Doctors and sofas and bills, oh my


Botanical Garden, last month. I haven’t been back yet but will go soon.

When last we left our intrepid lost soul, I was in need of a doctor and some medications. Having the doctor’s hours, I went that day and waited, arriving a little before he was supposed to show up. He arrived and we talked for a few minutes. He looked up the medication and said that usually it could only be prescribed by a specialist, which he wasn’t. He talked to the pharmacy in the building and did, in fact, give me a prescription after all. He very kindly didn’t charge me for the visit, for which I was deeply grateful, though I had been prepared to pay cash and deal with filing an insurance claim with the VA’s foreign medical program. I’m really glad I haven’t had to deal with that just yet.

I went next door to the pharmacy and dropped off the prescription. They didn’t have exactly what I needed in stock, but said to come back late the next morning and pick it up. I am now the relieved possessor of a 15-day supply of my antidepressants, which will get me back to Seattle to deal with the VA pharmacy, mailing addresses, and all the rest of that mess. I also got a haircut, so it’s up out of my eyes finally. That’s a relief, because it was very annoying.


I no longer look like a sheepdog.

My first gas/electric bill came in the mail last week, as well. My brother said it was a pretty reasonable amount (around €125 for the last two months), and that he’d seen some Americans come up with bills of over €1,000 because they were using power like they were still in the US. I will admit I’m uncertain whether this is the real amount or whether it was an estimate, given that apparently they don’t actually read the meter but a couple of times a year, if I was understanding the situation correctly. If you use more or less than their estimates, you either get a bill, or you can attempt to pry a refund out of them. Gods only know what the reconciling bill will look like if for some reason I’m using more than I think. I haven’t really had the heat on except the first couple of weeks of February, and I don’t have the lights on except at night or when it’s really dim. The computer’s on most of the time because I’m actually using it. Anyway, it was a reasonable amount, and I’ll find out later if I’m going to have a heart attack or not.

A lot of bills here get paid at the post office. They apparently also have accounts like a bank, for payment of bills and shipping and other such things. I knew I was going to have to brave the post office at some point. The main post office in Trieste is on Via Roma, opposite Piazza Vittorio Veneto. It’s a huge building, and the tourist map of Trieste says there’s a postal museum in there. It wouldn’t surprise me. The windows for paying bills and getting stamps and such are up a set of stairs on the first floor. I took a number, but there was no actual line and so I was immediately able to go up to the window. Being the sort who wants to be prepared, I’d already sorted the amount I needed from the bill and pulled exact change out of my pocket. The guy at the window took it and then started saying numbers at me. I was kind of thrown and he was speaking too fast for me to quite follow. I realized after a moment that I hadn’t given him enough, but couldn’t figure out quite what I’d done wrong. I told him that I didn’t have much Italian, so he showed me the receipt – the post office puts a surcharge on paying the bill, so I owed him about €1.30 for that. Easy enough to fix once I knew what was going on, but I was kind of embarrassed that I had missed it. Next time I’ll know, and will allow for that for the water bill when it arrives, as well.

Having slain the postal dragon with only a small amount of angst and anxiety, I tackled trying to get a pair of shoes, as I wanted something more comfy for walking than what I have. I tried my luck at one of the little stores nearby that carries a lot of everything. I found a pair that mostly fit, and got them, but they were mostly plastic and not terribly comfortable. Returning them was out of the question, so that was a waste. I did mention the whole mess to the folks at the American library. Denise mentioned that there is a Foot Locker on Corso Italia, noting that they were expensive, but that at least one person there spoke English. I wandered over and spent more money (not as much as I’d expected, though) on a pair of shoes that fit properly and are comfortable.

Amidst all this dashing about, I saw that one of the Italian furniture chain stores was having a 70%-off sale. They are expensive, but the quality is good, and I desperately need chairs and a small sofa for the library, so that I have places for people to sit when they come to see me. I wandered over to see what they had, and found some things that I liked. The prices were good but required me to go back to my place to check the balances on my credit cards to see if I had enough. It looked good, so I went over and got a chair and a small sofa, expecting to pay the entire amount up front.

No, they wanted a deposit, but the items would be delivered in June and it would be cash on delivery when they arrived. It was quite a feat doing the paperwork for it all. They needed to see my ID (at this point my passport) and my Codice Fiscale, they wanted my address in the US (I had to give them my APO box), and several other things. I was a little confused, but we managed. On getting home, I pondered for a bit and realized that I actually could afford to get the second chair, so I went back the next day and added that to the order. I’m squirreling away the cash for the items so it will be available when the delivery arrives, sometime in June.

Amidst all of this, I have been trying to talk to people in Italian. Most of them respond in English, if they have it, when it becomes obvious that I don’t have much Italian. I know that I need to speak it more if I’m going to get better at it, so I continue with my mangled bits as best I can.

I have, at several points, mentioned to people that I’m going back to Seattle soon to get my dog. It’s amazing how people light up when I say this. Dogs are everywhere in Trieste, water bowls on the sidewalks outside many businesses, dogs in restaurants, dogs in grocery stores, dogs in the piazza. Triestinos love their dogs. I’m looking forward to having the little guy here. I’m leaving in about a week and nervous already about flying, and about flying him, though I’m eager to see everyone back in Seattle.


