell.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Venice Carnivale Photos

We were lucky to have a beautiful day yesterday at Carnivale in Venice. The costumes were even more magnificent than the weather and the wife went crazy with the camera while I drank my fill of Vin Brule. To see the photos, click the link below:

Venice Carnivale Photos

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Job Update

Unfortunately there isn't much movement in the job search yet. I've done the requisite resume flinging to see what will stick but very little has come back yet. So far the best lead continues to be Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. My company (Northrop Grumman) has an opening there and I've been trading emails with the site manager but nothing firm yet. I'm not as excited as I probably should be however because it's so expensive there that I kind of doubt they'll even offer me enough to make it worth it.

The most common question I've been getting lately is "Can't you find something else in Italy?". The short answer is almost certainly not. I happen to do a pretty specialized job which means there aren't many opening in general wolrdwide. And until this one was created, one didn't even exist here. There actually is an opening for a similar position down in Livorno and I'm putting in for it but it's a very long shot so I'm not getting my hopes up.

As far as my present position, here's what I've been told: they plan on keeping me here until the new guy arrives and gets settled. And since he's coming from the States, it could be as long as 3 or 4 months from now. The absolute latest date would be June 30, which is when the funding for the contract runs out. I hope to have a job by then but it's good that I have some time to see how things play out. That means I won't have to settle for the first offer that comes along if I consider it subpar.

Anyway, the neighbors are watching the X Man tomorrow and we're going to Carnivale in Venice. That should help take my mind off things, if only for a little while...

Monday, February 20, 2006

I will not go gently into that dark night...

I've been in quite a rut since finding out that I'm being forced out of the Garden of Eden otherwise known as Bella Italia. I've been moping around for over a week now and just can't seem to find joy or happiness in anything. Every minute of the day is spent reflecting on the past 6 years here and how great life has been. And then, inevitably, it always comes to a crashing halt by the realization that it's all going to end soon. Everywhere I go I find my self looking around and seeing all the familiar places that have meant so much to me.

My one consolation is that I've never for one second taken any of this for granted. From the second I stepped foot in this country I've never stopped admiring the beauty and history and culture and everything that Italy has to offer. And just because I'll soon be gone, there's no reason to stop now. I've always said that when it's time to leave, they'll have to drag me kicking and screaming from this place. I refuse to go quietly and meekly with my head hung low.

No, I will not go gently into that dark night. I'm going out in style. I'm going to enjoy as much of Italy as I possibly can until the day I get on that plane. If I feel like stuffing myself full of pasta, I'll do it. If the spirit moves me, I'll take a sick day from work and spend the day in Venice or go for a stroll downtown. If I feel like drinking vino, I'll drink as much damn vino as I want. Hell, I may even splurge for a Brunello di Montalcino or a Barolo. Might as well get my fill while I can. I'll take Old Triple 7 for a spin down the Autostrada at over 200 kph. I'll eat pizza for dinner every night if I want. I'll eat as many fritelle as I feel like. I'll watch as much soccer as I can find on TV because God knows I won't be able to do that in the States. If I'm still here when the season opens, I'll spend every weekend fly fishing the Brenta River. I'm going to suck the proverbial marrow right out of the Italian bone.

I'm going to miss this place but I'm not going down without a fight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Caldogno is weeping.

Our little town of Caldogno is sharing in the grief of our impending exit from Italy. We've been making the usual rounds since I found out that I didn't get hired for my position here and as I inform people that we're leaving soon, the news is inevitably met with disbelief, shock and sorrow.

As expected, the worst so far has been Giampietro. He's devastated at the thought of losing the X Man who has become his best buddy. He's having almost as hard a time with the news as I am. Every time he opens his mouth, all that manages to come out is "Porco Cane", which is an Italian slang expression conveying great woe over some very bad happening. Agnese is distraught as well but hasn't shown it as much as Giampi. She cried last year when the X Man was away for two months so she's really going to have a hard time when we leave.

Fausto, my Italian fishing buddy, is also taking the news very badly. He actually refuses to accept it. In fact, he has promised to go Padova and pray to Saint Anthony several times a week that we won't have to leave. He tells me that St. Anthony saved his life from drowning several years ago and guarantees me that we're not going anywhere as long as he prays to him. And in case you're still not convinced at how much Fausto and his wife want us to stay, his wife Zora - who is a Muslim born in Algeria - goes to the church in Padova and prays to St Anthony as well for us to stay. She has gotten so attached to the X Man that she can't stand the thought of him leaving.

This past weekend we made our usual trip to Bar da Sylvia for some vino and panini and Sylvia took the news pretty hard as well. The X Man recently started warming up to her and actually spent the entire time on her lap while she worked on her laptop. It was cute, every so often he would look across the bar at our table, wave, and say "Hi buddy!", then go back to playing with Sylvia. Elisa at the Sports Bar was not much happier. The X Man really has become a celebrity around town. Everywhere we go everyone knows him and gives him free candy and toys. Next to Roberto Baggio, he's probably the most famous person in Caldogno!

