Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back from Maine

Well, as you can see from all the photos, we had a swell time in Maine. None of the rolled clothing in my overpacked duffel wrinkled — this will revolutionize my suitcase-packing technique. And I'd brought plenty to read, didn't perish from missing the cats, and the inn was as delightful as ever.

The only problem was the team of Eastern European folk dancers that became artists-in-residence in my stomach, kicking, stomping and doing circle dances until I felt like I'd done 10,000 sit-ups — even my legs and back ached from the cramping, or Cossack kicks, or whatever went on in there. I haven't had this particular IBS symptom in a couple of years, and hadn't missed it. (The other symptom I get during these attacks is a feeling of ravenous hunger — like I've been starved for days —which continues as I eat and after I've eaten a full meal. This is a very irrational disorder....)

In hindsight, I don't think this attack was brought on by the stress of leaving the cats behind. I think I ate something bad. Possibly some rather ancient all-natural hot dogs I'd found in the freezer...

The pains continued off and on through the trip, with a particularly rough night after a particularly delicious prosciutto and mushroom pizza. It had to have been the cheese. No more dairy for this Dairy Queen, at least for the next couple of weeks.

I realized that the Align capsules I'd packed were a few years old — these are probiotics I take to add healthy bacteria to my digestive system's bacteria, similar to acidophilus. On our first morning in Southwest Harbor, I went to the drugstore to see if they could order some. I can't buy it off the shelf in any Boston pharmacy, and I usually order it online and get it in a week. If it came in a few days, I figured it might still help. So I asked about it and the salesperson said, "I think we have a box right here." She reached down under the register into a bin and, lo and behold: Maine really is "The Way Life Should Be." The capsules seem to making a difference.

It was tricky to eat. I normally can't have cream, alcohol or red meat. Prohibit all dairy on top of that, and my diet is a bland bore. Turkey sandwiches, fruit salad, eggs, spaghetti, oatmeal cookies, and scones were the menu. Instead of slathering my popovers at the Jordan Pond House with butter, I used up all the strawberry jam. (I did squeeze in one kiddie-size scoop of chocolate-peanut butter frozen yogurt before I got slammed by the pizza.)

We weren't in any mood to hike and explore. Hanging around the pool was our idea of a good time. But I was unbelievably stupid and didn't use sunblock anywhere but on my face, figuring that lying in the shade would somehow compensate for all the time I spent reading soggy New Yorkers in the sunny hot tub and floating around the pool. I now have bright pink upper arms, chest, knees, and shoulders, while the rest of me is very white. I will look ridiculous for some time. And it hurts. It's my own damn fault, and I recall being similarly stupid last year.

Ideally, I go into deep relaxation mode during a trip to Maine, when longterm stresses are suddenly replaced by joyful optimism and silliness. Sometimes it happens the night we arrive. On our trip last August, stressed out by troubling condo issues, and worried about a sick cat and our job prospects, I'm not sure I ever got there.

On this trip, it happened on our last afternoon. I felt it breeze in somewhere between getting out of the hot tub and marching down the steps into the pool. "I'm here," I realized, as stress and strife dissolved into the cool blue water. I mentioned this to one of the innkeepers — they are like cousins after all these years. They join us in the pool and for breakfast, and in the evenings as we're lounging outside. We catch up on everyone's news, gossip about other guests, and complain about our "issues." I said, "So I'm finally here, if you know what I mean." He gave me a hug, five days into our stay, and said, "Welcome! It's great to see you again!"

It was sad to leave the next day — I mean, I'd just arrived! But we were also worried about the cats. Turns out they survived, were mostly glad to see us, and only two of them — the kittens — hid whenever the cat sitter showed up. They were clearly spooked by our reappearance — Snicky must have told them we were dead. Wendy is still avoiding us, but she lets us pet her if she's too hot and tired to run off. Possum squeaks at me every few hours to lie down so he can settle his furry bulk on me and be petted.

I suspect that he spent much of our trip like this:

We drove home in six hours, bought groceries, did errands for my mother-in-law, got our air conditioner out of her garage, unpacked, installed the AC, fussed over the cats, ate crackers, and collapsed. I can't wait to go back!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your entries from Maine, but am sorry you felt unwell at times. You persevered. The Gardiner and Hallowell areas are worth researching for a week-end getaway: good food, rare books, antiques, estate jewelry, etc. await. We've a walking trail along the Kennebec River and Isamax Whoopie pies...Tempted? When you were in Wiscasset you were almost here. MaineMom90


Spam goes right into the trash but I appreciate relevant comments from non-spammers (and I can always tell the difference). I do my best to follow up if you have a question. ALL spam, attempts to market other websites, and anything nasty or unintelligible gets deleted instantly. The cats and I thank you for reading — and please feel free to comment on what you read.