April 11, 2020
Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
I haven't been blogging much lately as I hope you noticed because my life has been so hectic and my typist has been otherwise engaged. I do wish these paws were more conducive to using a keyboard, but alas if wishes were horses beggars would ride as the saying goes. So now, with a little breathing space, I have badgered said typist, and she has agreed to once again put my dictation on paper. So here is my attempt to bring you up to date on our adventure over the past several months.
In November, Maree and Jim signed a preliminary contract for the sale of our home in Le Marche just before we left to come to California for the holidays. They spent the next two months in California focused on looking to buy a house and actually made three different offers, none of which were accepted. So in mid January, we boarded a plane again and returned to Italy knowing that we had no place to live when we returned to California in about six weeks time. Thank goodness for AirBNB.
On all of our flights, I traveled as an emotional support dog. On the flight from Italy in November, I sat in Maree's lap almost the entire time. My sixteen pounds got pretty heavy on her legs after a while, but she didn't complain. I was a little shaky off and on, but Maree noticed that I seemed to be calmer on the floor. So when we returned to Italy in January, I was placed on the floor at her feet, and I had a great trip. I even amazed myself. I just stayed there for the 10.5 hours from Philadelphia to Italy and never made a sound. I was the perfect passenger if I do say so myself. I think I have this flying thing down. Well, I am sure Maree and Jim will agree with that assessment.
When we arrived back in Italy in late January there were a lot of documents to gather, new documents to be made for a price of course, and questions about Maree's immigration document for us to close on the house. Her Permesso di Soggiorno, green card equivalent, had expired and a new one had been applied for but not received yet. At issue was whether her expired Permesso and the receipt showing she had applied for a renewal would be sufficient to close on the house. But thanks to one of our young friends in Osimo, this issue was resolved. (By the way, her Permesso still has not been processed. It took eight months to get it when we arrived in Italy in 2018 and it seems like this will be a repeat of that experience.) In addition, there was all the work to get the house we had owned for ten years ready for the new owners to take possession, and selling our little Alfa Mito. The car sale took place a day before we left Italy and is a story unto itself, so I will spare you the details.
Like any house buying experience, Maree and Jim encountered some frustrations. The Italian notaio who serves as both a notary and escrow officer was a real pain in the butt, at least that is the polite way Maree describes her. Whenever Maree wrote to her to ask a question she never returned the emails. We were not the ones paying for her services, so she chose to ignore us. Fortunately, our friend Giuseppe knew this Notaio and did a lot of the interface with her. A few days before we were to sign the closing documents, she had her office call to tell us we had to go to the bank the next day to get a document. Of course, the bank we had to go to was 45 minutes away. Once there, it was clear we could have taken care of the issue over the phone or several months earlier since escrow did not close for four months from the signing of the preliminary contract.
Finally, our escrow closed on February 24 after five hours of an oral reading of the sales contract in both Italian and German. I was spared the endurance contest because Jim and Maree couldn't catch me to put the harness on. I was left alone for the entire time in a yard in a strange house. It was the first time I had ever been left behind and I didn't like it one little bit. But, did I learn my lesson. NO. I still make them chase me every time they want to take me out.
The biggest issue Jim and Maree had to deal with in selling the house actually came after the close of escrow, and that involved getting their money. They were told it could take a week because the funds would not be released until the new deed was recorded. Once that occurred they received a confirmation of the wire transfer from the notaio's office. Jim immediately noticed the notaio did not follow our wire transfer instructions and the account information was invalid. So a number of days of going back and forth trying to tell the notaio that she made an error in sending the wire transfer ensued, but she refused to believe it or take responsibility. Fortunately, the currency exchange agency here that was to receive the funds went into action and straightened out the problem. But it wasn't until several days after we were back in California that the money was found and transferred to Jim and Maree's American account. Talk about stressful. The air was vibrating and my fur was standing on end.
On March 1 we left Italy which had been Jim and Maree's home for seven of the past ten years and my home for more than half of my life. It was a bitter sweet departure leaving so many good friends and good restaurants behind. After all the trials and tribulations of trying to sell a house in a country where Maree and Jim's language skills were insufficient, they considered themselves very fortunate both for being able to sell the house and for being able to leave Italy just before the entire country was locked down. Of course, little did we know what awaited us here. It seems Covid 19 followed us across the Atlantic.
We arrived in California on March 2nd and checked into an AirBNB in Benicia, Jim and Maree were determined to isolate themselves as much as possible since they could not be certain they weren't infected by the virus. However, we needed a house. So the next day, we all went to see two houses. Jim and Maree loved the one neighborhood so much they immediately decided to make an offer. It wasn't until we returned to the house with the inspector a week later that they actually saw all of the problems. Nothing had been updated, sinks were cracked and leaking, appliances didn't work, the deck was falling down, and the owners were not going to fix or replace anything. So we came to our senses and decided not to pursue this purchase. Within a week, Jim and Maree were in contract on another house in Paradise Valley in the northern part of Fairfield. We hope to close on this house in about a week.
In the midst of all this, the owners of the AirBNB we were staying in decided that they wanted us to move to another one of their properties a few miles away. It is a beautiful property, and we are quite happy to be here, but the move was just more chaos in the midst of an already stressful situation.
At this point in time, we have all been pretty much sheltering in place for almost six weeks. Jim and Maree are having groceries, and wine delivered. We are all going a little stir crazy, but I think I have cabin fever the likes of the Shining. I spend my days chasing the squirrels in the yard and the birds. I bark at the neighbors and anyone who comes with a delivery. But, I need more exercise than I have been getting. Most days now I get a walk around the neighborhood. And I come back panting like crazy since I still try to run full speed ahead with Maree holding tightly onto the leash and trying to keep up. She doesn't pant when we return to the house, however, which is probably a good thing.
It has been three weeks since we moved to our current AirBNB in the hills of Benicia, but I still feel unsettled. I can tell something is coming. I hear all the talk about our new house, but after seeing so many I really don't know which house I will be moving to. And what will the move entail? At this point Jim and Maree will be the movers. So the move will take time and none of the big pieces of furniture will get moved for a while. I can't imagine what the house will look like for our first month or so there. Well, as long as I have a yard and grass, I guess I will be okay. I like sleeping on the floor anyway.
Well, friends, I hope to be back in touch again soon. But my dog days in Italy are over for now. I'm a California dog again and I think I will like that as soon as the dog park is open for business.
Stay safe all of my friends, and Happy Easter to you and your families.
Your once upon a time Italian friend, Dino
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.