Saturday, August 27, 2011

Define Crazy

Crazy just may be heading off to a Cape Cod vacation during a Hurricane Watch/Warning along the New England Coastline. 

We weighed all the various advisories, watched all the models, called the property owner, property manager, and even local police.  We've monitored, NOAA, and every other possible source of weather news.  And we still just don't know.

We do know that last year we left the Cape early because of Hurricane Earl and it was not much of an event.  However, we also know that you can't assume that will be the case here.

I think I like Craig Allen (local 880 CBS weather guy) the best.  He indicates caution, talks about reality checks and the fact that while not "the storm of the century" that some would like to create panic around, there are real dangers here...especially for flooding.  He also talks about significant impacts, but doesn't try to make you feel like you'll be trapped in a Wizard of Oz moment.

So, we've secured our home, we took in all of the lawn furniture, strapped the outdoor storage boxes to the fence, pulled my car into the garage.  We lowered the water level in the pool just in case we were to get that 10-12 inches of rain.  Not much more we could do at home. 

We know the house we are renting has hurricane shutters and is on the bay side so it is more sheltered from big gusts in from ocean.  We have packed batteries, flashlights, candles, water, and non-perishable food stuffs to get us through a day or two. 

We are heading off at 5AM.

So, I don't really think we are crazy...sort least not as crazy as those Hurricane Hunters who fly into the eye of the storm, right?  (Don't worry Mom - will check in frequently so you know we are ok).

Fingers crossed that the rest of the vacation is boring as hell.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

6 days and 14 hours, but who's counting

Once again we'll make our trek northward to Cape Cod for our vacation.  And other than the fact that I can't seem to locate my Teva sandals anywhere, I am ALREADY PACKED!  This has to be a record for me and I'm sure I'll still be running around like a crazy woman the evening before checking and re-checking everything.  But right my mind...I'm halfway to the Cape.

This is our 10th anniversary of this trip.  We began in August of 2001.  We had no idea that one week after our return home, the world would change.  We had no idea that 10 years later, our little piece of the world would have this one week of recurring sanity to keep us going forward.

My VP often shakes his head about my return to this "local" vacation spot year after year.  But there is something so special about the Cape.  Hubby will say it is the light as he gets up at the crack of dawn or earlier each day to capture the special early morning rays with his camera.  Our travel companions will say it is the easy going beachside environment - not crazy like Jersey Shore, not fashion-conscious like the Hamptons.  I say it is the peace.  Even though we have a house full of people and personalities, we know the place like our own hometown and we have the routines in place that we all enjoy.

Chocolate covered bananas in the freezer on Day One through Day Seven.
Zweigel hots imported from my hometown and ready for spot grilling anytime.
The lobster pot dinner event.
Lunch and antique shopping on girl's day out.
Three books in one week.
Broken down beach chairs and old college comforters on the beach.
King Rummy card games after dark.
Nosh-fests on the deck watching the sunset.
Wading in water so cold your toes curl in protest.
Low-tide marathon walks.
Fresh donuts from Flemings.
Fried seafood at the local shacks.
Half-price end of season t-shirt sales.

When we began this journey 10 years ago, Miss Chloe was 6 months old.  Her brother only 7.  Now he is 17 and starting his senior year of high school, and she is 10, taking the world by storm.  We've lived through the years of crying baby, sand rashes, and fear of the water.  We've lived through the bored antisocial teen.  We've lived through personal strife and tragedy, fair weather and foul, an uprooting of the traditional rental location, and all sorts of other ups and downs.  In the end, no matter what, it remains the single week I look forward to the most every year.

As we speak, one more item is getting crossed off the list.  Hubby is talking with our cat-sitter for our time away who's getting educated on dry/wet cat food, water supply, tricky locks, cat toys, cable tv use, etc.

