We left New Hampshire late morning on our way to Connecticut to spend our last night before flying home. The traffic between Portsmouth and Hartford was absolutely crazy. We had a couple of close calls. Once I looked over to notice we were almost out of gas which was stressful. I was hoping to stop at a gas station with a bathroom, but no luck. We had to stop at a wayside.
Paul drove 45 minutes out of the way to eat at the chain restaurant Arabella works for at home. It was a nice gesture on his part, but I was feeling quite hangry as we didn’t eat lunch until 3 PM.
We arrived at our Airbnb at check in time. This time we stayed at a shared house. The top floor was ours and the host lived downstairs. I didn’t realize this at first as I made my way downstairs and opened the fridge. I was rather embarrassed once I found out and ran back upstairs. The host came home after work and introduced himself to us. He was a kind and quirky man and I instantly felt calm and at peace in his house.
We decided to go out for appetizers on our last night since we had such a late lunch. Arabella left to go for a walk by herself at night. When I tried to coax her to come with us for our last meal, she replied angrily that she is 18 and can do what she wants. Apparently going out to eat with us is not what she wanted. I had a cup of soup. The next morning the host made us a huge breakfast. He said that he had nightmares about it. He dreamt the coffee pot had a hole in it. He also had this dream that I had a whole bunch of little kids he had to cook for. I laughed and said now that was truly a nightmare. I couldn’t get Arabella up to join us. I left behind the food we bought the day before because I didn’t know breakfast was included.
Our vacation was over. It didn’t quite go as expected but we tried to make the most of it. Paul and I agreed that next time we would take a trip alone together.
Honestly, I didn’t know if I was in Connecticut before or not. But this time I crossed it off my bucket list of states visited for sure.
I think I was 19 maybe 20 when I went out east. I was dating this guy named Brad. He was in the Navy. It was a long distance relationship for the most part. His mom’s house was an hour from my parent’s house. His college was 2 hours away from mine. Then there was the time he spent 6 months at sea. Once he graduated he was sent to a Naval base in Rhode Island. We dated almost 3 years. I guess we just couldn’t sustain a long distance relationship on letters and long distance phone calls when he wasn’t overseas. But anyway…
Back in the early 90’s Brad came home for Christmas break. Maybe that was the year he had the little jewelry box under the tree which disappointingly at the time contained a diamond necklace. He was a nice guy but we were too much alike to for it to work out anyway. We had the same personality. We were perfectionistic. Neither of us liked to talk on the phone and we were both left handed. But that year after Christmas I flew back with him to his Naval base in R.I.
I don’t remember much about the trip, just strange things. We flew into Boston and took a limo back with several other passengers I didn’t know. Brad was gone during the day and I stayed at his house by myself. He shared a place with his step-cousin and his wife and kid whom I didn’t know. His cousin was always stationed somewhere else. It seemed kind of weird actually that he actually lived with someone else’s wife and kid. But the wife and kid were gone the whole time I was there. So I sat all day by myself. I did a lot of laundry but never cleaned the lint tray which I got yelled at for from Brad by the wife when she got back. I remember I read the book Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. Why do I remember such crazy things? At night we watched Beavis and Butthead.
We drove around and looked at the mansions along the ocean and walked the cobblestone streets. I was there in January. It was really cold and snowed. The snow stayed on the ground which seemed to be rare as children looked excitedly for something to make into a sled. We went dancing in a club that played dance and rap music by a DJ with a record player that played backwards a bit to make the classic rap sound.
We spent some time in Boston. I hated it there. There was a woman that made a snide remark about me to her friend as we were entering a store. I was a small town girl and I was afraid there. I was not used to gas stations that you had to pre-pay gas for where someone stood at a register behind bulletproof glass. I felt it was a dirty and unsafe city. I wonder if I still would feel that way.
I remember there was turbulence on the flight back home. I remember my parents picking me up late at night from the airport. I remember it was 50 below. They brought me my warmest jacket just in case the car broke down. Those were the days we thought we would and probably could freeze to death if our car broke down on some lonely country road. I remember times it was so cold you were afraid to turn off the engine to fill up with gas. Sometimes a car wouldn’t start in that kind of cold, especially if they were low on gas. I remember getting stuck behind a train for a long time and the couple in the truck in front of us were full on making out while my parents and I sat in awkward silence.
