Tag Archives: island living

Redundancy, clogs and gall bladders

What a couple of weeks that’s been. A whole year’s bad luck compounded into two weeks and then the cherry on the top last week – the other half being made redundant with immediate effect after finishing the project he was on. Three weeks before Christmas. Ho Ho bloody Ho.

Really though, after the initial shock, panic, horror and mopping around imagining that I was Mrs Cratchit from The Christmas Carol (although I think even Scrooge didn’t actually sack Bob Cratchit) things have worked out, dare I say, for the best.

It means Daddy Pig is now working on island again which means we see him more and NO MORE BOAT.

Some of you may wonder why I’m so excited about NO MORE BOAT and that would probably be my readers from the UK rather than the US. I don’t think Mainers would need to be told much more than the boat has lots of single pane glass and there are actually lots of open gaps to guess how freaking cold it could get. Fantastic and breezy lovely April through October. The Winter? Not so much.

For those of you that aren’t aware how inhospitable Maine can be in the winter, I’ll set the scene a little. The other day I took the dog for her walk and it was so cold her drool froze, three of my finger nails snapped off and my phone stopped working. And it hasn’t even got properly cold yet. Properly cold last year saw temperatures of -25 with a wind chill of -30. You throw a glass of water it of the window and it freezes before it hits the ground. Or, dog poo freezes in under ten minutes. Which is handy.

Add to that the fact that the docks and walkways could be sheer ice at times and I have to say my nerve was beginning to go. Carrying a wriggly baby around on ice over water that would give you hypothermia within minutes would un-nerve most parents let alone OCD safety Mum.

So we’re somewhat happily back to a life of grueling ferry schedules and icy cold beach trips for the foreseeable.

To make ends meet now, the other half is mainly chainsawing. I have to be honest, this scares the living hell out of me. A: we don’t have life insurance, B: he can be a bit cavalier with a chainsaw, C: we don’t have life insurance, D: he insists on leaping around in clogs and no protective gear and E: we don’t have life insurance.

The upside of this is that he’s looking all buff, won’t get all porky and pale like he would have done sitting in a shed with no windows most of the week and is not such a miserable shit as he’s getting vitamin D again.

I write this in almost our third week of self imposed quarantine. After ten straight days of no sleep due to the bug from Hades I’m not chancing anything stopping us getting on a plane to the UK on Tuesday for Christmas.

We did get out for a walk with friends yesterday but when she wheeled her buggy up to mine so the boys could say “hi” I kind of snarled and got a twitchy eye so she backed off quickly. Good to cement these quirky aspects of your personality early in a friendship.

It’s funny how three weeks without much adult interaction can skew your perception on things. The other day I had an hour long panic about running out of goji berries. Then I had an hour long panic about becoming the kind of person that could have an hour long panic about a weeks dearth of a berry most people haven’t heard of.

How most of Maine doesn’t end up on hardcore medication by February will always baffle me. Last year I got stuck inside for such a long stretch I lost it around mid February and ran outside in my underwear and made snow angels. Whilst crying.

At least in the UK I’ll be stuck inside due to rain and we’ll have proper chocolate and tv for Christmas. Downton Abbey, The Queen’s Speech (it’s a speech made by our actual, REAL Queen not some crap film and while I’m at it- it irks me that people in the US think Maggie Twating Thatcher is some kind of saint based on nothing but that awful Meryl Streep film rather than see the long lasting damage she inflicted on Britian.)

And Christmas pudding, mince pies and crackers. Which I’m yet to have had in the States. Although when it comes to decoration the Yanks win hands down. And it’s done with so much more taste dare I say it. Nice little twinkly lights in handmade wreaths and arty decorations. The layer of snow helps the feel no end obviously.

So I’ve made and sent my Christmas cards (the smugness I gained from being such a domestic goddess as to make my own cards WITH A BABY) has unfortunately been overshadowed by the embarrassment of spelling the other half’s name wrong on a fair few and mixing up some of the cards and envelopes. At least this year it’ll get blamed on only getting 2-4 hours sleep a night rather than being a bit drunk. And at least people are spared the long ‘what a great friend you are’ drivel inside.

I’d better wrap this up, I can hear screaming downstairs and I can hear shouting such as “mouse”, “sick”, “GET THE BABY” and, best of all, “oh god I’ve stepped in it’s fucking gall bladder!”IMG_8112.JPG



Happy First birthday, Gregorian calendar lies and defrosting umbilical cords.

