The last night, Connecticut

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.

Crossed that one off for sure

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.

A night in New Hampshire

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.

Our first night, Vermont

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.

Gratitude week 91 and 92

  1. Arabella didn’t have strep the day before we left for vacation.
  2. 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.
  3. My kids at home did not fight.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Being back at home and sleeping in my own bed.
  7. Clean sheets.
  8. Fresh lobster. My mom, Arabella, Paul, and I ate a whole lobster for the first time on Paul’s birthday.
  9. We brought gifts home and Alex seemed really happy that we didn’t forget about his girlfriend.
  10. 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.
  11. We did some hiking at Acadia State Park, shopping, and sightseeing. I have tons of great pictures I hope to share with you.
  12. 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.
  13. We are going wedding dress shopping this weekend.
  14. There are several times when I felt like I was near my breaking point over the past couple weeks, but here I am.
  15. 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.
  16. Arabella has her psych evaluation this week. I am finally hoping for some answers.
  17. Fall and the beauty of falling leaves and letting go.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. I’m back!! I will probably write about our trip over the next couple of days.

Gratitude week 90

  1. Summer! The last couple of days the weather has been wonderful with warm days and cool nights.
  2. I just finished an excellent memoir of a girl that struggles with borderline, bipolar, and anorexia called Loud in the House of Myself. It was very personal, well written, and should’ve been a best seller. I just started a new memoir about a guy who struggles with extreme addiction to crack and alcohol. It’s been a hard book to read.
  3. Arabella still has her job. Her manager sent her home after she showed up late. Tardiness has been something she has struggled with for quite a long time. I’m so glad I don’t have to wake her up for school anymore.
  4. Yesterday my husband and I took some friends out sailing. Afterwards we went out to eat to celebrate the September birthdays including my husbands. Thankfully the weather was perfect.
  5. We are leaving for our trip in a couple days. I am excited to check a couple more states off my bucket list.
  6. I have an appointment for a hair cut and am going to get my nails done. I always look forward to a little pampering.
  7. Supper with my son and his new girlfriend got postponed until tomorrow. But she did come over with my son to do some laundry this past week. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen my son do laundry. I sat down and talked with them for about an hour and she seems really nice.
  8. I saw a wild turkey in our yard this morning. I’m grateful for our house and ample opportunities to see nature. I’ve seen turkeys now along with deer and foxes, plenty of birds, and even the 4 frogs that live in our decorative pond.

Gratitude week 88

  1. Summer. I’m trying to grab what little we’ve got left of it.
  2. Sleeping in my own bed.
  3. Actually sleeping fairly well last night for the first time in a couple of weeks.
  4. A fun last sailing trip of the season.
  5. Checking another marina off our bucket list. It was out in the middle of nowhere.
  6. Having a nice quiet holiday weekend at home.
  7. Finishing a really good memoir on heroin addiction and starting a new book.
  8. Having a fluffy clean dog after giving our pooch a bath.
  9. For another school year that started without any kids in school. It’s very freeing not having to be tied down to a school schedule. Not to mention all the chaos with COVID. Not having to fight with kids to get up early, curfews, grades, issues with friends, after school activities, weekend school events, transportation, mean teachers, endless school supplies, sport equipment, practice, extracurricular fees, difficult parents, peer pressure, and homework. I’m done with that now after almost 20 years!
  10. For the changing of the seasons and transitioning into my second favorite season, fall. For warm days and cool nights. Campfires and preparing for the cold days to come.

Vacation frustration

We came back early from our sailing trip. I’m finally starting to get over the frustration and disappointment of our latest adventure.

I guess it started before we even left. Little things. Arabella’s car had a driver’s side window that went off track and was stuck all the way down. That happened the night before we got 4 inches of rain and we found out about it after it had been raining for most of the day. We had a pool pump that kept flipping the breaker. Dan switched out the breaker. After that the pool pump worked but the boiler kept erroring out. My husband was concerned there could be a gas leak. So we called the heating/cooling guys out before we left. I threw on my clothes from the night before but I was scrambling because I wanted to wash them before we left. So after I thought I was done talking to them I put my robe back on and threw my clothes in the wash. I frantically threw enough clothes for a week in my suitcase as the heating guys told me there wasn’t a gas leak while I was standing around in my robe. Why didn’t they tell my husband this?

Meanwhile, he was on the phone with the group of sailors we were planning on crossing Lake Michigan with. We decided to delay the trip by one day due to weather. I was rushing as fast as I could only to halt in my tracks finding out the rest of the day I no longer had any plans. I felt angry and frustrated. But, hey, at least we didn’t have a gas leak.

The weather was balmy hot. It was unpredictable, volatile, and unsettling. We watched the news late that night and the news forecast called for a chance of severe weather all the next day. We didn’t know if we would even be able to make it to Sturgeon Bay, the meeting place for all the sailors before departing for the cruise the following day. We went to bed feeling anxious. We would have to try to leave early again the next morning but we had a lot to do before leaving. Meanwhile my daughter Arabella told me she went to the doctor because she had a UTI.

The next morning Angel wasn’t feeling good either, a head cold or tonsillitis possibly. We left as early as we could though and made it to Sturgeon Bay in our sailboat with an hour to spare before the severe weather hit. I was a nervous wreck. There were tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings all over the place. I was more worried about the kids at home than I was about being on a boat. Angel said the tornado sirens were going off and the skies were as dark as night during the day. To make matters worse, Arabella started throwing up and went to the ER thinking maybe she had a kidney infection. We also had a business emergency where an accident happened and a piece of equipment got broken.

