So when I left New Hampshire last December, it was a highly stressful time. There was a lot of snow on the ground, all my possessions were in a truck bound for a house in Florida I’d only seen once, with a very shaky job prospect for me and no assurances that there would be a job for him. There were a lot of loose ends left, and it all made me very anxious and worried and second guessing.
My mom, stepdad, and I spent six days covering ground in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, tying up those loose ends, and visiting places that we/I may never see again, simply because there won’t be any reason to go back.
We visited mom’s old stomping grounds, went to a pizza parlor that my family has been going to since I was an infant, saw the beautiful renovation job that was done to my stepdad’s mom’s house, went out on the ocean at Scituate Harbor to release my dad’s and aunt’s ashes. We got a lot done, covered a lot of miles.
I saw my old coworkers the next day, went to the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, and ate my way up and down the boardwalk many, many times, one of my favorite things to do.
The next three days were spent in Maine, which put on the prettiest displays of nature for me. A double rainbow, reflected in the lake. The harvest/supermoon, rising over the lake. Mist billowing off the warmer water into the cooler air in the mornings. Much different than the horrifying weather I left in such a rush last December.
My patience was sorely tried by mom and stepdad not being able to HEAR ANYTHING. Everything that was said was met with a “Huh?”, and then repeated, multiple times, unless they got excited, and then it was loud. I had to cover my ears several times, sitting between mom and stepdad; his laugh is just painfully loud.
I’m not going to say that I will never go back to New England, but the chances are slim. This visit was a reminder of just how beautiful the area can be, and those images will always be with me. But I remember also the bitter cold and snow, and have no wish to live like that again.
So, I am relieved. My loose ends are tied up, that chapter is done, I have beautiful memories of the place I grew up. Now I can move on, and make my life here, find the beautiful places here. I am hoping my life can resist becoming a stressful grind; there is serious unwanted potential of that happening. I have too much work and only two hands, but I need to shift the stress back onto my boss. Perhaps he can spend less time creating a linked-in profile, and more time making product to fill orders.
It was wonderful to visit New England, to have a few days off, to finish up things I’d left undone.
As I carefully and slowly poured my dad’s ashes into the ocean over the side of the boat, thinking hard about my dad, about this is his final resting place, about how putting him into the ocean makes communing him as easy as stepping into the Atlantic, north or south, my mom interrupts.
"Hold it closer to the water so the ashes don’t get on his boat."
I pursed my lips and ignored her. This is a moment. My moment. My last moment with my dad. STFU.
It’s done, and we’re headed back to the slip. A wave hits the side of the boat and splashes only my mother. She has large drops of saltwater from her glasses to her knees.
If I believed in that stuff, I would say that was my dad, getting back at her for spoiling yet another moment I had with him. It makes me feel better to believe it, that she got a little karmic payback. Petty, I know. Karmic hooha, I know.
Arrived safely and uneventfully in Manchester. Waited a long time to get a rental car. Finally, paid, keys, drive away.
We just about exited the airport, mom’s on her phone, mine is tucked away, and we hear a cell phone start to ring….it’s not mine, it’s not hers….before we can find it, mine starts to ring. It’s the rental agent we just left, looking for his phone.
We looped back around, back into the rental area, got out, located the phone (under mom’s butt BTW), gave it back to the agent, who gave us a free tank of gas for our troubles. Which pretty much just means we don’t have to return it full, so that will save us time, trouble and money when we return the car. So that’s ok!
Going north in two more sleeps!
Making lists of things to remember to bring, you know, normal packing anxiety.
Making lists of things I want to do when I get there, mostly shopping. Some things I love don’t exist in Florida. I can only buy my favorite scented deodorant at a discount store that I think only exists in New England. Buying ten deodorants is normal, right?
Also, my favorite bras are at Kohl’s. Yes, there are Kohl’s in Florida, but they don’t carry them. It is possible the entire chain has discontinued carrying them. After all, I’m not stepping back in time, I’m just changing geographic location.
Also, my favorite socks are at Sears. Same problem as above.
However, I’ve checked the web site of the apple place, and they have peaches! Gigantic juicy fresh off the tree peaches! I swear, they pick them two days before they go bad on the tree, they HAVE TO BE EATEN NOW! Pricey, but the best peaches I’ve ever had. Mmmmph, can’t wait.
I’m going to get a medium flat rate box and fill it with deodorant, socks, and bras and mail it home to myself. No peaches, tho. That would be bad.
Mom reminded me that we’re not going to get lunch on the flight. She’s going to be dismayed at the amount of snacks I’ve packed in my carryon. If I get snacks, my inner bitch stays quiet. No snacks? Not good.
Gonna be an adventure.
I’m going on vacation. Sort of.
