July 5, 2014 Cohasset, Mass. SIX days before departure off-the-grid
So much can happen in just a day or two! Whew! Girlfren is watching our three daughters right now for an hour so that I can slip away and catch you all up with the last day or two.
I believe I left off on Thursday morning, when I planned to get through the toiletries packing, run to the store for groceries for Girlfren and Daughter, and then get to the airport with Sofia, Michelle, hubby – rent a van since we sold one car, and pick up Girlfren early Thursday eve. Well, as I was getting ready to organize the toiletries, I found an old zip baggie of assorted gift cards I hadn’t used. I showed Hubby and he said, “Let’s go to Target!” I couldn’t imagine what we needed to buy since we just gave away everything, but then I realized I could at least get diapers and wipes and organic milk there. Also, I found a gift card to my favorite local green juice place, Lido Juice (Anyone near Cohasset – you must go and order “Immunity” and add in extra ginger and extra garlic, lip-smacking yum), so we could stop there along the way.
We got our juice and started out toward Target and when we got to the freeway, I suddenly saw the traffic coming south out of Boston – “Wow, sweetie, look at that? I wonder if there’s a car accident or something, it’s jammed?” Then it hit me: It’s July 3. The day before Fourth of July. OMG. Girlfren and her daughter are flying into Boston-Logan Airport during one of the worst times of the year to arrive, traffic-wise.
We decided we would skip Target and go straight to the airport to rent the van. To make a long story of driving short, this was about 1 pm. We made our way to the airport and rented the van, drove back near Sofia and Michelle’s summer program, raced into the grocery store for basic supplies, hubby took them home since I didn’t have time to go home at this point. I picked up the girls and we made our way back to the airport. In no traffic it takes about 40 minutes. Now it took about 2 and a half hours, and all the way there, the radio guy kept talking about several tunnels and roads closing at 6 pm for a concert, a tropical storm on the way so they were moving the city fireworks show up to that evening, streets will be shut down, the storm is coming…We spent an hour in one tunnel.
Fortunately Girlfren’s plane was late! By the time we arrived, instead of swooping thru the passenger pick up, Sofia needed to go to the bathroom. So we did the parking, elevator (Michelle currently does not like elevators so every time I say “elevator”, just imagine that means: we get in, Michelle stands in hall crying “Cammyyy” (translation: Carry Me). I put down diaper bag, purse, pick her up and she hides in my shoulder while we go down or up) We found a GREAT family bathroom that you can lock all to yourselves so everyone was contained. Then we found Girlfren and daughter and it was a huge group hug, laughing, tears, stories, comments in a big circle at Baggage Claim B.
I quickly explained to Girlfren the traffic situation and that roads might be closed and to be prepared for a likely 3-4 hour drive home. She’s so awesome! She thought for less than a second and said, “That’s a no – brainer – let’s get an airport hotel for the night.” Perfect! So we piled everyone into the wonderful, contained family bathroom and took turns standing outside talking to hotels and got a room at the Hilton since almost everything else was full.
Lots of chaos, laughing, shrieking, driving, seeking, finding, complaining, getting over it, upset travelers with no children when we came through the lobby, got in elevator (drama), girls screeching down the fifth floor hallway…we have a ritual with Girlfren and Daughter that we’ve passed on to Sofia and Michelle: The first thing you do when you get into the hotel room is jump on the bed. So we all jumped on the bed, singing, “Yay, we made it! We made it!” Quickly potty, change diapers, shriek run down the hall, drama elevator up to the special top floor that Girlfren got special key to, inside nice fancy top floor happy hour room, mildly irritated businesspeople stares as the girls checked out the city by climbing all over the ledges looking out window. Broccoli, cheerios, wine, milk, water, cheese, carrot sticks and then grab a couple cookies for back-to-the-room.
Since I hadn’t anticipated a sleepover, we were missing several key objects for a successful night sleep: Sofia’s favorite doll, since birth, “Stinky.” Michelle’s favorite several stuffed creatures: “Monkey,”, “Mermaid,” “Annah,” “Princess.” Girlfren’s daughter amazingly gave her Bunnie to Michelle for the night. Also missing was Michelle’s nighttime baby bottle that we are not supposed to use anymore according to the Dr. guides but we do. She was very, very upset that the milk I tried to heat in the sink was in the water sippy cup and not her bottle. “Leche en la camaaaaaa” (that’s Spanish, for “Milk in the bed”, just fyi)..Leche en la cammmaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!” Sippy cup didn’t work.
We had two beds. Right before bed, it was absolutely awesome that the tropical storm hadn’t hit yet and we were able to have an incredible view of Boston’s one day early Fourth of July fireworks show, from our hotel room window. Magical. Then to bed, Sofia and Michelle in one bed with my legs between them and head at bottom of bed; Girlfren and Daughter in other bed. Frequent awakenings in the night, “Lecheeeee…leche en la cammmaaaaa” Can’t say any of us had a good quality nite sleep.
