Well, we made it home. Nearly twelve hours of buses, trains and planes, but we made it without missing a connection. It was quite a relief to open the door to our apartment and relax. We wandered around turning on the heat (we turn it off when we leave for extended periods) and the hot water heater (ditto for this) and generally looking around to see how things looked. Turned on the water taps to make sure they worked and looked under the sinks to be sure they weren't leaking.
You might think this sounds a little crazy....how much can happen in an apartment that isn't used for 3 1/2 weeks? Well, a lot it seems, when the apartment is in Italy (ie, where things are never really as they seem).
First Leif came in from the bedroom and said that the radiator in there must have leaked when we turned off the heat. I asked if he was wet. He said not too much. The problem seems to have corrected itself as soon as the metal heated up. I'm hoping that it wasn't so much water that it migrated downstairs. I didn't actually go and look. I figured if he wasn't too worried then there was no reason for me to get all excited about it.
As I was making some food before our trip to the grocery store (we don't shop hungry, even when we're too exhausted to crave anything) I noticed a big rust stain on the floor next to the chimney for our downstairs neighbors wood heater (yes, it runs inside our kitchen) and a much bigger area on the ceiling where plaster is loose. I pointed it out to Leif, who said that we would wait till someone lower complained since they have pooh-poohed out concerns in the past. Eventually all that rust will end up on their ceiling and they'll ask us what's up.
After Leif took a shower he said (at this point a little confused and tiredly) that the shower hose doesn't seem to get the water all the way to the shower head.(we have a hand-held shower) and I'm sure the look I gave him was also a little confused as I had used it earlier and noticed nothing wrong. Apparently the sudden demands we made on it after weeks of disuse caused the connection at the shower head to break inside. It looks perfect from the outside. It's only a couple of years old as it's the first (if I'm remembering correctly) thing we replaced in the first week of moving here.
There was some difficulty getting the stove to light. I randomly wiggled the tops of the burners (yes, we turn the gas off when we leave, some people here do it after every use) and viola! it worked. I have no idea why.
It's the next day and so far nothing else has broken. On the other hand our doorbell, which stopped working before we left, now works. This is part of the allure that Italy has for us. You just never really know what's going to happen, or not happen, next. We live in a constant state of anticipation.