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Perplexed

21 Mar
We have been without heat in our building for almost a week. Luckily the weather is mild: as I write this at 6:00 AM it is 9 C/49 F, and the high today will be 68 F. Not bad. But it is a little chilly in the mornings and the cats are missing radiator time. So what? Why “perplexed?”
A couple of weeks ago I came home to find this sign posted in the lobby of our building:
Lent 2014 The priests will visit families for an Easter blessing on Monday the 17th from 5-8 PM.

Lent 2014. The priests will visit families for an Easter blessing on Monday the 17th from 5-8 PM.

An Italian holiday tradition, seldom-if-ever-seen in the U.S.
Our perplexity is this: the announcement of priestly visits was posted, but nothing was said about the heating! No note of apology or acknowledgement of inconvenience. I actually had to have the Embassy call and ask what was going on after 5 days because the portiere (building manager) was not his usual present self. Maintaining a low profile so as not to be confronted by chilly occupants, he is apparently awaiting a part to effect repair on the century-old heating plant. It’s cooling off over the weekend, low 30’s by Monday. Heat would be nice. At least we have water. 
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6 Responses to “Perplexed”

  1. ckleonard March 22, 2014 at 04:02 #

    Oh dear! I just know you have “grumpy” cats – missing their radiator time has to be so unsettling to your two roommates!

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  2. Marcia kakiuchi March 22, 2014 at 02:30 #

    I find all of these customs quite interesting and we probably have many in the US I am not even aware of!

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  3. Sharon March 21, 2014 at 15:19 #

    Sounds like a weekend get-away to somewhere south (AMalfi??) is in order.
    Pritiere in the US are not much better!
    Stay warm and snuggle up!!

    Like

    • gooddayrome March 21, 2014 at 17:06 #

      Hi Sweetie! We are actually headed north to Torino. At least the hotel will have heat and an unending supply of hot water.

      Like

  4. Trisha Thomas March 21, 2014 at 10:11 #

    Welcome to Italy! Yes, every year the local priest comes at Easter to bless your home and your family. For an Italian, that is much more important than a little heat. The first couple times the priest showed up (when I arrived in Italy 20 years ago), I said, “no thanks” when he knocked at my door. I am not Catholic, so I didn’t think it was appropriate. After a few years I did an about face. I welcome the priest in, I gather anyone who is around at home and we all join him in saying a prayer and watch as he sprinkles some water in blessing. I figure it can’t do any harm to have a little extra blessing. As far as the portiere is concerned, you will find they are so terribly helpful right before Christmas and the few days before Easter as they are expecting a healthy tip. Suddenly they are helping carry up the shopping bags, bringing you your mail, chatting you up. When something goes wrong in the building, they are hard to find. Giving the tip at Christmas and Easter does help get a little more response.

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    • gooddayrome March 21, 2014 at 17:04 #

      Thanks Trish, next year I’ll let the priest in! 🙂 (We are not Catholic either. We are strangers in a strange land.) You are right about the portiere. At Christmas he wears a red sweater and bounces out of his workroom/office to greet, open the elevator door, chit-chat like a little elf. At Ferragosto he makes certain we know he is there the entire month of August to safeguard the building from “i ladri.” It must be killing him to have faulty heating right before Easter!

      Like

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