The Value of a Key

 Yes, this actually a picture of the key to our front door.  No, this isn’t some novelty key that unlocks a jewelery box.  This actually gives us access to our home and it would have been lovely if we had it when we needed it.

We are approaching our seventh week in Italy and our 3rd week in our new home.  My Prius arrived on the 1st of July, which means that I can finally get out of the house and explore Naples, right?  There’s just one minor problem, I was terrified to get on the road with these crazy drivers.  Imagine if you will a glass jar, that is the road.  Then picture piles of coins perfectly piled on top of each other and set perfectly inside the jar, next to a dozen of other piles.  That is driving in DC.  We are the coins.  Nobody’s moving because there are so many of us but when we do just follow the next coin out, right?  Now imagine that same glass jar, except instead of coins, they are pebbles.  They fit in wherever they can and come out in no particular order.  Now picture a few cupfuls of sand being dumped in to the jar, those grains are the pedestrians, the motorcycles, and the scooters taking whatever open space left on the roads.  Oh yeah, now screw a funnel onto the top of your jar because the roads in Italy are very narrow and often only one car can pass at a time.  This can even be a two-way road and it only has enough room for one car to pass at a time which really makes life interesting!  So now, turn your jar over to get the pebbles and sand out.  Do you see why I was terrified?  You’ll be happy to know I have since greeted the open roads (open road, ha!) though I let Rob do the driving that requires the intricate maneuvering until I am totally comfortable.

We received our household goods on the 4th of July, talk about celebrating independence…Let Freedom Ring!  Here’s the funny part.  We sent three shipments.  One, was the car that went by boat.  Nine crates of household goods that included our furniture, our clothing, and pretty much all our stuff also went by boat.  Now our UAB, which stands for Unaccompanied Baggage is supposed to be what is called our “express delivery” since it left last and is supposed to get their first.  This goes by plane.  This consisted of our bedding, all of our pans, dishes and silverware, and the electric drill, that of course we needed until the last minute.  So now we have the bed, without the bedding and all of our dry foods and baking dishes, but no silverware or plates or pans, and plenty to hang on the wall but no drill to make that happen.  Hmm, I’m not a genius, but I’m pretty sure something isn’t quite right here.  Luckily, last we heard, our UAB was in Sicily and should be to us this week…fingers crossed.

Let’s talk about the way our gates and doors work.  As I mentioned before, part of the attractiveness of this house was how secure and safe we felt.  When you pull up to our Parco, which is what we all know to be a neighborhood or development, you must get through the Parco gate first.  Then, in order to walk up to our front door, you must buzz our front gate so that we can open either the car gate or the pedestrian gate.  Once you pull up and get out of your car, someone actually has to open the door for you, even if it is unlocked.  There are no  handles or door knobs on the exterior of the doors.  The only way to get in is with a key.  And so begins our next adventure in Parco Sirena, and yes  we live in the “Mermaid neighborhood,” so if you know of the munchkin’s affinity for Disney’s  Ariel, then you see the irony. 

Since, we were almost completely unpacked, I wanted to return a few baking pans that I had borrowed from our more than generous neighbors.  So I sent Ben with a box of two matching corning ware dishes.  I “buzzed” him out so that he could open our gate and watched as he walked over to the neighbors.  He buzzed them to open the gate, but then realized their gate hadn’t latched so he was able to go in before they buzzed him in.  This is actually very rare because it almost always automatically locks behind you due to the weight of the door.  He walked up to their front door but nobody came, it all of a sudden occurred to me…the neighbors might not actually be home.  So I texted Alida, my neighbor, who said she should be home in about 30 minutes.  The only problem with this?  This meant my son was locked in my neighbor’s yard, since of course the gate locked behind him the way it’s supposed to!

“Uh, Ben…I’m going to be right back.”

“Wait, where are you going?”

“Um…your kind of stuck there until the neighbors come home…so don’t go anywhere.”

“Well now, that’s not very likely is it?” he said with a snicker.

“Uh yeah, right,” I realized what I had said.  So I went to Ashley and Dave’s, the other neighbors, which was a lot of fun explaining that I had gotten my son trapped over at the neighbor’s yard.  She came over with a ladder and helped in my son’s escape.  Everyone thought it was hysterical, and then realized that we are definitely going to need to swap keys so we can prevent from getting locked out of our own houses.

While you may be thinking that one adventure per day is enough for the Leese family, you clearly have not been reading my blog.

Later that night, an alarm went off, scared to be the Parco’s laughing stock again, we were delighted to learn it was not our alarm.  What we did learn is that it was the neighbors.  We went out to our balcony and we were talking to them across the way.  Apparently, the battery in the alarm died and so their whole system went off to let them know that it needed to be replaced.  As we continued chatting, I was realizing that we were letting all the mosquitoes and flies in the house and being the responsible person that I am, I of course shut the door.

“Did you just close the door?”

“Yeah, I was—oh my god, I just shut the door!”

Rob just hung his head, “She shut the door.”  Now keep in mind the door itself was unlocked but it automatically latches.  Our worst fear was Ben waking up and finding that he was alone in an empty house and at the same time he was the only one who could let us in.  Rob ran around looking for anything that he could throw at Ben’s  window in efforts to wake him up, randomly calling out his name. The neighbors– once again reaffirming what a riot and a half we are provided us with a hanger.  The doors off the balcony have three layers, a slotted metal door, a screen, and glass French doors.  Since only the metal slotted doors were closed, Rob was able to essentially break into our home and get us inside.

Needless to say we all swapped keys the very next day!

So, so far we have explored downtown Naples, Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, swam in the Mediterranean, swam and played volleyball and watched firworks from inside an inactive volcano, visited Rome, locked ourselves outside of our house, ate raw meat, locked ourselves inside the neighbors yard, and set off our alarm for the whole neighborhood to hear.  I’d say we’ve got a pretty good balance going on.

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