13 Quick Reasons I’m Glad to be Home From Vacation!

1. All that driving, even splitting the ride home up between 2 days it was a lot of driving! (all told in 10 days I drove 2,170 miles!

2. All that cigarette smoke at my mother’s apartment, she doesn’t have any sort of cross breeze & the apartment doesn’t get much wind at all in the 2 windows she has so it’s not particularly fresh in there.

3. It’s just nice to be home.

4. The kids were ready for 200+ channels of satellite & DVR after 16 channels of OTA at my mother’s for all but 2 days of the trip.

5. I discovered that as slow as my internet speed is with Satellite internet, it still is (much) better than dial up!

6. While we’re much hotter here in VA & we do have thundershowers nearly every afternoon I was pretty sick (after only 8 days) of all the rain up there in Massachusetts.

7. Gas prices are outrageous in the northeast, ’nuff said.

8.  My mother’s sofa bed has seen better days, I was much more comfortable on Ann’s loveseat than I was on my mother’s fold out bed (I might have been more comfortable on my mother’s sofa if I hadn’t folded it out- but the kids insisted on swapping off on sleeping on the sofa bed with me with the other one on the floor each night so I had to fold it out)

9.  The garden is terribly overgrown, of course, I haven’t gotten out there to do any weeding quite yet!

10. Ms 19 was happy to see us & we were happy to see here (absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed)

11. I hadn’t brought the book I was reading with me because it was borrowed & I was glad to be able to jump back in to the series when I got home (still working my way through the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris)

12.  Although my intention is to be there for longer next year, this year, 8 days in Mass was more than enough.

13. I missed being at home, the homeownership thing is growing on me, it feels odd to not be at home to me now- at least, at the end of the day it does!

Vacation Have to Get Away….

Thursday July 17. As this was the day we were leaving I tried to take it easy. The kids love the beach of course so back we went to Nantasket beach in Hull. The kids were a little upset that it was high tide & the water was all the way up to the wall. I stayed up on the wall at a picnic table & read some more while they played in the water- at 12 I called them in to go to the arcade for one last time & while they were spending their accumulated tickets from the skeeball games a guy & his girl were spending their tickets too. Apparently they had more than they wanted & so gave 12 & 9 a bunch of tickets. 900 to be exact! It was a great end to the kids’ beach blast over our vacation & they came home with Styrofoam gliders & baby angels lounging on moons enough to keep them happy for weeks. We arrived back at my mother’s around 2 – after packing the car- I laid down to try to nap for a few hours. Around 5:30 I woke up got up because we needed to go to dinner around 6 in order to be around to pick up Sami at her grandparent’s house at 8:30. My mother had been craving Chinese food so that’s where we went for dinner. We then went to the graveyard to pay our respects to my brother- father & grandparents. We said our goodbyes to my mother at the graveyard & went on to pick up Sami. It turned out they’d had Chinese food takeout from the same place we’d been eating dinner at!

Friday July 18. After driving most of the night & napping just a couple of times for about an hour & a half at a time we brought Sami home to her mom & headed home ourselves around 4pm. I was ready for bed pretty much immediately but managed to get unpacked- start laundry & have dinner. We visited with 18’s BF. 18 herself had gone out with friends from her High School graduating class to play laser tag & so we didn’t see her until Saturday Morning.

Saturday July 19. At one point I was going to work this day & not take it off. In the long run though- I’m really glad I had this extra day to unwind & relax (& Grocery Shop!) I came home to a rearranged Wal-mart in which I couldn’t find anything & an annoyed Ms 18 who said within an hour of coming downstairs Saturday morning that she wished we were still gone because the house was much neater & cleaner without us! (In my house!)