The big event this week was my little sunbeam turning one. It’s been very hard to write a blog entry that wasn’t purely over sentimental boasting of how my wonderful little lad has turned out to be the most perfect, funny, sweet being in the universe so I’ve confined myself to keeping it in the first paragraph.

I actually had a very misguided conversation (argument) with the other half when we were at Three Tides (a wicked cool pub in Belfast, Maine attached to a brewery) about how the whole concept of birthdays was bullshit anyway and we are all blindly conforming to some guy’s idea of time. Why should I be a slave to the Gregorian calendar just because some scholars decided there should be roughly 30 days in a month and there should be twelve of them?

After letting me have a loud rant about being sick of listening to ‘the man’ and not being an autonomous drone anymore the other half amusedly pointed out the whole thing about the sun going round the earth determined the modern day calendar and that it’s based on irrefutable science.

In my defence I think the Maine free living, anarchic attitude is getting to me. And the chocolate martinis there are very strong.

Anyway, the past week we’ve again been half boat, half island which is still proving to involve lots of frantic packing and rushing for ferries. It’s only a matter of time before I forget the dog (please, please NOT the baby).

We spent one incredibly cold night on the boat which saw the other half being forcibly ejected from the freezing, floating palace to go find heated blankets and fan heaters with the threat of immediate divorce if the temperature didn’t rise above not-being-able-to-sit-on-the-toilet-seat-without-having-a-small-heart-attack by bedtime.

There definitely needs to be some kind of winterisation and extra heat source. The large gaps of fresh air and single pane windows are not going to cut it with a -15 gale screaming up the Passagassawakeag river (yes that’s actually it’s name and one of the reasons I love Maine as they have lots of the original names for places).

I want to shrink wrap, he wants a wood stove. Apparently we can’t do both as there could be some suffocation issue. We’ll see.

Another amusing little happening this week which I debated whether or not to include in this post (for the sake of both good taste and people thinking I’d lost the few marbles I once had) was taking re-possession of my umbilical cord.

Well, obviously not mine. A 37 year old umbilical cord would definitely be weird and even more definitely unpleasant.

After having an unmedicated home birth (the first on the island we live on in 30 years as I proudly tell anyone that will listen long enough), I had been ferreting around in the murky waters of natural parenting and heard lots of great things about placental encapsulation and it’s many alleged health benefits. Getting right in to the swing of living in Midcoast Maine and channeling my inner hippy (I was named after an Afro-American slave despite being very white so my parents can pipe down with any ‘oh God why is she eating her own afterbirth?’ comments as it’s clearly their fault), I had a local lass carry out the process of drying and grinding thus making it more palatable than whacking off chunks and eating in its raw state. This I was not prepared to do.

After reading more about ‘things hippies do with by-products of childbirth’ I saw a sweet suggestion for burying the umbilical cord under a tree. Being December in Maine you aren’t getting anything into the ground for love nor money so I asked aforementioned lass to ‘hang on’ to the cord until we could meet up and I could take it off her hands. As I was busy, new, deer-in-the-headlights Mum and her having her own baby shortly after, we never met and I sort of forgot about it.

Until I actually met her a month ago at a local baby group and this week she casually handed me a ziplock with a ‘glad to get this out of my freezer at last’. Not wanting to terrify any of the present Mummies I hurriedly stuffed it in to my nappy (diaper) bag and promptly forgot about it until that evening. I realise that not all of the people reading this will be as strong stomached as the company I keep so all I’ll say was on discovering it my husband was a little traumatised as it had defrosted, the ziplock had leaked and it was, to say the least, messy. Daddy Pig’s expression (scream) was “JesusFuckingChrist it’s like something from one of those really nasty Japanese horror films you like.” So it’s sitting in the freezer on the boat awaiting planting. Or maybe some kind of sea ritual.

So this week is Thanksgiving. I’m still not really used to it but am getting in to the swing of the nice message of being thankful for your blessings and the year’s harvest rather than the more controversial aspects or thinking as most Brits do that it’s just Americans eating the turkey on the wrong day.

I’m not sure yet if we’ll be spending it on the boat on or on the island but do know that after the last week of party/moving stress if the cooking is left to me we’ll be eating toast. Just as long as it not some miscellaneous meat product from the freezer…..