It had been over three years since I’d traveled to my native state of Vermont or seen my family. It’s hard to think of this place as home after so long in the Midwest and Plains states.
When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and, after the second surgery, found that she would have to have a mastectomy, I realized that it was time to go. Both my parents wanted me here, and now is not the occasion to remind my parents that it’s “their turn” to come and visit me.
The flight (a simple hop from Sioux Falls to Chicago to Burlington) that would have got me in at noon two days before the surgery almost predictably turned into a convoluted, constantly delayed ridiculousness after the initial early morning flight was canceled and the next one was delayed ’til mid-afternoon.
But I made it in a little before midnight at last, and thankfully my brother was able to pick me up and give me a place to sleep. In the end it was my mom who showed up the next morning (on the day before her surgery) to drive me south on 7 to East Middlebury and my childhood home in the shadow of Breadloaf Mountain.
She suggested we stop at Gardener’s Supply Company on the Intervale, and the sign in the window advertised the light shelf I had planned on ordering online for a significant discount. Although having me order the thing online would’ve been significantly easier for them (the shelf usually ships from the manufacturer), they accommodated me without hesitation, and it should arrive shortly after I get back to Minnesota.
This is what happens when my mom and I go to a garden center. Of course, Gardener’s Supply isn’t your ordinary garden center. They even gladly escorted mom to an employee bathroom when she voiced her sensitivity to the perfume they had in the public ones.
Mom got a new thermometer monitor for her greenhouse, which my dad and I are hoping to get ready for her before I head out. I picked up all the herb seed I had planned on ordering from High Mowing. And then we headed home so the dogs could love me up (and they could be let out).
Later on in the afternoon, we made a foray to the Middlebury Natural Foods Coop for supplies, and I grabbed a few fresh local veggies (bok choy, celeriac, arugula). I am known by my parents as the “vegetable police” for my insistence on good greenery at every meal. And hey, at this time of year, who isn’t starving for the fresh stuff?
The next day was mom’s surgery.
My brother and his wife, Denise, my dad, and I were all there at Rutland Regional Hospital. The procedure lasted about three hours, and the surgery itself went really well. The preliminary lymph node test was clear.
Anaesthesia is another issue entirely–my mom is very sensitive to it, and she was not given the patch that helps with nausea. That meant post-op lasted quite a lot longer than it should have, and she was not moved to a room until a little after seven that night because she could not keep anything down–even without having anything to be kept down. It was awful.
Despite how rugged she looked that night, she was still ready and rarin’ to come home the next day. It’s amazing what a night of rest can do–that and just getting it over with instead of the constant worry and waiting.
After an afternoon of napping the day after surgery, it’s astounding how quickly mom has been back in action. This is no invalid situation–I am trying not to be too much of a pest following her around and constantly asking if I can help and sometimes just saying, “why don’t you let me do that for you?”
I was going to vacuum yesterday morning after coffee when we got a call from Aunt Jan & Uncle Tim. They said they were heading to visit us (they live about two and a half hours away), so I drained my cup and started moving in the direction of cleaning and all of a sudden they were at the door.
They’d come up last night and stayed at the Waybury Inn–about two and a half minutes away. For the uninitiated, the Waybury is the Inn shown in the opening credits of the old Bob Newhart show. It’s also the site of my first employment–I cleaned rooms there in my mid teens. It’s also pet friendly–and they’d brought their Lab, Greta.
We visited for some time and then went to lunch at Rosie’s–a Middlebury tradition. Glenn and Denise stopped up last night as well. Otherwise, things have been fairly quiet around here, and strangely normal.
I’m going to get on some of those cleaning projects today (mom isn’t supposed to vacuum or scrub) and hopefully get out to enjoy the mid-forties temperatures and gentle rain. I hear it will turn to snow by tonight, and there will be more snow to deal with when I return to Minnesota this week to finish moving my furniture up to Clinton and start making that house my home.