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This is the Dummerston covered bridge. I drove over it tonight on my way to a closing. It was just about 5 p.m. and this bridge was the perfect example of Vermont manners. It is a one lane bridge. There is no traffic light, no yield signs, no traffic cop. Just a sign that says one lane bridge. For those of you who have never visited Vermont (really?, who are you?) it is a covered bridge that only one car can travel on in one direction at a time. The perfect example of taking your time. Not rushing. The antithesis of everything New Jersey highway.
On the other side of this bridge is a road which has traffic coming into the bridge from two directions, north and south. Therefore, on that side of the bridge, the traffic from both directions needs to stop, take turns alternating with each other and with the traffic turning from Route 30.
The important thing is …no one is going anywhere fast. This is no Route 4 or Route 17 merge in Paramus, New Jersey during rush hour where everyone is pushing, vying to get in front of the car next to them that is merging onto the roadway with them, fighting, inching to be one car length ahead to go …well, nowhere fast if you’ve ever been in New Jersey traffic at rush hour.
Here, on this bridge, everyone stops and takes their time. It is only one lane and one at a time each car alternates going over the bridge. No one while we were there tried to sneak behind the car already proceeding, over the bridge to get through quickly, all the drivers alternated, each waiting their turn. Miraculously, we still all got where we were headed. There was no cussing, no middle fingers raised, no road rage, no one trying to cut anyone off.
Vermont manners. Yet another reason why I love it here.
Yesterday and today I went for a walk in the morning after the boys left for school. I am trying to get back into a routine now that you can escape outdoors without freezing or looking like the StayPuff Marshmallow Man. Both days I walked two miles. Both days I walked on the major road, not down a side street. Both days exactly one car passed me during my entire walk. Pretty stark contrast to New Jersey where one car could pass me before I left our driveway and jeez, walking two miles would have encountered probably 50+ vehicles, easily. The only thing that I might pass 50 or more of on my walk might be these:
And they move a whole lot slower than cars.
The difference is even more apparent on the heels of our recent visit to New Jersey where there seemed to be cars and people everywhere. This is much better and much calmer. 🙂 Not to mention, a whole lot less dangerous. I’ve grown up around NJ drivers, they are not for the faint of heart.
Today was a whirlwind. It flew by but I am happy to say that we got quite a bit accomplished. The boys are off to the bus stop at 7:08 so we were out of the house by 7:30 to run some errands before work. We got the trailer inspected (you have to inspect trailers up here unlike NJ where they are evidently just happy enough to get your registration money – however if someone told them that they could get more money for inspecting the trailers, I am sure that they will take that on as well), picked up lumber for the porch and piping for the drains next door. We had the house sprayed for cluster flies since the nasty, annoying insects are making their way into our house again, as the temperatures outside are dropping. We had this done last year and I must say that it was well worth it. No flies for well over one year! So much less annoying than trying to play octopus and swatting at flies with one hand while cooking and covering things.
We had an evening soccer game and dinner out which was a nice treat. MRU 7th grade won their game against Otter Valley 5-0 so the boys were happy that they did so well for their first game of the season. Celebrated with dinner out. Nice treat.
There is something unsettling about being the new kid on the block. I have some deep seated fear of being wrong, or different or standing out – in a bad way. When I was a kid I would worry that maybe school really didn’t start today or maybe the clocks really didn’t go back or forward over the weekend and I would be late or I was wearing the wrong uniform ( in our Catholic elementary and high school, there were different uniforms for different times of the year ). I am sure that I could provide hours of analysis for some very bored psychologist or psychiatrist – and we haven’t even brought up the fear of dying by suffocation, yet.
Anyway, I must preface this with the fact that I have met some very welcoming people and made some very wonderful friends since we moved, but I still can feel like an outsider. How long does it take for one to feel that they “fit” in? I was invited to a home party event this evening and there were familiar faces and everyone, even the unfamiliar were extremely friendly, but when people start talking about “so and so” or “this family” or “that person”, I can feel very, very out of the loop. I don’t know who they are talking about, I cannot share in their amusement or astonishment or concern or anger. I have no idea and certainly no right to judge or even comment on that which I don’t know. So, I sit. Quietly. I take it all in, smile when appropriate, nod when necessary and wonder to myself – when will I be one of “them”? One who will know exactly who Jane Doe is when they mention her name and how wonderful she is at this or how sad it is that she is no longer doing that? With each new journey in life, there are challenges and for me, this is one of them. I guess that deep down, I need to feel like I belong – again, a psychotherapist’s dream, I am sure – and while I am working on it and I have some truly wonderful people to help me along the way, I am not there yet. It is hard to walk away from the comfort of knowing mostly everyone and everything – something that I just felt like I had accomplished after 15 years of living in the same town in NJ – familiar faces in church, in the grocery store, at the school. I guess that here I am so much more fortunate, as these people welcome you with open arms, open doors and open hearts. Different from NJ, better. I just have to get over my own insecurities and realize that making friends and acquaintances is a lifelong project, not something to be mastered quickly.
I have been derelict in my blogging these last few days. A bit of craziness here at the T’s (wait – it is usually crazy – okay extreme craziness). One of the goats (Sky) who looks like Eeyore stopped eating. She is the queen, head honcho of the goats and she readily gobbles everything up even pushing and ramming the others out of her way. She stopped eating Friday and her side was blown up and rock hard. She apparently is suffering from bloat. We finally got in touch with a livestock vet (that’s a whole other post) in Granville. She was super nice and gave us some do’ s and don’t s over the phone. Nothing worked and poor Sky was starting to resemble a balloon. Saturday morning we took her over to the vet’s office and after an hour and a half visit and tubing of the goat, she was better, though not completely resolved. Happy to say that under Tom’s good care, she is deflated and back to her normal size and evidently her normal appetite as well.
Crammed in with all this goat care we had three soccer games two Saturday night and the boys’ teams (you really didn’t think that they would all be on the same team, did you? – My life doesn’t run that way) played each other 9 a.m. Sunday morning. While we were entering the field house at 8:45 complaining about how horrible it was to have to be up and out that early on a Sunday, a stark revelation hit us all — the only thing worse than the 9 a.m. soccer game is evidently the 8 a.m. soccer game that was already in play when we arrived. In addition, we had Tom’s parents up to visit for the boys’ birthdays and the poor folks had to sit through a game of total strange children playing since the boys’ games were one hour apart and what’s there to do for under an hour?
Yesterday I made one of my whirlwind trips to NJ – still pretty content in the fact that I don’t belong there anymore and decided to come home the same day. Arrived back here about 10 p.m. and quite happy to fall into my own bed.
This morning Tom is off for Michigan for the rest of the week, which means that TJ’s birthday on Thursday will be delayed (I’m sorry TJ we interrupt this birthday to postpone it until Daddy arrives home on Friday). And last night it was snowing again….
In the words of Pendragon….
….and so we go.
Neighbor: (noun) One living near or adjacent to another.
In New Jersey, we had neighbors by definition alone. Everyone lived in their little houses all within feet of each other. You could not help but know what your neighbor was doing because you were there, literally right next to them. I can honestly say that the only “neighbors” we actually had in the 15 years we lived in that neighborhood were the man who lived next door, some friends of ours that rented next door to us in our home and my in-laws when they moved next door. Otherwise, there were no neighborhood parties, no cups of coffee, no borrowing a cup of sugar, really nothing.
Here where we live in Vermont, our neighbors don’t necessarily fit the definition in the dictionary but are what I’d like to call Vermont neighbors. Who is a Vermont neighbor?
- the person who waves at you when you pass (or they pass you)
- the person who always has time to chat and doesn’t think it strange or forward to just “stop by”
- the person who will watch your kids when you just need to run an errand or two because she knows that you’ll do the same for her
- the person who will make you chicken soup or just check in on you when the whole family is sick with some ungodly bug or other.
- the person who will loan you or borrow from you….a whatever, because why should someone buy it when someone else has it.
- the person who’ll invite you over for lunch or coffee or tea or drinks…just because
- the person who will babysit your animals for you when you go away — again because you’d do the same.
- the person who will help you cut, mow, move, build, take down, construct, re-construct, demolish or whatever needs to be done ’cause that’s what neighbors do.
- the people who live next door, down the road and around the ‘block’. Neighbors don’t have physical boundaries.
- our “Vermont neighbors” we’re lucky to have them all. Thanks!
We are one step closer to severing our physical, but not familial, ties with NJ. We had orthodontic appointments scheduled for the boys for today. While we struggled through last winter, it has become very apparent that winter is just not cooperative when it comes to traveling out of state for doctor (or other) appointments. While our weather was fine, they were forecasting 1-3 inches of snow for NJ. While anyone who lives where it really snows in the winter would laugh, having lived there for all of my life up until last year, I realized that driving into snow down there would be the equivalent of driving into a blizzard up here. Nothing goes smoothly, nothing is plowed correctly, nothing about it is simple. That coupled with boys who flat out pretty much refused to – get this – take the day off from school to go down for the appointments cemented the deal. It is time to look into a Vermont orthodontist.
While Tyler and Tim are out of braces (Tim still needs Phase 2 when he loses more of his baby teeth) TJ is still in braces – first in and evidently last out. He is the one who was most adamant about not traveling down for the orthodontist. I think his exactly words were “You’re pretty funny – go down to NJ – I don’t think so, I will have too much work to make up if I am out of school” all said with that “I am a teenager and therefore superior to you – a mere peasant of a parent” attitude.
They have appointments scheduled and we’ll see how that goes. Tom knows that I have issues with the whole change thing and was kind enough to call our NJ orthodontist to get copies of records sent up here so that the new orthodontist can properly evaluate the TJ’s treatment plan.
Severing ties is never easy – at least for me. But sometimes you just know it’s time. This was time. While we have to see what he says about TJ, we are thinking that we are at the end of the road with the NJ orthodontist. They are all great there and they will be missed, but not so much that the boys want to drive that far to see them.
Still shaking off the warm cozy feeling of having two weeks of unstructured laziness. It is hard to wake up back on schedule, although we really didn’t sleep in during vacation but it is still the fact of KNOWING that you have to get up at a certain time.
Guess that I am rescheduling my check-up yet again since Mother Nature is evidently seeing fit to shower us with another winter storm. Evidently from tonight into Thursday it will be a little bit of everything that comes frozen and since I cannot spend 3 days in NJ, I will have to reschedule once again.
At least evidently this time, NJ is supposed to be getting winter weather as well with ice, so I don’t think that it will be quite so strange to the doctor’s office that I am canceling.
Oh Mother Nature, you are really messing with me.
Ah, here is the dilemma with keeping ties with your old world. This morning we were all set to travel down to NJ for orthodontist and doctor appointments. However, Mother Nature had other plans. There is a Nor’Easter brewing and while we would have made it down to NJ with little to no problem, we wouldn’t have been able to return without a long and treacherous trip. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, except boys being boys and especially being teenage boys, life on Friday is busy, busy, busy. Tim has a dress rehearsal for his play in which he is one of the major characters so his fellow stars would not be happy if he didn’t show up on Friday. TJ, being TJ, well, he has a project that is due on Friday which he has yet to finish up. Tyler has a presentation to make for his English class which he has worked long and hard in putting together. So, you see, we would have to come back tonight. And with weather forecasts of 1/2 to 1 inch of ice for the better part of our trip, (which would be about 3 1/2 hours under normal weather conditions), that is not a risk we were ready to undertake.
So, when I call the doctors to reschedule the appointments later they will undoubtedly shake their heads since NJ is not supposed to be getting anything but rain, and who’s afraid of a little rain? Tom and I both know so much better. We know not to take the risk.
Well, it’s snowing here on the hill and evidently, other places as well. There is about 2 inches but in true Vermont weather fashion, this is only snow showers. Meanwhile, if we were still in NJ, this would be an all-out snow storm. Run to the store, grab your milk and bread and hunker down. I am always amused by the difference in attitude between the places that get snow all the time and the places that don’t. Up here and most other places that get snow on a regular basis, this is nothing, a pittance, a drop in the bucket. The sanders/salters/plowers haven’t even left their garages, I am sure, but flash to NJ, they would be out in force because <gasp> we have 2 inches of snow on the road.
As my middle son pronounced when he came downstairs about a week ago, to snow showers that had left everything white — “Well, that’s more like it, this is the way Vermont is supposed to be”. Now, that says it all, doesn’t it. Winter, cold, snow — in my mind they are the same.
Sometimes, one has to remember to slow down and savor life. In the rush of everyday life with a million and one things that all seem to need to be done yesterday it is admirable advice and not always easy to live by. For example, today we are both working and trying to get things together for a brief trip down to NJ. Veggies to collect from the garden to package up for my mom and inlaws, laundry to be done so we actually have clothes to wear and bags to pack. These excursions to NJ seem like a good idea when we plan them. But the closer it gets, and the reality of 90+ degrees heat and humidity (on a day when I was actually wearing a sweatshirt this morning because it was that cool), with the traffic and actually having to LEAVE here, makes it not seem like such a good idea the night before we leave. My friend came over to pick up her son who was here for a playdate and we got into a nice conversation which actually ended about 1/2 before everyone had to leave. Needless to say, dinner was not what was originally planned, but rather a “what can I throw together in 15 minutes” affair since the boys had a scout meeting at 7. In the middle of the chaos (geez, my life does involve a lot of chaos, doesn’t it?) of getting everyone fed and out the door, I thought about how nice it was to have that chat despite it throwing everything into a tailspin. Sometimes, life is not what is planned, but rather, what is unplanned and time with friends is always time well spent.
So, the frustration continues. My leg and now my arm are both flared up and have been for several weeks. They seem to be getting worse instead of better and I don’t think anyone understands how so very frustrating it is. I want to know what it is that is making my body react this way. We originally though some type of food allergy….had allergy testing done and that was not it. Then we thought it might be sulfites since wine and vinegar set me off particularly fiercely. Did my research and over the past six months have been doing an admirable job of attempting to exclude things with sulfites from my diet….no wine, no high vinegar, molasses, dried fruit, high fructose corn syrup (now, there’s one to give you a real challenge) and instead of getting better, it has actually gotten worse. It has been so red, raw and itchy these last few days that I really just want to cry. Last night we tried bleach compresses based upon an article that I read, which has offered some relief. Today’s trip to the doctor was particularly neutral. She agreed that it looks awful so much so that wearing shorts or capri pants almost inevitably leads to someone asking me “what’s up with your leg?” attractive, right? She agreed that it seems like more than eczema and sympathized with me that the meds I am taking right now are not working, but no real answers. I have blood work scheduled along with a trip to the dermatologist (which surprisingly is going to happen next month, rather than 3 months from now which is what happened the last time when I still lived in NJ). She strongly suggested a biopsy since “that really doesn’t look good” (no kidding- you should see how it feels).
So I am now on the hydrocortisone cream, the zyrtec, the antacid and Elidel. The saga continues…..