It’s almost been 30 years and I remember all of those things. But I can’t remember if I’d been to Connecticut or not. I remember being in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I remember crossing a bridge and seeing a sign that welcomed me to another state I’d never been in. It thought it might be CT. But of all the things I remembered, I can’t remember that.
One thing I can say for sure, I’ve been to Connecticut now.
It was time to head back south. We needed to check out of our Airbnb at 9 AM. Before leaving I needed to start a load of sheets. The notes also said to take the garbage to the curb. The dumpster was overflowing when we got there flies swarming in circles around the lid. It was expensive. The bed uncomfortably sagging so I would roll into Paul during the night. The coffee pot didn’t even work. I was wondering why it was full of stagnant water the first time I tried to fill it. But the host was nicer than most.
We had plans to spend one night in downtown Portsmouth at another Airbnb. This I assured everyone would be the nicest place because it had the highest price. From Bar Harbor, we decided to stop in Bath for lunch at a pizza place where I was able to order lobster on my pizza. Honestly I wasn’t crazy about the lobster on my pizza. It didn’t seem to belong on pizza next to my pepperoni any more than fish would.
After we sat down and ordered our pizzas, Arabella said she was ashamed of us for not feeding her. She was practically starving. WTF???!!?! She yelled at us that we never had food in the house and was embarrassed to tell her friends we wouldn’t feed her. She said all of these things while we were ordering our food. Her accusations of neglect and abuse were very upsetting to us. Then after lunch, we stopped at the grocery store (because where else would you take your kid if you are not feeding them???). She verbally attacked me in the grocery store in front of everyone.
Thankfully our trip was almost over. I was sad because I thought it would be a good time to bond with Arabella. Maybe if we take her on a trip she would appreciate everything we do for her. Maybe if she goes to a residential mental health facility that we pay for out of pocket she wouldn’t struggle as much with mental illness. The time for bargaining and denial passed. Our daughter was getting worse, not better. It was time to face that.
When we got to Portsmouth, Arabella was exhausted. She said she was going to take a nap and she probably wouldn’t be up in time for supper. At times she has been known to crash, sleeping 12 hours. Maybe she would wake up a new person. In the meantime, Paul and I decided to take a walk around town. There weren’t a lot of shops open so we didn’t stop. Instead we took a walk down by the river and crossed the bridge. Our mood one of mutual sadness. Something was really wrong with our daughter.
We came back to the Airbnb to pick up my mom and Arabella for supper. Arabella was still sleeping and didn’t want to go with. We went to another seafood restaurant. It was really busy and the service was slow. The bartender was also our server and waited on all of the tables around us. The food was unremarkable. The ambiance was nice though.
We got back to the Airbnb later than I thought I would. I brought back some extra food for Arabella in case she woke up and was hungry. When we got back, Arabella was up. She was dressed up wearing makeup and a mini skirt. She turned up her nose at the food I was offering and said she was going to go out to get something by herself.
Although the shops were closed, there was live music playing that we could hear outside of our bedroom window late into the evening. It wasn’t in the least annoying. I thought Portsmouth was a charming and clean town. I was really struck we were not approached by panhandlers at all on our trip. I think the biggest problem we faced was parking (especially in Bar Harbor). I can’t imagine trying to find a parking spot in peak season.
Most of the Airbnb’s we stayed at were old. Some of them were older than the state we live in. The staircase in the Airbnb in Portsmouth was so small there was no way you could carry a dresser up those steps. Comparable to where we live, the cost exceeded the quality. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving a review saying it was too expensive because maybe that is the norm for the East Coast. The houses did have a lot of character though and it was an experience.
From Kennebunk, we made our way to Bar Harbor. On the way, we stopped in Bangor for lunch and to snap a couple of pictures outside of Stephen King’s house.
