Part III: Just about at the 2.5/3 week point!
Wow, what an exciting week it has been! I posted on my friend, Giada Valenti’s FaceBook page and told her we were coming to Venice and what could she recommend for us to do or see, but we really only had the one day and evening and we had already planned the Murano/Burano tour. She responded back to go to her favorite restaurant, “where the Venetian’s eat,” she said! Giada is a lovely lady that Chris and I met through PBS last December. She is originally from Venice and now lives between Italy and the US, I think? She is a singer and has a wonderful voice. We got to meet her and she an absolute sweetheart, talking to all the volunteers and doing selfies with us! She even answers her own FaceBook posts! We actually got to talk to her and asked her if she knew the guys – she did! She said they met up at some event last fall in the US. We said they’d be great together, but she said there were a lot of complications in order to collaborate together. However, she did tell me to say “hi to the guys” if we see them! She even said to ask for the owner of the restaurant; that he is a good friend. I’m not used to being a “name dropper” but what the heck!?
Well, the restaurant she suggested was literally on the island of Venice – across the canal actually from our hotel. Technically, we are staying in Mestre. She said the restaurant was just a 5 minute walk from the train station. So, on Saturday, I spent a good hour or so, trying to figure out where this restaurant was and if we could actually make it there? Brought it up on Google earth maps, etc. and tried to find it. From the way I looked at it, it seemed really far away. I was a bit disappointed to think we could not make it there after all.
Got to work on Monday and one of the guys in my group is Italian and speaks Italian. He came into my office and asked how things were going. I told him about Giada and this restaurant. He had never heard of her, but he helped me find the restaurant. I initially asked him if he was familiar with Venice and he said it was one of his favorite cities! Jackpot! Lol! So, he found it on the map and we realized it was just a 5-minute walk from the train station – however, it was the OTHER train station, not the one near our hotel. But he said you can take the train from one station to the next, for just a few euros or so, across the causeway. Of course – never thought there was a causeway – just like Florida! So, we’ve added that to our itinerary now! Just hope we can get a train back to our hotel. I hear they eat late over there? He also suggested to make reservations, which I probably will. Our other tour probably won’t get back until about 6:30p or so, and then we literally go back from where we started – unless we just stay on the island, which is a possibility. The restaurant opens at 6:30p, maybe reservations around 7p?
I also heard from Lorna that she got her passport already! Yea! But, where was mine? Ok, got my birth certificate back on Monday, passport must be close behind. I checked online and you can track it. Pretty cool… so, popped in my info and it said it had processed and I should get it about June 8 – Wednesday. Ok, will check on Wednesday. I was volunteering with Chris on Tuesday at PBS, went right after work and I wasn’t going to check the mail at 12 midnight! Went to work and checked the mail when I got home. No passport!? What? Where was it? I was a little concerned….to say the least. Ok, went online again. This time I actually clicked on the tracking number. I didn’t bother before because it said it wasn’t going to be there until Wednesday. To my shock and horror, it said it had been delivered – Saturday! Yes, same day as Lorna’s. But it wasn’t in my mailbox and it was Wednesday! Oh, no, panic mode is quickly setting in. Oddly, when I checked my mail on Saturday, I hadn’t gotten any mail, but that was not unusual, as I don’t much except for junk mail and Amazon packages! Lol!
There was a paper with an 800 number on it that came with my birth certificate, so I called that number. Trying to remain calm, but it wasn’t easy. I did get hold of a live person, which was nice and the wait was not long at all. I explained the situation and asked what do I do now? Of course, by then, it was after 7pm and the post office was closed, so I couldn’t even call them. I was getting frantic. She said to first call the post office and if they can’t find it, I have to declare it lost or stolen and MAIL in this form. Like I’m really trusting the mail right now??? She’s like giving me the address to mail it to. I kept asking, is it online, I’ll get it from there. I was so upset. I was beginning to think this was a sign – a bad sign, that maybe I shouldn’t be going? I called Lorna and she came over for a little while and we shared a few glasses of the red Moscato – Barefoot Bubbly – good stuff! She asked me if I felt any better? Not really, now just tired and tipsy! She left and I played around a bit on the computer and went to bed about 12:30am.
Next morning…there is a distribution center called the Annex and there is the post office. The Annex opens first at 8:30a and the post office at 9:30a. So, promptly at 8:30a, I frantically started making phone calls. First call, got a nice lady on the phone who confirmed that, indeed, the passport was delivered. I confirmed that I didn’t get it! I begged her to look around to make sure it wasn’t tucked in a corner somewhere, or under a box.
