Posted by: jeanne | March 17, 2015

our days with renee, part one

renee has been with us since tuesday, and tonight is the first chance i’ve had to write about it.  and as i edit it, i realize it’s far too long, so i’m going to split it into parts.  bear with me.

i like to get to the airport at least half an hour before the plane’s due, just in case.  it’s routine now:  hop on the 6 to get to piazzale roma fast, then take the 5 or the aeroporto express to the airport.  with my transit pass it’s all the same to me.  the whole trip from sant’elena takes an hour and a half.  then i get a cup of coffee and stand around waiting, playing mahjong or sudoku on my phone and watching all the strange people coming by.  like two people with surfboards, probably coming home after their vacation; there’s certainly no surf here.

an entire sports team from egypt got off the plane while i was waiting.  i certainly hope their gig is on the mainland, because i can’t see them getting around venice easily in their wheelchairs.


this interesting lady also got off, with her family.  her hair, if you’ll notice, is white with black fringe, both her bangs and the ends of her hair.  it was most striking, so i followed her and got a photo.  i’m hoping she didn’t mind or notice me.  i felt like a stalker, but i often do as a photographer.


i picked her up at the airport; she was toting the least amount of baggage of all our guests so far, so it was no trouble to get off the vaporetto at rialto to buy something for dinner on the way home.

IMG_7059 look at all the traffic

actually, i had to return to the vodafone store to get my phone fixed; the day before when i went in to renew the monthly contract their system was down, and they couldn’t tell me if i purchased the right bits and pieces, and so i couldn’t get the internet on tuesday when i needed it to possibly contact renee on landing.  but it turns out she doesn’t have a cellphone at all, and so it would have been a nonstarter anyway.

renee has never been in venice before, and this is also unique among our guests.

IMG_7044 never noticed before – the guy has a baby growing out the side of his head, as well as a security camera

so i got to relive our initial excitement when we arrived two months ago.  she was all smiles, all the way down the grand canal, and kept gushing at how spectacular, how magic, everything is – which is true.  it’s just that i’ve gotten used to it by now.  i no longer take a thousand photos of each side of the canal because i’ve already gotten them into my computer and safely stored on a second hard drive.  i no longer smile at everything, because i tend to frown at stupid tourists and take notes for my upcoming unpublished transgressive novel.  but renee lights up like a kid seeing her birthday cake, and i have to smile at that.

IMG_7036 the lion is licking his chops

so it was no bother at all dragging her off to the phone store on campo san bartolomeo, because she gawped at the trinkets in the windows and smiled at the tourists stopped dead in the street blocking traffic while they took selfies.  we’d gotten in just as it was closing for lunch – yay.

IMG_7061 the tide when low catches trash in the seaweed

and then we were off over the bridge.  and stopped at the top to have a rest and a look, i carrying her suitcase because it was so light.  we got to rialto fish market just as they were packing up for the day, and got a kilo of large, fat shrimp from the only vendor still displaying their wares.  and then we got some blood oranges, and a lemon, and then we stopped at drogheria mascari to get some more peanut butter, because jim is out.  and then we got back on the vaporetto and i sat her down at the window and left her to appreciate the sights while i stood outside in the breeze.  it was the very first time i was comfortable standing there with my coat open.  spring is so totally here now.

tho insisting she wasn’t tired, she’d actually not gotten a wink of sleep the night before, because she’d been to a wedding, and so it was great to find she got a nap after we got home.  i had a nap myself, of course, and forced connor to sleep as well, and when we got up it turns out that she’d been asleep as well.

IMG_7070 an expert with the scooter now

IMG_7076 an expert on the climbing wall now

and then we went off to connor’s play date with out new friends and future landlords, who were also watching the child of an american yoga teacher living here in venice.  we talked to her for a bit, and she invited us around to her yoga class, and since renee started out life as a yoga teacher, and i took yoga from her for years while i lived in dublin, we both decided to go.  so we went to the shops on via garibaldi for milk, adn then to the vegetable shop for lettuce and carrots, and then to the cheese shop for marinated artichokes and tiny olives.  and then we toddled off to the greenhouse in viale garibaldi for an hour and a half of yoga.  we were the old ladies in the class; there were two guys, and two girls, and they were all in their 20s.  we groaned thru the whole thing, but managed, even tho we’re old.  and it was fun (but boy are my arms tired).  and then we came home and got dinner – sauteed shrimp with rice and a salad.  and went to bed.  renee had brought connor a book about thomas the tank engine, and she read it to him, and then told him another story, and then sang him a bunch of nursery rhymes, and generally indulged the hell out of him.  i knew they’d like each other.

stay tuned for day two


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