Dear Mom & Dad,
It's 10:00 pm on Sunday night. I just got the kids to bed after coming home from Ron & Rusty Winfree's for church tapes. Michael left to deliver a baby. He probably will be back in the middle of the night. Fortunately, he took a nap this afternoon since he knew she was in labor. I didn't get a nap this afternoon, so I'm tired. I spent the afternoon cleaning my kitchen and making lemon squares to take for supper tonight. Our lemons are finally ripening. Hopefully they won't all get ripe at once. I've only gotten 3 or 4 off the tree.
It's starting to get cold here. Actually it's not getting all that much colder outside, it's just that the house is getting cooler and cooler. The cold just comes right through the tufa stones and then the house is sort of like a thermos -- it holds the cold in. During the day it is warmer outside than inside -- usually about 65ºF so we open the house wide open. But our windows don't get much of the direct sunlight, so it doesn't help much except to dry & air out the house to keep things from mildewing.
At night it gets into the 40'sºF outside. We've been using a couple of kerosene heaters to heat the living room & bathroom. Our radiator system, what Italians call central heat, is not working. It hasn't been used in 3 years. Our landlord is bringing a repairman by tomorrow to see if he can get it going. We've been using the kerosene heaters from about 4:00 pm till 10:00 pm. They smell, and one of them smokes real bad. It usually makes my eyes itch. Michael seems to be irritated by them, too. It's been in the 50'sºF in the house when we get up in the morning.
We got up early Friday morning and drove to Rome. That's a hard 3-hour drive on a busy interstate - actually it's an Autostrada and it cost £10,900 to drive from here to Rome on it. That's about $6.50. We went to see the Roman Forum and Colosseum. We got there about 10:00 AM and it looked like 5:00 PM rush hour. I was driving. Michael was navigating with the aid of a couple of maps. It was 11:00 before we found a parking space. We actually got out of there without having a wreck. Driving in downtown Rome is as bad as driving in downtown Naples -- it's crazy!
The forum is just a bunch of fallen down buildings, half standing columns and broken statues. Most people find it disappointing. I thought it was neat. Mrs. Rogers, my high school Latin teacher, saw to that I guess. It was much bigger than I expected. A lot of the marble is still laying around. So is my small purse-size Avon brush. I dropped it out on the Forum somewhere after straightening Angelique's hair. The kids did really well. Steven rode in the Snugli on Michael's back and Angelique was in the stroller. She would ride when it was smooth and get out and walk when it was rough, so she didn't get tired of either one.
Angelique sure was excited about the Colosseum and still is. She bought a little replica of it to go with her Leaning Tower of Pisa. I bought a replica of a statue of a Roman charioteer. The guy wanted £80,000 for it. I talked him down to £40,000 (~$26.00). These Italians are fun to bargain with. They'd make good horse traders.
We finally left the Forum about 2:30 PM and ate lunch. We were all starving, so we ate well. We got home about 7:00 PM, but it felt like 11:00 PM. It was a fun day, but tiring. We'll go back sometime this winter to go to the Vatican, Fountain of Trevi, and the Pantheon.
The church is coming here for Thanksgiving. I'm going to cook the ham. I'm not sure what else I'm gonna fix. Maybe your yeast rolls if I get the recipe in time. It will probably come in a letter the day I mail this one. We'll probably have about 30 people. I've gotta round up some tables from here and there. Also, a man is coming to repair my oven the day before Thanksgiving. It needs a new thermostat. It acts like it doesn't even have one on it. I sure hope he gets it fixed. I don't know how to feed 30 people without an oven.
Tomorrow is my last watercolor class, I think. However, she is having a make up class next week for those who have missed a lesson. I haven't missed one, but I could use the extra lesson. I'm getting better, but I've got a long way to go.
I appreciate the comics you send occasionally.
Steven is getting to be a cutie. The other day when I left him at our neighbor's house for my watercolor class, he said, "Mama, you be good. Okay?" When I came back to get him he said, "No, I don't want to go home. I wanna watch Donald Duck" (on Ann's video). As we were leaving to go get Angelique at school, I was having to wait a while to pull out on the street. When I finally got out there, Steven said, "Oh, Mama, I'm so proud of you!" He could practically teach his Bible class. He knows all the songs and motions.
It was good to talk to you on the phone the other day. Steven is still singing "Happy Birthday" to Papaw. Did you get the present that was mailed to Kem & Brenda's? Did you figure out how to make it reversible? There's no way I can explain it in a letter, so just keep trying if you haven't found it yet. Sure hope it fits.
I mailed our Christmas gifts to you on Tuesday. They should get there on time -- I hope. Inside the box you will find a sealed envelope that has the customs form inside. Do not open it as it lists every item in the box and how much it cost. It is there only in case the customs office decides to open and check that particular box. You are to throw it away. Later I'll send you another sealed envelope to be read after the gifts are opened explaining what each one is.
I've got to get to bed. It's already 11:30.
P.S. This is a piece of my living room curtain material. I had to cut it off & hem it up some.
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