We stayed at another Airbnb a couple miles from Acadia National Park for 3 nights. On the morning of our first full day my mom, Paul, and I checked out Acadia. First of all, the park is huge. It took us a long time just to figure out where to go to get a park sticker. Our navigation didn’t work well on our phones. The park was packed, there wasn’t a space available in the main lot or the overflow lot to purchase a park pass.
We thought the park wouldn’t be as busy as it was in the end of September after the school year started. The parking was awful. There really wasn’t anywhere to park along the trails or scenic turnoffs. We did try to stop at one place and our monster SUV hung out a little. We were told to move by a park ranger so we didn’t even get any photos. Thankfully there was one place we were able to stop that was really scenic where multiple cars parked on the side of the road. At that point we were starting to get frustrated by the traffic and parking situation. We probably wouldn’t have wanted to go back if it wasn’t for this view.
The free park map was also really difficult to read if you are not familiar with the area. It did list hiking trails but nothing about the trails in general such as length or difficulty. If you are going to visit specifically to hike I would do a lot of research in advance. We were winging it a bit because we were going with my mom and daughter who don’t have the stamina of Paul and I.
The second day we decided to go to Bar Island. It’s a pretty cool experience because you can walk across the land in low tide to the island. In high tide the path to the island is totally covered with water. I would say it was a moderate hike as it was mountainous. You had to walk uphill on the way there and downhill on the way back on the island. There wasn’t a lot of flat surface on the island itself which was a little more challenging for my mom. The path to the island was rocky.
We spent the afternoon visiting shops and buying gifts in Bar Harbor. Then we ate lobster on our last evening in Maine.
It’s been an unseasonably warm week. I love this weather, too warm to turn on the heat but not too hot to need the A/C. Plus the trees changing colors has been at its peak.
Taking care of myself by going to my therapist and cranio-sacral massage therapist. I even fell asleep on the table for awhile which is unheard of for me in the morning.
Supper with my best friend.
When I got home after meeting with my best friend, I got a text from Arabella saying she left home for good. She wouldn’t tell me where she is staying. Although I will talk about this in another post, I do feel a lot of relief that she is not living here anymore.
Even though she left, Arabella attended her appointments with the psychiatrist this week. They are switching up her medication from the phone conversations I’ve had with them regarding her mental health.
Arabella is coming home to talk to us tonight.
After Arabella left, Angel and I went thrifting. She wanted me to have a nice time and not talk about anything stressful. Angel has been very supportive.
The following night Alex and his girlfriend came over for supper and games. I know Alex knew I was hurt by Arabella as well so he came over to visit Paul and I on a Friday night when he usually hangs out with friends.
Yesterday I went wedding dress shopping with Angel. She found her dress. It was a very special time with her.
Last night my best friend came over with her family for supper and games.
I am grateful for Angel and Alex and our best friends to help Paul and I through this difficult time with Arabella. We have a small support group but they are wonderful and we love and appreciate them.
Also this week, too close to home, there was a woman who was assaulted by a stranger on a trail while carrying her newborn. The baby was left near the trail and the woman was found nearby thankfully alive. No woman is safe until this man is caught. The following morning I went for a run. There was a man in a truck that pulled over as I was approaching him. He got out of his truck to adjust something hanging out of the back while I was walking on the other side of his truck. He scared the living crap out of me. I didn’t know why he got out of his truck and was approaching me at first. I started to panic. Even though I was on high alert to danger, I didn’t stand a chance against this guy in a relatively remote area of my run. I’m grateful for my safety as a runner as I’ve faced various dangers. Before the attack, I was even thinking about going trail running by myself. It’s just not safe anymore. I’m really sad that the world has to be this way. It’s horrible what happened to that woman. Anyone capable of attacking a woman with a baby in her arms is pure evil. I’m grateful she is alive and her baby wasn’t hurt.
Sometimes life happens and you need to just sit and gaze into the darkness inside of you for awhile. You have to face it to keep fighting.
