The thing I couldn't recall about Wednesday of our vacation day is taking a stroll with Calvin along the Eastern Promenade in Portland, after doing laundry but before pub crawling.
Thursday (5/10 for those of you following along at home):
Thursday we spent the entire day driving up (and then down, natch) the coast of Maine, following Route One (murder during tourist season, but we were early by a few weeks). First we hit Waldo's ("Hey, I found him!"), a convenience store/gas station/ice cream shop/hair salon/small engine repair (I kid - but there are actually a lot of combo places of bidness like that in Maine) in Falmouth, to stock up on road-trip munchies and beverages ("All Dressed" Humpty Dumpty potato chips are THE BOMB). "Up the road a piece", we stopped at the Muddy Rudder
in Yarmouth for brunch (MORE SEAFOOD, PLEASE), getting there a few minutes before they opened but not having to cool our heels long at all.
Our waiter was very, very swishy.
From there we drove north (and then south - peninsulas are weird that way) to Boothbay Harbor
. Now this is definitely a town that's only awake during tourist season - nearly every place we checked was closed until the next week. We wandered into a gift shop (hello walnut sized bladder), where Calvin picked out a really pretty little starfish necklace for me. I love it when he does that. We bought a couple of little souvenirs and wandered around looking at the ketch that can only be found in these little hole in the wall places in Maine.
We discovered that McSeagull's
was open, and we stopped for a couple of beers and tuna tartar.
We listened to the conversation of a trio of chimney workers just back from their morning stint over on Squirrel Island
(man, you can find ANYTHING on Wikipedia). We conversed with them a little as we all enjoyed our beers out on the patio - that was one thing Calvin was exclaiming over during the trip, how friendly the people are and how often they just want to gab.
That's where I get it from.
Upon leaving McSeagull's we wandered around a little more, but not much was open. I got some ice cream (black raspberry! yes!), Calvin got a couple of cigars, and we got back on the road heading south. We detoured at around the Bath
area to ooh and ahh at the destroyers in the shipyard at Bath Iron Works
, where my uncle used to work. You can see the HUMONGOUS cranes stationed there from miles away; certainly a major fixture in my childhood memories.
We then went down along another one of the "fingers" protruding along the coast, to check out the town of Phippsburg
and Fort Popham
. I'd directed Calvin and the kids to Popham Beach
back in '99 when the four of us were in Maine, but we never made it to the fort.
Our attention was immediately caught by the pod of seals just off-shore. They and the loons were having a merry old time fishing; there must have been a large school of fish in the area to keep them there as long as they were. We took picture after picture (after picture - 19 made it through Photoshop and onto Flickr, but there were many more), getting our feet and pants wet in the process as we failed to notice the incoming ("INCOMING!") tide.
We then wandered around the fort, taking another bazillion-and-three pictures (36 made the cut). I think the best one is this one, with Calvin peering into the pitch-black cell ("I am NOT going in there...") and me lighting it up with the flash behind him.
We drove back to Portland with the top down, adding to our wicked scalp sunburns. When taking a road trip in Maine, I highly recommend picking up one of these
. Not only does it show every single nook and cranny of Maine's craggy coast (plus the rest of the state, of course), it has a ton of information on recreation and activities.
Upon our return to our room, we got cleaned up and then went right back out again for another meal at J's Oysters. Calvin got a double order of crab legs - MAN were we moo-ing that night.
We slept in a bit on Friday morning, and I once again ordered us a bit of room service so I wouldn't have to stumble down to the Map Room for their complimentary coffee. We left at around noon to head back to New Gloucester to visit with my uncle, and also my old neighbors the Marshalls (Brad's
parents). My uncle and his girlfriend hosted us to a "little lunch" - fresh shrimp cocktail, baked asparagus spears wrapped in filo pastry, softball-sized steaks, and baked potatoes.
Moo. Again. Seems I was stuffed to bursting for the entire vacation.
It was so nice to be home, in the house that I grew up in. Absolutely nothing has changed, other than a little paint and updated decorating ala my uncle's girlfriend. The years just peeled away from me as Calvin and I walked up the Marshall's driveway, the way I used to so often, so long ago. We sat in their kitchen and talked for about an hour. They're such good
people, and I got to see Brad's sister Christine for the first time in years, too. And a bunny! And their black lab, who is a clone of Brandy
And they still have the swing in the barn.