And me?  Well, I just ordered some new Teva's (to be sure if mine remain lost I'll have some for the trip), my bag is packed, my checklist is half done, and I 'm charging up the camera.  Because the anticipation is almost over and the reality is almost here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The First (and Only?) BBQ at Wenderina's in 2011

It has been a busy world.  But I'm sick of saying that.  Instead I'll focus on the fun and downtime I had over the past few days which could have been made better by only one thing...if Hubby had been similarly able to relax.

When my mom comes to visit I live my life by slightly different rules.  I feel that I need and want to make the most of my day and I actually grocery shop and have a list of possible meals to make.  I actually tell people at work that I will be leaving ON TIME and I do (almost).  We sit at an actual table and eat our meals.  That feels more appropriate now with my protective instinct for the new couch, but tv, just food, a table, and conversation....who knew you could get that outside a restaurant?   And while many a regular weekend includes me putting the stinking blackberry in a drawer, I'm often still in some way or form plugged in to the work week.  But not this weekend.  Mama Lou was in the house and I was off the clock.

On Saturday, we had the annual Moms' birthday BBQ celebration for both our Moms since they have the same date of birth.  As I sat in a quiet moment and talked with the women of the gathering, I was interested to learn that my friend Kir who lost her job in January and last I had seen her (Feb) was in a panic about it, had a new story to tell.  "I'm not missing work.  Not. at. all.  And I'm not ashamed to admit it."  She is filling her days with all kinds of activities, hobbies, reading, relaxing, helping a couple of people with some freelancing, but essentially, just making her own rules and living her own life.  Of course a little money coming in would be nice.  But they're making ends meet.  And she's kind of astonished after working her tale off for more than 20 years how nice it is not to have a job.

Tonight in contrast, I sat with my two team colleagues where the statement was made by one, "I'm not having any fun any more at work.  None."  I'm not in that same place....I still have some fun...I'm driven by the adrenalin and now that we are clearing the MERGER and INTEGRATION, I'm finding the groove again.  But there are a lot of times where I'm pretty overwhelmed by the magnitude of my every day list and the feeling of not making a dent.  Not ever. 

As sick as I am of talking about being busy, I'm also sick about whining about finding balance.  Instead, maybe I'll just try to find moments of balance.  Like my poolside dance.  Like dinner with Mom at a table.  And maybe a 2nd BBQ in the backyard. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

"There is no terror in a bang....

....only in the anticipation of it."
- Alfred Hitchcock

Ain't that the truth.  Although I've been known to jump at a loud noise once or twice, the true anxiety in my life comes from anticipation.  Of a deadline, of a test result, of a looming event, of travel to unknown places, of whatever might come around the corner next to surprise me and throw my life into turmoil.

Last night I had completed a long list of chores and I was feeling the typical raised anxiety that only the combination of PMS hormones and a Sunday night fading into Monday craziness can bring my way, so I determined to battle it rather than submit.  I ate dinner with Hubby, catching up on our weekend of separate activities, and then while he napped a bit, I went outside to enjoy the gloaming.

Gloaming Photo courtesy of Google Images

I sat back in my lounge chair and put on my iPod and watched the bats and the dragonflies dance around the air as the sun set behind puffy blue-grey turning to amber-pink clouds.  It was an amazing sight.  And for a short time, I was Zen-like.  I was not thinking about anything, I was just watching and listening.

As the darkness fell, I kept the ear-buds in and the volume up and began the process of putting all the weekend stuff away - the pool floats, the cushions, the hammock...all back into their respective cages in case of rain during the hectic work week.  As I lifted the cushions my iPod turned to some new music I just downloaded - and despite myself I found my hips swaying and my head bobbing and I was soon twirling and dancing my way from one end of the patio to the other...echoing the bat and dragonfly dance and not even caring if the neighbors thought I was a total loon.  (Luckily my patio is pretty hidden from view...) 

At the end I felt like I'd had an aerobic workout and lots of fun and I finished with a big flourish and a dive into the deep end of the pool to cool off.  One of those perfect moments that proves you can sometimes fight off the anxiety of anticipation if you really try...especially if you are willing to just be in the moment.