Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Hoot In The Boot

Someone always says~I don't get your titles~ So this can also be known as A Funny Thing Happened ~But Not On The Way To the Forum. I know exactly what Jim would say right now if he were reading over my shoulder~"In your heart you think you're funny" quoting the movie, Good Morning Viet Nam. Lowell, don't roll those eyes.

OK, do over on the intro..................

One day in Florence we had a reservation to go to the Uffizi Museum to view the largest collection of Italian paintings in the world. This place is tauted as a must see by everyone in the know..however...can I just say...it is very ho-hum and unless you are a die hard art student you will be bored out of your mind. The only redeeming things about our visit were the funny things that happened to us in there. First of all, it is way too much of a good thing. They do have some world famous paintings like

Springtime by Botticelli

My recommendation is, see it here and save yourself the headache of trying to find it in the 54 unmarked gallery rooms that you must pass through in order to exit this museum. Italians do not believe in signs apparently?? Jim & Spencer saw it but Laura and I were spared as we were busy doing other things.

Getting into the Uffizi is no easy task. You must reserve a time to enter about a month in advance and then arrive at precisely that time and enter the foyer of the museum to be smashed into a bunch of others that have also reserved the same over-booked time. You go through a turnstyle and security check where you must present your ticket. I pulled out the wrong ticket and held up a very impatient, pushy line of museum goers. It was a little embarrassing but I found it and in we went. We turn the corner and see this gianormous set of marble steps leading to the second floor. We are talking about 35 steps here and this only gets you to the landing of the second floor for a repeat staircase to the gallery on 3.

That day I was having some knee problems so Laura and I decided to look for an elevator. We managed to somehow communicate our needs and were escorted to this hidden tiny elevation behind roped off areas. The guard called for the elevator as only she could touch the buttons. The big wooden door opened and Rossie ran in. Within two seconds the door started to close and we could not hold it open so off went Rossie to the ground floor alone. This was truly one of those totally panic driven moments where you realize your five year old is out of sight and reach and he only knows how to count to 39 in Italian and not in any configuration that would reach your cell phone. You are a fit mom but how fast can you run down 35 marble stairs to greet your kid in the lobby? Also you have about a thousand people downstairs who might just love to have a little five year old as cool as Ross for their own. The guard called downstairs and while we were sweating bullets for about 10 minutes Rossie was finally returned to floor 2. We had envisioned him crying and frantic for his Mom and Gramma but instead, totally unscathed, he was chatting up a storm with a guard who actually could speak a little English.

OK then, we somehow recover from the scare and proceed to the third floor for this gallery experience. We round the corner and another guard is checking tickets again. This makes the third time we have to show our tickets and we haven't seen one piece of art at this point. This time Laura does not find hers...mama mia...what is the big fat deal? The guard suggests I go find Spencer while he holds her hostage at the turnstyle as she thinks he might have it. Somehow she finds it and I ask the guy just how many more viewings of the ticket will be required before I dump mine back in my bag. None, we have made it! Whew!

At this point we are not in the mood for the heady art so we sit down for a few minutes on a marble bench in the hallway. The day before we had purchased Ross a little balloon thingy that you can mold it into various shapes. It is kind of like Playdough but inside a balloon. He really loves those so Laura had it in her purse and pulls it out for him to play with.

OK, here comes the biggest hoot in the boot for the whole trip~this was slap your knee, hold your gut hilarious!
...I hear Laura gasp and I look over and that thing has burst and it was filled with white flour! You have to really know Laura to fully appreciate the look on her face. She is dressed in her usual pristine and classic way in her very nice charcoal grey slacks, a great jacket, etc. and she is now covered in a cup of dirty white flour. Now these guards who are only about a hundred feet away are expecting a certain amount of decorum in this uppity place and I totally lose it. There isn't even a bathroom on the entire floor and no garbage bins or anything and she just sat there in total disbelief. Fortunately, a small tour group comes in right then so she jumps up and tried to brush it off in a corner. We are both laughing so hard we are about to die. I try to take a picture but then realize they will confiscate my camera if they see a flash...so sorry you have missed something too priceless and funny for words! Maureen, if you are reading this it was truly one of those Rosemary Clooney moments. In fact, we thought about calling you!

Then came the moment when you realized you have to confess your sin, as it is written all over you...literally. How that flour got all over the back of her pants is still a mystery to us but it did. So she finds the nicest looking guard and tells her sad tale. The woman's response, "Oh, we don't allow those in here!" Really? Who knew? She does finally escort her to a little place where she can dispose of the popped balloon. At this time we are beginning to think we are going to get kicked out of this place.

Unfortunately, no such luck and now it is time to find a way out. We have been there 45 minutes now and not seen a thing. We are supposed to meet Jim and Spencer at the entrance foyer in 30 minutes. We make a half hearted attempt to receive our dose of culture and enter a room. Traffic is one way only and then we discovered that 54 rooms must be endured to escape. We half run to get out find the elevator broken and run down all the stairs to the exit. Right before we re-enter the foyer we come to a book store so Laura stops to get a couple things and I proceed to go ahead and find Jim and Spencer patiently waiting. We wait for Laura like a half hour and start to get concerned when we see her come in without Ross. What now? Laura had accidentally taken a wrong turn and exited the museum and they would not let her back in to come to our meeting place. Even though the woman had just seen her go out at another check point. Finally after 30 minutes she lets Laura back in but only if she would leave ROSS as ransom. Can you even believe that? Yikes, what do they think they have in there anyway, the Crown Jewels. Not really, we checked ~on the fly.

My Recommendations:

1. Don't buy your kids those dumb balloons no matter how much they beg.

2. Skip the Uffizi Museum.

Ciao for now!


Gail Victoria said...

That was so great! You will never forget the Uffizi Museum thats for sure! Its funny when those types of things happen when it is all over you sit and catch your breath and think, "What was that!" I'm glad you had a "fun" time. Welcome back.

Laura said...

What a great story, too bad you couldn't take some pictures!!!

laura.elizabeth said...

I don't know how you did it Mom, but you completely captured that entire experience in writing. And I'll tell you it was a lot funnier the second time- I am still crying I was laughing so hard. Yikes. What a day- what an experience!