Wednesday, June 29, 2011

on a long way

Tomorrow my Dad and stepmom pack up the Volvo and head to Dallas from their part of the year home in San Miguel de Allende.  From Dallas my stepmom will fly to LA to see my stepbrother and stepsister and my Dad will continue on to my aunt and uncle's in Little Rock.  After that, the drive north toward New York.  I'm not sure what his planned route is, but below is what Google Maps tells me is the fastest way.  But if I know my Dad, and I do, the fastest way is not always the best way (although after a week of driving maybe it will be).  Because the fastest way is probably not the most interesting or maybe the fastest way is the same route he drove down last September and the man just doesn't feel right going the same way he came. 

So here it is.  The long way back.  I can't wait.

**UPDATE: My Dad is back in NY and confirmed that he would never take the way that google maps told him to.  So he cut across Tennessee and drove through Shenandoah National Park.  I should have known.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

on one income

So the thing about vacation is that it costs money.  And the thing about having a spouse in school full time for the past two years is that we don't have a lot of it.  Mike hasn't worked for more than a few weeks here and there since he left his job for school in 2009.  Vacation might not have been the wisest financial move we've ever made but we have promised to be careful for the rest of the summer. 

"Careful" means we woke up early this morning and packed lunches (well, let's be honest here, Mike woke up early while I was getting ready and packed my lunch).  The fridge has food in it for cooking dinner at home.  We will watch the netflix that comes in the mail even though it's not what we're in the mood for and it would be easier to buy the on demand movie for $4.99.  

And maybe one day soon one of these school districts will take a chance on the new kid and give Mike a call.  Until then, we'll be careful.

Friday, June 24, 2011

on a thankful Friday

I came back to a long to do list at work and a boss on vacation so there isn't much to say today except vacations are good.  Needed.  Not to be underestimated in their ability to help put you back together again.  I can't believe I let myself forget that for so long and am thankful we were able to take the time away.  And even though we are back in the thick of it, just knowing it's out there to be had again feels good.  The photos to remind us help too.

*and for the record, I did not check work email once while we were away.  I fought with my will power for the first 24 hours and then forgot a thing called work or email even existed for the next 6 days.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

on home-easing back or maybe crashing down

Yesterday morning, a cool breeze off the water, slow deep breaths, quietly smiling to ourselves on a porch listening to some local guys talk about the Bruins and an upcoming fishing trip.  Last night, the noise, heat, fullness of being home.  Kids outside using the rungs in our fire escape ladder as a basketball hoop and a welcome home roach scurrying across the living room floor.

But this morning the routine of home seemed a little easier.  The alarm going off, getting ready, finding my place on the subway, reading a few pages and then coming out onto 5th ave, running into a co-worker and catching up on the week.  I realized I actually missed these things.  But not the roaches.  I will never miss the roaches.

On the ferry leaving vacation we realized we hadn't turned the cameras around on ourselves yet..that we hadn't turned the camera around on ourselves in many months. So here we are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

on the past in the past

When my brother and I were growing up, our parents marked our heights on the back of the linen closet door in the hallway of 122 Vernon Valley Road.  When I was nine, we sold that house and moved across town.  I was sad, scared to leave my school, the treehouse in the backyard, but most of all I mourned leaving that door.

Why couldn't we bring it with us?  Why would the new owners want it?  I didn't understand how no one else felt the urgency of the situation.  The gravity of it.  Those were our heights, our childhoods marked out in pencil for all those years and no one cared that we were leaving them behind.  At nine I already felt like time was moving too fast, that there needed to be some recording of it all.

I've always been a little overly sentimental.  I have a tendency to build up the past* in sappy emotional ways.  Because of this I have been pleasantly surprised that on this trip, to a place my family vacationed pre-divorce, there has been none of that.  Instead, just me, Mike, vacation and the past in the past where it should be. I think this is a good thing.

*to quote 5 Chinese Brothers "Baltimore".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

on father's day

Happy father's day to my Dad, to one of my favorite people.  I feel lucky that I know him, that I get to call him my friend.  And I am thankful that as an adult this is an easier thing to say.  As a kid I always thought my Dad was the coolest person in the room, I never really understood why it wasn't cool that I thought so.

My Dad and stepmom have been in Mexico since September.  I am so happy that they are building another life for themselves after decades of working so hard, but there is a distance that can't be filled with emails and phone calls and I ache for them to come home.  The last time I saw them was the day after our wedding in August and I miss them, I miss him. 

