Monday, February 17, 2020

Your choice...The "Purge" or Italy

Well, El nuevo casa en el rancho de juvat, I've been informed is just one document away from beginning construction.  Apparently, the Bank and the Builder use the same word with different meanings.

The word in this case is "Reserve".  To the bank, Reserve is the amount of money you have set aside for Down Payment.  To the Builder, Reserve is the amount of money you have for all the extras.  You know, the Well, Septic, Road, Electricity.  

The document in question is the contract.  The bank has approved a dollar limit based on our equity on our 31 acres.  We own it outright, It's value depends on how much the latest person from that state out west decides to pay for his 31 acre property.  So that Reserve has never been an issue.

Similarly, we've got money in the bank to fill the Reserve needed by the Builder.  So, having explained all this to the Bank, they said:
They expect the revised paperwork to be ready to sign early this week.  Along with a large Check, that will start the construction phase.


Mrs J, being the ever brilliant person she is, realized that, when we moved in to our current 2200 sq ft domicile, we had left a 4400 sq ft house.  This was 20 years ago.  That excess has been in our storage building (10'x10'x30') since.

In addition, both children have moved on in life and their treasures from college remain here.  

So, Mrs J has decided that "The Purge" will commence immediately and will be....Ruthless!

This past weekend it started out on our screened in porch which had become an alternate storage location.

Have I mentioned that the only thing that reproduces faster than rabbits is....Junk!

So, my friends, I am faced with a conundrum.  Do you want to hear about my weekend's activities in "The Purge", or should I regale you with more pictures from Italy?

Right!  Italy it is!

Having spent a few days prior to Halloween in Cinque Terre, we are going to make our way back down south, eventually arriving at Rome's port, Civitavecchia, where we will board a ship and cruise the eastern Med. 

However, the ladies of the party, have decreed (having learned that from Roman Empresses...When in Rome...) that we will stop in Florence for a few days and plan a day trip to Siena.

So it is written....

We board the train and arrive in Florence.  Mind you, this is pre-Uber.  So, having studied the map, we realize that our B and B is only a half mile or so from the train station, we'll walk.

The gods of weather start laughing.  Once we're pretty well committed to walking, the sky opens up and it starts raining.  Immediately, the street vendors change their proffered offerings to umbrellas.

   We arrive at the flat only to find that it is locked.  Calling the service to announce our arrival returns a hearty, "Someone will be there with a key....shortly."

Shortly, apparently, means something in the order of 45 minutes to an hour.  But...Thankfully, it does mean an arrival.

The flat is 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, living room, dining room and kitchen and is quite nice.  And Heated!

It is quite near the Palazzo Vecchio, or the old administration building as well as the Uffizi Palace and Gallery.  Everybody knew the Uffizi is an art museum except the fighter pilot.

So...we've got that going for us.
Palazzo Vecchio

Showered, warmed and hungry, we set out to find dinner.
Lots of spectacular architecture to be seen.

The fighter pilot is doing his darndest to not get lost in a large city, at night, with no discernable direction to streets.  But we've been given explicit instructions on how to get to the restaurant.  


But we do find the Cathedral (Technically..."Il Duomo"...The dome).
Now....THAT was spectacular.

And the restaurant is only a block away.  Surely, juvat, you can navigate that far, right?

As a matter of fact, I can!

Dinner was quite nice,  with wine, of course!   Which greatly aided navigation back to the flat.

Supposedly, rubbing the boar's snout grants the rubber super powers. 
The following morning, armed with our newly purchased defensive weaponry, we set out for the local market.  The ladies want to  The men are invited to go along, keep their mouths shut and pay the shopkeepers.

Which we do.

The ladies are wondering why we are dragging along.  Little J is also. 
The winemaker, ever the artist, has found an artful exhibit to photograph.

No idea who the lady is,  She stood there the whole time until I took the picture.

We walked across the bridge at Ponte Vecchio. supposedly built in 996AD.  Cripes! Even Sarge isn't that old.
Until 1215, it was the only bridge across the Arno River.  It was also the only bridge the Germans didn't destroy in WWII.  They only blocked access to it by destroying the buildings on either side of the approaches.

