Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Travel log

Posted from hotel, early 7/26/06...we will be home at midnight and maybe I will be able to get on-line again tomorrow. We will see.

July 12, 2006 6:00am

I am sitting wide awake in my hotel room while the boys sleep on. The card over on the table promised a free wireless connection, but it seems that the card lied. Perhaps it exists in the lobby or some work room somewhere. I did not read it carefully. So I instead sit here and type in Word. It is jus as well, I suppose. I said I was going, put up the pretty picture. I can just post a travel log when I get back. I will try not to let it get too big.

The flights were horrible. Well, the flights themselves were fine; it was just the silliest itinerary ever. We left the house at 5:30 am, boarded our first plane at 7:15am, and arrived at the hotel 13 hours later, exhausted.

A funny thing happened on the way to the rental car counter – we realized that we did not have our rental car reservation information. Hubby stayed to get the bags while I walked over and went to every counter (6) and said, “This is a bit awkward, I left my reservation information at home. Can you check to see if I have a reservation here?” Everyone was very nice as they told me that they had no record of any reservation. Slowly I had to accept the awful truth: I had forgot to actually make the reservation. Hubby showed up and I had to tell him. How bad could it be he asked? Well…NASCAR is in town, so pretty bad.

Four of the places had no cars to rent at all. One had a single car left, but we would have to bring it back in three days. The nice people at Avis though came through for us. They had a car. They actually had two full-sized cars in the garage, one was reserved, but we could take the other. We could actually take our pick of the two.

The two cars turned out to be an actual full size car and an SUV which had apparently been temporarily reclassified. I, practical woman that I am, investigated the car and pronounced it good. Hubby agreed while looking lovingly at the SUV. It occurred to me that we will never buy one and we are unlikely ever to be offered the chance to rent one at this price, and he had been ever so nice about the reservation thing (which really was my job) and so I said, “You really want the SUV, don’t you?” He grinned and I yelled at the kids, “Okay, everyone out of the car.” I told the boys, “This is officially making up for the other thing.” Brian said, “What other thing?” Good boy.

It’s big and squishy and holds the boys and their luggage easily. The radio automatically turns itself up as you go onto the freeway and then back down as you slow down on the ramp. As long as you never have to negotiate your way out of a parking garage, or get into a tight parking space, it’s great. And I know that the SUV (which I am beginning to think deserve a name) feels comfortable in the hotel parking lot, filled as it is with the vehicles of good ol’ boys and girls come to town to watch the fast cars make left turns.

We went out to dinner at Friendly’s which is a summer tradition. The food itself is comparable to any national-chain diner, which is to say, not all that great. It is however a totally kid friendly place. When the boys were little, this was the point. It is a sit down, be waited on, kind of place, and if you didn’t want to hear me trying to keep my exhausted kids from crying by distracting them with silly songs and endless games of 20 questions, then you should have gone to a grown-up restaurant. Besides, there is the ice cream. Friendly’s started out as an ice cream place. Later they decided to serve some sandwiches. Eventually they replaced the picnic tables with heated and air conditioned dining rooms complete with padded vinyl-covered seats. I, as always, ordered my Monster Mash Sundae from the kids’ menu. I know I could make one for myself at home if I liked, but I don’t. It is a vacation treat. One scoop high quality chocolate-chip mint ice cream; hot fudge sauce poured around it so that it goes down into the bowl where you can’t see it; two candy-coated chocolates for the eyes; a cherry for the nose; a chocolate peanut butter cup broken in half for the ears; and whip cream hair. It is yummy and really just the right amount of decadence. I don’t need to get the two and three scoop sundaes off the adult menu.

We called Evan from the restaurant. He had gone out to the Chinese restaurant with a friend, and brought dinner home. He spoke patiently until he thought maybe I was settling in for a conversation and then he asked if I could call him back later. He was in the middle of something: not something, just something. I said sure. For a while Evan was nervous about being left alone; then we had our little talk about public locker rooms and acceptable behavior at home while we are away, and then he started acting like he was going to Disneyland. I suppose actually Disneyland is going to him.

