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The vacation is over. I am certain of this because last month I washed and waxed hardwood floors, scrubbed a kitchen, hemmed and hung four pair of curtains and performed many other tasks that I never do on vacation. After scrubbing the tile floor in the bathroom on my hands and knees I told Larry that I felt like Cinderella. Nowhere in my imaginings of this adventure did I picture giving up my spoiled princess status I have held for many years. Larry went on about how much we could save by doing the cleaning ourselves and put that money toward travel. He said he didn’t mind pitching in and helping, so I assigned him to washing windows and cleaning his bathroom – which he did without complaint. However, my strategy must have worked because we are now looking for a referral for a housekeeper. I think I’ll go polish my tiara!

Yes, six weeks ago we moved into our beautiful apartment here in Ascoli. I have not blogged since because my multi-tasking skills are not what they use to be. Being very goal oriented, Larry and I decided to have our apartment in good order by the time our first visitors arrived, which was last week (more on that in the next blog). So you could say we were speed nesting. If we don’t set a goal then “whenever” sometimes turns into “never” and there is nothing better to get you moving like inviting company. Unlike the last 25 years, Larry and I do not plan to spend our time here renovating where we live. However, Larry did change out the light fixtures to LED, repair some nonfunctioning items and patch and paint walls – some things never change. I never thought I’d be so excited about a clothesline, but I am thrilled that I now have two lines installed on the terrace. Of course, these tasks could only be accomplished with some new tools that must be housed in a new rolling tool box. As we all know, anything with a motor or wheels makes Larry very happy.

After countless trips by both rented car and train to IKEA in Ancona, the staff now smile and nod when they see us. Actually, the items we have purchased look pretty good and work well too. Our mattresses are IKEA and perfectly comfortable. It makes one wonder who convinced us we had to spend $1,000+ for a comfortable mattress? Maybe one of the many competing mattress companies? Incidently, I have only seen one mattress store in Ascoli. The same can be said about my IKEA pots and pans at a quarter of the cost of All Clad. IKEA designers are masters at making functional pieces for small spaces, so many items purchased were to improve function or storage. Only two more pieces needed (that are out of stock) and we’re finished! Larry said if we purchase much more there he suspects they may call us to Customer Service so they can give us a complementary Swedish dual citizenship.

Another thing I never thought I’d hear myself say is that my iron and I are becoming good friends. Since I only ironed under duress in the past, there was never a need to purchase a new iron in, say, the last 30 years. My new iron is sleek, heats up fast and produces lots of steam to make quick work of the tasks at hand. It took a week to unpack our last five suitcases because, after being packed for 90 days, every item needed ironing. This new friendship should be a lasting one because if you are rough drying your clothes you will be ironing. After a while it becomes sort of a zen experience, best done while watching cooking, home and travel shows – many in Italian. Here they iron everything, even the bed linens (and probably the underwear, but this I will never know for sure). So if you do come to visit and notice that your bed linens are nicely pressed, it’s okay to make a big deal about it – because it is.

My kitchen is now totally functional and as I type this blog a pot of chicken stock is bubbling on the stove and there is an Italian prune plum tart in the oven (check out the upcoming Food blog for more on the kitchen).

We purchased an old painting of Rome and a mid-century contemporary painting at the monthly Antiques Market for a song. The artist/dealer we bought them from threw in three of his own prints, which are now framed and in my kitchen. We are currently framing family photos to make it feel like home. We’ll post photos of our apartment soon.

With our new home now looking quite lovely, very comfortable and functional it is time to do what we came for – travel. But first we are christening our apartment with a dinner party to thank our new Italian friends who have been instrumental in helping us get to this point. Then it is off to Bologna (I can’t believe I just ran through the Oscar Meyer song in my head to spell Bologna correctly) and the Emilia-Romagna region – the food capital of the country of food. Yay!


  1. Hello Friends! I thought I would come out of “lurking mode” to comment. Sounds like you are getting settled into daily life in your new home. A big milestone, right? Looking forward to seeing the kitchen and apartment pics. Ironed sheets….now there’s something that won’t be happening soon at Casa Tambor. :-). Love your posts!

    • Hi! So glad you’re enjoying the posts. Yes, having our “home” set up is a milestone. Photos should be up next week. You guys still thinking of a visit next summer?

  2. We have to add that the apartment is truly gorgeous! Better than most we’ve seen on House Hunters Int’l (and we’ve seen a LOT!) And yes, the IKEA mattresses are VERY comfortable! We’ve had them in just about every place we’ve stayed (except here in France, and we’re suffering!)

    Arlene and Larry have furnished their home simply and beautifully, showing off a space that is light, lovely, and warm! Having now had the “joy” of doing laundry euro-style (no dryer) we can attest to the need of a line or drying rack – not to mention a warm day! Thank you again for allowing us to share a bit of La Dolce Vita with you in your new home.

    P.S. We’re quite spoiled now, having slept on ironed sheets! Good thing you’re getting a housekeeper!

    • Ah, you noticed the sheets? Ironed sheets and IKEA mattresses, one of the many pleasures of Italy. Thanks for the kind words on our new “flat” and decor. Haven’t been able to do laundry in two weeks because of the weather. Argggg! Larry is now thinking of putting a clothesline in the storage room for bad weather. What a guy! On that subject your guy, Gary, is quite a catch. We really enjoyed getting to know him. Ciao!

  3. My two new dear friends thanks for the wonderful eve on Wednesday. The apartment is spectacular, you have furnished it with such good taste so warm and welcoming. Looking forward to seeing you both next week…..

    • Thanks back to you, Grace, for your kind words and your help! See you at the party.

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