Friday, February 13, 2009

Random thoughts upon my return from Germany.

Got back last night from Germany. A lot going on so I thought I'd give a quick update...

First of all, our laptop got some nasty viruses the day before I left and sure enough, it is now inoperable. I tried the usual fixes - full system scans, etc. I even bought a copy of Spy Doctor" to help. It helped somewhat but alas, there was one or two recurring viruses that both the antivirus and Spy Doctor software caught but were not able to delete or quarantine so they apparently went unchecked and have now rendered my laptop inoperable. I would like to think that there is a special place in hell for all the lowlife scumbag sonsobitches who are responsible for computer viruses. Anyway, I've had so many people tell me that I should buy a Mac because it's not as susceptible to viruses that I am considering now doing just that. If anyone has any advice along these lines, please feel free to advise.

Our dream house here has quickly turned into a nightmare. Northern Italy has suffered from record rainfall this winter and back in late December, a few days before we moved in to our house, there was water leaking into the taverna. The taverna is the finished basement rooms. there are two rooms, one large room complete with indoor fireplace/barbeque that was supposed to be our main living room area and another smaller room off to the side that was supposed to a combination of my gym and the wife's hobby room. The landlord cleaned the water up but the bigger problems is that the walls suffered tremendous water damage. The paint started peeling off and not long after, disgusting mold developed on the walls. The landlord feels extremely bad as this has never happened before to the house (all the neighbors in town say the same thing, they've never had this much rain here before) and has spent hours upon hours downstairs scraping the mold and paint off the walls in preparation of someone coming in to fix them. However, the rain has not let up until a day or two ago and several times we've gone downstairs to discover that water was starting to leak in again. The landlord has all the walls scraped clean and I've got a dehumidifier running 24/7 which I'm hoping helps. We are having our second straight day of sunny weather as well so hopefully the ground will start to dry out.

As you may know, this winter has been the worst in my entire life for sickness. I originally caught some kind of uberbug in Germany before arriving back to Italy and I have not been completely healthy since probably September or October. And pretty much everyone else in the house has been sick as well. The X Man came down with something similar to what I had shortly after starting school so I figured he either got it from me or one of his classmates. Turned out that he had an ear infection and a terrible dry cough that lasted for weeks. The doctor put him on 10 days of antibiotics and he seems back to normal now, thank God. Luca has also had a bit of a cold complete with runny nose and the occasional cough as well. The doctor said it was nothing serious, just a normal cold. And most surprisingly, the wife has been more sick this winter than I can ever remember her being. As for myself, I have also been more sick this winter than any other in my life. Just one thing after another, sinus infections, dry hacking coughs, flu with a fever, you name it. The cough that I developed in Germany before we arrived continued to get worse and worse until I finally went to the doctor after about two months. He wasn't sure what it was so he put me on antibiotics. They did not work but the cough finally went away by itself a few weeks later. A few weeks after that, the wife got sick, then I got the flu and was bedridden with a 102 temperature. Then the wife developed a really bad sore throat which I came down with this past week in Germany. And now I am starting to develop my cough that I thought I had finally gotten over again.

So a few weeks ago I started wondering if the mold from the basement could possibly be causing at least some of our recent health problems. I asked Giampi about it and he said no, the problems we have been having wouldn't be caused by the mold and that it's not just us, many people in Italy and Europe in general are suffering similar health problems this winter. But it has still been sticking in my mind as I just have never seen the amount of illness we have suffered before. I received an email from my step mother this morning describing how someone in her family once had to move out of their house because of a recurring mold problem that was making their little boy so sick that they almost lost him. So now I am almost convinced that the mold has something to do with everything and am looking into trying to get it tested or whatever. I'm hoping that it is not the case as we do still love our place and it would be impossible to find another place in Caldogno as perfect as this one (minus the water damage and mold of course). Once we figure things out I'll post an update here.

In the meantime, postings may be sporadic as we are currently without a computer at home...

1 comment:

dizzysatch said...

Definitely check out the mold thing. I have not heard good things about the Italian medical system, however, so the hardest part may be finding a competent doctor's opinion.

As for your computer, if all the hardware is working, then install Linux on it (Ubuntu would be a good place to start, it's very easy to switch, though installation on a laptop can get iffy depending on the configuration - see online for your model).

The Mac is also a great option. A basic Macbook (not a Macbook Pro) will cover all of your needs; higher models will have bigger screens or be thinner or whatnot, but for basic users they're just bells and whistles.

I have 3 computers and run XP, MacOSX and Ubuntu. The Mac is definitely the lowest maintenance of the three, Ubuntu is very stable and a great compromise (and probably offers the most possibilities, except I have to learn how to use the command line), and XP the buggiest and most virus-prone, but with widest range of software titles available.

If you aren't tethered to Windows because software you use for work isn't available on another platform, I highly recommend switching - it's not as painful as it looks.

By the way, when I got my Macbook, it literally took me less than 10 minutes to set up everything: settings, email, home network, essential programs. THAT was a very refreshing change.