Communication difficulties

My Mum hasn’t been well, so I have come to stay with my parents for a few days. They are getting old, my Dad is 82 and my Mum is going to be 80 later this year. They needed a hand, and some company, well, my Mum did. My dad is happy to have time on his own, he has been very busy taking care of her lately and is rather worn out. I realise they are getting old and becoming more and more like little kids. I try to be as patient as I can and look at the bright side of things. I must tell you, they make me smile a lot and sometimes laugh too. Not at them, just at the situations created by this “getting on” aspect. You see, one is rather deaf, the other speaks in a very quiet voice, to him.

Now, my dad gets up in the morning and doesn’t wear his hearing device until he has washed and dressed. That means, if you want to speak to him, you must first attract his attention by waving your arms right in front of him (most times in a frantic way as he is also very distracted) and then, come up with the most concise way on how to say what you want to communicate, and as loud as possible. I sometimes laugh at myself too, I just immagine what I must look like while I do that!!

Later, having inserted his priceless aid (as in very very expensive), things get a little easier for me. As long as he is looking at me, I can speak almost at normal volume. The funny part is the two of them speaking to each other though. You see, my Mum, has decided she is not able to speak up anymore. Well, that is when speaking to him…when speaking to me, the volume is fine. Like when in the early morning, she comes to wake me up (I swear I didn’t ask for this!) and says :” I thought I’d wake you so we can have breakfast together” right in my ear. She then starts chatting away in a rather loud voice, sometimes singing a little and performing a little dance. Volume isn’t the issue then. Oh, I forgot, she also screams for several minutes now and again, she says she needs to let frustration out. I tell you, she can make a lot of noise when she wants to!

So, getting back to their “conversations”, you have these great moments when she says something to my Father, in her special quiet voice, usually either: a) looking somewhere else, so he has no idea she is speaking to him b) keeping her eyes closed (she does that a lot and of course, again, he has no idea she is speaking to him) c) walking to another room or even being in another room. He hasn’t got a chance!!!!!!!

She then proceeds to repeat what she just said, before he even asks. She now has his bewildered attention and she knows he hasn’t understood a word. Sometimes she says the whole sentence again, but, more often, just repeats the last few words. At this point he still doesn’t grasp what she is on about, would you? The third time follows straight after and is usually the winning one! All the while I seat there watching them and trying desperately not to laugh. It really is comical.

My Mum is so used to doing this, she does it with me too. I normally understand the first time, as long as we are at least in the same room that is, but she goes on to repeat it anyway. I guess she is so accustomed to it she does it without thinking. The other reason is she is actually a little deaf too, so, when I say yes to what she just related to me, she doesn’t hear it.

Getting back to my Dad, this wonderful ear piece he has, can even be connected to the tv. He can watch it and be the only one to listen to it, more or less….it’s so loud I can actually make out most of the words. And he speaks now and again, the tv blasting away in his ears and he wants to tell you something, so he shouts it. Of course you can only listen, no way he is going to hear your comment or answer. It’s a one way system. I actually think it’s his favourite way to have a conversation, he speaks, you nod, smile or frown, nothing else!



Driving around Bologna

So, yesterday I was in Bologna, for an awfully looong time. Every Wednesday I go to the centre of this lovely town, same road, going, same road coming back. I have been doing this for a couple of years now. For the first year and half I’ve had the navigator on, just in case. As a matter of fact, last year, one of MY roads had been closed, so, after much getting lost (yes, I manage that even with the sat nav), I finally got there. I like to keep it simple, same route, always. That way I can think about all of those things that matter to me, clothes, shoes, etc. certainly not new roads. My husband likes to change way, he gets bored, but then men are simple, they only think about what they are doing that very moment, and it’s not a critic, I think.

Unfortunately he wasn’t there with me and I am not blond.

I has only been a few months now, without maps, without help. I felt safe. Until last week. They closed a road, again!! I got lost, and then a bit more, and then I managed to get back.

