Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doing Venetian Stuff: Part One

Technically I've accidentally skipped over a few smaller things that have happened between the bedroom makeover and today, but going to Italy seemed like the most doing stuff I done did all year. So without further delay...

Random Beginnings

You know how you'll have AOL IM up and running all day at work and occasionally you'll step away from your desk, and then return to an IM from someone that reads "OH MY GOD THIS IS HORRIBLE!" or "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED!" And right away you'll reply, "WHAT!? WHAT? OMG!" Except that the person who sent the IM sent it about 25 minutes earlier and has since wandered off, so you're left pondering what's got them so worked up. And then by the time they finally do respond, it's sort of a let down because the major news event is actually pretty minor. You know, that whole thing?

Well this trip began with something like that. In March, Devin IMed me with "Can you take a week off work in May?" When I saw the message and asked why, there was the inevitable delay. Naturally, during that time, I thought the worst. Someone was dying and we'd have to pay a visit to their bedside. We're being kicked out of our house and we'll need time to pack up and move. Why do I think such bad thoughts? Because spur of the moment Italian getaways do not typically fall in my lap.

But huzzah! The week off would be to fly to Venice and attend a friend's wedding. This wasn't the first time I'd heard of the wedding. We'd received a very elaborate invitation (more like a small book) in the mail months earlier. I'd promptly put it in the "Yeah right" pile along with a giant medical bill and a fundraising letter from my college.

And now suddenly it was being discussed as an actual possibility, thanks to a generous offer from the in laws to pretty much sponsor our trip. The whole family would be going and, well, what family trip would be complete without us?!

Immediately I decided this was happening, even as Devin attempted to fuel the conversation with questions about potential work opportunities on the horizon, expenses, dog care. To all this I could only respond: We are going. The end.

Venice, Here We Come!

In the weeks that followed, we renewed our passports, made arrangements for the pets, shopped, packed, and all that other pre-vacation stuff that makes you all the more relieved you're about to rest up for a week..

The total flight time from LA to Philly to Venice was something like 14 hours. I completely dreaded this as somewhere around hour 3 on any given plane ride I start to get claustrophobic and restless. Fortunately, however, in my old age I've gotten over my inability to fall asleep on planes and now I manage to conk out almost immediately, and proceed to sleep fitfully for the duration of the flight.

The first leg of the trip was uneventful. Then, the layover in Philadelphia, during which we met up with Devin's parents, went from being 2 hours to something like 5. Most of that time was spent sitting in the McDonald's by our gate, listening to wholly unsolicited updates on the loudspeaker about our plane. "We'll be off the ground shortly. Just had to switch out one of the windows. It was cracked and falling out." "Now we're just testing the window to make sure it holds under pressure. If that goes well, it should only be another twenty minutes before we board." "The test didn't quite work so we're trying something else, should just be another hour... or so."

By the time we finally boarded, I was much happier to enter the plane of doom than spend another minute in that McDonald's. I slept almost the whole flight.

Then, as we descended into Venice, disaster struck. No, the newly-repaired window did not come loose again.

I threw up.

I blame the turbulence and the long, long day of traveling and bad food. Also, I'm not sure what this says about me, but as I was about to blow and rummaging around in the seat pocket for the air sick bag, I paused for a moment and thought, "Wait, do people actually use these? I've never seen anyone do it." Heaven forbid I look lame while I'm publicly barfing in an enclosed space.

I like to think I was discreet. After we landed safely, I realized Devin hadn't even noticed, as he was looking out the window. "I threw up."
"The air sick bag."
"Huh. I didn't think people actually used those."

And so we arrived, groggy and nauseated, at the Marco Polo airport. Things could only get better from here!