Arranging for the Internet Kevin at His Best

As I’ve written about a number of times before, having a good internet connection is really important. Since there aren’t cables that can run to our house, we need to use the solution most houses in the country use: over-the-air internet. It’s not satellite-delivered, but delivered from a tower with a line-of-sight to the antenna on the roof.

cloud icon

Kevin has been trying to get this set up for us with the provider, Fidoka, and had hit some snags in getting them to send a technician to the house to be sure we can get access and to prepare for the installation. Fidoka didn’t seem to want to work with Kevin, only the property-owners.

So off we went to the local office. I realized along the way that I didn’t have a copy of the document that shows we own the property in Evernote on my iPad, so I was afraid our visit would be for naught.

Kevin patiently explained the situation to a woman in the office: could they just send a technician to the house to make these tests? No, unless we already had a contract set up.

But what if you can’t supply them with the service? (Which would really be a problem.) No, that’s not a problem, I’m sure we can serve that address.

Kevin then asks how much an hour of a technician’s time costs. Surprisingly, it’s only €48. So what if we pay for an hour of time, and then later, in December or January, when the house is done, they can sign a contract? No, they need to sign and pay for a year in advance. (That’s like €50 a month. so €600.)

But they won’t be using it until at least December. The house isn’t done yet.

Finally, Kevin, who has been very calm throughout, gets her to agree to send the technician out for the hourly fee — which, by the way, will be refunded when we sign the contract.

In the end, all I need to supply is my Italian tax ID, my codice fiscale, and we seem to be all set.

We’ll see how this all sorts out.

Image: Pixabay CC0 |

Cleaning Up and Coming Home Using a Bidet

After our exploratory visit and lunch at IKEA, we headed for our hotel in Ancona. It was on the coast north of the town center, toward the airport. Called the EGO Hotel, it was quite stylish and modern. Being that it’s primarily a business hotel and being a Saturday, we among the few guests so were given a very nice room on the sea side of the hotel. It had a very fancy bathroom with a huge whirlpool tub with a rain shower head above and, of course, a bidet.


Having discussed bidets a number of times during the trip and having no personal experience with their use, we Googled “how to use a bidet.” Hilarity ensued.

Anne found a very entertaining video built from interviews of people after their first bidet use. It was well edited and quite funny. We learned a lot from it and other amusing internet sources.

Up at 4:00 the next morning, we headed to the airport. Munich first. Then Frankfurt, where I was selected for a security check at the gate. Shoes off, a few questions from a stern official about my luggage, I was cleared. Nine hours later we were at O’Hare and then home.

It had been a productive but exhausting trip.

Bidet: Pixabay CC0 sferrario1968 |

Starting to Scout for Furniture and Furnishings Everything but a Junkyard Dog

Now we turn our attention to how we might furnish the house. We had asked Kevin for some ideas of places to go, both to find some older pieces and some new things.

He suggested a couple of options: Maison du Monde for new things and Smile for some older things we might salvage and reuse.

I had visited Maison du Monde on my last trip. I remembered it as a store like HomeGoods in the US. As we visited, I realized I had overrated it. It was more like a World Market, where the quality wasn’t very high. We crossed this off our list.

Next, on to Smile, thinking that maybe we can find that old piece of furniture to use as a ground floor bathroom vanity. On the way, we looked for local antique or used furniture stores online. We didn’t discover any. but we did learn from some articles and forum questions and answers that used furniture may be hard to find in Italy. It seems that most Italians just keep furniture in the family until they decide it’s best used as firewood. This is likely to change with millennials, who seem to want only new things.

An Update

After we returned home and did more searching, we did locate a few antique furniture markets held in towns. There’s one in Ascoli Piceno the last weekend of some months and a few other scattered about.

inside a junk shop
Inside Smile
Click image to enlarge

Turning off the main road, surrounded by industrial buildings, we arrive at Smile, which is a junkyard. Crap everywhere inside and out. We took a quick look-see, just in case an interesting old item might be hiding among the old vases, magazines, and pictures. We saw nothing right away and it was too exhausting to even think of digging around. It was closing time, anyway, so it was time to go.

Down 0-2, we figured we should at least get a feel for IKEA. So the next morning we drove toward Ancona and the region’s IKEA for a Saturday morning visit.

I hadn’t been in an IKEA in many years, but it’s still pretty much the same. The setup leads you through the whole store. We did see some items that might work as furniture. Plus, it’s certainly the place to go for housewares.

Toward the end of our journey, we stopped in the cafeteria for Swedish meatballs. It was good to have a little change from Italian food. A few hundred meters more of snaking through kitchen items, we emerged to set off for Ancona and our hotel.

All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

We Go Solo Visiting Our House to Explore and Take Pictures

After I had finished my little banking chore, we went to have a coffee, just like any good Italian would. It was about 11am and Anne wanted cappuccino but wondered if it was already too late. (In Italy, it’s really just a beverage for breakfast.) I told her to go ahead. It was ok, since there was no doubt that we weren’t originally from these parts.

Our property is about 25 minutes from where we were in San Ginesio. (Every time Anne asked me how far anything was, it always seems to be 25 minutes.) Away we went, through Colmurano and then off onto the road nearest our house. Just as I was going to make the turn off the paved road, I noticed that I was very low on gas. I certainly had enough for the distance we had to go, but I wondered if I might have a problem getting back up the hill, if all the gas was “downhill” where the gas pump couldn’t get to. So we turned around and went down into the valley to find a gas station.

Now, up the hill and down the other side to the house. Last time we were here, I hesitated at the top of the steep driveway. This time, I did more than hesitate. I didn’t hear or see any work going on, so I thought we might be there alone: bad time to get stuck at the bottom of the hill. I parked and we walked down.

Panorama of the Site
Casa Avventura From Above
Click image to enlarge
Panorama Behind the House
Panorama From Behind the House
Click image to enlarge

As it turned out, the workmen were there. They were having lunch.

On our last visit, we hadn’t taken the time to take many photos, particularly of the ground floor. So we walked around and took shots of nearly everything on that level. (We decided not to climb the ladder to the top floor, thinking the workers might not want us up there.)

After exhausting the camera angles, we walked back up the hill and set off for lunch.

All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Solving My Online Banking Problem Learning about One-Time Pin

Having finished three days of decision-making and planning, I had a loose end or two to tie up.

First, we had a short meeting with Giovanna to resolve a couple of building contract questions. While we were there, I had her call Banca Marche in San Ginesio to see if there was someone there would could help me with a little issue.

During my October trip, I opened a checking account to hold some euros and to have automatic payments made to the water and electric companies. As part of that, I was set up for online banking and given a password to log in.

Unfortunately, I waited too long to make my first login. It was after a couple of months when I just wanted to check my balance. The password didn’t work.

I wrote to the bank to get a new password, but I was told I had to do it in person. So my bank visit today was to take care of this little issue.

I was expecting that getting this done would be a long process, but I was wrong. There were no customers waiting and I just had to show my passport and sign a form and I was set.

This time, I was going to log in right away. Now, when I tried, it took the password and I was in. Now to check my balance.

Bana Marche OTP
One-Time Pin Device
Click image to enlarge

I was asked for another code. Hmm. Then I remembered this little device I’d been given in October and which I had luckily brought with me. It’s a small one-time pin generator and I learned that every time I logged in I needed to generate a new pin and enter it. This is certainly secure, but having to use this device was a pain.

An Update

After I returned home, I discovered that there is an iPhone app from Banca Marche that replaces this little device. Now, this whole process seems practical.

OTP device: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure