Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer's Over

This is too long for a blog post, but please, just let me get it out.

Summer is already over. Yup. I hate to report that, but for me it feels pretty true. We had planned it all properly, and it was going to be a pretty good season, but life has a way of doing whatever the hell it wants.

We thought if we got an early start by doing our yearly trip to Portugal at the beginning of the summer, that there would still be plenty of summer left for us when we got home. And I'd be able to get back and finish up that lovely commission for the Peabody Essex Museum before having to have foot surgery in August.

Summer itself had gotten a leap on us and my garden blooms were going by so quickly that I couldn't remember what would be left when we got home. And I knew that, though they shouldn't be, the raspberries would have come and gone before we could taste one.

But Portugal, great, right? Three weeks in coastal Portugal with friends, family, and great food—who could ask for more. Well, the Mr. of this Milliner is in a startup and doesn't actually get vacation time, so those three weeks for him were mostly delicious meals wrapped in fourteen-hour work days. The joy of the trip was having my mom and step-dad visit from Massachusetts, bringing with them my nieces (eight and eleven). We had nearly two weeks of laughter and fun. My three-year-old daughter got really close to her cousins, while we showed them around, husband's laptop always in tow.

The plan was that we'd fly back to Massachusetts with the family when they returned, but three days before we were supposed to leave, my father (who lives in Portugal) had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. Our visitors had to go home. The vacation collapsed. I didn't want to be there any more, but we cancelled our flights ($250 penalty for each of our tickets?!).

So I found myself in Portugal trying to negotiate a healthcare system that doesn't quite make sense to me, in a language that I had once considered myself fluent in (Side note: Fluency is like the needed coin that you suddenly drop in your car on your way to the toll booth—you feel the tip of it with your fingers, and just when you seem to be lifting it from the grimy carpet, it's gone again.). My Portuguese was not quite up to the task, or more realistically, it was making me so tired!

I spent each of the next twelve days in a hospital that a three-year-old wasn't allowed to enter. The fourteen-hour-a-day-working husband suddenly had a toddler that wanted to spend lots of time trying to get him to play and talk about stuff. My father's condition was slowly improving, and they were able to move him out of a more critical unit, but things seemed to be moving about as fast as an octogenarian driving a town car on a lovely Sunday afternoon. And then the healthcare service industry of Portugal decided that they would go on strike. I was done. My father was stable and awaiting results and there was obviously nothing more that my presence was accomplishing. We had extended our stay by nearly two stressful weeks, and it was time to go home.

So I came home to piles of mail, appointments that I needed to reschedule, blooms gone past. And I had to keep calling my father and trying to make a stubborn man follow doctor's orders with the mere power of my voice (impossible!). There was still so much that I wanted to do—trips to a nearby lake, a stay on Cape Cod with family-like friends, all the ice cream we had missed, barbecues, community gardening, and on and on.

And the trip to Portugal had been scheduled with plenty of time for me to come home, enjoy some summer, and then have surgery on a foot that's been trying kill me for a couple of years now. That surgery is just a handful of days away, and the foot won't be able to get wet for three weeks after that. So forget sand, and beach, and shoes, I won't even be getting a shower!

And the hats... Well, we'll just have to wait and see how I heal before I go finish up the commission. Surprisingly, there's a lot of standing and walking to be done.

 Oh, this is not the summer I wanted to have.

 Thank you so much for letting me have my little pity party. I think I'm done now.