Thoroughly "touristed" out, we make it back to our flat safely.  The next day will be an out and back to Sienna.

We awaken to a beautiful day, cool, but clear.  The train is on time, comfortable and quick and we arrive at Sienna mid morning.

First stop is the Piazza Del Campo,  essentially, Sienna's Central Plaza.

Yes, there were three different people taking this picture at the same time.  This one is the Winemaker's.

The ladies are ready to go Shopping!  Little J, the Winemaker and myself, find a little bistro and enjoy a fine bottle of wine.  While doing a little crowd watching.  

We're wandering about, waiting for the ladies to complete their rescue of the Sienesse Economy, when we find an interesting building.

Turns out it's a bank.

I believe these are folks that didn't repay their loans on time.

Or something.

LJW does not look enthused about the selections.
We inquire about lunch and are directed to a nearby restaurant directly behind "City Hall ca 1400 AD")
The Winemakers peruse the important part of the menu.

What, Beans?  The wine list of course!

A sumptuous  meal was partaken and I found that my mother's family had emigrated from the Sienna area and our waiter was, in fact, a distant cousin.  He insisted on a family photograph.  My remembrances of family stories about  emigrating from the Naples area, were apparently in error.  

And....How can one not generously tip a family member, however distant?

Our last stop in Sienna, is to the Cathedral of St Catherine.

St Catherine has an interesting story but I think a couple of things of particular interest were 1) she was the 23rd of 25 children, only 12 of which survived.  2) She lived during the Black Plague.  That might cause someone to "Get Religion".  Lots of other points I find interesting in the linked article. YMMV

We head back home to Florence where the following morning we're awoken to the sound of a parade outside our window.  Apparently, the women were successful in rescuing the Italian economy and the locals wanted to show their appreciation.

Or something...

The train to the port was uneventful, boarding was swift and shortly thereafter....

And that will have to wait for a future story.


  1. When I was in my 20s and lived in apartments ...when I was ready to move I would load my meager belongings into my Toyota lift back and just go.

    Maybe two trips where required but no more.

    Now you look at all the crap we acquire. If I paid for a moving van the cost of the moving van would be far more than what the stuff is actually worth.

    But we accumulate it.

    Reminds me of an ongoing source of friction between my late father and my mother.

    My mother has always been a bit of a packrat. My father was a neat freak.

    He said the best thing that could happen to their house would be for it to burn down.

    Think of all this junk how much do we really need?

    I think I would be just as happy in this house with no furniture in a mattress on the floor and my television and my computer.

    And a few other things that most guys like. OK, my rifle and pistol.

    And toothbrush.

    1. Yeah Growing up as an Air Force brat and then in the Air Force myself, junk was never really a problem. Uncle Sam took care of it. Either in the form of a weight limit for household goods or stuff destroyed in transit. This occurred no less than every 3 years. Usually more frequently. Our last such move was in August of 2000. So if I do the math correctly, My junkometer is at Junk raised to the 6.666 power. Think I’ll need a lanf fill the size of the Grand Canyon. Or I’m gonna make Goodwill very happy.

    2. (Don McCollor)...Back in my college days, I had a geology professor who was an ex-army officer. He had spent his active duty doing satellite 'ground truth' research at White Sands, NM. Going inactive, he found a clause that "professional materials" could be shipped free. Two sweating GIs were struggling with a number of very heavy footlockers..."What's in these things - rocks?" "That's right."....

    3. Well, I'm pretty sure, but by no means certain, that I don't have any rocks, space or otherwise, in my storage lockers.

  2. Having constructed a hovel from scratch recently, I can only tell you that I can't imagine circumstances where I would ever do it again. The shack that I live in at the White Wolf Mine in Arizona is very nice, has everything I want, and is in a beautiful location. There aren't other places around to buy, so building was the option if I wanted to leave the joys of city life. But cost over-runs and the hassle of it all was horrible. While being here is nice, knowing what I'd have to go through to get here - I wouldn't do it over again.

    1. We’re in a similar situation. Buying is not an option. Yet. Civilization, or what passes for it nowadays, is creeping ever closer. So building is the answer. We’ll see what this week brings.