I’ll just do one snapshot of the morning at about 9 am when we were trying to get packed and out of the room. Girlfren’s daughter is trying to make tea in the coffee maker; Sofia is upset looking for one shoe; Girlfren had called down for toothpaste for us; Michelle was tired and started doing her “Leche in la cama” thing but now her voice had changed a bit and the best way I can describe it is if you ever saw The Shining (one of THE scariest movies and Jack Nicholson is just insane), when the little boy’s voice changes and he starts croaking in a possessed kind of voice, “Red rum..RED RUM..RED RUM!!” so that’s how Michelle’s voice had gone, “LECHE..LECHE EN LA CAMMMAAAA” She would NOT drink that leche from the damn sippy cup no matter what I did. Person with toothpaste knocking at door, Hannah made tea and now announced after first sip, “I lost a tooth!” Either swallowed or on floor somewhere with lost shoe, we are all looking.
Right then a text comes on my phone: “Hi do you still have the car for sale? What is the minimum sale price?” So in between the screams and hunts for tooth and shoe, and sharing of toothpaste and trying to get us out the door, I’m texting back and forth about the car, the car that is with Hubby, who has to go outside at home and take close up photos of the perma-marker pen mark that Sofia drew on back seat for them to see. “LECHE EN LA CAMMMMAAAAA!!!” “Where’s my tooth?” “Can I borrow the toothpaste?” “Let’s just call down and ask for someone to come carry our bags like civilized people do,” Text: “Anything else wrong with the car?” Me text: “It’s in great mechanical condition. Exterior has a few minor scratches and dings from pebbles. I can get a closer pic of exterior if you want.” Text: “Great idea! Send me closer pics please” Me text Hubby: “You have to go back outside and get close up of exterior” GF daughter: I found my tooth! Sofia: I want to see! I want to see! Where’s my shoe??
And then, since I was on email, I scanned down and saw the coolest email!!!! The actress and amazing author of “The Kind Life” and “The Kind Mama” best-sellers, Alicia Silverstone, had replied to the reply I had written on her blog!!! She remembers me! We had met in a yoga class a few months ago at a juice fasting/cleansing/colonic/pranic/shamanic type of retreat place. We completely bonded, in my opinion, in a ten minute post yoga conversation about babies, life, having more babies…I had no idea who she was. I just loved her open, alive, sparkling eyes and super warm presence. At some point, I asked, “What’s your name?” She smiled and said, “Alicia.” I said, “I’m Cheryl..and blah blah blah” kept on talking about birthing babies at an older age or something, when the friend that I’d come to the fasting retreat with, finally couldn’t stand it anymore and walked up to me and said, “Cheryl..(I ignored him for a second cuz I was blabbering away)..CHERYL..(he finally got my attention)..This is Alicia. Silverstone. Alicia Silverstone, the actress?” Suddenly I knew why she looked familiar! It wasn’t necessarily one of those moments when you meet someone and think that probably you knew each other in a former lifetime, though that is still possible. Oh, it’s Alicia Silverstone! I’ve seen her in the movies! In fact, she plays a young lady named “Cher” in “Clueless” that is a bit like me, and most of my friends from younger days call me “Cher.” She was so cool she actually liked that I had no idea it was her until my friend told me.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to contact her ever since then, because I started reading her books and realize what a kindred, and incredible soul she is. I have a feeling she would love to come and help lead a retreat or something at our rainforest farm. My friend teased me that she will never write back. But she did! She wrote “Cheryl, I completely remember you! Sending you love and thrilled for your off the grid journey!!! Would be great to hear about it – we will be in touch! With Love, Alicia”
I’m so excited! Okay, everyone is outside my room waiting to go to the beach. I just want to finish with a crazy synchronicity: Right before we left the hotel, the texting car inquiry person said they want to come and see the car – now. They were coming from Boston, as were we. So we raced (within the speed limit) home, I quickly changed into new clothes since I’d been in the same ones now for two days, we got Michelle LECHE IN LA CAMA in her real bottle, and then the text came: “We’re here.”
I went outside and met a young, shy couple. He was having trouble understanding me, so he said, “Do you speak Spanish?” I answered, “Just un pocito, just a little…I’m trying to learn..I’ll get my husband out here, he speaks Spanish. In fact, we are moving to the Dominican Republic, that’s why we’re selling the car.”
He looked at me and said, “We are from DR..we just moved from Santo Domingo last year…” OMG. Her grandmother lives in Bonao, the small city where our girls will be attending school near the farm in the middle of nowhere. Smalllll world.
I totally went under what I was planning to sell the car for. We gave them some of our furniture, whatever they could carry, whatever they wanted. They bought the car. Too cool. It felt like family.