Salvatore has been working at my house for three days now. I want him to leave. He is a very nice man, but I'd like him to be a very nice man somewhere else. Our house needs a lot of work, and our landlord kept saying, "I make much work. After you leave." Then realtors started showing the house, and our landlord said, "People. They don't understand that I make much work. They don't like to see..." as he gestured to falling plaster, rotten wood, and the like. No, Ciro, they don't like to see. Ciro came last week and asked if Salvatore could come work on the outside of the house one day this week. I said yes and provided Tuesday as the ONE day. On Tuesday, Ciro brought Salvatore and said he'd work one day inside and one day outside. Salvatore worked all day Tuesday in one room. Chipping out plaster, applying new plaster, sanding plaster. This necessitated me moving a humongous pile of stuff that was in that room waiting on me to sell it or donate it. Then the plaster dust started flying, and I realized I also had to move all the baby gear and toys from the adjacent room. La Bimba and I moved to the back of the house and spent all day in my bedroom. I also had to avoid leaving my bedroom because the very nice Salvatore likes to talk. A lot. He has a ton of stories, and I understand almost none of them. He likes to call me into the room to tell me about his arthritis or his daughter, who lives in Rome and is Carabinieri.
My favorite was when Salvatore was hard at work on the plaster, and I had to get something out of the living room. He stopped me and said (in Italian), while wistfully looking off to the side, "In America, your houses do not need much work. They are made of wood, and they are good. They are new." I just couldn't resist. I said, "Salvatore, in America, our houses are good. But some people have old houses. And inside, when we have an old house, we fix everything. The electric. The plumbing. We make it like new. The house is old on the outside and new on the inside. And yes, they are good." He nodded sagely and said he understood this because his daughter in Rome did the same thing to her apartment. Everything new inside. But then he looked sad again and said, "Here, it is just too difficult." Yes, Salvatore, I understand.
Yesterday, on Day Two of Salvatore's work, it became quite clear to me that he intends to set up camp at my house and work for days and days. I began quizzing him. "Salvatore, today you will finish?" He laughed. I told him that he could not come on Friday. He said he was going to visit his daughter on Friday and would come next week, on Monday. I said no and that I have many things to do and people to see. Then when he left last night, he came inside and started gesturing to more inside walls, saying he'd work on those today. I have put my foot down. No more inside work. I have less than two weeks left here, and I don't intend to spend those cooped up in my bedroom entertaining a nine month old. It wouldn't be so terrible if Salvatore worked a normal, Italian schedule. But he does not. He shows up at 8am! And stays until after 6pm! This is crazy. He even eats his lunch here instead of going home for a couple of hours. I do not understand this behavior at all.
Salvatore showed up at 8:00 on the dot this morning. Now La Bimba gets up btwn 7-7:30. I get out of bed myself then and change her diaper and nurse her. That means that often, I am not dressed at 8:00. This morning, I was beyond irritated that Salvatore was even at my house, and the hour did not put me in a better mood about it. Then Salvatore gave me the breakfast he brought for me, which confirmed to me that I am a truly horrible person. My landlord has been here today and quizzed me on when Salvatore can work inside. Not next week, I tell him. He says maybe one day, "only 2, 3 hours." Yeah, I've heard that story before. But my landlord now has a key to the enter the outside gates of the house. Apparently Salvatore is no longer going to Rome tomorrow. He will be here. In my yard again. All day long. He told me when he left tonight that he would see me tomorrow morning at 8:00. I said no, you will not see me. Do not ring the bell because of the baby. He assured me that Il Dottore will use the key. Our landlord, who has his doctorate degree and is a Big Deal, is known by all and sundry as Il Dottore. Even his own relatives call him Il Dottore, which I find hilarious.
Tomorrow, I am determined to enjoy Salvatore and his stories and his congenial behavior, such as rushing to help me when I'm carrying the baby in her car seat and my diaper bag while trying to lock the door into the house. I will ignore Salvatore when he follows up this kindness with charming stories, such as the one about the Italian man who left his two year daughter in the car because he forgot about her. Salvatore's sad face is really sad, and I wish I had the guts to ask him if I could take his photograph. Salvatore is starting to grow on me.