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 visit to Acadia and Bar Harbor

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.

A fitting house for the King of Horror.

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.

The view from the top of Bar Island.
Low tide.

We spent the afternoon visiting shops and buying gifts in Bar Harbor. Then we ate lobster on our last evening in Maine.

A couple days in Kennebunk, Maine

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.

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.

Let’s go

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.

Let’s go! I’m trying to let it go…

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 89

  1. The last few days of summer.
  2. Making it home from a run outside two minutes before it started hailing.
  3. I finished three books this week. One about introverts, a biography of a madam, and the memoir Girl, Interrupted. I just started another memoir today.
  4. Lighting a candle in the memory of the 20th year anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe so much time has passed. It’s strange to think the my kids have no memory of 9/11 or weren’t even born yet. It was a year later that I remember taking a pregnancy test (positive with Arabella) on 9/11 just as the fire trucks passed our house with American flags waving from the back. It was a horrifying time, but we banded together in a true patriotism I haven’t seen since. I’m grateful for the heroes of 9/11. It was a somber experience to go to NYC and visit the 9/11 memorial. I will never forget.
  5. My son after being single for a couple of years started dating a new girlfriend this summer. We are planning on having them over for supper this week so we can get to know her better. Who knows, some day she might be my future DIL.
  6. I spent the last couple of days up north with my mom closing the cottage for the season. We went for some walks and took the kayaks out on the lake. The weather was nice.
  7. Since I have been uninvited to the family reunion, my daughter took the opportunity of us having a free weekend to schedule wedding dress shopping. It’s something to be excited about.
  8. I’m starting to get excited for our trip to Maine in a week and a half.
  9. I’m thankful for my geriatric pets. My dog just turned 14 and my cat is 15. My dog is chill now. No more barking. I can’t remember the last time he barked. My cat is happy to cuddle up by me. He doesn’t bring mice in the house anymore and hasn’t for awhile. This week I surprised him by buying him a catnip toy mouse. It looks so real that a couple of times I jumped when I saw it.
  10. Oh my gosh, I saw my son went out grocery shopping on a Saturday night. I didn’t even see any liquor. Maybe it’s a good sign that he is growing up? I’ll take it as that.

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.