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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

House Renovation


A Do-It-Yourself Painting Project

Today I am painting the back steps. Oh yes, I am. Oh no, I’m not loony. Oh no, there’s not anyone else to do it. Husband? Children? All TOO BUSY. Very important people. No time for the mundane things in life, of which there are plenty. Workmen, you say? I’m all for it. But every…


Organizationally Challenged

Eh-hem, um, yes, that would be me.  Never used to be.  Long before my life multiplied in a million directions, I used to “take care of business”, you know, everything in its place, and a place for everything. Not so much, anymore.  I hurtle from place to place, finding it easier to simply never unpack,…


House Renovation Mystery

Here’s a who-dunnit for you, except that ain’t nobody “done it”, and that’s part of the problem.  We need our houses renovated after several years of kids, dogs, termites, and general rot.  The question is:  who, what, when, where, why, and how? 1.  Who?  How to find a contractor, or even better, a handyman, who…


The Romance of Residing Abroad

A vacation, or business trip to another country can conjure up visions of residing there for good—the scenery, the food, the quaintness.  Whether a Swiss chalet, or a stone village home, or an island cottage, the allure is great for a picturesque getaway. Until you move there.  Ask me, I know all about it. I…



Our houses need renovations.  This is a function of getting old (the houses, the houses).  One is more of an historic home in the city, the other (“the dacha”) is newer. I’m coming to the conclusion that they’re both old.  And maybe they think the same of me.  So there. Where do I start?  We…


Good Fences, Good Neighbors

The Robert Frost quote, “Good fences make good neighbors” resonates with those who live in any proximity to others.  Not that physical fences always help. At one property, we have a fairly stable and tall wooden fence, matched by similar ones erected by neighbors on their property lines only a centimeter away.  At our other…


My Latest Luxe Need

So many women have luxury items that they claim they “must have”:  be it a certain high-end brand of face cream, or weekly manicures, or bumping around town in the Bentley.  Not me.  My needs are modest, yet I have located one luxury item that would help make my life easier in so many ways….


Dust Mite Mania

We are launching a full-scale attack against dust mites in our homes.  A tricky proposition, since the little buggers cannot be seen with the human eye.  Hard to verify whether they’re in your house or not. We imagine we may be infested because:  a) one of our dogs has bad allergies; and b) we are…

What’s in the Attic?

The first time this house was infested, there was a horrific smell. Awful. As though someone or something had died. “What IS that?” I pressed Benedetto. “Most likely a dead animal outside, nearby….” “Outside? I don’t think so.” We were preparing to bring home our first son from Russia. He was already school-aged, although he…

A Mouse in the House

Like Charlie Brown’s football being whisked out from under him at the last possible moment before the punt, there are few things that conjure up thoughts of “What’s the use?” as much as home renovations. We all know that any good rehab will inevitably be double the time and double the cost, since contractors subsist…

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