Boston

Robin and I are here in Boston with Calvin and his friend Nick. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Boston, it’s good to be here but it took a bit to relax into it and overcome the “I’d rather be home” feeling. Today we started with breakfast and browsing at Fanuel Hall, the requisite trip to the Museum of Science, lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, dessert at the top of the Pru Tower, then we dropped the boys off at the concert and relaxed back at Fanuel Hall over iced coffee, before we took a romantic trip over to Borders 20 minutes before it closed at 9. (9pm? in Boston? what’s up with that?)

Boston is a fun city to visit. Being four hours from Vermont it’s a little too far for a day trip but great for an overnight. There’s lots going on here, and lots of interesting people to watch. I’m amazed that the Borders in Burlington stays open longer than the one here, but then everyplace can’t be Vermont ­čśë

We successfully navigated the T to get around today, but balanced it with a lot of walking so we weren’t total slugs. I know I’ll feel it tomorrow. The food here is great, and there are an amazing number of restaurants to choose from. Boston is fun and it’s good to be here, but I’m really looking forward to getting back home tomorrow.

The Maine Trip

Last Saturday Calvin and I took the dogs on a long trek to Maine. Driving with the dogs went pretty smoothly this time around, they pretty much slept most of the way. We waded around in a cool stream by the side of the road in Crawford Notch, NH, but otherwise didn’t make many stops. We arrived at Tom and Pam’s by mid-afternoon, swam a lot, had a great dinner, laughed a lot, and tried a few local brews. On Sunday they took us out on their party boat for a day-long tour the lake, and we checked out lots of shoreline and a few coves, and got to see some incredible houses and beautiful scenery. Tom took us to the big rock he used to jump off of as a kid, and we got to climb it ourselves, taking a running jump into the water down below. Great stuff! And afterwards, another great cookout and more Maine beers…

We all headed out early Monday morning; Tom and Pam going back to Vermont and us heading further up the coast to visit Julie and Dan. At first the car acted funky, sputtering and running on too-few cylinders, but by the time we reached the main road it was OK except for the Check Engine light being on. The drive to Rockland took a couple hours, and our first stop was to visit Julie at work. We were happy to see her, and got to try some of her wonderful baking: peanut butter pie, a chocolate brownie, and a cookie. Yum! We left to meet up with Dan at their house, and for supper we had tasty cookout and got to meet Dan’s mom, and his brother Brian, and Max (she of the amazing yellow and orange hair). Frisbee and good food ensued, and I even got to try more Maine beer. I really enjoyed myself, and I could get used to this!

Tuesday I had a local shop look at the car, and since the day was so hot we all went to a dam for a swim, and we hung out there for a good long time and the dogs swam and chased sticks. From there we checked out a few cool stores in Belfast, then continued on to Rockland where the dogs got to swim in the ocean, and we devoured Mexican food. On Wednesday we got the car back (running much better after they replaced the coil and spark plug wires), and headed back to Vermont after lunch. Ten minutes after we left I realized I’d forgotten the PSP, so of course we had to go back and get it. And six hours later we got back home.

It was a great trip, so good to see Tom and Pam in their Maine house that we’d heard so much about (it’s as nice as they say!) and to hang out with them on the lake. And it was great seeing Julie and Dan after so long, and seeing their house and being with them. The dogs were really well-behaved, altho we were as tired of leashing them as they were of being leashed. Calvin helped a lot with the dogs and keeping things running smoothly, and I’m pretty sure he had a good time on the trip as well (a challenge on road trips with your parents when you’re 13).

It was a fun trip and I’m glad we did it, and I’m happy to be back home. The dogs are so much easier to take care of here, and they’re happy to run free and be in a place where they don’t need leashes. With all the swimming they’ve done they’re cleaner than they’ve been in a long time, but now that we’re back by the pond that’s only gonna last so long…

Ikea

On the spur of the moment yesterday Robin convinced me to take a trip to the Ikea store in Montreal to get some end tables for each side of the bed. We’ve never been to Ikea, but we like what’s in the catalog and have heard a lot of good things about it. Montreal is only two hours north of us, but the idea of driving to a big city in another country is always exciting (we’re so provincial). The only snag was that Calvin had been invited to go to the movies later on, and we wouldn’t be back in time to drive him. Gage’s family was going to be at a game so he was in the same boat. We decided to have a cab pick them up at the appointed time, and Gage’s family would bring them home later. With that plan in place, we set out to points north.

Just outside of Montreal traffic ground to a standstill, and the last five miles took about an hour. But we finally made it to Ikea, which turned out to be a great place after all. The idea is that most of the store (which is very large) is showroom space, where you can check out items, see them in different styles and get your questions answered. If you like something, you write down the aisle and bin number on its tag. When you’re ready to go, you head downstairs to a large warehouse, where you find your items with the aisle and bin numbers you wrote down earlier. I’ve never seen a warehouse store that was so smooth.

We ended up getting two wood end tables (tall with slatted shelves), and two small globe lamps to go on top of them.

We had dinner at a great little Szechuan restaurant downtown, then proceeded to get lost trying to find the right highway out of the city. After a frustrating hour we finally got back on track, and got home tired and pretty much just flopped into bed.

We set up the end tables this morning and they do look great. Mission, as they say, accomplished.