Today we have a 6 hour drive, a piece of cake after the 7 hours and 45 minutes we spent in airplanes yesterday (I’m not counting layover or car transportation time; that’s actual in-the-air, sitting-next-to-strangers; air-lines-don’t serve-food-so-your-eating-packed-junk, leg-numbing, air time. This time I get a big squishy seat, and can stop for a Monster Mash Sundae almost any time I please.


7/13/06 8:30am

The drive was nice. We stopped at Friendly’s for an ice cream break in the afternoon. Hubby just had coffee, Andrew ordered an ice cream float (“but just 2 scoops of ice cream, not three, please”) and Brian got two scoops of cookies and cream ice cream topped with crumbled cookies and Reese’s Pieces. (Yuck). I, of course, ordered the Monster Mash. The server smiled and said, “You mean the one from the children’s menu?” “Yep. I want the face.”



I always forget the feathers

I was tired. I fell asleep on the sofa. I woke up a couple of hours later and stumbled into bed with Hubby. Sigh.

Midnight and I am awake. My eyes are burning. The feathers! Why do I always forget the feather pillows? I rinsed my eyes with bottled water, took an antihistamine and waited. I tried lying down on the sofa only to remember that the pillows of it too are stuffed with pillows. Finally I slept in the bunk room with Brian.

This morning Hubby took all the feather pillows up to the attic and brought down the “children’s pillows” that MiMi (She doesn’t like “Grandma”) has in storage.

I will be fine.

July 16, 2006
The boys have left with the father to go fishing, and I am missing my connection to the Internet for the first time since I got here. It is cool and foggy. I can see the ocean, but just barely, and I cannot see the islands at all. It is peaceful.

I finally, and for the first time ever, rid the entire living space of all feathers. I always replaced the bedroom pillows (typically after trying to fall asleep on them and getting symptomatic), but this year I asked permission to replace the pretty sofa cushions with an odd assortment throw pillows. It looks horrible, but for the first time ever I am completely symptom free.

MIL was surprised that I was had trouble in the bed. She put down the non-feather pillows for me. I pointed out that she had put the feather-pillows on top of them. “Those are so you can prop up in bed to read.” The is a certain logic to it I suppose: non-feather pillows to treat my allergy; feather pillows for reading.

I tried to call Evan when I went to the grocery store the other day. I drove slowly along the side of the road while Brian stared at my phone until we found a hot spot. I was able to get through to him, but he apparently could not hear me.

I will try again tomorrow when we go off for our annual seafood lunch.

I tried to call Evan again during our mid-vacation trip to civilization for groceries and lunch. He did not answer. Of course I did not try until we were leaving (partly to accommodate the time difference). Though I had been able to speak to the in-laws on the cell phone earlier, suddenly I was unable to get a signal. We drove up to the top of a hill right next to what Hubby swears is a cell phone tower and drove around a parking lot. The cell phone would show three to five bars when we were moving at least 10 miles an hour and say “no service” as soon as we stopped. No amount of creeping back and forth would allow us to find the hot spot. We kept gave up in a fit of hysterical giggles.

But we stopped at another small town on the way back and I got through. He did not answer though. It was 1:00 in the afternoon where Evan was. “Maybe he is at work” I said to Hubby hopefully. “I doubt it. He’s probably asleep.” “Maybe he is in the shower?”

Still, it has been a week now and I have not spoken with him. I have left him a couple of messages asking him to call the cottage (he could use his cell phone or our house phone), but no calls yet. I am about to resort to running up the in-laws cottage phone bill, which they would not mind, but I have been trying to avoid.

I am getting anxious. I want to know he is okay. Of course he is probably just an 18 year old enjoying the freedom of living alone.

The Cottages:
I don’t know that I have ever said much about where we are. The blog is supposed to be about foster care and not about my life, but perhaps it would be helpful to someone to have a mental picture. We are on the northern coast of Maine: farther north by far than places like Kennebunkport, Freeport, and Portland; farther north even than Bar Harbor. We are in the “here there be dragons” territory; where Canadian and American coins come together in your change.

