Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Home from Maine

We drove home from Mount Desert Island yesterday, but I am still there in spirit. The wireless connection in our bungalow was too slow for posting blog entries and photos, so I decided to spend longer in the pool and hot tub, and save my posts until we were home in Boston. Stay tuned.

It was a seriously glorious vacation. The two variables I use for measuring gloriousness are:
   a) number of soggy swimsuits on any given day.
   b) amount of time spent hanging out with the locals.

I needed a minimum of four swimsuits this year (they take forever to dry up there). And we had fun times each day chatting with the innkeepers and their friends. Their breakfast chef, an extraordinary cook, has just co-written a book about the community-oriented restaurant he and a partner just opened on the island; he kindly gave me a signed copy. He started his career in Boston decades ago, and we had a long, lively discussion about restaurants past and present. He made us some of the best breakfasts (and a lunch, and a crème brulée) we've ever had. We enjoyed lots of pool time with the innkeepers and some of their friends, who sometimes drop by late in the day for the hot tub. We are invited to sail with a couple of them next year. We also met up with our cousins for dinner and spent time visiting in their two art galleries in Bar Harbor.

We also ran into Bostonians. Our art-dealing cousin told me that she'd heard that a certain MFA curator was supposed to be on the island someday to give a lecture; she wasn't sure of the date. I was mentioning this to my husband as we wandered onto the porch at the old Claremont Hotel one morning and, lo, the curator turned around in her rocking chair to greet us. She was one of the team who critiqued my recent writing project, so it was an odd coincidence. Southwest Harbor is a tiny town but, hey, it's a small world.

My husband ran into a colleague of his as we were sitting in front of the library one day, too. She invited us for an impromptu dinner with her family but we already had plans.

Even though we're much more sociable on vacation than we are at home, we miss our cats to distraction. So, my husband, whom I married for 24/7 Mac support, hooked up my ancient laptop to a web cam, taped the camera to the wall, and got some trial software that let him control the laptop remotely. Thus we were able to tune into our living room every morning on his laptop. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get iChat or any sound, so we couldn't call the cats over to the camera. Instead we watched the occasional sleeping or wandering feline, looking bored. Most often we saw Snalbert sleeping on the coffee table. We never saw Possy. It was wonderful to see anyone, but frustrating because we'd catch only a few fuzzy, frozen glimpses before the connection went to pot. Next time, we'll use a better computer and we should have better luck. I look forward to conversing with the male cats, who both like to talk.

We consoled ourselves with the local cats, who are delightfully friendly and beautiful. We found Ruby devouring a bird, leaving nothing but a few feathers and a bit of a wing.  I took photos, but I'll spare you the sight of her munching and crunching. Still, we were impressed; this is what cats are born to do, and it's the ideal diet for them. (I don't feel the same about coyotes and fisher cats eating pussycats, however. The neighborhood food chain has to stop somewhere, doesn't it?)

We always schedule our August trip to Southwest Harbor to coincide with my birthday; the innkeepers always tease me and promise not to make any fuss — as they make a fuss. We found a bouquet of garden flowers in our bungalow this year. And I was completely, irrationally, and undeservedly spoiled with presents by my husband. Every day, a little present appeared out of nowhere with a funny little poem taped to the front. (I think he starts planning this the day after Christmas. He refuses to discuss his strategy.) Through the week, he gave me books, a jigsaw puzzle, and an Apple album he made with photos of the kittens. On the day itself, he gave me two gorgeous little paintings by my favorite artist, Teri Malo. I wrote about her recent show and whined about how my favorite paintings had sold very quickly. That sneaky boy! I am still in shock.

When we came home, I found yet another present. Someone had left us a "protest poop" on the towel I used to "protect" the sofa. Devious, deliberate, and disgusting: Whodunnit? I suspect Snicky, since she did it before, when we first got the sofa and she preferred the old one. We caught her by using a web cam. (Our vet suggested we feed each cat crayon shavings in a different color, mixed into food, to identify the culprit.)

I was only thinking about cat hair when I put down that towel; Snicky had other ideas. Well, we'd been gone for eight days, and I don't think she likes the cat sitter, who has to give her pills. Snicky has a temper.

I wish it hadn't been one of my best towels.

I pulled out the same Vet Carpet Stain and Odor Eliminator I'd used to nearly destroy my husband's computer last year. I also saturated the cushion with Nature's Miracle "Just for Cats" Odor and Stain Eliminator. Fortunately, our sofa is slipcovered so I can both attack with chemicals and throw the slipcover in the laundry.

But last night, while the cushion cover was still drying, someone left a "protest pee" in the corner of the sofa where the cushion had been. That was a first. I was vacuuming the sofa today (this was during a break from adoring Possum, who kept curling up on me). when I noticed a sharp new smell. It was fairly dilute pee, so definitely a cat with kidney trouble. I can't imagine Snalbert doing that. He'd be more likely to sabotage my laptop. It had to be Snicky (even our vet believes she's a sadist). I have no idea why she felt we deserved that, but more chemicals seem to have done the trick. I dread seeing what else might materialize tomorrow morning.

Bleah. I think I need a vacation....

But, clearly, we are under orders to stay put and never take another trip. Don't tell Snicky, but we've already booked three nights at the inn in October.

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