I can tell when I’m really stressed out. I can’t sleep and when I do it’s filled with nightmares. My stomach is on a burning and raging fire. I thought maybe I had an ulcer this time. Maybe I had finally reached the end of my rope. I gazed into the water at Kennebunk and cried. I didn’t know if I could continue holding on.
But somehow I’ve been fighting this battle my whole life and never once tried to take my own life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it sometimes a lot.
When I told my mom I felt this way after she asked what I was thinking about, she told me she would try to give me the support I needed. When we got home from our trip my mom was on the war path. She tried to beat a lot of dead horses. She told people I was thinking of killing myself and they needed to help me which infuriated me because it wasn’t exactly true.
She told my brother Luke he needed to be there for me. My brother Luke walked away from my family almost a year ago. I invited his family over for Christmas last year. We even put the date on the calendar. Then after he found out about Arabella, they cancelled. It wasn’t about COVID because his whole family had it in November. He didn’t want his daughters to be exposed to my screwed up family especially when his wife Emily has the perfect family. Then the few times I did see him up north this summer I felt criticized and condemned by him.
Then my mom went and told my dad that I was ready to jump off the Kennebunk bridge. I am one step away from killing myself and he needs to step up and call me. My dad made every excuse in the book not to call me so my mom kicked him out of the house for a couple days until he finally called me. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t know the only reason he called was to get back in my mom’s good grace. It was the first phone call I got from him in over 3 years.
Maybe my mom even told my Aunt Jan because I got a message from her that she was thinking of me. I could tell how much she was thinking of me when she told me I wasn’t welcome at the family reunion because of my vaccination status. I am about ready to tell everyone to piss off.
I told my mom that it meant nothing to have people reach out to me out of obligation, force, or manipulation. My personal problems are really none of their concern. I can take care of myself like I’ve been doing just fine my whole entire damned life. I told her she had no right to share things I’ve said in confidence with anyone else especially since I was trying to be open and honest with her about my grief over my daughter’s mental illness. I told her if I wanted to tell them I would’ve.
I don’t want to be too hard on my mom because I sincerely believe her intentions were to try to help me. But she is driving me crazier. I felt stressed out when my dad called not comforted. None of this is supportive to me, it’s stressful. Telling people I want to kill myself. Sheesh! She did buy me flowers though. There’s that.
This morning I asked my daughter Angel if she thought I was going to kill myself. She looked stunned and said no. Angel is really supportive. She is a good listener. That’s all I want my mom to do. I want her to listen. I don’t want her to try to control things in my best interests. I don’t want her to tell everyone a sob story about me to try to drum up support. That just makes me feel worse.
From Vermont we drove a couple hours to Kennebunk, Maine. I found our lodging last minute after our Airbnb cancelled on us. It ended up being our favorite place to stay. We stayed in the penthouse suite and the elevator took us to the luxurious top floor of a newer building.
Parking was tight in the little lot with the monster SUV. I directed Paul backwards into the spot planning to take our luggage out of the trunk before he pulled it all the way in. Arabella screamed at Paul saying she wanted to get the luggage out from the side door instead, that her plan made the most sense. She was angry again.
Despite that, we enjoyed most of our stay. Although the forecast said more rain, it was rather warm and sunny on Paul’s birthday. It only rained at night. A parade went through town the morning of his birthday. We went out for his birthday and we all ordered a whole lobster for the first time. Then we spent the day in Oak Orchard Beach. Arabella went to the arcade. We went to the few shops that were open. It was like a ghost town. There were signs that said you had to pay for parking but there wasn’t an attendant to pay. There was an amusement park full of closed rides. We did walk the beach for awhile but the water was much too cold to swim. Even the restrooms were closed for the season due to lack of staff to clean them. If we wanted a bathroom we had to stop and get a drink at the bar.
We did walk around Kennebunk quite a bit as well. Even though we were in Kennebunk and Oak Orchard Beach on the weekend, most places were closed for the season in the end of September.
I would like to say our trip was going well, but it really wasn’t. I still wasn’t sleeping and awoke crying from nightmares. Arabella was up in the middle of the night making noise that also woke us up. She started sneaking out by herself at night while we were in Kennebunk. In her room I saw tons of junk food and a lighter sitting on her dresser. Then she told us she no longer wanted breast reduction surgery, she wanted back surgery.
