Births and Deaths

B.’s 14th birthday was coming up and after a brief discussion he opted to donate his funds for his party to our dear friends the Rayne family.  Not even a hour later I got a very upsetting phone call.  My ex-husband informed me that my sister-in-law, Sharon, had suddenly passed away.  After not being able to attend the funeral services last month for my nieces husband, I wasn’t going to let money stop me this time.  Sharon had been very ill from a really bad fall down a flight of stairs two years ago, that put her in a coma for three months after the incident.  She had never been the same from that point on and was practically unrecognizable.   She had a very hard life but always had a smile on her face.  She had finally found a great husband and her life was finally joyable on all aspects, then this happened.

I was close to her oldest son, Michael and worried for him greatly.  He is very sensitive and has gone down many wrong paths in his youth.  I wanted to be there to support him.  I may not be best friends with my ex-husband but this was his sister and that makes her my sister.  I was devastated.

As soon as I heard word as to when any services were taking place I headed out the door with not even enough gas and food money to get me there and back.  I was welcomed back in Brian’s home and he was overly generous and helped with expenses while I was there.  It was almost two weeks before all the services were completed before we returned home.

In the meantime, I was able to reconnect with family that I had not seen in a very long time and the boys got to spend an enormous amount of time with their father.  Unprecedented really!  I even let my Ex take the boys hiking up Mount Washington, while I drove up with my car to prepare a filling lunch and relax a little.   The views were great!  We hadn’t been up there since Bradley was tiny.  Everyone had a nice time.

My dearest friend Lynnie had come out to MA to join me and the boys for few days before returning to her vacation in MA with her family.  I was overjoyed!! to see her.  It had been such a very long time and Brian, even let her stay with us while I was there.  I tell you, I am so blessed by these two.  I couldn’t ask for better, more supportive, loving, generous, thoughtful, friends.

My dear friend Kara, was having a birthday for her 4 yr old daughter.  I love this little girl, so I was fortunate enough to be back in MA for her special day.

Just to make things a little more tragic, Bradley’s birthday fell on the day of the Memorial service.  I couldn’t just let the day go by without having him feel special.  Well, not only was it special but he received a very special gift from Brian.  A little backstory:  While out in MA in July for our vacation Brian had been incredibly generous with his time and effort and helped fine tune Bradley’s guitar playing while using one of his electric guitars.  This day, Brian had gone out and purchased Bradley his very own electric guitar.  It was so incredibly special to have both Brian and Lynn to celebrate this day.  Lynn had given Bradley his acoustic guitar a couple years ago.  He was totally surprised and in awe!!  We had cake and ice cream and Bradley received money from Lynn, which was amazing for Bradley.   He thought he was rich!! 😉  I had given him tickets to his very first concert, to be held Oct. 1 in Ithaca.  “They Might Be Giants”  It was their first stop on the new concert tour.  Totally awesome!  It was small, but he made out and hopefully the mornings events of the day didn’t taint his special day.

Stress made me crazy and I really just felt catatonic but was forced to deal with many challenges, especially T. who was totally agitated the entire trip making things very hard on everyone.  It was an emotionally exhausting trip.  I am glad to be home.

 

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The Last Day

Today is the last day of our vacation.  July 19th Sunday.

I whined at Brian to spend the last day out with me and the boys.  I was pleasantly surpised that he said yes.  He has a different schedule to sleep on and is just not in the same frame of mind that promotes participating in activities when children are involved.  Understandly so.  He is a single young guy.  Enough said.

I really was aching for my favorite pastries and I was breaking GFCF today for this.  I was given another surprise when Christine said she would join me too!!  This was going to be a great send off.  I picked up Christine and we went to the “Good Ole Yum Yum Shoppe” in Dracut, MA.  It is one of the few pastry places I know of that still make real fresh pastries right there on the premises.  These aren’t commercially made anything!!  I loaded up!!!!  The place had changed, but thankfully not in any way that would impair the pastry. 🙂

Num num num num num num num.

Then we ventured up to Nashua NH to Max’s Mini-Golf, to meet up with Brian.  We had a great time.  It was getting too hot for us near the end of the course and I wasn’t feeling well and niether was T. at that point, but it was really fun.  I took some rare photos of Brian as I have only seen a few in my lifetime of him.  There were extremely challenging holes and so many were given to close calls or hole-in-ones.  It was amazing and fun.

We wrapped up our game and headed to a Steakhouse for dinner, but T. had a meltdown and needed some rest before we tried a reastaurant type atmosphere, so we traveled to Leominster, Ma to the same restaurant chain and ate there.  All was much better after we had the drive to relax and compose ourselves.  The sun really did a number on T.  The dinner was delicious and everyone enjoyed themselves. 

