Thursday, September 3, 2015

back to reality

My mom is in my room at 8, reminding me of our departure time this morning. The airport (more like a big landing strip, according to Alexander) is an hour away in moderate traffic. My mom likes to get to where she's going with plenty of time to spare.

We negotiate the leaving time, factoring in a stop to pick up cinnamon rolls at Dana's and two cranberry loaves at the Maison Villatte in downtown Falmouth. "No later than 9:45, and I want everything in the car by then." We have about three minutes to spare, and my mom and Alexander reluctantly pose for one last photo. The latter because she's already getting nervous about the time; the former because he's sick of posing for me.

It's been a great week, but I'm sure my mom is anxious to have her house and schedule back. We get to the airport at 11:20. Plenty of time for our 1:09 flight.

The flight is quick. The subway ride from the airport is hot and crowded.

We get home, unpack, pick up sushi, and watch  Breaking Bad.

I bring home a temporary souvenir from my days away from the city. Three gigantic bites on my right forearm. One on my left thigh. And two mean ones on my right inner thigh. I guess that's the price for for good country living.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

good-bye to summer

Yes, I know, summer officially ends on Labor Day, next Monday. But for me, today is the last day of summer. Alexander and I leave the Cape tomorrow.

It's been a week of perfect weather, and today is no exception, though a little too hot.

It's low tide. There's a light breeze. And the temperature is high. Perfect conditions for floating. And the calm waters make it possible to read at the same time.

We spend a couple of hours lazily floating in the warm Cape Cod waters. It's nice to spend uninterrupted time with my son. 

Around four, we decide to leave. 

I could say that Alexander is sad to see summer end, but his scowl reflects an impatience for my picture-taking.

We drive back to my mom's. Unload the golf cart. Put away the chairs. Throw away the trash. Hang up the towels. And say good-bye to summer.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

the ubiquitous they

"Don't leave the keys in the golf cart," my mother advices. Just last week they tried to steal Grace's golf cart." "Where would they go with it?" Jack astutely asks. My mother has no answer.

"I always lock my car here. They could steal it if you don't," my mother warns.

"Recently they've been ringing door bells around 10 or 11 at night then running away. I'm glad I don't have a doorbell," adds my mom.

They seem to be causing a lot of mischief.

Yesterday at the beach Abbey goes to retrieve his ancient black flip-flops. They are gone, and in their place is another, similarly sized pair of male black flip-flops.

They must have taken them. I post Abbey's lost pair on the Wild Harbor Website; we are hopeful they will return them.

Today is another gorgeous beach day. Perfect in every way. Val and Abbey's friends come to visit. My family has known Nancy and Michael for years. It's a lazy, comfortable day on the beach. Everyone is in such a relaxed mood that I'm even allowed to take a few pictures.

Abbey, Valerie, Nancy and Michael
with Valerie and my mom

Before leaving, we check the pile of shoes that people deposit when they come on the beach. Abbey's flip-flops have not been returned.

I guess they liked Abbey's better than their own.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

the art of beaching

Being on the beach is easy, getting on the beach is not.

First comes the food decision.  There are nine of us. Me, Alexander, Valerie, Abbey, Jean, Jim, Jack, possibly Sally and my mom. That's nine sandwiches.

I play waitress and take the orders. I call Dean's to pre-order and avoid the long lines and associated long wait. No one answers. Abbey and Jack volunteer for the pick up.

We load up two big coolers with cold drinks, chips, fruit and bottles of water. "Where are all the ice packs?"  My mom has no idea. We use what we have, not many.

Next come the chairs. Six chairs won't fit in one golf cart. We are short two. (Sally has called and won't be coming down; she has to work). A neighbor offers us two of her chairs. Even brings them to the beach for us. It's a very friendly neighborhood here at Wild Harbor.

Do we need floats? Sure, why not. Jean refills the floats with air, and Jack volunteers to hold them off the side of the golf cart while Alexander drives. The "boys" have been sent on the set-up mission. 

"Is the tide coming in?" We need to know to determine how far away from the water to place the chairs. We want to be close, but we also don't want to be moving the chairs all day. Someone looks it up and determines that high tide isn't until late afternoon. That's good news; more beach.

The boys are given explicit instructions as to where the chairs go. 

"Not too far down the beach."
"Close to the waterline."
"Avoid any seaweed."
"Be sure to put the towel on the floats so they don't fly away." 
"Cover the cooler to keep the food cold for longer."
" Put the chairs in a semi circle, not to tight."

The boys leave on their mission. 

Everyone checks their own individual essentials.

Sunscreen of varying strengths. 
Book, Kindle, and/or magazine. 
New York Times.
Cover-up in case it gets cold. 

The boys return. Set-up complete.  

