It’s the Sunday night after vacation. The suitcases are empty, but I cant find the toothpaste. My daughter is almost ready for camp tomorrow but she is missing a favorite swim suit. Or is it a shoe?

Katy told me twenty minutes ago. She hasn’t noticed that since she turned nine I started tuning about her frantic announcements in regards to items of clothing and footwear. She has lots and lots and lots of everything. We are the recipients of hand-me-downs from four different families.

So if something is missing, it’s probably lost under a pile of stuff that certainly contains either the missing item or a replacement.

I’m going thru the motions of getting ready to return to work, but I’m weighted down with the- I’m not ready for the real world how did the week go by so fast and I don’t think I even got a tan Blues.

We just got home from Cape Cod. We make the trip every year with a family friend and his daughter.

The first few days are always slow. Long days at the pool, with brief trips across the street to the ocean during low tide. The girls looked for crabs. I pretended that swimming back and forth in the bay was exercise. Then I started looking for crabs too.

The girls ordered milkshakes for lunch and a half an hour later, chicken nuggets. We played Marco Polo even though there a lot of other people in the pool, ages ranging from 2 years old to 82 with no interest at all in playing Marco Polo.

We went to town and wandered down Commercial Street until a restaurant looked good.

We had all the time in the world then, only two days in. Sleeping in was a luxury we could afford, and we agreed to decide about whale watches and bike trips and boogie boarding tomorrow or the day after.

Then comes the day after, and while I sipped my first cup of coffee, negotiations began over bike trails or boat rides. We made dinner reservations after doing research. We planned naps, lunches and had a long conversation about whether or not we’d need to buy more sun block before the end of the week. Both of us seemed aware that we were now in the middle of the week and that our decisions carried weight.

When I said no to the whale watch, I had to recognize that this year, unless something really really strange happened and a whale decided to stop by MacMillan Pier in downtown Provincetown, I’m not going to see any whales. Up close, anyway. I thought about it for a while and it was a decision I could live with. (Sorry, James.)

By Thursday and Friday, we’d settled into a breakfast ritual. The girls knew each others card games. I remembered to hang the towels up where they belong and James remembered that I liked to watch Jon Stewart reruns before sleep. We had become a temporary family that is well aware it’s almost time to say goodbye.

Thursday morning, the girls went boogie boarding, I sat on the sand and watched. They didn’t complain about the wind. I didn’t mind just watching them, wobble, and fall, ride along on their bellies, climb back up, tip one over, crouch like surfers and stand straight like super models. I don’t usually watch. But I took one look at the long, heavy board, and at the wind on the waves and I laid down a towel.

On the last night, we went to our first drag show and were entertained by a beautiful cast of characters played by the one and only Electra. (I am now the proud owner of a tote bag, signed by Electra herself.)

James let my daughter pick out our last restaurant for dinner, where we ordered top shelf liquor and appetizers so fresh they weren’t even listed on the menu.  The girls got two more tattoos. We stopped by our favorite tee shirt shops and I was introduced to a few gallery owners.

We took a pedi cab back to the car.

Right now, I feel decades away pedi cabs and whales and mudslides and sunblock. My daughter is mad at me because I didn’t help her find whatever it was she was looking for. I’m going back to work tomorrow at 8 am and I’d really like a day off to go thru my vacation photos.

By 9:15 tomorrow morning, it will be like I never went on vacation at all.

Life is short. I get that. I gave up smoking and I’m working on carbohydrates and considering giving up sugar and I do like yoga. I’m happy and willing to make changes in my life so that I will live a little bit longer.

Life is short, but it’s long enough to give us time to get used to the fact that it’s going to end. It’s also long enough that I think sometimes it gets boring, or horrible things happen, or quite often, you don’t even get a warning before check-out.

I’m going to have to call in sick tomorrow. I’ve got some pictures to put on the cloud and some Facebook friends to make.(I hope they remember me as more than a tourist? I hope they are the kind of people that want to have many, many Facebook friends, even if they are tourists.)

Maybe next year I need to go on a spectacularly bad vacation. Or take two weeks off. Or just enjoy long weekends spread out all year long.

Maybe what I need to do is re read the words I just wrote and think them thru for a moment.

I just got home from a beautiful vacation with some of my favorite people.

Life is short, vacations are shorter.

In light of that indisputable fact, I guess I’ll continue to take notes along the way.


February 12, 2013

I’s been about a week since my last post on WordPress. I wrote about my fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease; my father died from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s when I was in my 20’s. It was dark, intensely personal, (too much so, according to my mom) and lacking in  humor, attempted or other wise.

About three days ago,  I realized it was getting to be that time. I try to update my blog about once a week; .(I really hate the word blog, and “blogging” sounds like something dirty people do in the back rooms of convenience marts or shoe stores). I really wanted to write something light, to balance out the melancholy reflections last time out.

So I started looking for something to write about. First up, and the obvious choice, was the blizzard, “Nemo”, “Snowmaggedon”, “The Storm that was Badder than the one in 1978″… I live just outside of Boston, about two feet of white powdery stuff fell on Milton. I considered devoting a few paragraphs to shoveling. This is all I got- Shoveling is hard work, and no matter what is on your feet, your socks get wet. I was going to write about the joy of having a few days home with the kids. They spent a lot of time complaining about not being able to go sledding, and asking for more hot chocolate. When I made them hot chocolate- the homemade kind, fancy dark chocolate mixed with brown sugar, honey, a pinch of salt and vanilla- they’d fish out the marshmallows and leave the half drank cocoa on any available surface. Where, more than once, they knocked the mug over. It’s fun to mop up cocoa in wet socks. Definitely couldn’t fill a few paragraphs of the joy of being stranded at home with two clumsy, culinary challenged, ungrateful children. Even if my favorite bliss is being wedged in the middle of their solid, sweet little bodies while we argue about who gets the remote.

So I crossed the blizzard of my list of suitable subjects for this time out I started  scrutinizing  everything I did for potential material. Looking for a pair of sweat pants… A piece about cleaning the closet! Rubbing Sophie the Most Wondrous of the Canines? A rambling ode to the joy of loving a dog. Making sloppy joes? What about a stab at the comedy that the sauce is called Manwich? Girls like sloppy joes too. This girl likes sloppy joes a little too much. As a matter a fact, how about something about what happens when I’ve been stuck at home to long and it’s hard to zipper up my favorite pair of jeans. Everybody wants to read about somebody else getting not able to squeeze into pants.. Except I don’t want to write about that. It’s not too personal, it’s just embarrassing.

So instead of publishing an essay about snowstorms, or puppies or the need to not eat too many sandwiches, I just wrote about what I am choosing not to write about. At this time.

If I don’t think of something by next week, I might revisit the singular joys and pitfalls of  cleaning the closet.