1000 Querce News

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Month: May, 2012

Happy Birthday

to my sister Clelia that today, Monday, May 28th, turns 37 .


Lost & Found

The day after the treasure was found right here at about 8am the quietness in the mansion was broken by the sound of the door bell.

“Who dares to be so noisy in the morning?” I stormed from my bed after a sleeplessness night.

It was the FedEx man with the package for Doc. Doc asked to have his treasure mailed with the fastest (and therefore most expensive) shipping choice: Priority overnight. Doc was jumping up and down for joy while helding the package with his treasure in his hands.

“Well, because you had found it, you could have used the 3-day delivery” I commented while he was opening the box “at this point, what’s the necessity to have it that fast and at that cost?”
“But, do you know how much I would have spent had I not found it? I shook last night when I saw the  price of the iPod and the earplugs on the internet…”
“Ok Doc, I am ready. How much would have you spent?”
“$700. $500 for the earplugs and $200 for the iPod touch”

GULP… OMG  GULP… “Doc, what the heck do you do to deserve a set of earplug that costs THAT much???”
“Well… you don’t understand… those earplugs are fantastic… you should try them… you can’t hear any surrounding noise when you have them on… they’re critical for when you fly…”
“All right Doc. And how many trips by plan do you do in a year to JUSTIFY the critical necessity of this pair of SUPER-EXPENSIVE earplugs?”

According to Doc, “enough” means about one trip per month. Just to give a sense of the cost, after 12 years of usage once a month round-trip, and assuming the earplugs are going to last that long which I hope considering the price, the price for using them is about $3.50 per trip. Of course it is cheaper than buying the cheap $5 set offered on the aircraft, but it is also true that “cheaper” earplugs can be used multiple times (probably not for 12 years)… Of course it’s possible that inflation will increase the cost of the $5 earplugs… and of course it’s possible that Doc may travel more in future bringing down the average cost per trip…

“However..” Doc added as soon as he realized that my mind was occupied in making some math calculations “I have NOT paid them that price. I paid them half that price!!!”  he added with a sense of pride in his voice.

I feel much better Doc, much much better… THANKS!

PS: A few days ago, I saw the charge of the FedEx priority overnight delivery on my credit card. The amount was $106.89. He doesn’t think about how much he paid the shipment but how much he saved by not buying his precious treasure… This is HIS point of view ^o^

The Lost Treasure

Doc is a very precise and neat human being. On his desk, he has lined up several cups, each of them containing a bunch of pens, pencils,  or such. Every time I use one of them and forget to put it back, I don’t know how but he can point out which one I took and blame me for the missing piece.

Every now and then, though, Doc does something terrible, really really terrible.

A few days ago, on the way back from a trip to the East coast, Doc forgot something on the plane: his precious iPod touch. Problem is, he found that out when he was home, late at night, and he was unpacking his carry-on baggage.

Around midnight, while I was knitting and watching an interesting documentary about Fermi and Marconi, I heard a herd of horses coming down from the stairs in our mansion.

“Damn it…” screams Doc “I forgot my iPod on the aircraft!!!!” followed by a series of biiiiiiip-bip-bip-biiiiiip words… “I KNEW IT!!! I should have not put it in that pocket!!! ‘…. Biiiip… that was not appropriate for storing my iPod…. biiiiip…bip bip biiiip please look for the lost and found number at LAX… biiiiiip… hurry up, hurry up… biiiip”

So, at half past midnight, he was calling the Lost & Found over LAX but–obviously–nobody replied and the only “living” voice was the one of the answering machine.

Doc felt really bad, so bad that he had troubles falling asleep, but he did his best keeping a positive attitude and hoping to find his iPod touch.

“You’ll never find it” I told him with no hesitation.
“Thank you for your positive support” he replied to me.

