Monday, September 29, 2014

Mainely Good News

Wow!  Two months since my last post.
I'lll start right off by ending all the suspense and let you know I did make it to Maine.
After leaving Washington it was a couple of long, hot days driving across the western US.  Who was the idiot that thought it would be a good idea to drive cross-country in August?  Call it lesson number one.  I didn't see any 100+ temperatures so I probably shouldn't complain, but there were an awful lot of high nineties.  With the trailer overloaded I was pushing my luck climbing the mountain passes with the AC on, but the truck handled it fine.  Less than three days later I was in Minnesota and reunited with Nicole and Madeline, and got to spend a couple nice days at my moms resting and visiting.  We ate well, visited the playground, and sorted through tons of toys to pick some new ones for Madeline.  My mom had saved a good portion of the toys from my brother and myself and had added a bunch of new ones for Madeline, so we had a lot to choose from, and very little room available in the trailer.
Nicole and Madeline got a welcome
 home sign in the airport, I got a
three hour traffic jam just trying
to get across the border
After a few days, Nicole and Madeline headed to the airport for their flight to Maine, and I was back on the road.  Three more long, uneventful days and I was in Maine and picking up Nicole and Madeline for the last leg of the trip.  The girls got to spend a couple days visiting with Nicole's family before I got there, and then it was just a quick few hours up the coast to our old stomping grounds and new home.
Lesson number two on this journey is don't move to a major tourist destination during peak tourist season without prearranging lodging.  We had our choice of cheap and sketchy or very expensive, nothing else.  We chose cheap for the first couple nights until we did some exploring.  Seems our long-term housing options were either cheap and sketchy, very expensive, or not available for several weeks or longer.  Most housing in the area is either motels by the night or houses by the week.  Monthly options don't open up until October unless you happen to find something in the off season that is year-round.
We looked at a bunch of places, ruled out the sketchy ones, dreamed of the expensive ones, and eventually found a couple options starting in September.  That left us several weeks to wait, with my new job starting the week after we arrived.  We found an exceptionally small, very expensive studio condo right downtown Bar Harbor and anxiously waited for the end of the month.  The good thing was it was a reasonable drive to work for me and an easy walk to playgrounds, parks and pools for Nicole and Madeline.  We reacquainted ourselves with the island and finally decided on a winter rental in Southwest Harbor.
Two tuckered out
two year olds
Madeline's cousin Colleen is just over a week older than Madeline so it turned out we were just in time for a birthday party too.  We headed back down the coast a couple hours to visit Nicole's brother for the party, and we all had fun eating, playing and trying to wear out a couple of two year olds.
Back in Bar Harbor I started work and didn't exactly ease into it.  Never being all that happy about working in the first place, I tried to go in with a positive attitude and an open mind.  The rush to get me working came from a 48' sailboat they were just finishing up and all the quirks that come from untested systems and new technology.  Trying to troubleshoot systems you didn't install is always challenging, and adding to that the fact that the installers had never worked with some of this equipment meant it was a busy and sometimes frantic first few weeks at work.  The woodwork and craftsmanship on these boats is second to none, so I struggled to make sure all the other systems were up to that same high standard.  My regular work week is four ten hour days so I have three day weekends to recover and it seems like the schedule will work out well for spending time with Madeline as well.
September came and we moved into our new place.  We are in a two bedroom house tucked in the woods just outside town, so it makes for a good environment for Madeline to play outside, and it's a reasonable commute for my job and for us to get groceries and such.
A little help blowing
out the candles
The beginning of September also means a birthday for a certain little someone.  We did a two-part birthday since her actual birthday on the second fell on a weekday.  Monday was a holiday and I was home for the day, so we went to the playground, played with toys a lot, opened some presents, and had cake and ice cream after dinner.  On Madeline's actual birthday I had to work, but when I got home there was time for more presents and more cake and ice cream before bed, and luckily family sent enough presents that we could spread them out over two days.
The start of fall foliage
Back to the house we are living in, being a two bedroom this means we have room for guests.  If you need some coerceion, within a fifteen minute drive from the house we have hiking, biking, rock climbing, sea kayaking, sailing, lobster eating….. just keep in mind we also have winter so the timing will have to work if you come for a specific activity, but the cross country skiing is pretty nice here too.
Speaking of the seasons, if you are looking for a last minute excuse for a little travel, fall colors here will be peaking in the next week or so, and these are world renown "doesn't get any better than here" fall colors.  Let us know if you want to visit, at any time, and we can give you some tips to get here, and it will give us time to clear all the stuff out of the spare room.

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