It was so nice for Brian to take us out today and I really enjoyed spending time with him and Christine.  It made me feel very grateful for my friendships.  It was a nice last day of vacation.  I will miss everyone.  There were so many poeple I didn’t get to see and so many that I hadn’t seen in what seems like forever on this trip.  It was like riding down memory lane.  Miss you all!!!  Thanks for making this vacation really wonderful!!

Settling in

I have never had a vacation that I could actually take my time in the mornings and hang out.  I have never had a vacation where my children weren’t the total focus.  I have never had a vacation where I had time to relax or had any kind of down time to myself.  Until Now!  This is of course completely due to Brian.  He gave my children the ultimate distraction tools and not having to rush out the door the cram a months worth of visiting into a three day or four day period was something to be had.  I was able to make plans with people weeks out and see poeple I hadn’t ever had the chance to before.  I didn’t know what to do with myself a lot of the time.  I hadn’t anticipated relaxing.  I am pretty sure I don’t really know how to relax.  I got so irritated with the amount of downtime I had, that I ran out to Barnes and Noble and picked up a book, so I had something to do with myself.

The first week was this strange settling in to these new found thoughts about what my vacation was going to consist of.  Very strange.

I slept in.  I think I slept until 8:30 or 9am and was really fogged over in my head.  I thought maybe Iwas coming down with something.  I couldn’t really function or make any coherent thoughts for several hours.  It was quite disorienting.  I finally did get myself together and called out Kara for a nice swim playdate.  We went to a local pond in Ayer, called Sandy Pond.  It was busy with families and children whom all lived close by.  It was not large by any means but just right.  The sun shown bright and warm and the shade was very agreeable.  The kids all played in various age groupings through out the water and created new friends.  B. immediately had problems with his ears.  He went under a couple times and couldn’t take the pain any longer.  We are not sure what it was, but upon our return to NY we hit the doctors office and they couldn’t see if anything was cuasing it.  So, we will see if it continues.

We parted ways in the late afternoon and myself and the boys headed up north to the boys’ fathers.  I made dinner for us all, then we all headed out to the Drive-In Theater.  The movie didn’t start until 9pm.  That was a seriously late evening for us.  We watched Transformers II.  It was very uncomfortable in my car for us all to watch and thankfully I had our beach blankets, as B. and Kimberly sat outside most of the time.  We had snacks galore and were definitley done before the next movie startee a little while after midnight.  I was exhausted.  We dropped off their dad and half-sister and went straight back to the house and crashed.

We stayed home the entire next day.   The boys played and I tried to catch up on cleaning and relaxing from the busy-ness that was the day before.

T. was getting worse.  Now we were dealing with Bloody stools.  Scary, but I thought we might be dealing with the after effects of having gluten ane dairy(pizza) for the first time in a few months, the day before or an allergic reaction to the mass quantities of Strawberries he had been consuming since we left NY.  So you see, I was trying to rationalize not going to the ER twice in one vacation.  Sigh…it didn’t really work.

The next morning, we headed out to the ER once again.  T. this time was not in a good state of mind.  He had a huge meltdown upon walking into the patient exam room.  For twenty minutes I had to restrain him.  All the while keeping very calm and telling him soothing thoughts while he is kicking the shit outta me and pulling out my hair in chuncks.  It was going to a bruise filled day.  Ow!  But he finally did calm down and I had to resort to something I normally would never have allowed to bribe him into cooperation.  I have never used this particular thing as a reward/bribe before since I know where it leads, but I was at my wits end.  I offered him computer time on my little EeePC that I brought with me to MA to keep in touch online with all my friends.  It made getting together with friends so much easier.  I love map programs and once again, Facebook!  He took it and we were able to get all the tests we needed done.  He wasm given this funky dx of Henoch-Schonlein Purpura.  In the end there was nothing you could do for it, but to run its course and watch for kidney failure.  Oh yeah, this was great freaking news.  This vacation is not going to so well for this child.

The next day, we visited a friend that I had not seen since I was 10 years old.  I loved her and her family dearly and they had so much impact upon my life as a child.  It was great to find out the she was only ten minutes from where I was staying.  I met up with Heather at her home, and met her eldest daughter, Casey.  It was so great to see her again.  It was as if we hadn’t been apart.  I felt like I could just be compeltely myself with her again.  I just can’t loose touch again with her.  Dinner rolled around and we headed back to finish our day at “home”.  Let me tell you again, how much a vacation this is for the boys.  So much video gaming!!!

I am, once again, reminded how fortunate I am for great friends.  Brian is a music enthusiast and couldn’t compliment my eldest son enough.  They are like twins, only 20 something years apart!  LOL  Brian allowed B. to use his guitars for practicing and giving him lessons on for specific songs and such while we were there visiting.  B. was truely in heaven.  This experience for him couldnt’t have been better in anyway.  He was so smitten with Brian and his Mad skills!!!

Still no pictures.  I am a really bad blogger!!  No cookie for me!

