If we were to tell all the kind Italians who’ve helped the poor inept Americans do everything from buy bread to open a bank account, that we are actually responsible, competent people in our native country, I don’t know that they’d believe us. Yesterday, we locked ourselves out of our apartment.

It was a Saturday, and we were going out for our sacred weekly gelato. In the excitement, it slipped both our minds. We weren’t sure what to do. The door is like a fortress. It latches with four heavy pins, and then the dead bolt locks it like a hotel door chain. On the side with the hinges are several additional pins to prevent the possibility of its being removed from that side. We laughed when we first saw the amusing excess of security. But we weren’t laughing now.

Unfortunately, every Saturday our rental agent (who was the one to help us open a bank account, as well as acquire a real codice fiscale–like an Italian social security number, after being appalled that we were just using the one the cell phone man generated for us off the internet) goes to spend the weekend in his vacation home on the Riviera.

So we went to the next most helpful person we know, the owner of Griselda, the hotel where we stayed for three long weeks while we waited for our gas to be hooked up here. He laughed when he heard the story, and suggested that we try a credit card. We didn’t think it would work on our impregnable door. So he called Luigi for us, and he said he could be here in two and a half hours. We were appalled at him driving home from the seashore to let us into our apartment, so we decided to give the credit card a try.

Luckily, when I was a missionary, we were always locking ourselves out of our house, so I was fairly practiced, although I was used to using a piece of a plastic pop bottle. None of the credit cards would work, but I opened up Tony’s Temple Recommend holder, which was roughly twice the size of a card and slightly more flexible, and it did the trick. So now we can say a Temple Recommend is required to enter our house.

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