Lord help me survive…it’s a family affair!


I’m back in my tiny apartment sipping lemon and hot water…I’ll give you three guesses as to why. Yep, I have a cold coming on. Serves me right for being so free with those Italian kisses with my new landlord. Sheesh!

But actually, I don’t really blame my landlord as much as I do Mama. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on how to deal with her she turns things up a notch and my stress levels soar. My head has been spinning ever since I got the keys to the new apartment and everything has gotten totally out of control.

It all started simply enough with needing to buy a new wardrobe. The apartment is furnished however the wardrobe is only big enough for all my crap and not my husband’s. Mama kindly offered to buy us a second one and that’s when I should have seen the warning signs of what was to come…

Mama wants to refurbish the entire apartment including changing kitchen and bathroom fixtures! Did I mention that this is a rental? She has also of course offered to pay for it all too. As generous as that is, it is besides the point really. Why did I rent a furnished apartment if I was just going to toss it all out and buy new stuff? Apparently, this is something many Italians do.

I am flabbergasted at the notion of spending all that money for nothing. To me it is like tossing dollar bills in the wind. Am I the only one who can see how absurd this is?

So, as I was trying to make some plans, every waking hour with Mama involved lengthy conversations about all of this. I wake up, put the kettle on and Mama pushes a catalogue in my face. Look at this and pick out what you like. I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth and Mama is behind me telling me that I need to order a mattress from some infomercial place in Milan and tells me they should come Monday morning to measure the bed.

What??? I tell her I haven’t got time Monday and then she presses me for a date and time. I’m still in my pyjamas! I try to keep my cool and say lets talk about this later. (FYI-she made the appt. without me). We go to some warehouse an hour out-of-town, I spend the next few hours looking at furniture. I sit on a demo couch and Mama says “oh no, don’t test these couches, we will buy a couch from another place”.

I spend another hour talking to some girl about the kitchen…Mama wanders off to have a cigarette and nap on a sofa…her shoes are off (and in my giant purse) because she’s tired. I get the plans and cost and nearly fall over. Mama reemerged from her snooze and says “did you see that nice bed in the window? Do you like it?” Bed??? Listen lady, I’m going to be late for work if we don’t leave this store NOW!

It’s 10:00 p.m. last night and I get a call from my sister-in-law. She asks me if it’s okay to start taking apart the old wardrobe, I say no because I may want to keep it still…silence on the other end…”oh, are you sure?” Me: “No, I’m not sure that’s why I want to think about it…wait, let me guess, you’ve already started to take it apart haven’t you…”

Is your head spinning as much as mine now? Good, because I’m told that misery loves company.

FYI: I gave a copy of the keys to Mama ONLY because she was accompanying a cleaning lady to clean the apartment while I pack.

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About lmarmstrong66

I'm a blogger, painter, writer, singer. For the love of all things in nature and creativity.
This entry was posted in Italian Culture, Mama and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lord help me survive…it’s a family affair!

  1. Sheila Darcy says:

    Hi Leah, There are 2 ways I look at this. One is – how sweet she wants to do anything she can to help you both and give you things to make you comfy…. all good intentions. Then, I remember the horror stories my Mother has told me about living with her in-laws. Her Mother-in-law made her life a misery from endless interference, which DID get totally out of hand. I guess you’re the only one who can decide which way this is going for you. Either way, I do wish you luck and happiness. Please do tell me if you still sing at all – your voice was super. Much love from England to Italy! x

    • Hi Sheila!
      Are you living in England now? I have not been singing…there’s no good excuse except that I am lazy. But I still sing at home in the bath : )

      As for Mama, I suppose when you are older you have very little to get excited about. My life has become her “project” of sorts and I know that her heart is in the right place. I just have to be patient and grateful I suppose, although at times it’s difficult. Europeans are so different from North Americans in this respect and it’s hard to ignore my own cultural thumbprint. All I ask is that she respects that I was raised differently and to be a bit more patient with me too.

  2. Shelley says:

    I remember as a young girl growing up in Thorold, Ontario, also known as little Italy, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was Italian!!!!!!!! They had great salami, Riganelli’s crusty buns and got to drink brio with their meals!!!! The little girls wore crowns and had long dresses for their Holy Communion and received millions of dollars as gifts!!!!! Then I grew up, married and Italian and inherited a wonderful mother-in-law but got the “Aunt”!!! I never heard of the “maliochi”or evil eye until I was accused of giving it to her!!!!!!!! Lord help me if she could read the bubble over my head!!!!! Just grin and bear it, bang your head on the wall periodically to maintain your sanity and remember they do it all for the man you love!!!! Do not think for one moment it is for you!!!!LOL

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