FishDreamer scribbles: Seeking Serenity Online

Saturday, 7 August 2004

Goin' to da Jersey Shore

I've been home since early Wednesday morning, and had this window open to type up since that afternoon sometime, but I've been sick and really not up to much of anything. I'm still not completely recovered, but I want to write so here it is.

There's been a little bit of tidying at Chicklit, and there are now threads about wine and liquor and specific meals and things in the House & Home section. Reading and writing about wine last night made me want some, but I really don't feel well and I knew that was a bad idea. I shouldn't have any for a few more days at least, I really don't want to relapse. I was miserable for a few days there. I was also loopy and experiencing some spacial disorientation. It's a little disconcerting when the world tilts under you. It was slow and easy so I didn't feel off-balance, but it was very definite.

And for the last two nights I've had the worst time trying to sleep. Not comfortable, getting all sweaty (actually that part has been going on for a couple of weeks now), waking up every hour or two. I can't figure out why. Usually I get like this when I'm stressed about something, but it was happening on our vacation when I was feeling all relaxed and happy too.

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching and goal pondering lately, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. I also found out upon return that there has been a bunch of shifting at upper levels in my place of employ, which has probably added to it. I feel rather incompetent at work these days. There's so much to do, and some of it is beyond what I know well. And then I get completely buried and lose track of things (which, honestly, is really uncommon), which only makes it worse. It's troublesome. My whole team at work is iffy right now, as far as I can tell. Not because any of them are bad people, but because they've been pushed and pushed without any give and I think things are beginning to crack.

So, the vacation. It was good. We left here on a Tuesday evening and flew overnight to Dallas, and then continued to Philadelphia. We had a day to recover from that, and then the Iowa contingent showed up in a van and an SUV. We all went out to dinner, and then settled in for the night in pretty much every room of the house (twelve people, total). Saturday we got up and got ready to head down to Cape May. Ate lunch, and then we all went to our assigned cars for the drive. I got to ride with Mr D just the two of us, which was awfully nice after the chaos of all those people.

To backtrack just a little, Mr D's mom is a minister. She spent all day Friday at the hospital, ministering to a friend who was dying (unnecessarily apparently, it had to do with a hernia operation going wrong). She came home around lunchtime and burst into tears, got consoled, and went back to the hospital. We saw her again at dinner, and then I saw no more of her until Tuesday night after the funeral. (He died on Saturday.) This whole episode understandably put a bit of a pall on things, although none of us knew him. Compound it with Mr D's aunt then being in charge of everything because she's that kind of person, and we had a bad couple of days Sunday and Monday.

I didn't take any personal affront from Aunt Sue (who I've mentioned in context of us going to visit her and Uncle Rex in Iowa before) taking over, but it was interesting how she assigned the bedrooms on the second floor to her two kids who were there, leaving my in-laws to the third floor with us and her other son & his wife who hadn't arrived yet. Those two, the last to arrive, were given a room with twin beds. I was perfectly happy with this arrangement, since it meant the one under-ten of the party (Aunt Sue's grandson) was downstairs from me, and it gave me lots of uninterrupted quiet time. Plus of all those cousins, the ones on our floor are the ones I am closest to. I like them all, but we've stayed with them and they're a bit more travelled than the others. They also get along really well with Mr D's parents, which helped.

We spent those days feeling a bit like outsiders at our own vacation, which upset Mr D quite a bit. It had been eight years since the last group vacation, and starting it out with a funeral was unfortunate. I simply stayed upstairs in my room reading. Mr D and I went walking in the misty foggy rain the first night, which was glorious. We were supposed to each take a turn cooking dinner, as a way to not put the burden on any one person. I took my turn Monday night and made spaghetti. Aunt Sue took over while I wandered off to let the sauce simmer. She made salad, put the garlic bread in the oven, and boiled the spaghetti. And voila! Dinner was ready. She also drank the rest of my wine (she did ask first), which was cool. I was glad not to have to drink the whole thing myself.

I think it was Monday night that we were going to play mini-golf, which was one of my stated wishes for the vacation. We all trooped off after dinner, but the one child (he's four) wanted ice cream so they all went to do that first. That upset me. I was still full from dinner, plus I was getting unmistakeable signs from my digestive system that I had an impending appointment with the loo. I had about an hour, maybe ninety minutes, before it was going to become urgent. So Mr D and I took off and didn't play. I don't really care if that upset people (I know it did, actually). They'd taken over my plans and ruined it for me. There were plenty of mini-golf places and we could have gone some other time, but I never did. I wish I had, but not in any regretful sense. Just because it would have been fun.

Tuesday six of us went fishing. That group was me and Mr D, the cousins staying on our floor, and the two other guys in our generation. We had a blast, and none of the tension from the previous days carried over. We hired a boat (complete with captain and deck hand) and took off for the Maryland bay. It took about an hour to get there. I love being on the water, I don't care why or where. It was sunny and warm and we had sandwiches and water and chips. We caught over 100 fish, keeping 68 of them (they were small fish called croakers, mostly). I caught a baby sand shark, which totally freaked me out. I kept it at the end of the pole, as far from me as I could get it while still holding the pole. One of Mr D's cousins got sick, poor guy. We got him out of the head eventually and sat him under the stairs, outside, where he had a wall behind him and some fresh air. It was a bit wavy out there, but I have never had a problem with that.