The next morning, as soon as he got up, he started calling again the Lost & Found number. He wasn’t lucky and could not get someone but the answering machine. Then, I took over and started calling the number every few minutes until…

“Hi Miss Lost & Found. I am calling because that monster of my husband, yes, Doc, the one who is always ssuper-precise, super-neat, and so on but who every now and then is up in the air, forgot his iPod in the pocket of seat 9D. Just checking to see if someone has found it and brought it there…”

Miss Lost & Found put me on hold and went to check the list of lost and found items. After a few minutes, she responded that nothing with that description was brought to the office

“Well, maybe the cleaning crew has not found it because it’s a small item, and maybe they could not see it with a quick glimpse… or maybe they haven’t cleaned the aircraft yet” I suggested.

Because of my suggestion, Miss Lost & Found decided to check where the aircraft was, whether still at LAX or in another airport. She tracked it down.
“It left for Orlando as flight 204  last night and arrived there early this morning. Call this number”
“Thank you SO MUCH Miss Lost & Found. I’ll immediately call Orlando. Have a great day.” Click

“Hi Orlando Lost & Found? Yes? Thanks… Orlando, we have a problem… Orlando, Doc, that monster of my husband… bla bla bla.. By any chance, have you found it?”
“Please hold on, I am going to check” … … “Something was reported being found. What’s its color?”
“I don’t know it. I need to call Doc, because it’s his iPod.”

So, with one phone connected to Orlando and the other reaching Doc, I was going back and forth between the two.

“Doc, I need to know what your iPod looks like… Doc, Orlando is saying that three items have been found, one of them being a toothbrush. Can you confirm you also had a toothbrush?”
“Orlando, yes Doc is confirming that he also had a toothbrush. He said that his iPod is black and has a plastic cover with black and blue stripes, and there is also a small black case that contains a set of earphones.”

The most difficult part in this three-way conversation was to talk in Italian with Doc and in English with Orlando and switching between the two. At a certain point, Orlando heard my accent while talking to Doc and started talking in Spanish (???), at which point I almost gave up…

“Orlando, use English because it’s already a difficult conversation… don’t mess up with my capability of switching languages like that… pleazzzze….”

Bottom line, Orlando was able to find the precious treasure of Doc.

“So, when do you come to pick it us?” Orlando asks me
“Well, Orlando, actually we live in 1000 Querce,  the quiet and lovely town located in the Rabbit Valley in SoCal. Can you mail it to me?”

When Doc called a few minutes later to give all the information about his address and the FedEx account that I opened with the only scope of getting back his precious treasure, he asked for a priority overnight delivery.

Had it been for me, I would have requested the next week delivery… just to make him freak a little bit longer…

For H

H is a co-worker of Doc. H is a young woman, probably younger than my sister who is 37 years old. H, like me, is an immigrant and came to the US several years ago. H, like me, is a scientist. H, like me, loves crafts like knitting, crocheting, and sewing. H, unlike me, is married to a guy who is 10 years younger than she is. H, last October, was diagnosed with breast cancer, received chemotherapy, lost all her hair, and started to wear a wig.  H, at the beginning of March, underwent reconstructive surgery. H, after the surgery, spent about two weeks recovering at home.

It was after the surgery that I proposed H to spend a day with her with the promise of cooking an Italian lunch. H happily agreed to that idea.

So, about a week before the day with H, I started making thinks for her. Knowing that she appreciates handmade gifts, and knowing that she wants to start sewing and knitting, I decided to make her all handmade things, including a few useful for knitting or sewing. This is what I made for her…

Left picture: A recycled bag I got from a conference with her initial; a set of stitch markers representing chocolate truffles (very hard to see but they’re located on the upper right corner of the H); a red, black, and white needle book; a set of yellow, orange, and purple potholders with dishcloths.

Middle picture: a warmer bag filled with rice and lavender (upper left corner); four lavender sachets (one with the H, one with the heart, and two heart-shaped); a pincushion (up in the middle); a cross-stitched biscornu; a measure tape with the blue heart; a coaster made with lanyards from scientific conferences (upper right corner);

Right picture: two  red, black, and white breakfast mats.

I put everything in the bag with the H, and she was extremely happy to receive my gifts. It turned out that red, black, and white are her favorite colors, and she used these colors in her wedding. It also turned out that the day I spent with her, March 5th, was her birthday. I didn’t ask how young she was to experience all what was happening in her life.