  3. Argh, the purge! I've been subjected to that. Was told to stop taking stuff out of the dumpster, no one cared that it was my stuff, it was being disposed of in order to buy newer stuff.

    Yes, I'd rather hear about Italy...

    (Well told by the way!)

    1. We’ve got one dmpster for Four families, so filling it usually isnt a problem. To preserve the peace, I intend to dumpster purge on Tuesday evenings before the Wednesday trash pickup. Loading up excess and taking it to the dump in the truck is also viable. And people wonder why folks have pickups. Course they’re usually driving a Prius. No, you may Not borrow my truck!

  4. The Purge!!! It is no fun while you are going through it, and for about 4 years after I kept thinking every time I was shopping, or received presents "Now, where am I going to put this? Why, exactly, do I need this again??"...and if ya think your kids, or grands will want ALL of your stuff!!! Hate to break it to you, but most of your things...the answer will be a no. We all have too much stuff. Says the gal who has 98% of her stuff in a storage unit currently. Sigh.

    And, yes, I an saving like mad to get my own house, but, like LL, the thought of building it makes me shudder also. Lol.
    This last move, I called 2 men and a truck and they did a fabulous job!! And the price was even reasonable, certainly cost less than the prior move, which was a DIY move with a Pod. And my back hurt a lot less when this one was done!!!

    Italy!! Definitely Italy!!

    1. We inherited some very nice dining room furniture and two desks when Dad passed ( coincidentally just prior to the Italy trip). It was way nicer than anything we had and worth more than we wanted to spend to buy similar. That having been said, I agree that the Kids are unlikely to want, or have room for, it.

      I had a back seater once who said the most efficient tool for getting something done is your wallet. As I’ve grown older (but not up), I’m realizing the wisdom of that statement.

  5. Well, yes, I do want to hear horror stories of the Purge. Having lived through a 3bdrm with garage and shed purge to a 1bdrm apartment with shed, I want to hear other people's stories of pain and agony. And it's fun listening to justifications, and horror stories, and stuff found that nobody has any idea about.

    As to the Uffizi Palace and Gallery and not knowing it was a gallery. Dude. In the Name. Right there. What? You need glasses?

    Biggest lies ever told to a tourist. It's just over there. We'll be open when you get there. Everybody enjoys this (dish, wine, desert, savage mauling by animals or gypsies.)

    Especially in places like Italy or the Smoky Mountains. Where on a map the distance is measured by flat lines. While in reality one needs a contour map to truly understand the scale of the trek one is about to attempt. (There's this set of waterfalls in Cade's Cove that, mapwise, is supposed to be close. Only over and around 3 ridgelines.)

    1. I guess I should have substituted the word "THE" for "an" in that sentence. But I didn't know anything about it up until I saw that statue.

      Agreed on the lies.

  6. My parents died in 1986. They had a 3500 sq. foot home. We packed the stuff and moved into the storage. Took some time to go through it all and stop the flow of cash for space. We decided to move from Moscow on the Monterey Bay to Ormond by the Sea in 2014. We had owned a place since 1998, and had been visiting since the seventies. Miss Jeanie (pretty well now, thanks) is a real Floridian. We had been accumulating stuff on our own for fifty some-odd years. We needed nothing but my books and cooking stuff to move into the FL place. Two storages (sp?) later, we down to one tiny place that the kids and us still keep our stuff in. My custom molded, helmet from USAF (and the bag from 62FZ). About two hundred 33RPM recordings, stuff never unpacked, but good stuff, mind you, from my parent's house. My kid's stuff is beginning to have reproductive traits now and Jeanie and I just watch and laugh.
    4BR, 3 baths is a flat?

    1. Very glad to hear that Miss Jeanie is doing well.

      It is hard to get rid of the flight gear isn't it? There's no way I can fit into my bag, but I'm going to fight tooth and nail to keep it in the closet.

  7. I agree there’s no rhyme or reason to the streets in Florence.
    Still, MB and I want to return for a more leisurely look.
    I think my favorite stop was the “farmers market.”
    That said, my favorite thing about Florence, and the rest of Tuscany, is straciatella.
    What’s best about that is it is easy to find.

