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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tuscan update

Even though I'm out of school now, things have been surprisingly busy at our little Tuscan villa. Here's what's been going on:

Our telephone
Sadly, it looks like our Lingo VOIP is down and out. If you've called us at the 202 number, we know you've called, but we haven't been able to listen to our voicemail. If you have Skpe, I've opened an account there. The username is my first initial and last name, with nothing in between.

Our cell phone also appears to be down and out. We ran out of French minutes, so we bought an Italian SIM and minutes at a mobile phone store in Pisa. Unfortunately, we purchased Vodaphone, while everyone here seems to be using either Tim or Wind, so we've been having some trouble getting it work. But we're driving back to Pisa tomorrow, because I left my driver's license at the store. Italian law, apparently, requires identification in order to purchase a cell phone SIM, and when I handed my driver's license over to be photocopied, I forgot to get it back.Grrrr.

Doing laundry has consumed a lot of our time, because there is no washing machine or dryer at our villa. We were told that there is a "Lavasecco" in the nearby village of Reggelo, two kilometers away. Forty minutes later, after asking a couple of little old ladies -- and watching them argue passionately about whether it was on the right or the left -- we found the Lavasecco, only to discover that they charge 15 per load. Yikes! We went to look for another laundromat.

We drove to Vaggio. Then Figline. Then San Giordama. Then Montevarchi. We finally found a "Lavaggio Cani, 24 Ore Self Service," but sadly it wasn't a laundromat. It was a self-serve dog wash, open 24 hours. We felt pretty stupid walking up to it with our dirty laundry, but really -- what kind of village has a 24-hour dog wash, but no laundromat?

So what, you may be wondering, are we doing with our dirty laundry? We're taking it Rome.

I have a phone interview on Thursday, and since we don't have a phone here, I thought it would be a perfect time to make a trip that requires a hotel stay. The hotel is one of those extended stay places, and I'm betting there's a laundromat in the basement. If not, my Plan C is to buy a bunch of cheap souvenir T-shirts near the Colisseum, and wear them for the rest of our stay. My aunt may not have been to Rome, but we'll get a lot of lousy t-shirts.

Doreen and I will be in Rome till Saturday, and then we leave for the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, returning Monday. And yes, I'll be driving to Rome without a license, with an unusable cell phone, stopping at a mobile phone store in Pisa, with two weeks of dirty laundry in the trunk of our Renault. Isn't international travel glamorous?