Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 17

The morning after the party, daylight streamed into the room a little bit too early given the amount of cheer that everyone had consumed the night before. I opened one eye, squinted, closed it again, then opened both eyes and blinked a few times. I could see small particles of dust dancing in the light streams as they poured through the open, screenless windows bordered in thick-cut stone....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 16

It was our first night back at my cousin Cyril’s in Florence, and he and Nicoletta had gathered all the neighborhood characters at the house to celebrate our arrival. There was Nino and about five of this thirteen wolfhounds; Salvatore, who kept his herd of sheep on the property, and an elderly Romanian gypsy woman, Cignetta, whom everyone called Ziggy....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 15

During the year following Joey’s stent placement surgery, we scraped and saved every penny we could. Joey worked part time at a sign shop and I had a full-time job to make sure we had adequate health insurance, for obvious reasons. Although I had come to accept the fact that I was definitely the pragmatic one in the relationship, it sometimes felt as if I was the one who always had the job that offered medical benefits - benefits that Joey needed much more than I did at the time....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 14

Joey had the surgery to insert a stent into his obstructed heart valve, and in two days was discharged from the hospital in Hilton Head. The operation had gone smoothly, and the doctors said that he was well enough to travel back to New York whenever we wanted to go. That was it. There was nothing more they could do for him....more

Thank you so much for your kind words, Barb.

You are so right about the importance of the ...more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 13

“Valvular stenosis with secondary cardiomyopathy,” the doctor said, reading from the radiologist’s report on Joey’s recent echocardiogram. Joey and I were in Hilton Head, South Carolina, having been back in the States for less than two weeks. For the past month or so while we were in Italy, Joey had started to feel tired and even faint, and had felt an occasional twinge in his chest. He had had previous episodes like this in the past, and had been hospitalized once or twice, but a diagnosis had never been made. In fact, in general his test results had been in the normal range....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 12

Joey spent the next few days in the hospital, undergoing tests and enduring the humiliation that patients endure in that setting. I had brought him a sketch pad and some colored pencils and charcoals so that if his muse happened to speak to him, he would at least have something to respond with. Since leaving Italy neither of us had been very focused on creating any major works, understandably....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 11

There is no way to fully describe the month that Joey and I spent in Hilton Head at the home of my stepfather Maurice and my recently-deceased mother, Marnie. Suffice it to say that I was emotionally devastated by the news of my mother’s death, and at the same time, concerned that Joey was on the brink of another cardiac episode, based on his weight loss and fatigue. The police had botched the investigation of my mother’s murder in its initial stages, so the chances of bringing her killer to justice were fading fast....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 10

After hanging up with Zola, Joey phoned Derba and Big Joe to tell them what had happened, and to let them know that we were on our way to South Carolina. From Joey’s side of the conversation I could tell that they were asking questions about stopovers and where we were planning to change planes. When Joey said that we were transferring in New York City, one of them must have said that they would meet us there and stay during our layover. At the airport in Florence, Joey and I boarded the plane and found our seats in the rear of the aircraft....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 9

The two-mile drive to Nino’s down the long dirt path seemed to take forever. I was doing every mind trick I could think of to keep myself calm, but it was difficult not to imagine all the horrible reasons why my sister would be phoning me in the middle of nowhere. Nicoletta drove purposefully as the tiny car jerked over stones and dirt. I bounced up and down in my seat as I turned around to look at Joey, whose eyes were closed, his head tilted back and resting on the ledge behind his seat....more

Life at the HOUSE of JOES - or - When it Comes to In-laws, Sometimes Divorce is the Only Way Out - 8

The next few months at Cousin Cyril’s were spent in sunshine, food, wine, oil paints, boisterous children, and, most importantly, figuring out where to dig the next hole under the cypress tree, which served as a sort of outhouse area, as the farmhouse did not have any indoor plumbing. Joey and I were, for the most part, undaunted. When we first arrived, Cyril had said that toilet, sink and tub installation were in the offing, however this task, like many projects under my cousin’s purview, was subject to ongoing delays and postponements....more

I'm new to Blogher, and came across your story as I was surfing around. Compared to some of the ...more