Early in the month, I went up to Maine to be a full time Nana, staying with my two grandchildren while their mum, my daughter, took a well earned vacation. Rick decided to stay here at home, but did Skype with me every morning and evening, which helped minimize the gap we'd feel apart from each other. Inevitably, he'd call when I was preparing a meal or a snack, breakfast, supper, or brownies. That is fairly unusual for me - cooking is something I stopped doing almost five years ago, when my menu and his became different from each other's. I was still teaching full time then, and bringing home the unending bag full of correcting and grading to do, and so he began cooking two meals each night. He never complained, and found ways to make our meals compatible. Whole grain spaghetti with tomato sauce for me, and regular pasta with meat sauce for him ... but brownies for both of us!
In Maine, having begun to feel more like my real self months earlier, I found myself up early in the morning to wake the kids for school ... making simple items on school days and French toast on a weekend morning. Suppers were easy, as my daughter had prepared and frozen some favorite meals, and all I had to do was heat things in the oven. It was a turning point for me ... a time when I became responsible again for others' foods, laundry, and transportation. And yes, I drove my daughter's cute little five speed manual transmission Chevy - fifteen years since I'd driven a standard! But like riding a bike, we never forget, and I only stalled twice when I forgot to clutch as I stopped at an intersection. Not bad for a Nana out of practice.
Upon returning home, I then had a two hour radio broadcast book discussion arranged by my friends at MSStation.org. But Murphy, who often plagues my daughter in Maine, apparently followed me home and exerted his Law on my evening. Both portable phones downstairs suddenly were inoperative fifteen minutes before the telephone conference was to begin. Not panicking, I calmly went upstairs with my laptop, and plugged it in there, and brought my pot of tea and cup and found a space on my bureau top for them. But the upstairs phone also had a tired battery, and began beeping for help. My husband interceded then, and said that we could go into my son's study and use his phone, which was a land line complete with cord-attached receiver. I resettled into his office chair, laptop now on my knees (thank goodness we'd bought a fan-cooled lap desk that plugs right into the computer's USB port. A very good $15.00 Clearance Deal!) Rick brought me a single cup of tea, for there was no room for the tea pot and cozy, and with a minute to spare I was ready for the conversation. Phew! (And, if you missed the broadcast but want to listen to the recorded book discussion, look to the right margin of this blog, and find the BlogTalk radio icon. My 'show' is the third one in the list. It really did take the full two hours, so settle yourself in with a cup of tea!)
A few days later we drove down to Washington D.C. We'd planned to make that trip over two days' time, stopping somewhere along the way, but traffic was cooperating and we were looking forward to spending some time in the city, seeing the monuments, before checking into the National Institute of Health for the Parkinson's Risk Study that I participate in every eighteen months. So we made the full drive in one twelve-hour day, and checked into the hotel just before bedtime. Up early the next morning, we shared the continental breakfast in the tiny dining area before walking to the nearest metro station and figuring out the ticket dispensers. In the city, we walked for hours and hours, seeing many of the veterans monuments, and one Smithsonian, and the Roosevelt and Jefferson Memorials as well. We ate lunch and afternoon snacks at outside tables as the weather was perfect ... high sixties with a bit of partly cloudy shade and a light breeze. We took the metro back to Bethesda, and on our walk to the hotel, we came across a French cafe, where we had delicious French food and fresh fruits for supper. We slept in the next morning, worn out from all our walking. Just before noon, we rose, packed up, and headed over to NIH, just a few miles from the hotel. We checked Rick into the family lodge, and me into the neurology inpatient room, and began our week there.
Five days later, many tests later, a few outdoor walks together between tests, and another packing, we set out for home. We left Bethesda after eating lunch one more time in the hospital cafeteria, and again planned to stop along the way rather than driving straight through, But as luck would have it, we were not in sync with any city rush hours, and as we were (were!) making good time, we continued on to the Massachusetts border stopping only for a quick supper. We would be home by eleven, we thought.
The Mass Pike was repaving, and had an odd traffic snarl of scores of eighteen-wheel tractor trailer trucks at the toll gates. The multi-lane highway comfortably had approached six open toll gates, only to find that immediately after passing through those gates, the highway was reduced to one lane, and no one seemed quite sure of which lane that would be. Arrows to go left, more arrows to go right, and all six lanes merged into one center lane within a quarter mile of those gates. We lost at least an hour there, and weren't home until 1 in the morning. Finding a bathroom between eleven and one was tricky, but we did finally find one near midnight. Again, Phew!
We slept in the next morning, and awoke to find we were already five days into May. The bills were due May 1st, (while we were still in Bethesda) and the pension for the month necessary to pay those bills had arrived in the bank account while we were away, and so we sat at the table late that morning and wrote checks and sealed envelopes. A few were late but forgiven, except for the car insurance, which immediately earned us a cancellation notice a few days later. I called our agent here in town, and told him the payment and notice crossed in the mail, and that we did the best we could, being away at the first of the month. He checked with the insurance agency, saw that they had received the payment and rescinded the cancellation notice, and we breathed a sigh of relief.
Today I had two doctor appointments locally, and scheduled a third with a new doctor (dermatologist) in Brighton for later this month; then I asked a fourth doctor's office to schedule my once a year osteoporosis infusion in the next few weeks, as planned. So we are back on the local circuit now, but had a great time in Maryland, and will go again in eighteen months.
Meanwhile, it's almost summer! Wow, what a quick season Spring was!
Before I go, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you about the Mother's Day special offer for my book, Multiple Sclerosis an Enigma. I have created a new coupon code at Smashwords: for just under $5.00 you can purchase the download in any format: kindle, mobi, nook, sony, and many others. Just enter the discount code LY67U at this site: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/152332 .