argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
[personal profile] argurotoxos
The family reunion went better than I expected, though not without incident. All my immediate relatives on my mom's side of the family came except for two brothers and their children. Hard to believe I hadn't seen some of these people in a decade.

Saturday 25 July - We initially left home around 9:30 AM. About 15 minutes out, the check engine light came on, so we returned home and read the code, which was for an oxygen sensor. We debated about moving everything to another car (we had mostly packed the car the night before to save time), but decided to reset the engine code and try our luck. (The check engine light never did come on again.) We were off again at 10:40 AM. Traffic was fairly heavy.

We arrived in Portland, Maine, around 4:30 PM and stopped at Hannaford to get some groceries (half of which we didn't end up using). Though we got to the ferry by 5, there wasn't enough room and we had to wait for the 7:15 run. Got sandwiches from a convenience store. Noticeably cooler compared to New York and Massachusetts. There was an outdoor concert stage set up on the pier, which was new. The pier also had signs for a sunset cruise with wine and yoga.

We'd walked past our rental house many times, but had never been inside. It was small and simple: one kitchen/living room area, two small bedrooms, and one bathroom. No insulation, but it had a gas fireplace for heat, which we actually used early on in the week. The bedroom I took was tucked away at the end of the house with a bunk bed (I took the top bunk -- no claustrophobia for me). My parents' took the other room with a queen bed, but you had to walk through their room to get to the bathroom. All the floors were wooden. The bathtub looked older with a modified shower. There was also the smallest widescreen TV I've ever seen, but we didn't use it. Most importantly, there was a tea kettle and lots of blankets (I like to have a lot of sheets/blankets on top of me when I sleep, even in the summer), and I actually slept well about every night -- better than I do at home.

Sunday 26 July - I saw all my relatives, most for the first time in at least three years, some a decade. We had a buffet from Whole Foods for dinner. (I especially liked the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.)

Monday 27 July - This was the only night everyone was there [minus the two uncles and families mentioned earlier]. We had amazingly good food: steak, crab cakes, lobster, potato salad, and cake. My dad recorded videos and we even got family photos. Not everyone participated in the talent show: my grandpa, mom, two aunts, and a few of my cousins. Grandpa gave me some speakers to borrow that I hooked up to my MP3 player. After months of trying to make a tribal fusion piece work, I decided to do a 6-minute American Tribal Style performance instead. It was eerily quiet in the room while I danced, but I'm bad at making eye contact while dancing and was focused on other things, so didn't get a good sense of people's reactions beyond the stillness. (I was happy right after the performance -- I only had a few hesitations with the zills and my layback was one of my deepest. The first time I watched the recording of it, however, I was very critical and disappointed. The second time I watched it, I was satisfied and there was a lot I liked, but also things to improve on.)

Tuesday 28 July - One of my cousins left for Utah. A number of people jumped off the pier. (The ocean water was cool, but swimmable.) My dad and I helped my Grandpa with some yardwork. Later, the two of us swam out to a tiny island and back from rocky beach. While we were out there, we saw some sea birds diving for food. Soup for dinner; I had a long talk about religion and life with one of my cousins and aunts. Sunny and warmer for the next few days, in the 80s.

Wednesday 29 July - My mom hadn't been feeling well before the trip, but this day she had rashes on her arms and was very sore and tired. I tried to take her to the island medical clinic (which was harder to find than expected), but they were completely booked. My dad went with my mom across the ferry to Maine Medical Hospital. She was initially diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a very rare and serious condition. I was okay until I had to tell someone else about what was going on, and then fell apart. I spent most of the day with one of my cousins; we talked at Grandma and Grandpa's house and on sandy beach. One of my aunts/uncles made corn, pulled pork, beans, and coleslaw for dinner. There was also a family yard sale (from my aunt cleaning up Grandma's kitchen cabinets) and some fireworks after. I went fishing with some of the others at the pier in the evening. My dad came back on the 8:15 ferry; my mom stayed in the hospital overnight for observation. (Even though it was upsetting she had to go to hospital on vacation, our family's experience with Maine Medical has been very positive. I would trust them over our home hospital.)

[As a sidenote, my mom asked me to check under the bedroom drawers in our rental house as she thought she'd dropped something. She had, but I also found a pile of $200 in $20s. We turned it in to the realtor.]

Thursday 30 July - My mom was released late morning. Diagnosis: sun sensitivity due to antibiotics (and allergic reaction?). Some of her blood tests also showed abnormal results for the liver. Nice summary of services. My dad and I took 10:45 ferry over, then had lunch at hospital. I stopped quickly at Bull Moose and Casablanca Comics before heading back. Another of my aunts/uncles made dinner, Mexican. Rained with winds in the evening.

Friday 31 July -- One of my cousins had to take the ferry to the hospital he was feeling so horrible; feared meningitis, but flu. Our relatives started to leave for home. I did pier jumping (though not low tide, and I scraped some of my toes). Helped Grandpa with yard trimming and cutting up tree pieces in morning. We took a car trip through island in evening, nice full moon.

Saturday 1 August -- Got up early to pack and clean. My dad drove down to get in line around 9:30, but we had to wait until the 12:45 ferry. Ate in South Portland (and stopped at Bull Moose). Took back roads through New Hampshire home using the iPad for navigation. (Lots of trees; really depends what cars you get behind. Easy to use the iPad, but not 100% accurate -- brought us to a restaurant that was closed.) Best view was in Vermont, which has more rolling hills. Quite a shock when you hit the first strip mall in New York -- a bit sad. We didn't get home until 10 PM. (I had a rough time trying to adjust to work again.)

I didn't take that many photos or go on any long island walks. We also didn't rent a paddleboard or kayak. It's very different being up with other family members than with just my mom and me; I like it more with more family there, even if there's also worse traffic and more tourists! I don't enjoy sitting around and reading/using computer as much as I used to, and would rather be physically active. Also, surprisingly, I didn't practise dance very much except for the day of the talent show. Puts things in perspective; not stress/worry/angst (aside from my mom and cousin being in hospital). Unfortunately, it's hard to hold on to that once you're home and get caught up in old routines and habits.

I thought my grandparents were surprisingly energetic, but they've been discussing moving to an assisted living place on the mainland, which was a surprise to me. My grandpa can't do all the house and yard maintenance any more, but also doesn't want to pay someone else to do it. There are other factors as well, and multiple opinions among the relatives. My dad and I both think if they do move to the mainland, they should keep the island house and rent it out.

Since we've gotten back, my mom's gotten better and went back to work, though today was a down day. (Her birthday is tomorrow.) We have several upcoming performances with our ATS class/troupe. I have a job interview next week, though I interviewed there two years ago and it didn't seem like a good match at the time; asking others to be references is still the worst source of anxiety.

I'll try to post some photos in the next entry, but no promises on when it will be posted.
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argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)

March 2016


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