Happy father's day Dad.  Have a margarita on me and we'll celebrate a year of holidays in August.  You are still, to me, the coolest person in the room. 

Dancing at the wedding, you can hear the band leader announcing the fact that my brother is going to surprise us by taking the mic but we're talking over him and don't realize that's happening until my brother starts to sing... 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

on early starts

It's early.  Earlier than I usually wake up for work.  Mike is packing up the car and we are leaving at this hour because I am a wee bit neurotic about not being late for the ferry.  About not being late for anything, actually. 

When I was little my parents would pack us up even earlier so that we'd be on the road for a few hours before the sun came up.  I remember what those mornings felt like, cold and dark and sleepy, wrapped up in such excited anticipation that I usually didn't go back to sleep and instead babbled to my Dad until my mom and brother woke up.  The sun is up this morning, but I feel like that kid today.  Only now Dad gets a reprieve as Mike settles in for a long I-95 drive of Caitlin rambling.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

on rule making and keeping and breaking

Last night I made the mistake of checking email in bed.  Big mistake.  Big.  Huge.*  

You see, we have rules.  They've been in place for years now and there are serious repercussions.  Actually, there are no repercussions, but just knowing you've broken one is bad enough.  Kind of like when you did something wrong and instead of grounding you your parents just said they were "disappointed in you".  Scary. 

The rules started innocently enough.  At some point in the beginning there were cutesy rules like always kissing goodbye before leaving the apartment.  During the 2004 Presidential election when Mike and I were as far apart on the political scale as two people could possibly get (for example, both Emma Goldman and Ronald Reagan had a a place on the bookcase), a rule was formed to ban all political talk after 10pm so I could go to sleep with normal blood pressure.  Once work became more important new rules took shape.  Must change into comfy clothes within hour of being home.  (This one is just good advice, work clothes feel like work, there's a level of stress that stays on them even when you are home.  Pants with drawstring do not come with stress.)  Technology advanced and there was the no blackberry in the bedroom rule.

And here's where we come to present day.  I have a hard time sticking to this rule, and last night when I was about to turn out the light I picked up that evil little device and checked an email.  I was pretty instantly plunged into a panic about the boss who wrote the email and the mistake that he was questioning me about which I wasn't able to fix without access to the document which may have caused it.  Since, you know, it was at work.  And I was in my bed.  And then I couldn't go to sleep.  Mike just gave me the look, the parent look, the it's-your-own-fault-sometimes-these-silly-rules-we-joke-about-actually-have-purpose look.  And a new rule was born: there will be no work email while on vacation.  I'm a little spooked, but I'm going to try.

*Did anyone else just read these three sentences and think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as she holds up her bags of purchases in front of the nasty shop owner?  Is it ok to admit that I did?

Monday, June 13, 2011

on the weekend

Mike hurt his foot Friday morning playing basketball and I twisted my knee at some point last week so Friday night was spent on the couch with ice packs and pillows for elevation.  At one point I looked up from the book I was reading and caught Mike's eye, he was looking at me with this funny smile and said, if only someone could take a photo of us right now.  I said I was very thankful no one was there to take one-it was not our prettiest moment.

After a visit to the doctor on Saturday morning Mike's foot was wrapped in a soft cast and he was told to stay off it for a few days.  This meant that I hobbled into the city on my own Saturday night for a few hours of laughing so hard my stomach hurt at a showing of Slow Children Crossing (my friend's comedy group from LA) and then a late night/early morning karaoke experience.  I don't do karaoke.  Or so I said about a dozen times before getting on the small stage.  Thankfully there is no recorded/photographic evidence of that experience either.

And now the countdown to vacation begins-just as Mike said through the kitchen window as I walked to work this morning-only two more work wakeups and then we're on the road. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

on a quiet week

Well, quiet on the blog, but not so quiet in my other world which is why there have been so few posts.  Turns out that planning a vacation on such short notice the week before one of your busiest times at work means things get hectic.  But I know it will be worth it to get some time away. 

Have a happy weekend!

oh to be here today instead of at the desk...Simon Bevan via frolic

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

on a lemonade inspired vacation

I wrote a few weeks ago about needing adventure this summer but the more I thought about it, I decided this is not the summer for adventure.  Not the time for something new and bold and daring.  No, this is the summer for comfortable and familiar.  So I started to think about what that would feel like (yes, what something "feels" like is far more scientific/practical than any other type of planning process) and I've decided I want our vacation to feel like a Countrytime Lemonade commercial.  You know what I'm talking about.  The one where quintessential happy summer people are seen doing happy summer things and then it ends with the kid jumping off a dock into some summer perfect lake? Yes, that's it, I want it to feel like that.