All in all a glorious day. We had, of course, fish for dinner. I was going to do beer batter like my dad taught me for halibut, but Aunt Sue took over while I was in the shower and cooked dinner. It was still good, so I couldn't complain even though she didn't make the onion rings I'd been planning on. Happy fishing day!

The rest of the week was filled with reading, going to the beach, looking for Christmas presents for my family, and sleeping. Mr D's mom showed up, and there was some kind of drama regarding the cousins on our floor and Aunt Sue (as well as the other cousins, apparently). It's been building for years, because that cousin's wife is different from the Iowa folks and there's always been misunderstanding and tension there. It doesn't help that they moved to Arizona to be near her parents, taking him farther away from his family. I understand where it comes from, but I was rather happy it had nothing to do with me. I sympathise with both sides, naturally.

We got paid on Friday, me and Mr D, so we went around that afternoon picking up all those items we'd been earmarking all week. I got a sweatshirt for myself, and shirts or sweatshirts for my mom, dad, sister, niece, and nephew. Plus some other stuff. For some reason I decided I wanted a ring for my right ring finger, and spent inordinate amounts of time looking for something silver that fit and I liked. I found a couple of possibilities, but in the end I got nothing. I'm still thinking of picking up a reproduction of Aragorn's ring from Lord of the Rings. They didn't have any at the exhibit in Boston (we went on Monday, before we flew home Tuesday) or I'd know for sure if I wanted one.

* * * * * * *

And it's now Monday night. I went to a party Saturday at my cousin Pha & B's house, and I ended up not coming home until around 4 in the morning. There was an unfortunate digestive rejection, and probably four hours' of sleep before I could crawl down the stairs and come home. I'd been doing all that reading and discussing wine at Chicklit, you see, and I felt good and pretty and happy and it was a really fun party. I intended to stay an hour or so, but there were several old friends to catch up with (and one former romping partner who would have liked it better were I still single), and I drank wine. And one of the old friends, not realizing I'd been ill for the last week, kept refilling my glass. The food wasn't flowing anywhere nearly as much as the wine, and after maybe three glasses, I had one of those big "Oh Shit" moments. B saw my distress and helped me up to the bathroom, made me comfortable, and then got me to bed in her daughter's room before I could pass out on the bathroom floor.

It was most unfortunate, and unpleasant, and apparently the would-be swain thought he'd pissed me off and that's why I ran away. Uh, no. Seeing him was interesting, a moment to reflect on could-have-beens maybe, but no. He was perfectly kind and has already relayed that should I find myself husbandless again, he's there for me. Even not husbandless, he's still there for me, any way I'm prepared to be friends. This seems to me a dangerous proposition, but I'm sure I'll see him around since he's one of my cousin's best friends. Plus he's a really nice guy. Too bad he disappeared all those years. I think he's the first guy I ever called first (as in, I called him after our hook-up rather than waiting for him to call).

In short, it was a lot of fun and then it got weird and then it got unpleasant and then I woke up and drove home. Mr D was notified of my condition and offered to come get me, but I just needed sleep (which I have not been getting so much, on top of the being sick and not eating enough).

So the big point in the vacation story that was interrupted is that Mr D went out and bought a piece of artwork. I agreed, but left the decision up to him. His bonus, his art. He took his mom and stepdad back to the gallery where we found it, and they thought it was great and if he wanted it and had the money, he should get it. So he did. It arrived today (Monday the 9th). Mr D bought himself this painting by Fabian Perez (check out some of the other stuff, I really like it). I would not have picked it myself, but I like it and it completely changes how our living room looks.

We also bought two framed Cape May photographs from this photographer (I picked number 5 on this page and Mr D picked the signature picture, number 45 on this page). And we hit a store that sells original oils by unknown artists and each got one - his a sailing ship on the ocean, mine a Venetian street scene that reminds me of Dufy or Miro.

Not sure where we're going to put all of this art (except the big piece, which is going over the mantel in the living room), but it felt like another step together in our lives. We've never bought art before. To me, spending $15 on a matted print at a fair was a big deal, because what if I didn't like it later? What if I never got it framed or someone else hated it or it didn't ever go with my decor? That, of course, would be assuming I ever have a decor, because I never have so far. But yes, we've started decorating. It feels pretty good. And it's nice for me to finally realize that I do have fairly specific tastes in artwork and while Mr D has fairly specific different taste, there is middle ground and we can make it so we're both happy. That's a good thing.

And that is all I have for you tonight. We came home and I was sick all last week, so today was my first day back in the office. It felt very strange, and there is as usual a lot going on there. I just need to get my head working properly again and get back in the groove. So, have a lovely evening and I'll try not to make it so long between updates. We do have some pictures from our trip, although not many. And of course, they're still on the camera. I'll try to get them up soon.

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