Vacation- All I Ever Wanted…

Monday July 14. Mr 8 became Mr 9 at 8:14 pm Monday evening. Long before that we had spent the day at Hampton beach NH. In & Out of the water- shopped around at all the cool stores- I got a couple of new leather thong bracelets- 4 years ago I started wearing one of these permanently tied around my left wrist. Not for any particular reason. (well- there was the part where a former [extremely creepy] Neighbor of mine thought I was his type of woman because he never saw me in make-up or wearing any jewelery [mostly because I was still adjusting to being the single mother of 3 kids & working 45+ hours a week to keep them fed & didn’t have time to put on make up – or conscious thought available to give to what earrings/necklace/bracelet matched what I was putting on] I tried to start doing so again- just so he would leave me alone & not cast aspersions on whether I was a ‘good’ Christian or not- I’m not- I knew this- I wouldn’t even presume to call myself a Christian- merely a Unitarian/Pagan!- telling him that kept him far away too- thank goodness!) I just started wearing it because I liked the tiny braided leather piece & I wanted to see how long I could wear one before it broke. That was pretty much all I bought myself in Hampton because money was so tight on this trip! We did have fun though. The ocean was too cold for me to even bother to put my bathing suit on though. After that we drove down to Salisbury & took Route 110 to a great restaurant which we tried 2 years ago but couldn’t afford to go to last year when there were 5 of us instead of only 3. It’s called the Sylvan Street Grill & though Mr 9’s avowed favorite restaurant in MA & greater New England is any 99 restaurant – we were supposed to go there with my mother the following night & she’d already reacted poorly to 9’s idea that he’d like to have the wait staff sing him happy birthday- so we did it that night at Sylvan Street instead (especially since it was his actual birthday) Then it was time for the long drive back to my Mother’s. We drove up to my cousin’s town first- but she apparently didn’t get my text messages that we were in the area until the next day & so we missed seeing her & her family on this trip :^{

Tuesday July 15. To honor my promises to the kids & buy myself a little more downtime we went back to the beach for Tuesday & after

a very satisfying sub lunch at Ft Revere. I rested & read my book on the beach while the kids played in the water. As everyone knows I’m pretty fat & the first day at the beach had pretty well soured me on being in my bathing suit in public. Somehow it’s just different in VA. I know we’re in the Mid- range of the states which have the largest proportion of fat people but it’s not even that. People in MA just don’t care & will say things & stare. Hard. I have found- as I’ve aged- that the best thing to do is stare right back (not challengingly or with a mean look- just like I’m wondering if I can help them somehow) until they get embarrassed & look away- But when you have to do that 15-20 times in a day it gets a little wearying- especially if you’re wearing a bathing suit. (Next year I’m getting a suit with the granny skirt- even though I hate those) Dinner at the 99 was great. Mr 9 enjoyed his favorite restaurant & my mother- 12 & I had a pretty good time too. Then it was back to my mothers for Nova Now on PBS & an early bedtime.

Wednesday July 16. We were up & out fairly early for a vacation day today due to the fact that we were going to Boston! This is often the highlight of our yearly vacation & it was a lot of fun. We left my mother’s just after 10 am & drove to the Quincy Adams Subway station & took a train into

Boston. We were all hungry by the time we got over to Fanueil Hall marketplace & so did our traditional everyone gets what they want from the food stalls & eat in the middle of the hall. Everyone else does the same & it took awhile to find seats. Add to that it was quite hot even for Boston (somewhere around 88-90 most of the day they said later on the weather) After a lovely lunch (I had lobster bisque- not quite as good as the Plymouth Lobster hut – but pretty darn good!) we walked around & looked at the things for sale. I was disgusted to see that there are even more chain shops in the side buildings than other years. I mean really- why go all the way to Boston to shop in stores which are the same as the ones in your local mall. I could have stayed home & gone to C’burg or Roanoke & taken the kids to the Gap- B.Moss & American Eagle (if we ever frequented those stores- which we don’t) When I started going to Fanueil hall (I Know I’m not spelling that right – but spell check is as clueless as I am- it wants to change it to Emanuele !) The shops were cool places like a shop with all left handed stuff. A shop with hearts on everything- a natures jewelery store- (though they’re still in existence mail order last time I checked) & a place with purple everything. Now it’s all uber-high end stores where I’m afraid to do anything more than window shop. & places which- as I said before- I could go to my local mall in VA & visit. Enough ranting. We had fun but had entirely too little money to be able to last long. We sat & people watched a lot & 12 especially had fun getting trinkets for her 3 best friends. 9 was having fun but got tired of being told no about all the things he really wanted but I couldn’t afford. We all swore up & down that as soon as Christmas is over this winter we’re going to start saving money for next years vacation so we can have a great time! (I also swore that I was going to start walking at least 3 days a week- so far it’s been once- Monday night) We were all hot & tired & at 3 I said we needed to make a decision- either stay in town until 7 or go back to the south shore before the rush hour traffic got heavy & have dinner somewhere on the south shore- the kids chose take the train right then so we did & drove around a little by ourselves before having a very nice dinner at Chilis. Which sort of broke my usual rule to not go to anywhere we could visit in VA while in MA- however though people have told me that there is a Chilis in Roanoke I’ve never been able to find it so I absolve myself of breaking the rule.