Vacation beginnings

July fist came around and I was very prepared.  I had scrimped and saved a good amount of money in hopes of staying for an extended period of time in Massachuesetts, visiting, catching up, and having fun.  I had packed all clothes the day ahead and gathered all travel snacks and some specialty items for GFCF diet that I might have a hard time finding initially in MA.

The truck had been packed of most items the night before, so when I awoke we could head out right away.   We were all pretty excited.  The only thing about this journey that bothered me was that my man was not coming with us.  He had other plans, but it would have been nice to have gotten away on vacation with him.

We arrived in very good time and I arrived to a great hug from Brian.  I actually pulled out of it, since I was really smelly from road ware.  I unpacked the boys into our rooms and calmed down from the drive then proceeded to the nearest grocery store for yum yums and went back to cook dinner.  I love sirlion steak tips and we can’t find them in NY so I grabbed a coiuple packages for that week.   Brian was so sweet!!  He had gone out and grabbed some of the food we would need during our stay prior to arriving, so I didn’t need much else.   He also went way beyond the average hosting and purchased a game for his X-box that was appropriate for the chidren.  They were thrilled!!!  Since at home the TV is only used for PBS and watching movies, this was a huge vacation for the boys.  Their dreams were coming true right before their eyes.  LOL  They even enjoyed a few games other than the Lego Star Wars one that Brian had purchased;  Rockband and Guitar Hero.  They even got to watch cable.  These were the mainstays of their vacation.  This is what they lived and breathed most of the time we were away.  Sad, I think, but they were in heaven.  😛  I let them have at it.  It was a vacation for them too.

It was incredibly nice to be staying with Brian.  I have missed seeing him for so many years.  I am very fortunate to have really generous friends and he was incredibly kind to offer his house to myself and the boys, as long as we were willing to stay.  Our usual haunt, of staying with my friend Kara and her girls, is now a bit too crowded, with additional girls and the fact our two sets of eldest children are tweens and teens.  A tight squeeze for all of us under one roof.  I love Brians’ home.  It feels like “home” to me.  I have many memories there and attachment to the area.   Part of my time was to be dedicated to cleaning the house.  I did clean but it was mostly picked up already and I was just doing maintenance cleaning.  He wouldn’t let us help with the outside work or the basement, so there was little to be done. 😦  I enjoy cleaning this house.  Yes, I realize this is weird to some folks.  But I really enjoy cleaning others’ homes.  Totally selfish reasons I am sure.  I get quite a lot of it.  Self satisfacation, intimate connections with the house and it’s furnishings, greater connection to the people in the house, and a sense of trust and belonging.  See, you all thought I just do this cuase I am generous and kind or something.  NOT!!  Totally selfish.  So there.

Before I left for MA, I signed up for several Ravelry events.  One included spinning every day of the during the Tour de France.  Another was a swap with a theme of Mary Poppins.  Upon my arrival I pulled out my spindle and begun to spin.  My dear friend Brian just looked at me as if I had gophers growing outta my nose.  I don’t think he ever thought I would be doing such a thing.  Silly man!!  Well, after a few times of my spindle smacking the hard kitchen floor, it cracked right at the hook.  This was a major impairment to my plans.  I had heard of a fiber store in a town nearby that I wanted to check out, but it was coming up to the holiday weekend and I was sure normal business hours were void.  The next afternoon, I called the store, Fiber Loft in Harvard MA, in a panicked flurry.  I was happy to talk with the woman and was not surprised that they were closing in an hour and they were not opening till next week.  I grabbed my boys and ran out the door.  She was staying open for me and I was going to make it the least amount of inconvience as possible.  I flew through the few little towns and made it there before closing time.  I picked out a new spindle and picked up some lovely J-knits roving.  Just couldn’t resist.  Aqua and deep brown….PRETTY!!!  T. was literally pulling me out the door as soon as I walked in.  I think he saw the fever kick in immediately upon scenting the wool all around me.  He’s smarter than the average bear.  😛

On the way back from The Fiber Loft we stopped by for a surprise visit to our friend Kara’s.  Her girls and my boys have been good friends for a long time.  We went out for a yummy dinnner at one of my favorite family dining places, Tiny’s in Ayer MA.  Nummers!!

It was great to see Kara again.  I miss her terribly. 😦  I hope that I have had enough of an influence on Abigail to have her become an evil mastermind that I see as her greatest potential.  Muuaaaahhhh!!!  Do you hear the manicial laughter?  Anyway, we visited till late in the evening and made plans for the next day. 

Natural Food store in Groton, MA for snacks and such, then to the Ayer park for the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day and the kids had a great time.  We even found plenty of snacks that we could eat and enjoy.  While we were there we saw a guy practicing walking the tight rope.  I was fun to watch. 

I was getting pretty psyched for Independance Day. Only one more day to a fireworks show that I look toward ever year.  We usually see two shows in this town, but the Fort  Devens had cancelled the fireworks show on their land.  Probably due to economy.