    1. The food there was the best we had in Italy, no doubt. I don't think I had anything that wasn't extraordinary. We were there for 5 days counting arrival and departure dates. We could have stayed much longer and still not seen anything.

    2. As for purging... the accumulation is horrendous.
      There are still things from my grandparents... both sets.
      Then there are all the things GS and I brought to our marriage and accumulated over a 30+ year period (and the stuff her kids left behind)'
      Now MB and I have added all of that to the stuff she and her prior spouse accumulated over 40 years, the stuff her kids didn't take with them, and, on top of all that, my mother in law lives with us and doesn't part with things very well.
      Then, as serial volunteers, we have stuff we use for the meals we prepare as volunteers.
      It's probably a really good thing we don't have acreage with outbuildings.

    3. O yeah, one more thing... Pop passed in 1999.
      There is still a storage unit with much of his and Mom's things they bought from having both been previously married and being married to each other for what seemed like forever.

    4. Skip, I think you're right about outbuildings. I'm going to try and revert back to my Military move mindset. The good thing is I think we're going to give this manufactured home to my sister. She's currently living on the property in a 600 sq ft cabin. Fixing this one up a bit and moving her and her two dogs, might make it seem palatial. And she'll need some furniture. Which we've got. A lot of things to ponder.

  8. I would have enjoyed seeing what you are going to need next week (the stuff you toss today)!

    1. Well, given that in most cases, we've got 4-5 versions of "stuff" (parent's, Son's, Daughter's, Mine, Mrs J's), I don't think we're going to be in jeopardy for a while. However, it will almost certainly happen at the 2 version level as at that point we will have forgotten how many versions have passed on and will dispense with both of the remaining.

      That will be most unfortunate!

  9. My wife and I are still doing the "Purge". We moved from a 3600 sq ft house in 2017 that had a few outbuildings used for storage. At one point we had a 10'x10', 10'x20' and two 10'x30' storages 250 miles from our new location. We had a 10'x20' and a 10'x15' storage about 3 miles from out new location. On our property we have a 12'x20' shed for air condition storage plus some storage in other sheds. We moved to a 1300 sq ft mobile home while our site built house was being built so most of those storages were untouched. We moved into our 2300 sq ft house (with garage) in September 2018. We are down to those two 10'x30' storages because we can't afford a shop yet to be able to pull the stuff (I think my wife used the term crap) down here and go through it. It is an effort but we have sold or given away a bunch of stuff and let some of the rest go to the dump.

    BTW, juvat, we had the same company build our house based on your previous reference to a plan. Our "builder" (site supervisor) was Adam. You should be in your new house by the end of the summer.

    1. End of the Summer should be about right, they said we'd be in about a year after we committed. Which was sometime late last summer. But, it is good to know they're good for their word. Haven't really had any issues with them, just the normal coordination, scheduling and other hoop jumping issues.

      Haven't figured out what I'm going to do about my shop. It would be a couple of hundred yards away if I leave it where it is, and not sure what would be involved trying to move it. That'll be a ponder for a while.

  10. Great post- definitely stirred my interest for Euro travel again, although I've done a similar itinerary. I see you borrowed that photo of the statue David, but you could have just used mine without any credit due (! That might have been before you became a well paid employee of The Chant though so you might not have seen that. Good luck with the house. Ours just got paid off so we're looking to pull some equity for some repairs.

    1. There’s something nice about not being in debt. Unfortunately, thats not going to be true much longer

    2. She's already spent some of that future cash!

    3. Meaning my wife...big plans to put us at least a little in debt.

  11. Basement, 3 floors on top of that. It works.

  12. LOL, sorry for the late comment, but be glad you didn't go to the Bridge of Thieves in Florence, that's where the gold shops are. And just down the road past it is the little chapel with the Last Supper painted on the front wall, and a door in the middle of the painting.

  13. Another fun post juvat! Brings back some memories. There's a great story in Audie Murphy's "To Hell and Back" where a soldier on pass in Naples "knows" the waiter's cousin back in NYC.

    That lady in the picture? You're supposed to give her 10,000 lira, then she'll move so you can take your picture.


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