It is such a relief to know that nothing changes about home. I can go home whenever I have the opportunity, and other than a few new houses and a few new stores (and a few closed businesses - the Burger King I used to work at when I was first married to X(m) is closed, and good riddance), everything stays the same. Thank God for that.
We stopped back at my uncle's (it's weird to say it's his place now, rather than Grandma's) for a few more minutes, and I went through some of my old belongings to weed out what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to throw away. Calvin was cracking up at my old school papers (a two-foot tall stack of them dating from kindergarten all the way through high school), and I pointed out to him the multiple A's and 100's. I laughed at my old high school yearbook and some attempts at artwork (I was never artistically inclined), and my uncle and I discussed how best to ship my mother's sterling silver flatware.
Though maybe he should hold onto it, in case we end up moving to Maine in the near future.
We intended that night to meet my sister and her husband in the Old Port for one final pub crawl on our last night there, but she never returned my multiple voicemail messages. Nor has she returned the messages I have left since my return to Arizona. I'm kind of pissed off at my sister right now.
I was feeling kind of crappy come Friday night anyway, coming down with the cold that is still lingering as I type this, two weeks later. Calvin and I went to back to Gritty's and back to 51 Wharf, but I was wilting fast, so we called it a night at around 10:30.
More room service, and I packed us up fairly quickly. We took one last stroll through the Old Port to secure a couple more souvenirs - including T-shirts for Calvin, Michael, and Marie's boyfriend that feature a black dog in what I will call the "pooping pose" emblazoned on the back. It's that Maine humor.
We ate lunch at Mim's (decent, but not thrilling - here is one person's take on it
), then checked our car out of valet for the last time. Back on I-295/95, we drove south and detoured over to Kennebunkport
to check out the sights. We had some time to kill before we had to make our 5:30 flight out of Manchester, so we drove slowly through the back roads checking out the village and the million-dollar houses.
we stopped at the House of Pizza for some wicked good three-way (a three-item pizza, for you flatlandahs).
Another hour on the road saw us at the Manchester airport. By this time my cold had really set in and I was miserable. To make matters worse, by the time we finally meandered to our gate (after killing a couple of hours in the airport bar and gift shop), we discovered that our plane was delayed due to bad weather in Philadelphia (our connection).
Thus began the terrible saga of our journey home.
Calvin was in fine fettle, as you can imagine, by the time we finally boarded our flight to Philly, nearly two hours late. We arrived at around 9:00, a half-hour late for our connecting flight to Arizona. Mayhem ensued as we tried to find a US Airways rep to get us booked for the next flight out.
The following morning.
10 hours spent overnight in an airport terminal. Because weather delays are not the airline's fault, and no reimbursement would be given for hotel or airfare.
Did I mention I was sick?
Calvin and I got some truly mediocre pizza at the two-minutes-to-closing S'Barro's. Yeee-uck. Then we found our terminal and moved two blocks of chairs together, because they all had arms so we couldn't stretch out without combining two sets and lying down the middle. It was freezing, blazingly bright with the nearby TV at full volume, and I was miserable. I bundled into all the clothes I had - a hoodie AND a sweatshirt which Calvin described as my "baglady look". A couple of airport employees stopped by to give us scratchy airline pillows and paper-thin "blankets", and we huddled in a miserable pile from 11:00 at night until 5:00 in the morning.
GOD what a suck night that was.
Sunday (12 hours after we should have been home already):
The plane from Philly to Arizona left at 7:30, and Calvin and I had the very back, non-reclining row. Of course. We leaned, layed, and scrunched (fortunately, no one else had the third seat), and slept the best we could.
We waited for EVER for our luggage (which fortunately made it on the same flight we were on), then grabbed the first ride out of the airport that we could. We were finally home by about 11:00 in the morning.
I'll tell you what, I am NEVER flying US Air again, and I am NEVER taking a connection through Philly. The airport was in chaos, with terminals that could only be accessed between one another via shuttle bus. ONE shuttle bus, with fifteen other perfectly functional shuttle buses just sitting idle on the tarmac. US Air employees are indifferent at best, rude at worst, and remarkably disinterested in being helpful or kind or polite AT ALL. Fuckers.
So, it was a homecoming suitable to our mood, since we were huffed that vacation was over and we didn't at all miss Arizona one minute, not one little bit.
Labels: best things, Calvin, food, journal, Maine, photography, vacation