I was a bit frustrated on the way home for a couple reasons. First, I was going to have to buy another ticket to come back up the next day. Second, I had already taken Tuesday off and was also taking Friday off as well; now I would have to use another half day of comp time during a week at work that was pretty busy. I called work and let them know the situation and told them that I was planning on taking the early train the next morning so that I would be at the consulate as soon as they opened, pick up the visas, then be back at work by lunchtime.
Once again, it was not to be.
I took an early train and got to the Italian consulate about 5 minutes before they opened at 0830. The old bald guy remembered me of course and buzzed me right in. I took a seat in the waiting area and waited. Sometime around quarter past nine, Sr. Morganti arrived to work, saw me, gave me a slight nod and disappeared. About 5 minutes later he came back into the waiting area and said "Did you not receive my email yesterday afternoon?" I replied no, that I had taken the previous day off so I wasn't at work to be able to check my work email account. He then said "Oh no, I emailed you to tell you that I was not able to get to your visas and asked you to come in this afternoon..." (Wednesday is the one day of the week that the consulate is open in the afternoon). Things were clearly not going well for me. I got a look of disdain on my face and considered my options. Obviously going back home and coming back was not among them. Sr. Morganti must have been starting to feel bad by this point because he told me he had appointments all morning but would do everything he could to try and get them processed that morning since I was there. I told him I would go get some coffee and come back later as I was starving and he said fine, just come back by about 11:45 since they close for lunch at noon. I went down and found a newsstand that had international papers and bought my Italian sports paper, then went and got a caffe and panini at a bistro next to the consulate while I read it. I managed to kill almost an hour and a half by then so I figured I'd go back and hope for the best although I expected the worst...and of course, the worst is what I got. It was only about quarter to 11 as I took my seat in the waiting area. For some reason I cannot fathom, the consulate has nothing to read in their waiting area. Fortunately for me, my phone has a couple games on it - a golf game and a car racing game - so I played those while I waited to pass the time. Sr. Morganti came through a few times and assured me that he was working on our visas, giving me (false) hope. I can't explain how incredibly bored I was getting as noon approached and the employees started shuffling out the door while I continued to sit there and wait, my chin in my hands. At one point I asked the old bald guy if I should just go to lunch and come back when they reopened at 1430. He told me I should wait and assured me that the visas would be ready soon. Eventually even he must have felt bad for me as he came out and started showing me newspaper clipping of his friend back in Italy who had won a bunch of sailing competitions about 40 years ago. I was now at the pinnacle of boredom. It was past 1300 now, the consulate was closed as everyone was at lunch but I continued to sit in the waiting room as, supposedly, Sr. Morganti was still downstairs working on our visas. Somewhere around 1330 the old bald guy put his jacket on and was about to go to lunch but stopped, looked at me, and said "Follow me, I take you downstairs to check". We went down to Sr. Morganti's office and he told us that the visas would be ready in about 5 minutes. So I took a seat in the downstairs waiting area and waited. 5 minutes later he came out and spent about 10 minutes making photocopies of God knows what. Finally he walked over and handed the finished visas to me with the requisite apologies for the delays and such. I was in no mood to listen so I shook his hand, thanked him and made a beeline for the train station where I jumped the first train to Heidelberg.
So the nightmare is over and now things will be moving fast as we prepare to leave. I have a transportation brief this morning as our household goods are scheduled to be picked up November 17th. The plan right now is to depart for Italy on Saturday morning, November 22nd, stay overnight in the Alps, arrive to Vicenza on Sunday and start my new (old) job on Monday the 24th. I'll update things on here as they come more into focus...