So I told Mike this and instead of telling me that I am crazy, he sat down and started looking at summer towns within driving distance (we have a car for the first time in our 9 year relationship, it's very exciting).  But you know what?  Northeast summer towns are really expensive in the summer.  I started to get discouraged and may have said something along the lines of "nevermind we just won't go anywhere and it will be a terrible summer and we'll never take vacation again".  Or something equally dramatic and ridiculous.  Thankfully, Mike is less prone to theatrics and thought of the brilliant idea of trying to get away this month, since most of the general vacationing public will not be on the road until their kids finish school in a few weeks.  And, because that man of mine just likes proving me wrong, we found a great June deal, work said ok to the last minute vacation time, and we booked it this morning.

I am not very good at being spontaneous, but I'm working on it.  So next Thursday we'll be off for 6 nights to an apartment above the Black Dog General Store in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard.  I haven't been to the island in about 15 years, but word is that off season (technically June is included in this) is less crowded than the rest of the summer.  So here's to an easy summery vacation and some much-needed time away.  Thank you Countrytime commercial for the inspiration. 


Gay Head Lighthouse

sheep in Chilmark

Monday, June 6, 2011

on just beneath

In the kitchen at work this morning making a cup of tea, a co-worker I haven't seen in a while (our organization takes up 5 floors of a building, I can go weeks without seeing some people) saw me and came in to say hi.  We talked about her kids and her weekend and then she paused, tilted her head to the side, reached out to touch my elbow and said, "but how are you guys doing".  The tone and her eyes told me she had changed the conversation.  I knew she wasn't asking how our weekend was, it was the look we came to know well for weeks after Mike's mom passed away.  "Oh, we're ok. Fine. We're good. Doing well."  It all came out too quickly, giving me away. 

Because we are some days.  But others we're not.  On those other days we're sitting at dinner on a beautiful Saturday night and when the conversation turns to our friend's aunt who was just diagnosed with cancer and then to whether or not we think Bernadette knew she was sick before the doctor's told her, the tears start before I even know they are coming.  The overwhelming feeling of...I'm not even sure I can put it into words.  Of just missing her.  Of being struck by how unbelievably strange it is that she is not here.  Thankfully we're good at changing the mood, and this past Saturday after a minute of clearing away tears from my face I laughed and said everyone at the restaurant was going to think Mike was dumping me.  And he laughed, and grabbed my hand, and we finished dinner talking about other things.  

But she is always there.  At any given moment just underneath the veneer of 'everything is fine'.  I asked Mike if he thought it will always be this way.  He said in a way he hoped so, in a way he hoped her memory would never be further than just beneath our every day life of moving forward.

Back to the kitchen after my words came tumbling out, the look again, but this time with a smile as she said, "it gets easier".  And it does. And it will. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

on unemployed afternoons

Mike finished school last month and is now applying to teaching jobs.  It's tough, there are a few openings, but thousands of teachers are applying along with him for the handful that are available.  He's trying to get temp work for the summer, but for now he is not working.  And even though it would be nice to not have to live on one income anymore, having him come in to meet me for lunch and a walk around Union Square was kind of nice today. 

Have a happy weekend, a ridiculously happy photo as a send off:

taken from pinterest, originally from this blog

Thursday, June 2, 2011

on one wrong letter

We turned on the NBA playoffs after dinner but with little invested in it we started flipping around and stumbled upon the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Neither of us said anything but the remote was put down and we watched for the last hour of the competition.  After a few minutes we had chosen our favorite to win (Laura, who laughed and made funny faces the whole time in front of the mic, easy choice) and our least favorite (Sukanya, who was way too serious for our liking).  When Laura made it to the final round Mike fist pumped the air and when her opponent, who just happened to be Sukanya, was up for her final word we put our hands out to the tv and chanted "miss it, miss it, miss it" as if she were LeBron on the foul line.  We did not seem to be embarrassed by being so invested in this.  But Laura missed on sorites, overcomplicating things and adding a p to the beginning of the word.  And then Sukanya was left standing.  When she won I slapped the couch in frustration as Mike cursed under his breath.

And we learned two things: We don't know how to spell.  And we definitely need to get out more.

How could you not want this girl to win?