Settling In; Rambling

It has been quite a while since my last post. Where do the days go? Betty has taken to calling me “clean-up Mama,” and thanks me daily for “going to work at home.” Maybe she can sense my desire to run out the door on some days, dressed to the nines and prepared for meetings with hot coffee and professional paperwork, all the while planning new curricula to implement. Instead, I make pancakes in new flannel sock monkey pajamas. I make triple-whole milk-mochas and slice strawberries for an eleven-month-old with a knack for feeding our puppy. Instead, Betty and I have preschool while Lucy takes a three hour morning nap. We decorate egg cartons with numbers, count chocolate chips and golden raisins and write letters in finger paint. Doing laundry, I often think back to my days in graduate school. The names of pedagogical theorists have been replaced with bread recipes and knitting patterns. As soon as we start to have some new buddies, the kind that aren’t afraid to come over unannounced, wearing yesterday’s outfit and ready to chat and eat and laugh without itinerary, we’ll be more rounded emotionally.

Adjusting to this move, in many ways, has been easier than my previous seven. [Take note that I only counted towns, not multiple houses in communities.] With all that experience taken into account, unpacking boxes and finding creative ways of storing Halloween costumes and vintage Christmas tree decorations hasn’t grow more invigorating. We live in the heart of town, and walk daily. The puppy pushes us outside even on 40 degree rainy days. Thank goodness for the double stroller’s rain cover. Ballet class, music, playground investigations and library story hour keep us busy. Four miles a day has recently taken a notch up. Jogging with ipod, two ladies and a puppy! I don’t think I’ve run since my days as a high school lacrosse star! Those who really know me will remember me glowing in a Lancer’s uniform and cleats, sitting on the bench and waiting to get off the field and back to my Neil Young and Dead bootlegs instead of receiving the MVP award. I’m still not that into the hot, burning lung feeling and all that sweating. But, we keep at it because the girls love strolling through the market’s aisles and loading up milk and an evening’s supper into the mini baskets below. Tilly waits patiently outside, licking strangers that stop and scratch her ears.

This is the kind of town where people primarily use cloth grocery bags, carry dog bones in their pockets for the island pooches, leave dog water bowls outside their businesses, and always stop for you in crosswalks. At least in the off-season. Who knows what this place will be like when 30,000 avid whale watching tourists come on hot and breezy July afternoons.

I finally found a pediatrician on Orcas Island. We’ll have to take the inter-island ferry for appointments. The ferry web-cam allows us to know when to put down our buttered raisin bread and hop into the car, drive two blocks, and park in a wait lane for the next sailing. Otherwise, we might get there way too early or, nail bite, wait and wait for the next ferry with room.

At $50.00 for return mainland adventures, I said I’d rarely drive off. And, just eighteen days into life as a Friday Harbor resident I’d already traveled four times on the Elwah — that is eight long sails with the ladies. [Funny, Elwah was Huck’s middle name, given on a funny road trip long ago, and out of all the ferries, it has been the one that comes for us]. Good thing I love people watching, because frequent ferry travel has a funny subculture. First, there are the car sleepers who remain on the auto deck, tucked in with their warm sleeping bag. (Yikes! Good thing there weren’t any on the recent Anacortas sail where waves crashed windshields and smashed up cars!) Second, the cabin sleepers take a booth and loft on a bench with a homemade quilt and down pillow. Third, cabin speed walkers certainly take the cake. They average twenty-four rotations (yes, I counted) of arm swinging exercise. Fourth, the errand trippers do everything from write belated holiday cards to tax preparation. Fifth, the techie travelers watch ipod movies or surf their Blackberries. Sixth, the rapid knitters gaze out windows for possible orca pods. Seventh, jumpy bunches of toddlers gather to candy gaze at the snack machine. And, eighth, is me. Breastfeeding while Betty pretends to play the huge Auto Racer arcade game, waiting for Lucy to fall asleep in the sling. Then, Betty draws on her DoodlePro, empties her wooden mice out of her backpack and dresses them in a variety of outfits until a potty visit prompts a quick rush to landing time. I look forward to more inter-island travel where there are puzzles at each table (or so I hear) on the bare-bones boats. Soon, we’ll bike over for a picnic. Obviously, Luke will pull the yellow mesh bike trailer seeing that my vintage Schwinn only has seven gears.

Well, I hear the ladies tossing themselves awake through the monitors. I better take our puppy-dog outside and fit in a quick shower before lunch, before finger paints, before supper, before dishwasher duties and laundry folding, before bedtime stories, before knitting, before tivo-ed television, before star-y-night quite dog walks, before scary dream night screams, before, yes before, we do it all again tomorrow.

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