Vacation From Reality

Friday July 11. We relaxed around My mother’s apartment- I was heartily sick of driving & wanted to relax. I read quite a bit as did my mother. 12 & 8 were busily playing cards & arguing after a long morning of PBS. It never ceases to amaze me what my kids will watch if they can’t see what they like they’ll watch just about whatever is on tv- whether it’s too young for them- too old for them or even boring to me! My mother had already told me she had free tickets to the movies & a gift card for $30. towards a meal at Friendly’s resturant & so we combined them to have a free night out. Friendly’s was one of my ex’s favorite places to eat & we’d eaten in one for breakfast on the way up to MA on Tuesday. I hadn’t been there for dinner since 1997 though & was reasonably impressed at how much the food had improved! Then off to the movies. I already mentioned on the 19th our concern that the passes might not be valid for a movie in it’s opening night & the ridiculous cost of the popcorn etc. Otherwise though it was a fun night. The movie was fairly escapist & exciting though not spectacular.

Saturday July 12. We headed out fairly early to go to Ann’s house. Like last year we drove through Boston & up route 1 to Newburyport in order to go to the Jabberwocky bookstore & the adjacent toy store. After browsing things I at least couldn’t afford & waiting for 12 & 8 to make some purchases with their own money we went to lunch- also like last year- at Skips. Without ms 18 along to complain we were able to eat outside (it wasn’t really all that hot Saturday) & mr 8 kept us entertained with loop-de-loops from his brand new balsa wood airplanes. The kids decided to spend some more of their own money for a shared ice cream cone & then we were off on our way to Ann’s house. It was a long drive but well worth seeing her & her husband & kids. (I use the term kids loosely as her youngest is a year younger than my oldest so they’re more like adults really) Her youngest- who was in a car accident back in the spring was doing much better & so we were able to stay over a couple of nights. Saturday night was great. We had chicken- hamburgers & hot dogs on the grille & margaritas after dinner while we talked.

Ann’s Family’s aquarium- the only picture I took while at Ann’s house

Sunday July 13. I was surprised & amused on Saturday morning when I got up to find Ann at her computer playing Zuma on it. I have it on my cell phone & play it often while watching the news at night & before bed. Of course- by Saturday I was not playing much Zuma. Something happened to my Phone the first day of vacation. I had it in the bag I was carrying everything in to the beach & I don’t know if it got sand or water in it but it’s had a doubled screen instead of a single one- the doubled screen is tiny & hard to see & it’s driving me nuts still!  We went out with Ann to North Conway NH. Which I had heard a lot about but I’d never been. Ann drove & we all enjoyed the scenery & people watching. Neither Ann or I had much money to spend & we ended up looking around a Christmas Tree Shop for the most part & looking at all the other stores. After a lunch at McDonalds we headed back. Much more driving than shopping but with finances like they are it had to be that way. We stopped back at home & then went to Wal-Mart for dinner. Ann recommended some pizzas which I’d never tried & I was really impressed with them. I also got some of that wonderful Hood Cottage Cheese & a pint of the Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Bun ice cream. Yum!

Vacation By The Day

Last year I did a daily entry of what we did on our summer vacation- I’m still not finished. This year I am just going to do a paragraph of each day’s activities because I have nowhere near as much time this year as I did last year!