This week though, feeling remarkably brave, I actually forgot about it. You see, I have learnt to relax a little, even if I don’t know where I am, given time to spare, I go on and on, until I get somewhere, preferably not too far in the opposite direction. I have made peace with the fact that when my parents put me together, they forgot to add “sense of direction”.

Anyway, I was on my way back home, only a few hundred metres after leaving, I remembered about the road works. I decided to stop as soon as I could, which is not so easily done in the centre of a town, and start the car navigator. And Google maps too, just in case. The thing is, I don’t really understand how the car one works. It took a while and, even then I wasn’t sure…

My journey starts. I take MY usual road and unfortunately corroborate my previous thought, it’s still closed. No turning that way. I decide, while the sat navs are “calculating”, to continue straight. It’s a nice long wide road, hopefully I’ll be able to turn off it soon and be reunited with my usual way home. But both sats are thinking up a new way, “calculating”, “calculating”, so I keep on going. And that’s where they end their agreeing on the matter. One tells me to go one way, the other the opposite one. I go on a little longer, hoping they will make up their minds and agree on a way home.

Btw, there’s no phone holder in my husband’s car, and my phone doesn’t pick up if I rest it down below, where coins and things go. So, here I am, driving along this road, which I have no idea where it leads or whether I am driving away or towards home, keeping an eye on any yellow lines and trying hard to avoid them (will tell in a minute about this) , holding my phone in my left hand up high above the stirring wheel!!! Thank god my husband’s car is an automatic, no need for both hands.

Yellow lines, bad bad things which for no reason one must cross and fall into their lane. Only privileged people, not sure who apart from buses, trams and taxis, have permission to be on them. I know this because last year, when I got lost, remember?, I apparently drove along on one of these lanes with yellow lines AND I have have proof of this, a lovely memento, a fine. They actually have my photo too.

So, I am driving along this road, I start considering following directions again. Unfortunately they keep on disagreeing and the car sat says “calculating” at regular intervals, making me think she really isn’t sure where to go. So I decide I’d better follow maps. I miss several roads she wants me to turn into. Well, there are so many b***y signs to read, by the time I manage, I have missed the opportunity. Btw, the car sat nav had no sound, nor did my phone’s. Which seemed like a good idea (not that I knew how to choose whether to have it on or not). At this point though, having decided which sat nav to trust, I do want to turn off the car one, it is rather distracting anyway. I end up stopping in order to do that, but I still don’t manage…never mind I think, it doesn’t speak, I can let it run it’s course (literally!).

Back on the road, I take a left off my by now “feel safe” place on the big straight road (Via Toscana btw, I did wonder whether that meant that’s where it led!!!!) , and go under a bridge into a tunnel. Did you know maps goes dark and all the roads nice and bright when in the dark?!! Yes, isn’t this a great idea? I had never realised this before, it was rather exciting. Back out the tunnel and god knows how many turns and kms I do before I see something familiar. I know that one, I do, I think I know where I am! Can you immagine the feeling of relief at seeing something familiar?

I relax, I know the way now. I turn off maps, I know how to do that. I engage in a phone call, I still have about 20 minutes drive. I am chatting away to my favourite aunt, when the *******ing car sat nav starts speaking and telling me where to go! I feel I should do the same.


If next week the road is still closed, you do know I am going to get lost again and come back a different way yet, don’t you?!!


I never thought I would say this…I bought a pair of cheap shoes, they are not even leather!! Never, never in my life I have even considered buying shoes which are not good quality and I’d rather think this is not the start of a new trend. But, there, I did come home with these:

Not bad, are they?! In fact, I think they look reasonably expensive. In order to make them look even more so, I have changed the laces and substitute them with some flat fabric classic ones:

The other thing I am going to do is to get new rubber heels on them, they otherwise make that gastly “cheap shoe heels sound”, which will give my game away! This, together with good quality clothes, will disguise the shoes true origins!