I was so upset. What did I expect? I hoped her mental illness would take a vacation too. I worried that my mom was having a horrible time. I became jealous that she probably had more fun on the trip she took with my brother Luke and his family a couple months back.
There was a little park on the Main St. in Kennebunk next to the dam. I went under the bridge with my mom and Paul. I stayed until it got dark after everyone else left and cried. I just didn’t want to do this anymore. I was feeling depressed with everything that was happening with my daughter. She was acting hateful to all of us and I just wanted to have a fun memorable trip. I lost a lot of hope that everything was going to be alright. Maybe my expectations were too high.
The next morning Paul, my mom, and I went to breakfast while Arabella slept in. My mom confronted me asking what I was feeling and thinking the night before as I sat watching the water under the bridge. She said that I scared her. I told her I was overwhelmed with grief about my daughter so much so that at times I feel like I can’t go on. I’ve reached my breaking point and it is destroying me. Paul told her that more than anything I just needed her support.
The night before we left I had a dream that was too good to be true. So much so I considered it another nightmare. I dreamt my dad picked my son and I up in a van. My dad was loving and had a good conversation with Alex. In real life, my son hasn’t spoken to my dad in almost 2 years since discovering his crime. He never wants to see my dad again. In my dream, my dad dropped my son and I off at an apartment complex in a crime ridden ghetto. Instead of getting shot, a gangster gave me the shirt off his back for my trip. It was a fairytale dream that left me feeling sad.
I awoke early after the dream to finish packing. We had to leave early to drive to the airport a couple hours away. I had a hard time waking Arabella up and we ended up leaving later than I wanted to. I didn’t even check to see if she turned off her lights. We took my small car and couldn’t fit all our luggage in the trunk. My mom’s suitcase was wedged between my mom and daughter in the backseat.
The drive and check in at the airport was rather uneventful until we got on the plane. The pilot announced there was bad weather in Chicago and we would have a delay where we might have to deplane. We only had an hour to make our connecting flight. I could only hope that our connecting flight was delayed as well. Thankfully we were delayed less than we anticipated and our connecting flight was also delayed. But that also meant we would get to our destination later.
Although I wore pants and a sweatshirt, Arabella was hot. She decided to wear only a tank top and short shorts that were several sizes too small. Half of her large cleavage hung out and her cutting scars on her arms and legs were fully visible. She seemed to like the attention her appearance was receiving. I was rather embarrassed but she is 18 and not open to feedback.
We got to our destination at the Connecticut airport as the sun was starting to set. The car rental company said we could upgrade from a midsize car to a large SUV and considering our tight car ride to the airport and several hours of driving on our trip, we took it.
We were spending our first night in Vermont which was another hour and a half drive from the airport. It wasn’t easy to drive the huge SUV as dusk was nearing, an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar vehicle. We wanted to find somewhere to eat as we neared the end of our drive for the evening. We wanted to eat something local to Vermont since we were only spending one night there. Arabella wanted to eat at the chain restaurant she worked at at home but no one else wanted to. We wanted to try something new so we kept driving. We ended up out in the middle of nowhere stopping at the only restaurant that looked open.
Arabella was angry because we didn’t stop where she wanted to eat. She also got angry because her dad said he would not buy her alcohol. She was pissy during the whole meal and only ordered dessert to eat. Afterwards, Paul talked to her alone and apologized that he did not stop to eat where she wanted as it was her vacation too. I didn’t think he needed to because he wasn’t out of line, she was. We both wanted everyone to get along, but that wasn’t going to happen.
The rest of the car ride was very difficult. Paul drove trying to find our Airbnb. We were out in the middle of nowhere. It was pouring outside. The roads were winding and mountainous. For the rest of the ride, Arabella attacked Paul. She accused him of being a horrible father. She said he was abusive. She was angry that we never gave her an actual graduation gift like a stuffed animal although we said the trip was her gift and we were spending a lot of money to take her. She screamed at Paul while the rest of us sat in silence. I was angry at Arabella and worried about what the rest of the trip would be like. I felt sorry for Paul because he was bending over backwards trying to be nice to everyone and he was viciously attacked.
