It’s quiet now. So quiet I can hear the refrigerator running — a strange way to measure quiet, but still. Okay, so if my Mac was in the bedroom where it’s been recently, instead of on my kitchen counter, then I guess being able to hear the refrigerator would be huge.
You know. The distance and all?
Okay, so maybe not.
Everybody’s gone. The MoH and the RTR are on a hike. Do they hike? Erm…no. But we’ve sort of decided that we’d kind of like to think about possibly learning. Maybe. Notice that I’m not with them. I’m in the kitchen, of course, again indulging myself in an on-line baking gab fest with other passionate foodies. And the Gramster got in her car to go for a walk. That’s where you drive somewhere more interesting than Reach-Out-and-Touch-Your-Neighbor-Gated-McCommunity-Hood to park your car and then get out and walk.
Did you notice I missed Friday? (Insert affirmative response here.) I thought about it, and somehow the time got away from me.
You’re not dying to know why? What? Are you cranky today?
I’ve been using two guide books to assist my vacation planning. One is Rick Steves‘ Italy 2008 (lotsa advice in black and white text from someone who has a great reputation) think Nitty Gritty — and the other, a very colorful guide published by DK Eyewitness Travel: Italy (you know, lots of cool drawings, photographs, color, and less text) think Bright and Shiny here. That one would be for the menfolk. I figured I’d go light on their attention spans.
Anyway, having gotten all the lodging taken care of, I decided to tackle the recommended strategy for avoiding long lines. Now, it isn’t that I don’t particularly enjoy standing in long lines. I am an SDSU grad, after all, and back in the day before on-line registration, all we did was wait in line. Serious ones. It was the beginning of my quest to develop some semblance of patience in my time on this planet.
Where was I?
Lines…oh yes. Avoiding them. It would be the heat. I’m spoiled rotten. Completely and thoroughly. Like today. It’s a non-balmy, somewhat breezy, wannabe sunny but not quite makin’ it 69 degrees on this Sunday in Paradise. So I’m beyond worried about heat, and sweating, and well, honestly, my tongue lolling about on the pavement while I’m there. How gauche. Erm…quanto viscoso! Or something like that.
I am so not someone who can do heat unless it’s in a kitchen, and even then, it’s not pretty. And I know none of you are feeling the love over this right now since I’ve taken a gander at your temps and you’re sweltering. Most of you! Okay, so not you, paisley, but still.
So, getting reservations in Florence to see Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi are highly recommended. Now here’s your quiz. Do you just ignore the suggestion to call, or get on line because you are a firm believer that anything is possible on line? (Insert Jeopardy music here)
You are correct! I got on line. And yanno? The booking fee is more than the fee the museum charges and I am so not interested in paying anyone for their network, or whatever it is they spend on their servers. So I decide, with my tail firmly between my legs, to call. You know, punch the umpteen gazillion digit number into my phone, and then rely on redial until I get through…
Monday: after 10 or so calls, I decide to refer to the business hours, and realize they’re closed on Monday. Fine.
Tuesday: after 10 or so calls, I do notice that the phone rings in two ways — a regular “busy” signal, and another odd-sounding, and irregularly buzzing type sound which I figured was a “ring.” And no, I’m not on speaker phone because the phone’s not near my computer. Gawd forbid that I have to get off my ball, trip over the Doggo who is laying on her bed to get to the phone should someone deign to answer my call. I also learn that if you let the phone “ring” more than 40 times, a recording tells you all lines are busy.
This is key information. (Lick the end of your pencil and write that down.)
Wednesday: I told the MoH to set the alarm for 3am our time so I could call then. Really. But the idea of getting up to engage in this rapidly expanding exercise in futility, going back to sleep, then getting up again at 5:00 to beat the streets with my VBF seemed pointless. So I spent another morning analyzing Italian telephone rings and busy signals.
Thursday: After the MoH telling me that I should just suck it up and book on line (consider that this would cost almost $80 for the four of us for ONE museum), I spent the morning making more inane phone calls that no one answered, stressing the entire time that I was not accomplishing anything. Horror of all horrors.
Disclaimer: Okay, so I have to qualify “not accomplishing anything.” That would be accomplishing anything for the trip. Picture the whole forward motion thing on a football field. The ref blows the whistle, right? The rest of the stuff I should be taking care of is well, being taken care by the Gramster who needs to stay busy.
Friday: I have a renewed burst of phoning energy, really looking forward to the crick I know I’ll have in my neck and a beet colored ear before I’m done. I plan to arise at 3am and proceed downstairs to the MoH’s laptop. In the dark. Pick up the phone and “dial” the phone number I’ve dialed for what seems like the millionth time. It sounds so loud in the quiet house, and it already feels different since there’s nothing to occupy my mind while I’m listening to the beeping of the busy tone, or the odd ringing.
I decide to log on to Concierge to surf through the info they have about Italy. After about the 4th attempt calling, I notice the phone number Concierge has for the place I’ve been trying to contact. The last three digits of the number catch my eye, and in the dim light cast by the screen, I look back at Steves’ book noticing that something isn’t quite right. I see an 883 in one place, and an 833 in the other.
Oh. My. Gawd.
I try the different phone number. It rings three times, and an English speaking voice, cheerfully and heavily accented in Italian answers. In less than three minutes, I’ve booked two reservations for four people. Three. Minutes.
After how many days?
I smell a letter coming. And it’s stinky.
Dear Rick Steves…
And newsflash. The menfolk are back from their hike. In case I’ve swayed you about Paradise and palm trees, here’s another look without the Pacific. Makes you want to move East, doesn’t it?
No, it’s not smog. It’s that lovely June Gloom that we get. If you’re into pure sunshine, June would not be the time to visit.