problems

a case of the mondays

Someone didn’t think the kitchen upgrade at work through. We have nice new, wood cabinets and a made to look like granite laminate counter; but the coffee machine doesn’t fit. The cabinets are either mounted too low, or are longer than the old ones, so the big coffee machine doesn’t fit underneath. Oops. Coffee is perhaps the most important part of the kitchen. Of the office. A busted ‘fridge people could deal with, but no coffee (on a Monday!) is just cruel. I go out for my coffee. If I drank the office coffee, I’d be wired and shaking all day long because I would keep going back. Making myself spend money and leave the building is good.

Italy, June 2003, Day 8 Part 1

I’m splitting day 8 into two posts since there’s two separate stories to tell. What happened before we left Praiano, and then our afternoon in Rome.

It’s just about time to leave Praiano. Take one last look of those views…

While Keith and Brendan pack the car, Geoff, Gail and I go to the market for one last time to get some water and snacks for the ride to Rome. The old man at the market makes sure to say goodbye. In retrospect, he is very thurough in his check that we are really leaving town for good.

Then once I get back to the car, I realize that I forgot the lemoncello. We cannot leave without that. So I go back to the store (alone) to pick up a few bottles. “Bella,” the old man says. “You’re back!”

“Lemoncello,” I say.

“Come,” he says looking at me waving his arms, like he wants to give me a hug. No big deal I think, we was a helpful guy this week. He was nice to all of us. So I go over, bottles in hand to give him a little hug. Next thing I know I’m getting kissed on the mouth, he’s got one hand on my ass and the other on my right boob. Blech. I still get grossed out and can still feel it, in all it’s whiskery hideousness every single time I tell the story. He was such a sweet old man, and now, forever in my memory he’s a stereotypical Italian perv.

As I pushed him off of me I realize, the whole town is in the store seeing all of this happen. And then, I’ve got to wait in line to pay for the lemoncello, because I’ll be damned if this stops me from taking some home. So I stand in line for what seems like and eternity to pay old man’s wife. She gives me this mean look like I was the one who did something wrong. I just wanted to yell at her and say, “Listen, it was your husband who did that, not me!”

So when I got back to the car I said, “Don’t ever make me go back there. Ever.” Then I proceeded to tell everyone what just happened and they laughed and laughed. I just kept drinking water and occasionally getting disgusted…

Blech.

Italy, June 2003, Day 4

Since we did not meet up with Vince as planned in Pompeii, we had to come up with an alternate plan. We knew that he and Kate will be at the chapel meeting with the priest at some point in the day.

We knew what the Hall of Justice chapel looks like and the name (San Pietro) so we set off to try and find it in Positano proper. However, we can’t find it or anyone who knows where it is!

We also knew that the rehersal dinner (although no there is no official rehersal) tonight. But had no idea where that was, either — not even the name of the restaurant. What we do know is the name of the hotel where the wedding reception is going to be, so we head from Positano to the hotel. The concierge does not know how to reach Vince and Kate but he does have the wedding planner’s card. At least we have something (although still no phone that works). As we are walking out of the hotel to the car the van containing Vince, Kate and Kate’s family drives by!

So they stop and we find out that they thought we were meeting at the train station in Pompeii. They were there all day waiting for us. For eight hours they waited. They were even at both stations at either end of Pompeii.

We also learn that the chapel is on the road between Priaino and Positano and that we drive by it all the time!

It just blends in well. The chapel is the top square of the ivy covered building. (EDIT: No it’s not) From here, you can see the church in Priaino and perhaps the house we stayed in (although I’m not sure now which one it may be). You can also get a sense of how long our walk to the beach was — at least using the full version of the photo — if you look across the balcony on the backside of the chapel hotel, you can see some little buildings built into the rocks. Just below them is the beach.

We decide that Vince will come back with us after dinner at Da Enzos tonight. Actually, the restaurant is called Cucina Casareccia da Vincenzo, but we find it just fine.

Dinner is so good. There’s just tons of food; it just keeps coming. At some point there was a scramble for Lactaid for Keith but he tells that story much better than I ever could.

After dinner, we all drive in the McGinley Euro-van to our car which is parked way on the other side of town. We take Vince all the way down the miles of stairs to the apartment to drop off his stuff (or maybe some of us do and some of us stay at the top of the hill, I can’t recall). At any rate, we all end up at the Bar Del Sol where hang out for a while. Then we go back for lemoncello.

This is where things get interesting. Most of these quotes were from this night, Vince’s big night. We all drank a whole lot, and lord knows I said some pretty dumb things, but Vin really had a rough night. His wedding was the next day, but not until 6 so he was fine by then.

Most of the funny stuff happened just after this happened:

bathroom

Vince came out of the all in one bathroom soaking wet and in this heavy, fake Italian accent said:

“Uno, I fell asleep on the toilet. Due, I turned the shower on myself because I thought I [sic] was the doorknob.”

and then:
“I didn’t say ‘Doot Doot’ and think I was the doorknob!”

and then:
“…and then the shower was spuh — itting on me…”

Poor Vince.

Italy, June 2003, Day 3

Originally, the plan was to pick up Keith and Gail in Rome, give Vince one phone and then meet up with him in Pompeii. That of course, didn’t happen.

Since the car is practically the only place where there is any air conditioning, everyone in the backseat falls asleep.

Once we arrive, we take out the cell phones. Vince still hasn’t called. One phone through a freak series of button presses locked itself and became unusable. The other has no time left, there isn’t even enough money left on it to call and add more money! We decide that the way this trip is going, we’ll just run into him in the ruins. Since we just ran into Keith and Gail at the airport, and somehow found Pepino. Plus, hell, we’re in freaking Pompeii!

The old city is pretty much just in the middle of the current city of Pompeii. There’s just a big fence around it. Before we even get our tickets a guy at gate tries to be our guide. Basically tells us we’re fools for going it alone.

We took an insane amount of pictures in Pompeii, but there is so much to see here.

There were some places where you could wander around in the ruins, and some more intricate homes with paintings on the walls, and columns in the courtyards that you couldn’t walk in. Mostly it was just like any city, with tenements and wealthy sections, bars, entertainment venues. It’s just eerily quiet and still dusty. There were moments when I felt like the volcano had just erupted. But maybe that was just the heat. I did get a little sick and dehydrated because of it. There were practically no trees, just dust and stone.

We did have a few things on our itinerary to see:

The forum with Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

The ampitheater.

The gates to the city.

Petrified body.

Stadium.

There were these dogs that roamed around and a couple of them had taken up residence in the governor’s house. Gail went up to one of them, that seemed to be blind in one eye, and as she got close and reached out her hand to pet it (it was a huge St. Bernard looking dog) it barked and snapped and almost got her. (Unfortunately, no pictures of the dogs.)

Once we were finished with the city, we walked around outside of the fences looking for Vince. But nothing. What else could we do? We decided to go back home, and figure out something then.

Sorry, you’ll have to wait the recap of day 4 to find out what happened to Vince!

Disclaimer.

Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

And just so everyone is clear, what we say here is not endorsed by either of our employers.