But the plan still was to cross Lake Michigan the next morning between 5 and 6 AM. The trip across was going to take somewhere around 12 hours and we would be out of cell coverage a big portion of it. It was a horrible night but we were still dedicated to making the trip because Angel was taking care of things at home. Nothing seemed life threatening. The ER did a lot of tests that didn’t find anything wrong and that Arabella should just keep taking her antibiotics as prescribed. We couldn’t tap out easily because we had 3 passengers on our boat. Some of them had to take vacation days for this trip. Plus we were excited to go because none of us has crossed the big lake before.

I had a restless night’s sleep only to be awakened at 4:50 AM by a knock on our boat. There was a problem. The weather radio predicted 8ft waves the last portion of our trip. We decided not to cross that day and head up to Washington Island, then cross the following day. We sailed up Door County lake side and the waters were rough even close to shore.

When we got to the marina I received a call from my daughter saying that Arabella had to go back to the ER. She was really sick and throwing up. I was furious. Everyone was relaxing and having a few drinks so I decided to take a walk. I was angry with God. Why can’t we just get away for a few days and have respite from the stress? I was plotting how to get back home. Maybe I could hitch a ride with someone leaving the island on the car ferry. Then Paul and the rest of the crew could go on as planned without me. Later that evening the group got together for supper and planned the following day. It was there I got the text that Arabella tested positive for COVID. Again, I was angry. She finally got tested for COVID the third day she went in. They gave her an X-ray, CT scan, pelvic exam, STD tests, strep test, blood work, urine test BEFORE they thought to test her for COVID. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with those people??

So here my daughter is at home really sick with COVID even though she is 18 and fully vaccinated. They scheduled an antibody infusion for the next day. If that didn’t work she was going to have to be hospitalized. I was a wreck. We told the passengers on our boat and the people we were travelling with. Everyone was understanding even though there was a chance that through us they could be exposed. Some offered rides home if needed. The weather for the following day didn’t look great to cross the lake so everyone tapped out and we decided to start heading back towards home.

I slept horribly the whole night. I tossed and turned. I woke up cold and shivering. Was everyone cold that night? Or was I getting sick? Was that just a tickle in my throat? A sniffle in my nose? What if we had to sail rough waters sick? I had nightmares all night that I had COVID but awoke the next morning tired but feeling alright. We spent the next night in a marina. The following day we anchored out at an island. Although the shore was rocky and hard to walk on, we wanted to spend the night because it was simply beautiful. Maybe we could still save this trip after all. The infusion worked wonderfully and Arabella was feeling a lot better. Then we started worrying about going home and getting exposed since neither Paul nor I have had COVID yet.

We were looking forward to spending the night anchored out at the island but Paul said it was no good. It was going to be too windy so we headed back to our marina. Meanwhile, Paul and I were arguing. It was too stressful. I never wanted to go sailing again. I thought we were going to cross the big lake. I thought things would be good at home for a few days. I thought work would be okay without us. Boy was I wrong! I was so disappointed. I think we all were. Then when we were almost back to our home port we came across a smoking power boat. We thought they were on fire. We quickly grabbed whatever fire extinguisher we could find but I guess they were okay. One of their engines blew out. It was rather terrifying though to think we might have to do a water rescue. Or maybe the boat would blow up.

Then we came home to face COVID. I really hope this next week goes a lot better!

Distant shores

I promised I would share some of the pictures I took from our last sailing trip.

We ended up delaying our trip by a day due to storms. The following day the water was still choppy at first.

(Apparently I haven’t shared a lot of pictures lately because WP changed everything again so bear with me.)

A distant lighthouse located somewhere between Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

We visited a new to me marina. On the water life isn’t too busy. It’s nice to get away from all the noise.

Sometimes all we see is a distant sailboat on the endless water.

On the water I can experience peace mixed with adventure. The next evening we anchored out.

We made our way up to Chamber’s Island where we took our kayaks to land and explored a lighthouse.

We jumped into the ice cold waters to cool off on a warm enough day.

It’s really neat to see huge cargo ships on a voyage. I wonder if they think it is cool to see us too…

One of my biggest passions in life is photography and travelling to places I’ve never been to before. This was the first time I visited these places. I love being on the water. I’m not sure why it brings me calm and peace while in many others it would cause fear. Tomorrow, for my birthday, we are going to brave possible stormy weather and go on another adventure.

Gratitude week 77

  1. After a couple of nights away and not sleeping the best, it is nice to be home and sleep in my own bed.
  2. My son turned 21 this past week and we got to spend a lot of time with him for his birthday.
  3. My husband, son, and a friend of his went whitewater rafting. I wanted to go last year but never went. I’m glad I didn’t chicken out because it was a lot of fun. Plus it was a hot day which made it so much better.
  4. It’s the first day of summer! Woohoo! Funny thing is that it is quite chilly here. I turned off the A/C and put on a sweater.
  5. Paul and I worked most of the weekend for our business. It was nice because some friends of ours stopped by to chat that we haven’t seen since before COVID.
  6. I am grateful to have a wonderful husband that is a great father to our kids. For Father’s Day we took him out to eat and toured a maritime museum. He had a really nice day. I’m grateful for all the great dads out there that make a difference in their children’s lives or men who step up and provide that guidance.
  7. I’m grateful that life seems to be back on schedule again. Some friends of ours just invited us to their Halloween party this fall. It’s nice to have some events back on the calendar.
  8. I’m grateful that my daughter seems to like her new job.
  9. I’m grateful that the pool guys came out today to put in a new filter. It’s always nice when broken worn out things are fixed.
  10. I’m grateful that I haven’t had the chance to be bored this summer. So far it seems to be going a whole lot better than last year. I’m sure almost everyone can say an amen to that!!