On Sunday evening, Carolyn had called to say that Aaron, who was supposed to be at scout camp for most of my trip, was skipping the second week and was on his way home. Now this entire trip was planned around him not being around. July is fiscal year end and so not the best time for me to be off work and I had even finagled the dates around camp and so was flying Tuesday to Tuesday. Damn! It’s not that Aaron’s a bad kid, it’s just that his presence means Carolyn is in mommy mode, which seriously cramps our style. He’s only eleven and so can’t stay home alone for more than a couple of hours and the kid needs to eat. This was going to completely change the tenor of the trip but what could I do? I should also mention that Carolyn had found out Saturday that everyone but her and one other teacher had gotten recall letters, which meant Carolyn was unemployed. Talk about a double damper! The trip would still be fun but we’d have to work around Aaron and not spend much money. As if that wasn't enough, the friends who were going to have a cookout that would replace mine and Carolyn’s had cancelled so I wouldn’t be able to see all my friends in one fell swoop. This was seriously becoming a Plan B Vacation. Time to go with the flow.
The week started with mad vacation prep. Now the house was in great shape because I’d picked up so much for the cookout and the interim cleaning lady had come but there was still plenty to do. I skipped knitting at the library and spent Monday night slamming through my to do list. It didn’t take all night so I was able to watch a bit of TV before heading to bed early, feeling good about life in general.
Despite getting everything done the night before, Tuesday morning still found me running around doing last minute stuff. Since I was driving to the airport directly from work, I had to get everything done before leaving for work. Was I late? Damn right but only 15 minutes later than usual and I left a nice, clean house and well watered plants. As usual, my mantra is if nothing dies while I’m gone, I’m good. The day at work flew by, especially when I asked Nora for small stuff to fill the afternoon. I left work at 4:00 and headed for Eppley. The flights were uneventful and on time so I arrived just after midnight to pea soup humidity and Carolyn. Ick and wonderful at the same time.
Aaron had graciously given up his bed so I wouldn’t have to climb the stairs with my bum knee and heel (so far so good with the new shoes) so I went straight to bed. I was tired, tired, tired! We hung out Wednesday morning and had Carolyn’s super yummy scrambled eggs (she makes the best eggs ever!) and then Deanne picked me up for lunch. We went to Caffe Itri and had wonderful Italian food (the likes of which can’t be had outside of Italy, imho) and chatted for hours. They even locked the doors for their afternoon shutdown but let us sit over cappuccinos and keep talking. It was a nice afternoon. Sharyn called that night to say she couldn’t take time off work (it’s fiscal year end at Brown too) and so wouldn’t be joining us in Newport on Thursday. Major bummer but it was just more Plan B.
Now my sister Ginny, who is a teacher and so has the summer free, was supposed to have called my Auntie Margaret to set up lunch on Sunday but when I called my aunt to see if she was available for Newport on Thursday, she had no idea I was even in town. I had a few bad thoughts about my sister but was happy to hear Auntie Margaret was free for Newport. Aaron decided he would go rather than hang at his grandparents so we set off for Hope Valley (the back of beyond) to pick up Aunt Margaret. Kelsey, her grandaughter, came too so the five of us set out for Newport. The day was gorgeous and we had lots of plans - clamcakes and chowder at Flo's Clam Shack, going to the Marble House (a Newport Mansion - check out the link if you've never heard of them) and driving Ocean Drive.
Flo's did not disappoint ((I'd never been but had heard it was good and it was) but when we got to The Marble House, I was not happy to see that it was an audio tour with headsets. You see Auntie Margaret, who is a spry 89 year old, is legally blind (she can see around the edges but not detail) and so would have trouble punching in the numbers. We managed to get through the tour and then went onto the back lawn to enjoy the breeze of the ocean, which was heavenly. It was a picture perfect day! We drove Ocean Drive but didn't get out and then headed home. It was a wonderful time.
John was coming into town from NYC (just for me - how lucky am I?) and we were driving to Stoughton to go to Ikea. Luckily Matt had the day off so he took care of Aaron and off we went. I LOVE Ikea! I got a couple more shelves for my reconfigured wall unit (moved to the basement this past winter) and bought some other fun stuff. We all had fun. From there it was back home and then I took Carolyn's car to John's mom's and we headed back to Newport for Grill Night at the Newport Yacht Club, where John's family belongs. His whole extended family was there so I got to enjoy drinks on the upper deck with his aunts and uncles. It was great to see them all, some of whom I hadn't seen in a decade at least. Only Marianne, Brian (John's mom and step dad) and the two of us stayed for dinner, which was yummy (you grill your own meet and the club supplies soup, salad and sides.) John and I had driven separately so we went home via Beavertail, which is the southern tip of Jamestown (the other big island in the bay) and was my mom's favorite place. We got there just as the sun was setting and had some nice bonding time. I then hung out at Marianne and Brian's, which is always fun, and got home at 11:00. What a wonderful day!
Saturday was a low key day. Carolyn and I drove to Exeter to a new yarn shop - Eneri Knits. It was in the middle of nowhere but the woman was nice. Carolyn found the perfect, although expensive, yarn for her shawl and I only bought 2 skeins of yarn - enough for a scarf. Aren't you proud of me? The only other plan was dinner with Bob and John but we'd gotten a call from Bob saying he wasn't feeling well and so wouldn't be up for clamcakes and chowder (our dinner menu - take out from Iggy's) so would come in the afternoon instead. So we picked up spinach pies for lunch and then called John to come over for a Job Lot run before Bob got there. Despite it being so early, John came over. But when we called Bob when we were about to leave Job Lot, he said he wasn't up for it and so wasn't coming at all. The kicker was every time we talked to him, he wasn't home. So, sick? Anyway, that left us with a chunk of time to kill before dinner when we could have been doing other things. Oh well. More Plan B. John and I went to Iggy's to pick up the food and then we gorged ourselves on deep fried seafood and hung out some more. So all ended well albeit not as planned.
The plan Sunday was lunch with Auntie Margaret and my sister. Since Carolyn had a family commitment, my sister was supposed to pick me up but my cousin was driving up with my aunt. As I suspected, the minute all 3 seats in the truck weren't taken, my brother-in-law came. Now Ginny in the presence of him is not my sister. She's a stepford wife. And I barely tolerate his existance, it was not the lunch I had hoped for. We ate and then went our separate ways. I ended up shopping all afternoon and calling Sharyn, who was expecting me to join the family gathering at her house sometime in the afternoon. But it was so late when I got home that I called and begged off, inviting her and her husband to dinner after she got out of work Monday instead. They agreed and we had steaks on the grill for dinner. Just before sunset, Carolyn and I drove to Rocky Point, which is the defunct amusement park that I worked at for two summers during college. The city had bought some of the land and had opened a pedestrian park along the water. We walked quite a ways into the park, taking pics of what I could see of the abondonned park (you know I love abandonned stuff!) while watching the sunset. Too bad neither of us wore good shoes for walking, leaving us limping back to the car. But it was still fun and a nice way to end the week.
So, can you see how I've called this Plan B vacation? But I'm in RI with Carolyn so even if everything falls through, it's still good. And hot by RI standards doesn't hold a candle to the heat and himidity I left in Nebraska so that's an added bonus. I'll be back to that soon enough (2 more days) but at least I'll be in my own house. It's always good to get back home.
P.S. I had this all done and ready to post on Monday but Carolyn's computer wouldn't do it. I'm sure it's hosed from all the junk Aaron does on it. : )