I'm back! And I'm going to blog about my trip and attach lots of pictures, but first, I thought I would give you all some helpful tips about things not to do the week before you head off to Rome yourself.
1. Don't go into an insane landscaping frenzy the week before you're due to leave, thereby giving yourself a monster case of poison ivy requiring a prescription for steroids in order to be able to survive eight hours of sitting on a plane.
2. Don't wait until two days before departure to look in the drawer where the passports are kept and discover that your husband's passport isn't there. But if you do make that mistake, don't inform him of the problem only to learn that he has no idea where his passport is. And under no circumstances spend three hours on the phone with the emergency passport line while he rips apart the house looking for it, only to learn that there is no passport office within a 4-hour driving radius that has any appointments available for the next day. And do not wait until after you receive this information for him to finally find it.
3. At 11:30 the following night - a.k.a. the night before departure - do not receive a phone call from your son who lives 4 hours away stating that he cannot locate HIS passport. Then, at 6:30 the next morning (a.k.a. departure day) do not receive a followup phone call from him stating that he thinks he knows where his passport is: at your house, in a shopping bag on his desk. Which, in fact, is where it is. But once you find it, don't call the airline to try to cancel his shuttle flight from D.C. to Newark, because he won't be able to get on the plane in D.C. with no passport, but he will be able to take the train to Newark and meet the rest of the family, who will have his passport. Because if you call the airline to cancel the first leg of his flight, you will learn that in order to do so, you will have to rebook all of his other three flight reservations (which of course remain unchanged) at same-day-booking prices, the cost of which amounts to an additional two thousand dollars, give or take. As a result of learning this, your husband will drive to meet your son halfway between New Jersey and D.C. in order to bring him his passport - 2 hours in each direction for each of them.
Please, please promise me you won't do any of those things. You wouldn't, would you? Because none of those things remotely make sense to do, and you, my friend, are nothing if not sensible. But I thought it best to warn you anyway, just in case.
p.s. Somehow we made it there anyway! They say that God protects fools, and we are living proof.