“I am reasonably happy, providing I keep busy.” -Burt Lancaster

I’ve been everywhere, man.  Classes were wrapping up, summer school was ending, my midwife appointments were getting canceled, I dropped my iPhone and shattered the screen…and then I got a call that my Papa was in the hospital.  The upside of this disaster was that Papa was in Vermont at the time of his heart attack, which is one of the only places my family spends time that is in driving distance from my house.  I rescheduled my midwife appointment (clean bill of health!), bought a plastic protector to hold my phone in place (sorry, Apple, you’re not getting my $199 for a new piece of glass), finished my assignments (mostly), grabbed Laurel, and we headed to Burlington to see Papa.

My mama and aunt had already been there for the days directly following Papa’s hospital admittance and surgery, so they had been sending us details about recovery and already headed back to home and work by the time Laurel and I could make it up.  When we got there in the early afternoon on Friday, Papa was already making plans to be released the next day.  At this point he had been in the hospital for five days.  I have never seen my Papa stay ANY place for five days- he and my grandmother have always owned a series of sleeper campers and spend most of the warm months travelling up and down the East Coast, visiting friends and relatives.  I knew he was ready to go.  We spent a few hours visiting with him and other family members who kept trickling through.  My cousin Page met us for some more visiting, and then we left Papa to get some sleep.  My grandmother, who also has some different health issues, was sick from stress and the daily grind of the hospital at this point, so we went to where they had their camper parked to spend some time with her.   By ten o’clock, all three of us girls in our early 20’s were completely exhausted- sweet Page gave up her bed and we slept like rocks.

The next day we met Grandma and my Aunt Ivy at the Milton Diner, which is my favorite place in the world to eat breakfast.  Even on visits that total less than 24 hours, I make it a point to get a meal in there.   The food is delicious and my Aunt Ivy is a cat lady who patiently allowed me to show her pictures of Penguin for a good part of our meal.  The owner of the diner is a family friend and had been refusing to take money from anyone related to Papa all week long; this was so touching, and of course led to big confrontations, including my grandmother storming into the kitchen and demanding to pay.

The whole visit, and the week leading up to it, were such a powerful testament to the community in the town where my mother grew up.  I called Papa several times, and every time I spoke to him, the room was overflowing with visitors.  Five different people visited in the 3 hours that Laurel and I were in his room.  He had flowers and balloons.  Our money was no good at the Milton Diner.  Different people were already lined up to check in with Papa once he returned to the camper.  The craziest part?  I’m not even sure how everyone knew he was in town- he had only been there for a few days and was planning on moving on soon.

We headed back to MA after a late breakfast.  I dropped Laurel off at home and rushed back to Ben so we could begin gathering up supplies for the finishing touches on our bathroom project; we needed to have prep work done before Ben’s parents arrived to help us the next day.  We did an outdoor project, taped/sanded/painted in the bathroom, and I cleaned the trash/donations out of Milo’s nursery in a fit of nesting adrenaline.  Then I crashed.  I’ll have to go with a whole other post to explain the awesomeness that was our work day yesterday, but things are coming along nicely!  Having a clean bathroom makes the house feel so much newer.

Basically, this was a busy week capped off with a busy weekend.  I’ve spent the entire morning sipping coffee with my feet up, listening to the rain and gathering up energy to tackle the next project: packing for Florida!  The trip is definitely the final hurrah of my summer; next up: maternity leave prep, back-to-school, and baby time.

How have you been spending your August? Whether you prefer quiet nights on the patio with a cold drink or crazy day trips full of last-minute adventure, I hope your summer is winding down in your favorite way.

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