Monday July 7. I worked all day –  a measure of my maturity level- this year vs. last year (or maybe just the level of fear I have for my new boss) I worked all day. Didn’t try to cut out early & never even considered calling in sick like I did last year. After work I picked up Chrissie’s daughter- Sami- & brought her to our house. After being horrified at the size of her bag for just herself for 12 days. When we arrived at my house I finished packing our bag & we loaded up the car. Sami pointed out that our bag was as big as her’s. I pointed out that it was 1 bag for 3 people as opposed to 1 bag of similar size for just 1 person! After the car was packed I went to bed & slept until nearly midnight. Another first. I actually slept & slept well.
By 12:30 we were in the car & underway.

Tuesday July 8. The drive was fairly uneventful. No accidents or terribly heavy roadwork.  I timed it poorly & we were stuck in stop & go traffic on rte 128 for quite awhile though. After dropping Sami off at her grandparent’s house we arrived at my mother’s house at approximately 4:30pm.  My mother was fairly pleasant when we arrived & as soon as the car was unpacked we went out to our favorite sub shop- Themis in Rockland. After dinner we went back to my mother’s only to discover that we’d forgotten about stopping at a grocery store & so had no spring water- milk or cream cheese for bagels in the morning.

Wednesday July 9. I had promised the kids that we’d go to the beach first thing so we were up at 9am & off to the beach by 10. With a stop at a Walgreen’s for sunblock- toothpaste & some other things we’d forgotten & another to get ‘breakfast’ (it was nearly 11- couldn’t be called breakfast by many people’s standards) at Dunkin Donuts. We all had a donut & 12 & I had lemonade Coolattas. Mr 8 preferred chocolate milk. The beach was at an excellent spot- it had already been high tide & the tide was on it’s way out we settled on the wet sand (big mistake- everyone’s towels were soaked by the end of the day) & made our way to the water. We all swam & soon I got cold & sat on the beach & dug holes (I’d forgotten my book) looking for shells- cool rocks & sand dollars. I didn’t find too many really great shells but Mr 8 brought me an actual clam. All closed up in his shell & smiling at me. We set ‘Sheldon’ on the sand & 12 & 8 dug with me to make sandcastles & warm up from the cold water. The clam opened up & stuck his funny head out of the shell which 12 especially found fascinating. After multiple dips in the ocean the kids really wanted to go to the arcade & have something to eat so we cleaned up our soaking towels- water bottles etc. & put everything in the car & crossed the street to the arcade. I was greatly disappointed to find the arcade had no pinball games at all & that the only ‘normal’ video games they had were the car & motorcycle sit & ride games. No Galaga. No Centipede- not even Mortal Combat. Nothing at all.
The lunch counter still served Raspberry Lime Rickeys though & the kids ate hot dogs & we all shared cheese fries. After an hour or so of 12 & 8 wasting their money & trying unsuccessfully to convince me to play mini golf that day we called it a day & went back to my mother’s house. We then went back out in her car to dinner at – well- it must have been memorable because no one can remember where we ate that night!

The kids on the porch at the VT Country Store- holding the cheese boxes.

Thursday July 10. We were up early & Off to Vermont. No one but me was terribly enthusiastic but as the day progressed everyone perked up. We arrived in Waterbury around noon & the kids really enjoyed the waterfalls – though they would have liked to go swimming really! It wasn’t all that hot in VT. It was supposed to be up over 90 degrees in MA that day & the temperature never got over 75 while we were in VT! I was excited to find cheese boxes for sale quite cheap on the front porch of the Vermont Country Store! When I was about 13 a friend of my mother’s gave me a cheese box which I stained- painted & then decided to sand & start over. After I’d sanded it I liked the faded paint well enough that I never did anything else with it but store keepsakes in it. I have letters from friends & family going back as far as when I was 1 or 2 years old & My uncle used to write to me from Wales where he spent a year or two as an exchange college student- a tiny moccasin which I bought as a set for Ms 18 & all 3 kids wore as babies & ‘dock tags’ from the park where my brother & I learned to swim & spent entire summers swimming because my mother worked there. The kids have always loved to look at the things in the box & 18 especially has always wanted one. I got one for her & got another one for Miss 12 because she asked for one. We also picked up a bunch of odds & ends- checked out things I’d love to buy if I had the money- always a good goal to save for- (their summer weight nightgowns were even more beautiful than the flannel ones I have for winter from there) & had a great time looking around. Then we drove up the road (quite a ways) to Ben & Jerry’s factory & took the tour. The tour was a lot of fun & we got to try an ice cream flavor we hadn’t tried before- Cinnamon Buns- which has replaced (at least temporarily) Chocolate fudge brownie as my favorite B&J flavor! We had a nice dinner on the way home & arrived home around 11 pm. Long but fun day.