It was just about 9:30a, so I called the post office. They did a quick look, and they said it wasn’t there either. The supervisor didn’t get in until after 11a, so call back then. The lady at the Annex said she’d call me back in about an hour, so at 10:30a, I called her back. Sorry, she said, hadn’t had time to look yet. Ok, waiting til 11a to call the post office back. Of course, I was “trying” to get some work done. My boss is so sweet, I think he took pity on me and didn’t ask me to do much at all….he knew I was pretty upset. Ok, getting close to lunchtime, I called the post office back. No luck, they were busy and they took my name to call me back. Suggested I call the Annex again and ask for the delivery supervisor. Called the Annex again and asked for the delivery supervisor. The lady I was speaking with was the manager – lol! And the supervisors were all in a meeting until 1p! Really?? This can’t be happening! Ok, I will stick with her. She promised to call me back. In the meantime, I called the post office back, it was shortly after 1p. This time when they answered, I think they knew my voice by then, she said, oh, you just missed the manager, he went out for lunch, for about 20 minutes. Ok, need to try and get a little work done. Did a few things to make the time pass, called back about 2p, figured that was plenty of time to eat. This time she says, oh, you just missed him again, he’s on his way back to the Annex! Again?? She said to call at precisely 2:35pm, which I did.
In the meantime, I was getting desperate! I often pray to St. Anthony, as I am always losing something! So, looked up St. Anthony again online, and what do my wondering eyes see, but a website where you can put your intentions on and someone looks at them, and prays and intercedes for you. What the heck, I had nothing to lose! I said, “Please find my passport, so I can visit Italy on June 29!” Jana, Detroit. I was literally close to tears at that point. I wanted to be sure and exhaust all of my options before I had to give up and claim that it was lost or stolen. Worst case, I would have to go downtown and have them expedite it. Oh, and while on the phone with the lady the night before from the passport office she says, “oh, we can’t guarantee you’ll get it in time to leave.” Oh yes, panic mode for sure!
It was 2:34p, so I called the Annex, yet again. Got a different supervisor/manager on the phone. I kind of recognized this guy as the one that found my dishes last fall (you may remember I was having terrible issues with my mail being forwarded after I moved?) Anyway, he took me a little more serious than the other lady and literally looked in spots for me while he had me on hold. He verified all that I already knew – it had been delivered, but I didn’t get it, it could be lost, it could be stolen. There were really only two options. One – he checked the GPS – yes, they GPS/track your packages! He said he could tell that it actually arrived at my apartment complex and they indeed delivered it. I was quickly losing hope, dreading the thought of having to send in the lost/stolen form. By the way, you can’t sue the post office – they are protected! I also asked if I had to send in the form if they would pay for it, as it was their fault. He agreed with me, however, he said no, they would not pay for overnight costs! He said, the last option was to call the carrier on the route, right then, and have them take a look to make sure it didn’t get delivered to someone else’s mailbox, etc. I had doubted it was stolen, as there is a bank of mailboxes all with locks. The only person that could have stolen it was the postal carrier! I did find out they had a sub working that day, too. Hmmm….a sub and they stole my passport! Great! By now, it was like close to 3p. I really had to get some work done. There was little I could do, but put my faith in St. Anthony and the manager at the Annex! He promised he would call me if he found any good news today and if not, he promised to call me the next day as a follow-up. Well…. All I could do now was wait and wait until 4:30p until it was time to leave. I tried my best to get a few things done….
Here is your cliffhanger…. Did they find my passport? Was it really stolen? Did I have to mail in the form? How much wine did I drink when I got home tonight? Did he call me back before I left? Ah…the mystery will remain…..for a little while, at least.
In the meantime….SOMEONE emailed me to tell me someone had a friend who was selling 2 tickets to Verona! Gee, maybe they were better than our “in the spirit” seats? No, don’t do it, you are already breaking your budget! Oh, but they might be really good seats?? And this is a one-time shot. We did this for California and didn’t regret a dime of it (ok, maybe a penny….?). Nope, not a penny, nickel, or dime! Oh, heck. I’m a goner! So, I contacted this person. Where are the tickets and how much? Second row and row 30! WHAT? 2nd row!? Did I read that right? Of course, they were 2 tickets and not together. Ok, how much? OMG, 400 euros! The other was 120 euros. Oh, wow, that’s a bit more than I was expecting….we chatted a bit more and told her I’d have to call my friend.
As you all know me pretty well by now…you can only guess what I did? And that, amici miei is your 2nd cliffhanger!!