The fallout continues...

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I found out yesterday that I was not hired for the job here. My job. The job I've been doing better than anyone for the past 6 years.

I'm just numb right now. I just cannot fathom leaving Italy. If anyone needs me, I'll be at home all weekend drinking heavily.

Friday, February 10, 2006

So we might be moving to Hawaii...

As you know from an earlier post, my job situation is sort of up in the air right now. My contract is getting cancelled no later than June. My job will continue but as a Government Service job rather than a contract position. I've put in for it and I've made the initial referral list. However, it's been almost 3 weeks now and I still have not heard anything so the past couple days I've started looking at other jobs just in case this one does not come through. Yesterday I noticed that my company has an opening in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It seemed like something I was sort of qualified for so I emailed the recruiter who was handling it and attached my resume.

Long story short, he called last night and told me that I was definitely qualified and asked if I was interested and when I'd be available. He also said that the position had been open for a while and they were anxious to fill it. All of this adds up to this being a potentially good opportunity.

Of course, my preference is to stay here. Yes, I love Italy that much. But I don't know how long the committee here will take to make their decision about my position and if it doesn't work out, at least I know I've got other options. And let's face it, Hawaii is one hell of an option...

You're the expert...

Have you ever met someone who just has to be the expert on EVERYTHING? I think we all have, and we all know how annoying those people are. And how especially annoying it is to actually have to talk to them. Doesn't matter what the topic is, they know everything about it and woe to anyone who tries to correct them or - worse - disagree with them.

I happen to work with just such a person here. Actually, I worked for him when I was still in the Army which was 10 times worse. At least now when he talks to me I can just ignore him but it doesn't make him any less annoying. The most pathetic thing is when you know for a fact that he's either wrong or making stuff up and yet he still will not concede that he's full of crap.

If he wasn't such a !@#$%, I'd almost fell sorry for him. Almost.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sad. Just...Sad.

As you may know, recently Coretta Scotta King, widow of Martin Luthor King, passed away. She was a tireless champion of civil rights, continuing the fight of her late husband. In fact, the flag on the base I work at was lowered to half-staff in her honor. In case you didn't know, only the President of the United States can order such an action.

Fast forward to her memorial service yesterday. It was billed as a celebration of her life and all she accomplished. Unfortunately, a few individuals decided to take it in another direction and turn it into a "bash George Bush" party.

Listen, I don't care how anyone feels personally about GWB as a President. I don't care how anyone feels about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't care if anyone feels that Hurricane Katrina was GWB's fault. This was supposed to be a memorial service for a great American who dedicated her life to equality not only in the US, but around the world. Those despicable individuals who turned it into a divisive political event sullied her - and her husband's - memory.

There is a time and a place for political debate and rhetoric. This was not it. The President of the US attended the ceremony out of respect for CSK. The offending individuals showed none to either him OR CSK. As I read the transcript, I just bowed my head in disgust. I don't care what political party a President represents, this was just disgusting.

I make it a point to never get political on my blog but this is not about politics in my opinion, it is about decorum, manners, and tact.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


The wife just informed me that the picture of the X Man in the last post is actually from last November. I feel stupid now. Sorry.

Monday, February 06, 2006


I got up at midnight last night to watch what turned out to be the worst Superbowl I've ever watched in my life. I was starting to wonder if either team even wanted to win the damn thing. Sloppy, boring, bad officiating...this was an awful game all around. I've only missed one Superbowl in the past 25 years and I gotta say that this was definitely the worst one I've ever watched.

On a happier note, here's a picture of the X Man from a few days ago (click to enlarge)...

Friday, February 03, 2006


We've finally found a kid's show that the X Man is addicted to: Bob the Builder. It shouldn't surprise me - after all, he is absolutley enamored with any type of moving vehicle. His most often used word is "auto". He goes crazy everytime he sees a bus or a big truck. He won't go to sleep without at least two cars and the first thing he does when he wakes up is search his crib frantically for his autos.

So yesterday I get home from work and he's sitting on the couch with his toy tractor watching Bob the Builder. He didn't even look at me. I kept saying "Hey buddy, are you going to say hi to daddy?", but nothing could pry his eyes off the tv.

Later on he was starting to get a bit grumpy so I asked him "Wanna watch Bob the Builder?". My God, his eyes got wide, his neck whipped around at me and he started yelling "BA-DA-BI-DA! BA-DA-BI-DA!", then started squealing with delight. I just could not stop laughing.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bella Giornata!

So the past two days the weather has been in the 60's. Seriously, I'm walking around outside with no jacket on. I don't know how long this weather will last but i'm enjoying every minute of it...