Archives for category: Maine

I live approximately 10 miles from my mother.

That seems like a reasonable distance.  That seems like a good hey-can-you-watch-the-kids-but-don’t-forget-to-call-before-you-drop-by distance.

It’s not a reasonable distance.  Because it’s not an easy 10 miles.

Here’s what I imagine a 10-mile trip to Grammy’s house looks like for normal people:

1) Strap kids in car.
2) Drive for 15-20 minutes.
3) Get out of car.
4) Greet Grammy.

Here’s how our trip to Grammy’s goes:

1) Pack supplies, including extra clothing and diapers just in case of stranding.
2) Strap kids in car.
3) Drive for 15-20 minutes.
4) Get out of car.
5) Walk down slippery, icy, nearly perpendicular ramp to dock while carrying baby and fighting with three-year old about whether hand-holding is necessary (it is).
6) Climb on board boat, panicking that said three-year old will fall down between the boat and dock.
7) Take a 20-30 minute ferry ride.
8 ) Climb back off boat. Repeat panic,
9) Climb up slippery, icy, wet steps to dock.
10) Get in a pick-up of questionable quality.
11) Drive up the hill to Grammy’s house.
12) Greet Grammy.

After a visit of about 4 hours, redress, repack, and repeat everyone and everything, with an extra dose of ferry anxiety just for kicks.

Why do I do this?  Especially in the winter, when we can’t even walk down to the rocky beach and while away the day throwing rocks and beachcombing?  What’s the purpose?

Hard to say, really.  Probably I do it because so many of my childhood memories are of that ferry, that dock, that ramp.  My mother lives in what was my grandparent’s house.  I spent a lot of time playing in that house, sliding down that cellar door, sleeping in the little front room that is now my mother’s office.  I love that house.  I want my kids to know that house.  And I want my kids to know that ferry with its rickety stairs and quirky captains.  I want my kids to know this island.   I don’t spend enough time out there.  I have absolutely no claim to this place.  But it’s my island.  It’s a critical, vital, instrumental part of who I am.  And I want to graft this island, this ferry, and this house into their DNA like it is in mine.

I guess that’s why.

Plus, where else am I going to be able to let my kid wander down the middle of an empty road with absolute abandon knowing that the only thing she is in danger of is tripping over a stray pothole?

That’s worth the unreasonable ten miles alone.

The traps are in.

We had another snow day today.  Another foot or so.  Who knows how much, really?  Why keep track once the snowbanks are taller than you and the dog disappears in the drifts?  The snow is higher than a medium-sized black mutt.  That’s how much snow we got.

We are making progress on the snow day front, however. I think I’ve finally figured out the best way to handle the situation.

Excellent.  That’s much better.  I seem to have hit on something here.

Oh yes.  This is working out just fine.

PS: No Snow Day Cookies today.  We did, however, bake a cake for a Certain Someone who is turning one year old tomorrow.

They went ice fishing this weekend.

By “they” I mean “not I.”

I did not go ice fishing this weekend.

I’ve made peace with a lot of the less desirable aspects of winter.  I don’t like the cold, but I’ve learned to wear a scarf.  I’m not crazy about the snow, but I’ve learned to enjoy its beauty.  I dislike having to pile my children in six layers of fleece and waterproofing before we go on a walk down the road, but I’ve learned to enjoy the nap-encouraging nature of cold weather play.  On many of these fronts, winter and I have called a truce.

But I see no reason to sit on frozen water and dangle a little fish on a line through a hole in the ice.  Winter and I aren’t that close.

However, there are some members of my family that do find that sort of thing entertaining.

So off they go, to do things like “jig” and bond and spend some time wandering about on a sheet of ice covering 100 feet of water cold enough to kill an adult human in two minutes or less.

See that tiny dot waaaay out there on the ice and all alone? That’s my three-year old. When you call Child Protective Services, make sure you mention it was her father who was in charge.

While they were doing that, I, and my erstwhile companion Sam, were warm and cozy at the library.  This combination seemed to work well for all involved, mostly because Sam and I came home with bunches of new books to read and they came home with this:

Which I suppose, if you feel you can compare apples and oranges in this way, was potentially more useful than books.  Especially once it turned into this:

Now this is the kind of winter bonding experience I can get behind.

