[Note: the videos referenced here are now in an album of photos and videos.]
We got back from Italy last night, and although we had some misadventures all along the way, for the most part we had a wonderful trip and couldn't wish for a better start to our marriage! We'll spend the next few days digging ourselves out of the backlog of work and mail and such and should start posting photos and stories from the trip sometime next week.
On Tuesday, June 9, we needed to get wi-fi to plan our day, but doing so at the Ostello was a big production involving photocopying our passports. Checking out also involved an inspection of the room, which we had to clean ourselves. Then we went down the road and got breakfast before hitting the highway back to Florence. We arrived in town by 11:30 and found a parking garage for 21€ for 9 hours.
On Sunday, June 7, we had breakfast at the hotel buffet and headed for the Venice airport, but we got the directions wrong and spent an extra hour on the bus due to starting in the wrong direction. Fortunately we were not catching a flight, but just renting a car! When we arrived at the airport, we followed the wrong signs to the rental parking lot but eventually found it. We had reserved a car with an automatic transmission so that both of us could drive, but the Hertz agency didn't have any, so we got a tiny Peugot convertible with a manual transmission that only I could drive.
We have had a wonderful two days in Rome. Friday we were surprised to find Patti [the luggage clerk at O'Hare] had booked us in business class seats! So we had a late but very pampered flight to Rome. Saturday we arrived in Rome around 10am. We got through customs quickly as they merely glanced at our passports and stamped them. We went to baggage claim only to wait 45 minutes and then find out our luggage had not made it. We filed a claim, they said our luggage would show up Saturday or Sunday, and went on our way to the city.
Public relations is such a fragile thing. A company can spend millions polishing and maintaining its reputation, only to let you down when it matters most. Another company can treat you like crap repeatedly, consistently cutting corners in a heartless bureaucracy, and then in one beautiful, human moment make you want to sing their name from the rooftops. In this particular moment it may still be premature to say which company is which.
If you were relying on this site to keep you up to date on our lives, you'd think nothing had happened in the past few weeks. On the contrary - we spent a wonderful week in New York at the YAI conference and in New Jersey visiting Uncle Dave and Aunt Elizabeth; we spent a week in Manley, NE preparing for the wedding, and we got married! We just haven't had time to blog about any of it. So stay tuned.
Back in September, I wrote about our frustration in trying to follow Consumer Reports' guidance in buying appliances, including a dehumidifier. Then in November I reported on the energy consumption of our appliances, including the dehumidifier, which was the number one energy hog in the house, costing us an estimated $593.09 per year to maintain the relative humidity at 50% (dry enough to keep mold from growing).
We didn't notice when we bought the house that the entire back yard slopes toward the house. Nor that several of the neighbors' yards are higher than ours. The result is that during a heavy rainstorm, like the one last night, the neighborhood's water wants to get into our foundation.