Well, I am sorry to report that things are not going nearly as badly as expected. Currently, I am one with the earth, communing with nature, complete with pond-swimming, organic vegetables, and baby swallows nesting in a chicken coop. We are so content, in fact, that when I mention (again and again) selling our house to live in a small energy-efficient cottage on the marsh and growing our own vegetables, Hot Firefighter Husband has stopped asking me to stop mentioning it.
Finally, after many years, I love Cape Cod again.
You may recall – and if you don’t, you can refresh your memory here – that our last Cape Cod vacation included pneumonia, a dirty rental house, roaches and a menacing landlord who knocked on the door at odd hours to let us know he wasn’t at fault for the dirty rental house and the roaches.
This year, for the first time ever, we are staying with our dear friends CC and IR. We have known CC and IR since I lived and worked on the Cape 25 years ago, and, I’m not sure why they haven’t invited us to stay here before, because we are excellent house guests. I clean, cook, ask relevant questions and tell amusing stories, although not all at once. And the children have limited their duels to times when no one else is home, so our hosts think they’re lovely, sweet urchins with a strange fear of chicken poop and bees. The kids have not even picked a single flower from the garden.
CC lives her life exactly the way she believes life was meant to be lived. She and IR have two grown children and a 12-year-old son, and have lived in the same house for decades. IR teaches middle school, and CC is a farmer. She grows flowers and organic vegetables, which she sells at local markets along with eggs produced by her brood of chickens. She makes her own sunscreen. She feeds her family fruit, vegetables and whole grains – my kids stared at the pantry in horror. She hardly even takes medicine. In fact, she has some sort of ear infection right now, and Husband told her to take a decongestant to relieve the pressure. “I don’t like to take that stuff,” she said. I pretended to know what she meant, then surreptitiously popped my hormones and Cymbalta and daily dose of ibuprofen.
Their home is filled with books and pictures and art. They do not have a television. They hang their clothes out to dry on a line and feed their dog homemade dog granola and scraps. This last fact led to an unfortunate salmonella scare involving the Tyrant, an omelet, and some cheese that may or may not have been poisoned by lobster juice leftover from a wedding, but that’s a complicated story and anyway, it all worked out fine.
All of this makes for an extremely relaxing, rejuvenating vacation. As I type right now, the BAWK BAWK of the chickens rings like an interlude to the birds chirping and the ducks splashing in the pond. Outside the window behind me, a robin fills the beaks of her babies. The scent of a fresh-cut lily surrounds me.
That’s not exactly CC’s life. While I sip coffee, she waters plants. It’s shortly after 6 am, and she has already cleaned the chicken coop and checked for eggs. Soon she will start arranging flowers, then it’s on to gather the produce and head to market. It’s a good, hard, life that is not the least bit financially rewarding. Maybe I could do it! Probably not. But I could try! Things that CC eschews that I don’t think I could give up: paper towels, Frontline flea prevention medicine, and Cymbalta. And hormones. Oh, and the occasional shopping spree.
Of course, we came to the Cape to visit Husband’s family, and so far we have spent our days watching the cousins swim and play at a local pond, and that’s been great. LONG LIVE THE ANNUAL COUSINS REUNION! But I must tell you, this re-introduction to an uncomplicated life centered around sustenance, nature and finding ways to make your time matter has been cathartic and life-altering for me. I mean, I say it’s life-altering. Perhaps it will be different when I return to my Starbucks-laden routine filled with Chik-fil-A visits and news of who has been eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance, to the place where I worry about whether I’m fat or too old for a bikini. (I’m not, right? See, old habits die hard.)
But I hope not.