The kids having a photo op at Ben & Jerry’s factory. Poorly shot I admit but the next tour was coming in & I was hurrying.

I’ll continue another night because it’s getting late & I’m tired- dealing with my first full day back at work today & a shift shuffle thrust upon me literally within minutes of walking in the door- requiring my immediate attention because the shifts are effective on 7/26- that’s next Saturday!

Vacation By The Numbers

25209= miles driven total from the time I left my driveway on Monday night July 7 until I arrived back here yesterday around 4pm.

765= miles to my mother’s in MA from here (I love having 2 trip-ometors in my car’s dashboard!)

4= days we were at the beach- 3 in Hull MA- 1 in Hampton NH.

1 = day spent in VT With my mother- the VT country store was lovely & Ben & Jerry’s was a lot of fun!

447= miles traveled round trip to VT & back- all driven by me.

1 = # of movies seen- we saw Journey to the Center of the Earth last Friday night- a co-worker had given my mother a bunch of free passes to the movies & we weren’t at all sure that we’d be able to use them on a first run movie. Not only was there no problem with that- the movie theater was not even half full.

14 = $ that is- the cost of the theater’s ‘money saving’ package deal which included 2 medium drinks- a large pop corn & a bag of m&ms.

19 = hours since I’ve been home & I still haven’t seen Ms 18. (not exactly a bad thing)

1 day before I messed my phone up while on Vacation.

2 the # of screens it’s showing instead of 1 large readout I have a double image on the phone’s screen!

3 the # of times I stopped on the way home to nap- each time for less than an hour & a half.

One More Day….

And I’ll be on vacation! Only 8 more hours at work listening to people complain- whine & moan about the weather- equipment problems & satellite signal (& that’s just my co-workers!)

I’ve been very mature (by my standards) about this vacation I haven’t asked my boss for a half day off tomorrow without pay or penalty- I’ve been known to drive my supervisors nuts when it’s nearly time for us to leave on vacation.

Last year we left on Sunday night & I called in sick on Monday because we just couldn’t wait to go. this year- because I’ve been sick & used 2 sick days in the last 2 weeks I can’t do that but even if I had the days available I don’t think I would.

I’m broke this year. Seriously. For the whole vacation I have $500. spending money. I have separate money put away to get up there & drive back on. However for the whole trip food- gas while we’re up there & lodging if we try to stay anywhere but my mother’s house (& the visit to Ann’s is far enough away it would be difficult not to stay in a motel somewhere up that way at least one night)

So I’m less excited than I might ordinarily be. I’m also feeling a little weirded out about Ms 18 & the BF staying here. 18’s been my emotional support & friend along with being my daughter for so long it’s going to be strange to go to MA without her.

We’re taking Chrissie’s daughter with us so she can visit her grandmother for the duration of our visit & then we’ll pick her up on our way home & bring her back home to her mom safe & sound. This means that even without 18 & the BF we’ll have a fairly full car.

Ms 12 is excited about Sami coming for the ride but also annoyed because she was looking forward to filling 18’s shoes as my friend & confidant.  I’m sure with the drive to Ann’s & to see cousin J we’ll get plenty of time to chat though.

I’m supposed to be doing all the things on my to do list like trying on my bathing suits to see which one fits best & helping Ms 12 pack (Mr 8 & I packed his things last night) along with attempting to pack my own stuff. Here I sit though- checking out other peoples blogs & putting off the work!