Hello Professor,

I seem to have lost the energy to google Italian words so this will have to be in my (adopted) mother tongue.

I trust you survived presenting a paper to tens of people and that you will be able to explain, upon your return, (in one word or less) what actantial even means. Bad wallpaper and boring lectures (not yours, of course!) aside, I presume, at the very least, you managed to overindulge in gelato and perhaps watch futbol with overzealous long-haired European types.

We have done neither of those things, believe it or not.

Though we did not set foot on a plane or open up our passports even once this week, we managed to fill our time with more pedestrian pursuits.

There were three soccer games played by your three boy-children (one of which I had to coach given your absence) and two soccer practices (three if you’re counting the mother-son(s) barefoot session in the backyard. Which I lost 2-1, against Percy and the Hen, albeit with a bleeding foot.

Which led to the realization: I am officially too old to play soccer without shoes. (Also, our  middle son can’t play soccer without sticking out his tongue.)


There was that ceremony I previously mentioned. The long and the short of it is: the Gort got a certificate with his name on it. It’s on my desk if you want to take a look. I just saved you 45 minutes and having to listen to speeches in Spanish. You’re welcome.


In other exciting news, it only took me 5 days, but I managed to fold all the laundry and get all the dishes done. And put away my carry-on from almost-two-weeks-ago.

But that’s not all, no, I’ve saved the best for last.

You see, yesterday when I was out with the boys, I noticed the van’s tires were a wee bit flat(ter) than usual. And by a ‘wee bit’ I mean they were on their way to becoming puddle tires. You know, the kind of tires worn by vehicles that sit parked in the same spot on the street for months on end because they’ve given up the will to drive.

I had a choice: do nothing and cross my fingers that the unfashionable minivan gets us to and from the airport without incident, or do something, the details of which escaped me. The thing of it is, I’ve been driving a car for 23 years now, and I’ve never put air in tires. I don’t know who’s been filling the tires of the cars I’ve been driving, but it hasn’t been me.

So I decided to carpe the diem and I did the second thing people do when they don’t know what to do (the first thing being youtube it): I texted someone and asked them what to do. Tire gauge….yada yada yada…between 30 and 40 somethingorother.

Within minutes I found myself at the Coop Gas Bar parked in front of the air pump thingy, a borrowed tire gauge in my hand. I unraveled the brown hose and pulled it towards the back, sad tire, trying my best to look like I knew what I was doing.

I checked the tire pressure using the fancy tire gauge. It was at 10 somethingorother. As was the other back tire. I inflated them back into normal range and then, since I was feeling proud of myself for carpeing the diem, I checked the front tires, just for kicks.

They were in the 50 and over range. Which seemed kind of….excessive. But of course I hadn’t a clue what to do with a tire that had too much air in it. As luck would have it, a young man and woman had pulled up beside me for the same purpose. ‘What do I do when my tire has too much air,’ I asked. The young guy – who’d accompanied his sister to show her how to put air in her tires – showed me how to use the back of the gauge to expel air.


But, lest you think you can just stay on in excessively hot Milan to see The Last Supper, watch footie and drink espresso, let me assure you you are still needed chez nous. I can’t get Google Chrome to work and I really don’t like using Firefox.

Hurry home!



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