Chris, aka the Dog of Devastating Cuteness +3, in the Everett condo before I sold everything. Soon to be a Triestino dog.

This week, two poems written for Slippery Elm’s anthology. It feels good to get things down on paper.


14 thoughts on “Doctors and sofas and bills, oh my

  1. after bringing Tigger home from Naples, I figured the Kitty prozacs were for me.. the cat did just fine flying. I was more concerned for him than he was of me.

    • They don’t recommend sedatives for animals who are flying anymore, as it can apparently increase the possibility of death while in flight. Humans, on the other hand…

  2. I’m having a surprising amount of enjoyment following your adventures (both fun and not so fun) and cheering you on (or sympathizing/hoping things improve when things’re hard), though I know I’ve said so already. In reading your post today about coming to get your DoDC+3 and I got a little teary-eyed at the thought of how I’d feel without my fuzzy-babies for so long and how happy I’d be to have them back at last (as well as the worry of the flying). I have a smoochy soft-spot for animals, as you know, and I will be hoping really hard that it all goes well.

    You’re getting so much done, really, though I’m sure it doesn’t feel like it to you sometimes, but from an outside perspective, I think you’re doing pretty danged awesomely! ^5 maybe even ^10! I’m sure I wouldn’t be half as on the ball as you are and I admire you for getting all this done with the anxiety and other things that are working against you. Srsly, that’s like dangerously close to needing-a-cape territory, only we all know Edna Mode says “No capes!”
    Big huggaluvs and waving of the pom-poms, bebe! ❤

    • ^10 back atcha. I feel like I am really struggling with my Italian. Reading, I do sort of okay with a dictionary. Writing, if I have time and my dictionary and grammar book, I can make myself understood even if I’m fucking up word genders a lot still. Speaking? That’s the hardest part of all, as I have to actually do things in realtime, remember words, and figure out how to put them together in the moment. Cap that with painful shyness around people I don’t know, and you’ve got “not so great at speaking Italian yet.”

      But yeah, no capes. 😉

  3. Nice to hear that things are going pretty well for you, amd that you will be getting your beloved dog later this month……cute looking dog!Hope he enjoys the flight, amd his new life in Italy……wonder if he will bark in I talian?Also, nice to see a photo of you……..I do not believe we ever met….. Cousin Barbara

    Sent from my iPad

    • Hi Barbara. Mom said you were following the blog, so welcome! I don’t think we’ve met, or at least I don’t remember doing so. I’ll probably post another photo of me when I have green hair again. I’m kind of missing it. Also, got to get somebody to take pictures of me with the DoDC+3!

      Please feel free to comment anytime you like.

  4. WOW! What a week of successes! Furniture, prescription re-fills, paying bills, better shoes and — a great HAIRCUT in Italy!!!! Complimenti!

    That last, I must say, is the most amazing feat of all. After a few tries with local parrucchierie, I gave up and would wait for trips back to the US to go to a hairdresser with whom I could communicate the finer points of what I like on my head. The locals would give me styles that were attempts to make me look like Sophia Loren — except I’m a straight haired Irish German. I once went to Amsterdam on a cheap flight just to get my hair cut since they knew a head of fine straight hair when they saw one. Finally I had the light bulb realization that I could print out photos from the internet of the kind of hair style I want.

    So that you got something so neat and stylish first time out is great. Cling to whatever person gave you that cut. I obviously don’t know what you looked like before, but you look stylish and fresh and youthful in that picture. Ready for spring!

    My feet are generally too big for Italian shoe stores (I have to trek all the way to Milan) but I have found that most good italian shoes, made in Italy, are pretty much indestructible. Ditto furniture.

    Your pooch will be so happy to see you! Dogs have a great life in Italy. You and Chris will make a lot of friends.


    • Grazie mille! The guy who did it has a little shop in the back of my block, so it’ll be easy enough to go back to him. He didn’t have much English, but between us we were able to figure out what I wanted, and I would certainly go back to him. Fortunately, what I like is fairly easy.

      I’m looking forward at some point to getting some good Italian shoes, but what I needed were just your basic athletic shoes right now. The furniture shop was, generally speaking, a fairly expensive one, but with the sale I was able to get all three pieces for less than the original cost of the loveseat, including the transportation costs. I think I got a pretty good deal, as chairs and such from Ikea are just not at all what I’m after. I’ll have photos when things get delivered.

  5. Furniture definitely sounds like a deal! You’ll be living with it for one thing, so that alone means it bests IKEA.

    Your hair success made me realize I’m overdue for a haircut but my best local is swamped right before Easter so it will have to wait. Hope you will be able to sample one of those lovely Triestino easter pastries I’ve seen (only in pictures) with a braid of dough wrapped around a colored egg. We don’t get them where I am.

  6. They are called “le titole”. I’m not sure anybody actually eats them (and like most holiday treats they are probably more fun to look at than actually eat). Here’s a picture:

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