Monday, June 01, 2009

Looking for trouble

With the amount of planning I am doing for this Rome trip, I feel like I am embarking on a military campaign, not a vacation. The combined forces of my anxiety and inherited Teutonic nature have made me plan for every contingency. I am the mastermind of this whole trip and it is a big job.

So far I have:
  • Obtained passports for the six of us, which included getting a new copy of Mad Scientist's birth certificate,, which had been ruined by sunscreen.
  • Rented an apartment in Trastevere, a neighborhood in Rome.
  • Bought six plane tickets.
  • Rented an Italian cell phone, since ours won't work in Italy. Actually, I rented two phones so we can split up and still stay in touch.
  • Purchased insurance. How it sets my mind at ease to know that the cost of shipping our dead remains back to the US is covered!
  • Dropped my car off today for an oil change and trip check so it won't break down on the drive to the airport in the distant city.
  • With Jon, partially dismantled the refrigerator in order to fix the leak. Alas, it is still leaking.
  • Arranged for a car to pick us up in Rome and take us to our apartment.
  • Bought a new camera, since our old one is shite.
  • Bought assorted neck wallets and money belts, all of which are going to be extremely inconvenient, I can tell.
  • Bought outlet adaptors and a current converter so we can use our hair dryer and charge our laptop in Rome. (I'm unsure about whether the fun of having internet access in Rome will be worth the inconvenience of dragging an extra 5 pounds of baggage everywhere.)
  • Purchased Euros in advance so we'll have some cash ready when we get there.
  • Made extra house keys for our neighbors and our house sitters.
  • Took Mad Scientist for a haircut and made an appointment for my own hair as well.
  • Bought luggage since prior to this, most of our traveling involved driving to Buffalo to see family. When the kids were little, we actually used to just stuff our clothes into big trash bags. Now the kids cram their clothes into their school backpacks, which I have decided are too ratty to be seen with in Rome.
  • After MUCH hassle got official letter from our credit card company explaining that the card we used to buy our plane tickets had been compromised and had to be replaced with a new card. We wouldn't have been allowed to check in at the airport without it.
  • Spent an enjoyable half hour deciding which books to take with me.
  • Checked Classic Italian Cooking out of the library and have been reading about Italian eating customs and experimenting with recipes.
  • Purchased an Italian language program, but haven't spent as much time as I'd like learning Italian. I know some basic phrases. Our Italian neighbor taught Jon to say in Italian, "Which dick do you want?" which is not so useful and Jon says it so much I'm worried he'll blurt it out at an inconvenient moment in Rome. (Like there's ever a convenient moment to ask an Italian which dick he wants.)
  • Tomorrow, will buy advance tickets to the Vatican museums, so we don't have to stand in line for three hours.
I still need to copy our passports, credit cards and ATM card, and notify our bank and credit card company of our travel plans. To be honest, I am nearly prostrate with anxiety about this trip. I feel like I'm awaiting surgery or childbirth and not the dream vacation of a lifetime. I am a worrying sort of person and there is no end of things to worry about.

What if, even with our official letter from citibank, they won't let us on the plane? What if we look like asses going through airport security? What if our plane crashes and we burn to death? What if our Italian cell phone doesn't work? What if, when we call the landlady the morning of our arrival, she answers in Italian and doesn't speak English? I chose the car service recommended by the apartment rental agency. What if it's all an elaborate kidnapping scheme? What if we're robbed? What if I can't get my ATM card to work? What if the apartment is a dump? What if we get run over by a car? How much do I tip the cleaning lady? What if I can't figure out how to buy food at the market? What if everybody cheats me? What if the washing machine doesn't work? What if the kids spend the entire time fighting and complaining about how much Rome sucks? What if we can't get back to the airport on time to catch our return flight?

Jon and I were discussing the trip and he confessed that his worst fear is that our luggage will go missing. That's pretty funny because lost luggage is the ONE thing I'm not worried about at all. Most of our stuff will fit in our carry-on anyway and we may be able to get away with checking just one bag--two at the most.

You all probably think I'm crazy. I hope I don't sound ungrateful. I am grateful, truly, and I fully realize that it's far better to make yourself do something so life-enriching, even if you're scared of it. How much worse it would be to get to the end of my life and regret never having really traveled because of silly fears?


  1. I understand how you feel. I could tell you to take a deep breath and relax, but I know you probably won't relax until you've been there a day or two. :-)

  2. It's important to voice the ridiculous fears, so that they don't come true. If you don't worry about it, then it will surely come to pass. Laws of the universe! So go ahead and add that lost luggage to your list.

    You're going to have a fabulous time. The vacation of a lifetime! Hopefully it won't be perfect. Where's the blogging fun in that? (Blogging almost sounds like a curse word in that sentence. I'm tempted to start using it as such.)

  3. HAVE FUN!!! You'll deserve a vacation after preparing for it!

  4. I'm glad you're not worried about luggage. There always must be something not to worry about.

    I, on the other hand, always worry about the luggage. It keeps me from worrying about other things.

  5. You're going to have a fabulous time in Rome! We rented an cool place in France. The washer broke, the fridge didn't keep the food as cold as we were used to (cool science experiments though) and we never figured out how to work the fireplace and probably suffered lung damage. BUT... best family vacation EVER! I find it best to plan for the worst (seriously imagine all those things happening) and you're bound to be pleasantly surprised! Enjoy!