Lobstas and Staahms Oh my!

I guess I’ll write the history of the past summer.

June: not really summer until school was out and my room cleaned. I was late doing that as usual. I remember going to Olde Towne Steak and Seafood for our anniversary on the 26th. It was a nice time, I bought a new blouse to wear and haven’t worn it since. I had stuffed shrimp, but they were only mediocre.

July: pretty much a blur. I remember a lunch or two with friends. A crab feast with friends. Several unproductive days of wallowing and self pity and turmoil. Staring into space. Not going outside since when I did, I literally could not breathe it was so humid and hot. Scott away for a million days (ok, 10) and going to visit him in D.C. Mainly to use the swimming pool at the Hilton. Scaring people with my excema at the Hilton. Dinner at Ruths Chris. Interesting, expensive, very slow service. A shell in my gazpacho with crab meat – I should have complained, but was still too depressed and apathetic. Reading, all about FDR and his betrayal of Eleanor. Poor Eleanor. By late July, I had the revelation: “If Eleanor could endure that childhood and marriage and sum up the courage/gumption to impact the lives of others so positively, then there is no excuse for me to wallow any longer.” And then: August hit!

Finished a painting. Went to San Antonio with no fear of flying, until that landing in San Antonio! Loved having that wonderful baby to play with and hold. A real life enriching experience. Laughing my guts out at the wit of his big brother. Our family always has someone who has a quick wit, and I see he has that trait, too. Awesome! Some turbulence of many forms on the way home and upon arrival, and then a quick 10 hour turn around and on another flight, this time to Boston.

Side note: I have a genetic propensity to dislike Boston. I can’t explain it much. It is ugly, dirty, ill planned, and just gross. And, don’t get me started on the Red Sox. Ok, so Harvard may be awesome and even Boston College, but I’ve not been there as a student or even a friend/parent of one. We managed to land and procure our rental car unscathed.

Our arrival at our final destination (which is confidential, lest I inundate “our place” with people) was glorious. Cool, crisp, blue and lavender. Green and lush with a salty wind. Paradise. A simple cottage – a deck, a sreened porch big enough for two, inside a tiny table for two, a couple soft chairs, a queen bed, dresser, shower, loo, and a tiny kitchen with a retro fridge – redone in an awesome bright candy apple red. Knotty pine, no a/c, perhaps some cable TV?, no cell service. Wow. Owner and his wife in the big house with two gorgeous pure bred Irish Setters: Rita and Lucy. Veggie patches and ocean views. By Monday evening we were unplugged and relaxed. I’ll spare details, but we didn’t argue, spat or fight at all for the duration. Hurricane? We had no idea. I had not followed news, no internet really – slow so I only updated photos and facebook once a day. If we went into a town we might have checked something, but that was only for wine/food runs.  I had a lobster one night, we walked on the rocks on the ocean, on the beach, drove past gorgeous Victorian seaside mansions, read books, sat in silence and stared at the sailboats going by, watched the lobstermen bring in hauls, and did other private things that were fun and stress reducing.  Paradise!

And then. Thursday evening, our cottage neighbor, an impossibly nuclear family from MA with identical twin girl kindergarteners (beeeeuuuteeeful!)  mentioned to us that we must be worried about the staahm headin up. And then. The landlord and I had a conversation in which he ended by saying: Ya naht goin anywhayaa if ya don’ leave tomorra. I chose denial. Head in sand approach. Scott took heed. (He’s all smart and shit). He called Delta. We were offered a flight out Thursday night (we would have to leave immediately – and seriously? It was 70 with fog rolling in….duh, I wasn’t budging!) another on Friday morning…we would have to leave our place at 4 am and it was already like 8, and I didn’t want to get up early, and there were no two seats together and since my fear of flying had returned, thanks to American Airlines, I refused. So, the next was Saturday am, a few hours earlier than our original flight. We snapped it up with no fees, and we felt proud and safe.

So, we treasured the foggy evening and gorgeous Friday. Went back the beach, did a few other things like tour a historic home in Portsmouth. It was once home to a Whipple, however, not one I am directly descended from, but might be indirectly. Found a really old cemetary, enjoyed the gorgeous day oblivious. I noted some staahm prep: awning removal, loose item securing. But, I remained indifferent.

Then Saturday dawned. We were both up before alarms. We got dressed, packed and headed south for Boston. Clusterfuck lied there in wait for our juicy limbs. All seemed well upon arrival. Our plane was at the gate, and flight was scheduled on time. I perched in my leather chair, book in hand and dug in for the wait. The big flat screen TV in front of me began to show those pretty, colorful radar storm images over the map of the U.S. Scott was oblivious. I am not sure he knows the map of the U.S. I began to hyperventilate, get naseous and cry. Fun! I held out until noon, then I went to the bar. Upon swallowing my last swig of a decent red, Scott appeared and said, “Our flight is cancelled.” I guess he expected me to be upset, but what I felt was relief. No flying!

Then, reality hit. We took this trip as a lark, spending all of our reserves foolishly since we were really stressed/depressed and had never taken a vacation just the two of us. We were mostly broke. Hee hee…

Sooooooooo…. we waited in line, and Delta, being so kind once I said I was a public school teacher expected in class on Monday morning, gave a full refund! (It would take 3 days to go through). We tried Amtrak, all sold out (and eventually all cancelled). We contemplated staying: hotels 250+ a night, plus food – not happening. And so renting a car was the choice. We tried to extend our rental from Alamo. We had a car for a week for 130, but they wanted 650 for one more day! We had no mor e room on credit cards and if you know rental car companies – they don’t take cash.

Long story shortened: thanks to my mom, Marian, who wired up help to us in Marian, MA (fun fact) we got a car. A tiny Kia Rio. Surely strong enough to drive through a hurricane?

A major marital battle later, and we drove, err, I drove being a control freak, through MA, CT and NY all in the upper bands of Irene. We saw an overturned car, flooded off ramps, white out conditions, got blown off the road by semi-trailers, and saw many a downed tree. An adventure that was not fun.

Just south of Harrisburg, PA, about 36 hours after we started the ordeal, we saw sunshine.

From then it was smoothish sailing. We returned the rental, got our car, and picked up take out pizza on the way home. And a bottle of wine.

In the driveway, I tripped on a downed limb, saved the wine (duh) and dropped the pizza. Then we entered our kitchen to find a sea of olive oil from a broken decanter that happened either in a) the freak 6.0 earthquake in VA while we were gone (!?) or b) a freaked out cat from the hurricane.

We went to bed, got up 6 hours later and returned to normal. Perhaps we were not meant for vacations?

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