Many, many years ago, Hubby’s great grandfather came up here and bought a small piece of land on which he built a cottage. Over the years other family members have bought other small plots and built new cottages. When the in-laws bought this spot over 30 years ago the only people who were here were academics and crazy people. (My in-laws were among the crazies.) Who would want to be here? Of course it is beautiful, but you have to drive half an hour to get to the bad grocery store. It is 45 minutes to the nearest pharmacy; more than one hour to a bad bookstore. There are no good hiking trails. There is not even a good place to keep a sail boat. There is nothing to do but watch the tide, read books, bake cookies, and put together puzzles. The tap water is orange and there is only enough for on-and-off showers.

It is a bad place to be…do you hear me?

Clearly people do not. I blame the Internet. On our plot are two modest cottages: one for Mimi and PaPa and one for their children and grandchildren. Around us on the cape are increasing numbers of monstrosities: large houses built by people who have more money than sense or taste. Every day brown UPS trucks drive the gravel road bringing people the fruits of the civilization they left behind.

I would be willing to share the beauty with the rich, really I would, but they are pushing our property values up. The property is now literally worth 100 times what the in-laws paid for the plot thirty years ago. Every year it is the same conversation: we don’t know how many more years we will be able to afford the taxes.

It makes me want to cry. My children have grown up coming here every summer. They know their third cousins. They have a sense of family history. They know how to sit still and watch the tide come in. Last night they spent half an hour sitting and looking at the sea during a storm. It was better than any television show.

But I try to look on the bright side. With global warming the entire cape may go under the ocean anyway. Perhaps the sea will take the land before we have to sell to someone who will tear down our small cottages and replace them with some blight on the land.

The hurricane passed by last night. I don’t know how many miles off-shore it was, but it was not close. It did however send mighty waves crashing on the shore. I’ve seen waves as big on ordinary days in other places, but here the ocean usually just laps against the shore. The tide swells in and back out. Waves that curl and break are usually the result of a passing lobster boat. Last evening though the waves built up to six or ten foot walls, curled and crashed. We went out to the beach and stood where the rocks were high. Mostly the waves moved to the lower places on either side of us, but sometimes a wave would come directly at our perch. Those waves would break on the rocks 30 feet in front of us and send fountains of water and foam high in the air, leaving us with damp hair and salt on our tongues, for who can not laugh with delight at such a display?

I said, “It’s like the Fourth of July!”

Brian replied, “Yeah…except for you not screaming in terror.”

July 26, 2006
We did finally get a hold of Evan on the phone. All it really required was admitting defeat with the cell phones and using the land-line. He sounded fine. He has been seeing counselor, but decided it was too much trouble to go to relapse prevention group. (I gave no reaction; if counselor wants him to go then I will start taking him again). He claims he has been going to a meeting every day, which I figures means that he went to at least two in the previous three days. He told me that he was not eating much of the easy to prepare food I had bought; that he had had “friends” over a lot (I actually suspect that he has had one particular friend over a lot) and that they have been eating out or ordering in. I expected that.

Also as I expected, his “guaranteed job” has not panned out. The woman who was leaving is not leaving. The person who guaranteed him a job is recommending him to other departments who might have an opening. Yep. Welcome to the grown-up world my boy.

Yesterday was the big drive down from the cottage to Manchester. I did all the driving. Normally Hubby and I share, but he wanted to listen to a stupid comedy tape and the boys and I were caught up in an audio book. At any point I could have asked him to take a turn, but that would have meant listening to the stupid comedy…. So I drove for six hour and ended up in Manchester exhausted.

Still we are all fine. If we don’t get grounded for thunder storms (that happens once every five years or so) we will back home at midnight.

I did not want to leave Maine. Now that we have, I want to go home…NOW.


  1. Hi.

    You made up for lost time with that post.

    Glad everything seems okay.

  2. rossecorp6:29 PM

    Glad you're back


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