I have unfinished business in New England. Bank accounts I need to close. People I didn’t get to say goodbye to. Cremains of my father, my aunt, and a small bit of my uncle to scatter. Loose ends to tie up.
I am going during the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, yay! That is my yearly pilgrimage to the beach and all the seafood I can eat. I will stop in to see my old coworkers, my Princeton Peeps, during which there will be squealing and hugs. I have a stop to make to say hello to a tweep whom I’ve never actually met in person. And I’ll have a few days to stare at the lake in Maine, and soak it all in, because I’ll probably never go north again.
So far, so good.
The problem is that I’ll be spending a great deal of time in my mother’s company, as we’ll be traveling together. There will be criticism. Three major areas I can think of right now.
Mom has told me my whole life that I need more sleep than other people, which is true. Without seven or eight or more, you get the bitch. Just the way it is. She will, every morning, say, “We thought you were never going to get up!”
I eat every couple of hours. Just the way my metabolism works. Not a lot, but often. She will comment. “You’re eating again?” Yep. And you’re still surprised.
She takes incredibly short showers. I’m not sure how she rinses clean. I’m in there, you know, five, six minutes. Normal, I think. And then I moisturize, clean my ears, put on eyeliner, dry and style my hair, brush my teeth. I take about 35 to 40 minutes to go from asleep to driving. She will comment. “Are you finally ready to go? We’re only going to get groceries you know.”
And. Oh. My. Gawd. The amount of talking she does. Every moment is filled with speculation and opinion. I can’t think while she’s talking. I can’t formulate opinions of my own with her voice constantly in my ears. I feel like I get sonically pushed into a corner and I can merely acknowledge her words, and when we finally part company, and there’s quiet, I feel dizzy and shell shocked and full to overflowing.
I think I will be taking a lot of walks. Perhaps walk back to Florida. From Massachusetts.
TL;DR Vacation, yay! With my mother! Aw, shit.
In 94° heat. Got sweaty. Duh. Drove home, first with the windows down, til I got on the highway, at which point I put the windows up and turned on the a/c because driving next to 18 wheelers at 70 mph is noisy and unnerving.
Was just about dry when I got home an hour later. Gathered my things to get out of the car, and dumped the last inch of water from my walk into my lap. Didn’t get any on the seat; all onto my legs.
I think my grill has hot spots.
I work across the street from a geologic site called Devil’s Millhopper. It is part of Florida’s state park system. It is an enormous sinkhole, and when it first appeared, it apparently looked like a millhopper. I dunno, look it up. Anyway, now it’s got 258 stairs down to the bottom, and a nature trail all the way around the rim. It’s awesome exercise.
I ran into a couple today, probably in their fifties, that was working on their tenth trip up and down the stairs. Holy shit. They are in much better shape than me!
Anyway, I could hear thunder in the distance. Radar indicated storms around, but not too close. Eh, long story short, I got caught at the furthest point from the entrance when it started to rain, you know, Florida rain. Meaning it was a torrential downpour. And I don’t drive over to the park, I leave my car at work, and walk over to the park. Yay, more distance to walk with no tree cover even!
My phone is currently resting in a container with desiccant, just in case. I haven’t gotten that wet accidentally for a long time, but, hey, it’s only rain.
However, that lightning bolt that was so close that I could smell the scorched ozone? That was…..yeah. Mmm, wow. Yikes. Flash. Sizzle. BOOM. Mmmmkay, time to leave, oh, too late, gonna get wet.
Quite good exercise, however, hoofing it back to my car! And a bizarre combination of air conditioning so I don’t fog up the windows, and heat so I don’t freeze in my wet clothes.
TL;DR Yay exercising outdoors in nature! Boo getting caught in a torrential downpour. And I should put ziplock bags in my car to keep my phone dry.
So unfair that Dutch apple pie is not considered fruit, but rather, a “sweet”.
It’s buy one, get one! Can’t that elevate it to “healthy” somehow?
Only one of my coworkers is going to show up tomorrow, and that won’t be until probably noon.
BF left for work early tonight, will be gone all night, and won’t be home till after I leave for work.
I already talked to my mother today, so she won’t call.
I won’t talk to another soul until noon-ish tomorrow.
Watch, a mass die off will happen tonight and I won’t know until tomorrow afternoon sometime, because I wasn’t expecting to see anybody anyway.
I like people, I do. I like having conversations. What I don’t like are angsty or angry or woeful soliloquies, which is what happens most often, in which my participation consists of silent nodding and blinking.
I’ve been told my whole life that I’m a good listener. Grëat.
That thing where two people jump on a train of thought and ride it till the rails run out? Yeah, I miss that. I believe it’s called a “conversation”?