"How is it down there?" my mom asks. I'm not sure what answer she's expecting but the boys give a simple one, "Fine."

My mom and I are on the beach by eleven; the rest of the group comes about 12:30.

It's a gorgeous day. 

It's nice to all be together, something that happens only a few times a year. 

Everyone is relaxed. Probably resting up; we still need to get off the beach.

Friday, August 28, 2015

"remember the time..."

My mom is never late. Never ever.

She always adds at least 20 minutes to every trip. "Mom, I timed it, it's only 7 miles and takes exactly 10 minutes to get there." 

"Believe me! It doesn't take 10 minutes. You should give yourself at least 30. There could be.... " (fill-in-the-blank, an accident, traffic, road construction, something).

Last time I visited she drove me to the bus stop for my ride home. We waited in the car 45 minutes for the bus to arrive.

My sister and her husband are going to the Vineyard for the day. This involves driving their car to a lot in Falmouth, than being bussed to the ferry. From my mom's house, it's about a ten minute ride to the parking lot and another 15 to the ferry.  "When do you think we should leave?" Valerie poses at dinner.  Everyone chimes in. The ferry leaves at 9:30 a.m. and the consensus is that they should leave about 8:30. Everyone, that is, except for my mother. She suggests leaving at 8.

Her suggestion leads to additional comments by others.

"I think maybe you should leave at 6 a.m.  You can never trust the Cape traffic."

"It could be bumpah-ta-bumpah all the way."

"You know, I would leave now, just to be safe." (Now being around 9pm, as dinner is winding down).

My mother is a good sport about our teasing.

This morning Val and Abbey leave for the ferry. I think they listened to my mom and left around 8, mostly to appease her. They get to the parking lot and it's full. They then have to call my mom, drive back to her house, and have her drive them to Woods Hole. They make the ferry no problem.

This worked out perfectly for my mother. Now, whenever she insists on leaving extra early for something, she can always fall back on the Ferry Experience.  

Next time we need to be anywhere my mom will be adding an extra hour.  Because — I can hear it now — "Remember the time..."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Alexander and I are flying up to the Cape today. I bought us tickets online a few weeks ago. Jet Blue. $57 round trip. A ridiculously low price.

We take the subway/airtrain to JFK. We leave at 8:30 for an 11:22 flight; that'll give us plenty of time.

All previous times I've flown to the Cape this summer I have miraculously been randomly chosen for one of those expedited check-ins.  

Alexander and I see the long snaking check-in line, but we are directed to the line with no one in it. The line where you don't have to remove your shoes or take out your laptop. The line that everyone wants to be in. The line that takes you through security in about three minutes. It's our lucky day.

We show our tickets. "I'm sorry, but sir, you'll need to go back to that line (pointing to the mess of a line with hundreds in it).  You weren't randomly chosen for the quick check-in." Even though it's supposed to be random, I think the computer somehow knows I'm an older white woman and Alexander is not.  I tell Alexander I'll meet him at the gate. We still have plenty of time.

Alexander then waits in the very long line for about a half hour. He gets to the front and the ticket agent asks, "Is Exst your name?" 

"Huh?  No, my name is Alexander."  

"I'm sorry sir, you'll have to go to that machine over there and print out your ticket."

Alexander does that, and I can only imagine how frustrated he is. He puts in all the right information only to discover that no one with his name is listed on the flight.  He calls me and he's not happy.  He raises his voice. "Sweetheart, an airport is not the place to throw a fit," I remind him.  He calms down.

Alexander goes back to the ticket agent and tells him his name is not showing up and explains that his mother bought these tickets online.

"Sir, does your mother own a cello?"

"No," Alexander answers having no idea why he's been asked about a cello.

"Is your mother a large woman?"


"Well sir, that is usually why someone will purchase an Extra Seat." Or why the ticket reads EXST and not Alexander.

They sort it out. My son just makes the flight. Next time I'll pay more attention to the name on the ticket.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

central park in summer

It's hot. Alexander is doing whatever it is he does, and he'd prefer me out of the house.

I go to Central Park to read and take some photos.  I have this idea.  Soon I'll have my apartment painted, a service my building provides (by law)  every three years. The last time I had it done was over 8 years ago — it's a traumatizing experience, moving all the furniture away from the walls and removing anything on them. 

I've been thinking about what art work I'll take down, sell, or give away. And what I might want instead, that won't cost much money.

I decide on a seasonal montage of photos from Central Park. Well, not quite a  montage. One picture from each season. So this past winter I visited the park on a snowy day.  I returned on a nice spring day. And today I go again to try and capture summer. 

Just fall remains, and I'm counting the days. Not so much for the picture, but rather the weather, clothes, and screenings.