Meghan got a new job here in town a while back. More to the point, it’s two miles away.
I realized after a while that her car wasn’t really getting a chance to get up to operating temperature very often, even in the middle of summer. She makes several trips throughout the day to various buildings around town, but they’re rarely more than a couple of miles per hop.
This is the worst-case scenario for a gasoline-powered car. Her mileage suffered considerably: she was barely getting 20 mpg. I knew that the car would shortly show signs of fast aging — this is part of the “severe driving” section of the manual.
After hemming and hawing a bit, we decided that the best way to protect our asset would be to go electric. (I can’t say “protect our investment” because, lets face it, cars are not investments.) Meghan is the best-case scenario for an electric: lots of starts and stops (which lets regenerative braking recapture lots of energy) and no range anxiety since she’s never far from home.
We did our research, tried out a few cars, and finally found a good match.
I got a text from my sister-in-law on a Thursday: would you like a pair of tickets to see Blue Man Group this Sunday? Something came up and we can’t use them.
Always quick on my feet, I got back to her over an hour later, asking her where (even though there’s only one place in the area).
Both girls declined repeated offers to go with me. Apparently I smell bad or something, but opportunity only knocks once. At least Meghan was willing to go, but only after I promised to keep to the speed limit this time.*
The show was hilarious and high-energy. It does appear to evolve over time, as it’s not the same show that we saw last time – except for the general tenor it was basically a new show to me. If you too haven’t seen it in twenty years, go again.
*this is a short story: before Meghan and I were married we went to see Blue Man Group with Kennon and Katie. While cruising down the Massachusetts Turnpike I was pulled over for “speeding and weaving.” I disputed the ticket because I honestly don’t think I was speeding when the cop saw me (I now freely admit to having been speeding earlier) and the weaving charge was just plain stupid. I was half successful.
Sitting around the dinner table, Meghan shared a work story about hearing her name as she passed, only nobody said her name. The math teacher across the hall said, “bar graph.”
I also mis-heard it, at first, as “bargra.” I’m trying to get it to stick as her new name.
A minute later, Beta is sticking something between her toes while we’re talking and Meghan blurts out “Stop that! Now it’s all covered in toe groods!” (Nobody knows what that means or what she was trying to express, not even Meghan.)
And then we realized that Meghan accidentally revealed her orc-name: Bargra Togroods.
We made an impromptu trip to Maine with our friends Sam and Joanne.
There’s a back-story: we were supposed to be camping this week with Sam and Joanne (and others) but a conflict with school forced some to cancel, and eventually everyone canceled. Since we all had the time off already scheduled I had the idea for a quick road trip with S&J. Meghan made the arrangements when they bought in, so game on.
Day 1: Foul Weather, Destination Southport
We left home on Thursday. S&J had the longer drive, but our house was on the way so we met up here and caravaned the rest of the way together.
A bundle of rain followed them from Connecticut, and would continue to follow us all the rest of the way.
Meghan and I neglected to pack until they arrived, as we were running around all morning doing chores, so they got in a short, much-needed break from driving in the rain.
We rolled into the Ocean Gate hotel around 5 pm. We had rented three rooms: one for S&J and their son; one for Alpha and Beta; and one for Meghan, me, and Butter-the-dog. We were spread across different buildings in the resort, but the girls were close to S&J so that was ok.
Our room, unlike the others, had a full kitchen — indeed, that was one of the selling points for us. It was billed as “not having a view” but that was a lie: the view was, in fact, beautiful.
We went out to dinner at a tiny-but-tony restaurant called Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor. The food was excellent, btw. Joanne went high-end and got a “lobstertini,” lobster meat served in a martini glass, but most everyone else went basic with burgers or fish-and-chips.
We did check out some of the “traditional” Maine sight-seeing, which is to say we took pictures of the fog:
Day 2: Swimming, Shopping, Dinner at Home
Sam and I started Friday off with a bang: we went biking. The kids started off with fun: they went swimming in the pool. Meghan and Joanne started off with style: they took a dip in the hot tub.
After everyone felt ready to start their day, we packed into the cars and took a short ride to Boothbay Harbor. It was hot so we had an ice cream lunch. The girls shopped, while I took Butter on a walk up and down the main drag. She’s truly an adorable dog and we stopped to talk to several people that wanted to “say hi” to her.
We all took a siesta in the late afternoon back at the hotel, except for Sam who ignored the impending thunderstorm and went kayaking.
After a brief downpour and a bit of lightning, we got going on our planned “traditional get together” dinner: spaghetti and sauce. This is why the in-room kitchen was important, you see.
For years, when we lived near each other, we would gather at one house or the other and feed everyone with a simple pasta, meat sauce, and garlic bread dinner. From time to time we do it even now, but the drive is much longer.
I made the pasta, Sam made the garlic bread, and the kids watched TV. This was about as traditional as you can get without being home.
After dinner I washed up while everyone else played a game at the table until bedtime.
Day 3: Freeport and Home
Our stay was intentionally short because we were trying a too-good-to-be-true hotel and everything came together last-minute. Much too short.
After a big breakfast we packed up and rolled out, destination: Freeport. Sam had only passed through Maine before, never stopping, and Joanne has never been at all. Both wanted to see the main L.L. Bean store in Freeport. Meghan is always game to go there. I walked around with Butter while everyone wandered inside the store for an hour because I just can’t even. We also made time for the Ben and Jerry’s store, of course.
We made our final leg home, where S&J paid us a final visit before making their way home as well.
Our friend Sam is scout master for his son’s Boy Scout troop. In order to teach the kids knots he put together a knot board to tie eight of the most important knots to know.
There are ranks. “Captain Jack” is when you can tie all eight, in under two minutes… while blindfolded.
We are very proud of Meghan, who missed being “Fleet Admiral” (all eight, under a minute, blindfolded) by mere seconds. She beat the pants of every member of the troop, including Sam’s own son. Fortunately for my own ego we had to leave and could not try for Fleet Admiral one more time.