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  • This Old House
    Page 2 of 2

    by Flora Mitidiero Raehl

    As luck would have it, my father's godson Pepine is known in town as "il morator." I was more than a little confused and concerned because I thought this meant he was a mortician. But in the Alessandrini dialect this translates to a bricklayer. Does it make sense that a bricklayer is going to put in a bathroom? I guess so because everyone kept telling me how lucky we are to have such an expert and it turns out he's actually an expert jack of all trades as well. So we enlist his help in getting a proper bathroom and hot water installed. I have to admit my father's reaction to all these changes was less than enthusiastic because he wasn't thrilled about how different the house would look, but if I was going back to Alessandria, change was necessary! So off I go with Pepine to the plumbing store to pick out all the necessities for a modern bathroom, which in my imagination simply involved a decent sized sink, a shower stall, and a flushing toilet, including a toilet seat because it appears no one else in this region uses a toilet seat. Like I said before, I'm no high maintenance American girl, just the bare necessities would be fine with me.

    I've met Pepine before so it wasn't so uncomfortable going shopping with him, plus his car is air conditioned, and in this blazing heat we could have driven to the end of the Earth as long as he kept that air on. During our car ride a most interesting conversation took place — all I can say is it's a good thing I have an olive complexion and don't blush easily. We're talking about what color tiles I'd like to have and did I want a tub or just a shower, and then he says, "…we just have to leave enough room for the toilet and the bidet." I politely explain to him that a bidet is not on my list of necessities and he looks at me like I have two heads and asks WHY I don't think it's necessary. I try to explain to him that we don't use them in America. And what does he say to me? "Well, we're not building a bathroom in America, we're doing it in Italy, so I don't care if you just wash your feet in it, we have to put one in." Discussion over! That was last August and from my weekly phone calls, this renovation is well under way and according to Il morator everything is starting to look molto bella. Hopefully I can trust the 55 year old Italian male to accomplish the task of putting in a more modern bathroom for me, I'll just be happy if the toilet flushes and I get hot water. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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    Article Published 6/8/2011

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