But I should really start at the beginning.
I have been to Rome before. Ted and I came here on vacation for about ten days a million years ago. We stayed at this very charming small hotel near the Vatican (you could literally SEE the Vatican from the hotel, much like Russia from Sarah Palin's house) and the plan was to do other Rome things, go to Venice for a few days, come back to Rome, see the Vatican, and go home.
Well, the first part went OK, then we went to Venice, Ted proposed, and things went a bit south. The very second after we got to this romantic secret garden, he got down on one knee, I said yes, rah rah rah, he started to get sick. Like, really, really sick. So sick that I ended up calling a doctor to come to our hotel room that night because Ted was shaking so hard the whole bed was vibrating and he was incoherent and I honestly thought he might kick.
On my elevator trip down to the front desk to speak very bad Italian to the poor man behind it (I got an F in Italian 110 my freshman year of college. That's right, an F), I will admit that the following thought crossed my mind "He finally fucking asks me to marry him and now he's going to DIE?! WTF???" Not one of my finer moments, perhaps. Anyway, Ted didn't die, but we did have to come home early. So I'm like the one person in the world who has spent a week in Rome and never been to the Vatican. Which is not nearly as important as Ted not being dead, but you know. Almost.
Fast forward, and Ted mentions that he's going to Rome for work, and I should come along. He is always suggesting this. As if going to some strange city where I know no one, and hanging out alone while he does whatever the hell it is that he does for a living sounds like any fun at all. I mean, I don't go the bathroom by myself if I can help it (what up, T-Dawg?).
But, though it took me a while (and some smacking upside the head by a well-intentioned and much smarter friend) to realize it, this trip is different. The conference is at the Vatican. There is a cocktail party in the Sistine Chapel, a tour of the catacombs, and supposedly an audience with the Pope. And not even the former-Nazi, tolerator-of-child-molesters that used to hold the post. No, now we have a shiny new Pope, who chose the Patron Saint of Animals after which to name himself. Yay!
Once I got all signed up for the trip, I started to get emails from the organizers about the planned itinerary, which included wardrobe protocol. It will come as a huge surprise, I'm sure, that not a single item in my closet met the requirements for what you have to wear to be in the same room as the Pope. So I had to go shopping. Yay!
Here are my Pope-clothes:
Lest you think that I kept it too boring, believe me, I didn't have much room to work with. I also got this:
Yes, it is the same dress, but this one is blue. You are going to have to trust me that they are actually awesome in real life - very flattering, yet also appropriate enough for his holiness. Thank you, Talbots!
Now, I have been all set to "interview the President of the United States" only to have it cancelled literally ten minutes before we were supposed to be chatting because peace broke out in the Middle East or some such (obviously that was short-lived). So I will believe this whole "audience with the Pope" thing when it happens.
But either way, tomorrow I am going to the Vatican to watch Teddy moderate a panel in front of hundreds of people as part of a conference on adult stem-cell research. I am so proud of my husband, and so happy he didn't kick the bucket in that hotel in Venice, and I can't wait. I don't even care if we get to meet the Pope.