As long as I am not included in it.

I feel like I could do an entire series of posts on the Maine that the tourists never see.  Maybe I will.

Here’s a start:

Sea smoke from the town dock.

In the summer, there’s schooner tied up at that dock.

Also, less of the white stuff.

on top of a Toyota Corolla.

on either side of a chicken path.

on top of a picnic table.

with a crazy dog playing in it.

with a small child standing in front of it.

with a road running through it.

And now you know.

I like the ocean at high tide, when it’s filled to the brim and ready to spill over its banks.

I like the ocean at low tide, when the air reeks of seaweed and pilings are exposed like petticoats.

I like the ocean at slack tide, when it holds its breath and meditates before slipping back into rhythm.

I like the ocean on a summer’s day, when it is blue and glittering and mischievous.

I like the ocean in the autumn, when it is steely and stern.

I like the ocean in winter, when sea smoke rises in forbidding patches and ice crackles on the shore.

I like the ocean on clear days, when you can see to where the earth curves down to China (okay, fine, Spain).

I like the ocean on foggy days, when the universe ends three feet from shore.

And I certainly like the ocean when it is peaceful and soothing and can carry all my worries away with its gentle motion.

But really, if I’m being honest, I like the ocean best when it looks like this:


Because an ocean is only an ocean if it hates you now and then.

(I hope you enjoy the photo.  I took 40 MPH ice pellets to the face for it.)


This right here is reason enough to have two kids.

They want to wish you a happy new year, since I’m too lazy for that, too.

Hey, guess what!  I’m still in Florida!

I’m not supposed to still be in Florida, of course.  I’m supposed to have been home since Sunday and by now I should have dug my way out from under my work e-mail and become a productive member of society once more.  But there was this little snowstorm…maybe you’ve heard something about it?  They got a few inches here or there?  Anyway, this snowstorm laughed heartily in the face of our travel plans and spit us back out into Florida not once, but twice.  At this point we are supposed to be headed north on Wednesday evening, but much of that depends on LaGuardia airport figuring out where it keeps its plows.

I know I’m supposed to be thrilled about this extra vacation time.  At least that’s the impression I get from the Maine contingent.  Every time I hear from someone up there I’m all, “I kind of miss my bed” and they reply “Snow!” “But my work is piling up,” I say. “SNOW!” they yell.  “But I’ve been sleeping in the same room as my kids for two weeks now,” I counter, sure this will garner sympathy.  And they simply bellow, “SNNOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!” and throw the phone. So I know I’m supposed to view this as a great boon, but man.  All this family time is wearing.  Plus, we’ve totally become the Houseguests That Won’t Leave and nobody likes that.

It’s not that it’s been a bad vacation.  The first part of it was excellent.  Good food, good people, good fun.  We had cafe con leches and fried fish sandwiches.  We went to the beach and played in the sand.  We went on a holiday lights tour on a bicycle built for three.

I mean, come on.  Look at us! That’s some fun right there!

But then it all kind of fell apart.  First Annabel got sick on Christmas Eve and crawled her way through Christmas with a fever of 102.  Then the sickness meant that no one in the family slept for more than an hour at a time for two or three nights in a row.  Then the flight was canceled, so we imposed ourselves upon my brother- and sister-in-law for an extra three days.  Then I got sick.  Then every outing we attempted was met with a meltdown from one or both children.  Then the baby got sick.  And here we are, spreading germs, misery, and drama wherever we land.

The first morning we were in Florida I looked down while putting on my sandals and noticed I had forgotten to paint my toenails.  I usually do forget this minor detail when we come down, since it’s not really important to me during wintertime in Maine.  At the time, I remember thinking that this little thing was an excellent example of why, exactly, I am not a Florida girl.  A Florida girl does not forget to paint her toenails.  Of this I am sure.  I don’t even think about mine.  I like it Florida, but I don’t really belong.

It appears that Florida agrees.  Florida is spitting me out like an unripe grapefruit.

And at this point, I’m okay with that.

It’s time to go home.  I’m ready for some SNOOOWWWWW.

Forgot to bring the hammock in again.