We got to our Airbnb which resembled an old haunted farmhouse. It was cool and damp. It poured all night and the rain ended just before we left. In the morning we found that we were between two rundown houses. It was strange at the house we rented because two of the bedrooms didn’t have curtains on the windows. The host was really nice though and said we could help ourselves to anything in the fridge or cupboards. We found some Vermont pancake mix and Paul ran to the store to buy maple syrup. He made us a nice breakfast in the morning then we were on our way.
Arabella didn’t have strep the day before we left for vacation.
The airline told us that our flight into Chicago would be delayed due to a storm, but we ended up getting to the airport in plenty of time to catch our connecting flight.
My kids at home did not fight.
My son’s roommate turned 21 while we were gone. Twenty one always scares me a bit because although they tend to party hard as it is, 21 takes it up a notch. They did have a party while we were gone but were safe and cleaned up after themselves. It’s the best I could’ve hoped for.
I checked visiting Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire off my bucket list and maybe Connecticut as well. I can’t remember if I’ve been there or not and I’ve for sure been there now. I only have 11 states left to go before I’ve visited them all.
Being back at home and sleeping in my own bed.
Fresh lobster. My mom, Arabella, Paul, and I ate a whole lobster for the first time on Paul’s birthday.
We brought gifts home and Alex seemed really happy that we didn’t forget about his girlfriend.
I’m grateful that my husband did most of the driving. The traffic was horrible and we ended up upgrading our rental to get a larger SUV which made parking (which was already bad) and driving more difficult.
We did some hiking at Acadia State Park, shopping, and sightseeing. I have tons of great pictures I hope to share with you.
My daughter’s wedding is now less than a year away. Angel asked me if I could help her with the wedding planning which I would love to do.
We are going wedding dress shopping this weekend.
There are several times when I felt like I was near my breaking point over the past couple weeks, but here I am.
My mom did a lot better than I expected her to on this trip. I’m grateful we didn’t have any ER visits or major problems. Travelling with Arabella was rather challenging. We had to keep telling ourselves that this might be the last big trip we take with her since this was a high school graduation gift. We tried to make the best of it.
Arabella has her psych evaluation this week. I am finally hoping for some answers.
Fall and the beauty of falling leaves and letting go.
Oh my gosh, I got carded at a restaurant. It’s been a couple of years now. I’m 47 but there is someone out there who thinks I could pass as under 21.
I’m grateful for employees that show up for work. I thought Bar Harbor was a horrible place to park and bathrooms are really hard to come by. The public bathrooms are just filthy. There was a woman cleaning the walls of the bathroom stall. Someone made a mess I would prefer not to think about. It was very disgusting, but the woman cleaning was so pleasant about doing her job and keeping things nice for people that I gave her a tip. It felt good to bring her some happiness as she really deserved it for the thankless job she was doing.
I’m back!! I will probably write about our trip over the next couple of days.
Here I am waiting at the pharmacy. We are leaving tomorrow and Arabella is sick again. Thankfully the strep test came back negative. But she does have tonsillitis and the doctor wants to put her on steroids. At least it’s not COVID as she had that last month. Never a dull moment.
My mom said she wasn’t doing the best either. She said her heart was racing again and she is afraid her cancer came back. Seriously I’d be surprised if there isn’t an ER visit as a stop on this trip.
Besides being worried about my mom and daughter, I am anxious that my kids at home are going to fight. I’m trying to calm down and tell myself that this is going to be a fun trip. If nothing else, with my mom and Arabella it should be an adventure.
I have been so stressed out lately I’m not sure it’s even worth it. I know, I know. I should worry about myself and let everyone else figure their own lives out. I haven’t been taking good care of myself with all this worry but I’m trying.
Nothing that happens will be the end of the world unless the world really does end and all this stuff really wouldn’t matter anymore anyway.
I am excited to travel again and I’ll be sure to tell you of our adventures on the road.