For anyone concerned about our broken garage door, it is tentatively repaired. Those folks who were concerned include all of our friends here as well as Nathan's co-workers who heard about the problem. Because they grasped the seriousness of the situation in us not being able to get to the hospital located 40 minutes away should I go into labor. The folks who were not concerned include my mother, who is more worried about the fact that I might actually wear my baby in a sling on my chest rather than the fact that I may give birth in the street outside our home while Nathan runs around in the middle of the night trying to find some help. Our family in America came up with ideas such as calling a taxi in the middle of the night. Let me 'splain something - IF we could actually find a taxi company open and answering phones in the middle of the night, there is not a chance on God's green earth that we could actually get them to our house. In America, roads have names and things like street signs and when one tells a taxi dispatch on the phone, "Turn right at Southfork Road," you feel fairly confident that you have now had a productive communication which will end in a positive outcome for you. Plus, handy devices like a GPS will take a taxi driver straight to a specific address. Here in Italy, I would question whether or not we could first even get across our address to a taxi driver on the phone. And then, the chance that they would actually find our house is about nil to infinity nil. Friends with handwritten, specific directions including GPS latitude and longitude cannot find our house. We are not alone in this. Going to any party will result in the entire guest list calling the host at least once on the drive to ask for further directions.
My best plan for a middle of the night emergency was for Nathan to ride his bicycle on the dark, unlit roads the several miles to the location where our Toyota was being kept. Should he survive this midnight ride, then he would return to pick me up and we would commence the 40 minute drive to the hospital. I did not have a plan in the event he was hit by an Italian driver and left lying in the gutter whispering, "Help, help" with me back at home going "hee-hee-ho, hee-hee-ho." Actually, I don't know if that's what I'd be saying because Nathan is in charge of what my breathing exercises are supposed to be. When that is the best plan we could come up with, it means we spent the weekend praying for no early labor. On Monday morning, I called our Housing office on base first thing to request that they get in touch with my landlord and explain why a garage door that does not open, leaving us with no access to transportation, needed to be fixed immediately rather than "domani" (tomorrow, and a typical Italian phrase that really means "later" - possibly tomorrow, possibly in a few days, possibly never).
Our Housing office was very reactive as they did indeed understand why this counted as only slightly lower than an emergency. They also could not reach our landlord or his mother, so they contacted the handyman (thankfully, I had his number in my phone from last week). He promised to be over no later than noon. And he was, along with one of the other handymen. They showed up at my front door carrying a screwdriver and a hammer, and somehow, those two muscled that garage door open - we have no idea how. I stayed upstairs and after lots of banging about, they called me down to show me the old, frayed cable in their hands and let me know they were headed off to purchase a new cable. They did indeed return, this time with the hammer, screwdriver, a wrench, and some sort of metal cutting saw...and a cable that is not the cable needed to repair our garage door. Naturally, the store did not have the proper cable. This replacement cable, rather than being lots of strands of twisted metal, is lots of strands of thread with some strands of twisted metal on the outside. The store will not have the proper cable for "two weeks, maybe a month." I returned upstairs, listened to lots more banging, and was finally called down to see a somewhat repaired garage door that lifts and lowers. The men explained to me that this cable is not as good, so it may/will break (the certainty seemed to change a lot from might to definite). If it breaks, I should call them. I did try to get more details, but the answers were all the same. The proper cable will come in later. This cable is not as good. It will break at some point, but they don't know when. One more repair job completed...maybe.