This Kane Went to Maine

Last week, we went on vacation to Scarborough, Maine. Truth be told, I wasn’t looking forward to going to Maine for my vacation for many reasons. But just to list a few, I boycotted Maine a year ago when they voted and repealed gay marriage. After getting into an accident out of state, you learn to become familiar with the state’s laws before traveling just in case you end up having to go to court there. If the people of Maine are so ignorant as to vote down gay marriage and exclude people from having rights that the rest of the state has, I could only imagine what other hypocritical laws they would have. (This is the same reason I don’t ever want to travel and stay in Arkansas. They have some pretty ignorant points of view down there and I don’t want any big-bellied sheriff deciding my fate should something bad happen.) So I boycotted going to Maine for quite some time, although I missed my yearly run to the Kittery Outlets and eating at the Weathervane Seafood chain. (Best onion rings anywhere!)

Another reason I didn’t want to go to Maine is because I’m used to going to nice beaches in the summer, not the rocky beaches that Maine is known for. I have never been to a “nice” beach there (i.e. clean sand, no rocks, easy to walk in the water, etc.), so the thought of going to Maine had me wondering what else would we do there. I’m not much of a shopper. I go on my annual shopping spree where I get everything I need in one trip. I really didn’t want my last vacation of the summer to be shopping in Maine.

But this vacation wasn’t about me. It was about Dianne really; about where she wanted to go, because as much as I didn’t have a summer, she had even less of one being cooped up in my house recovering from surgery. Also, since she’s the only one that can drive Harvey, the RV, she didn’t want to drive far, not knowing how she would feel post-surgery. So the destination was totally up to her. She decided Maine, and Rachel and I just tagged along for the ride.

Growing up in CT, I thought I had been and seen all there was to see of New England. But I can honestly say, I had never been to this part of Maine and was pleasantly surprised. I’m going to try to stick to the interesting things that happened and the things we saw during the week and steer away from the many pictures I took of Rachel so you won’t be bored. Vacations, to me, are an opportunity to try new things; things you wouldn’t normally do when you are home. And because you’re out of your comfort zone away from home, strange things always seem to happen. Some are good, some are not so good. (Like getting into a major car accident the first day of vacation in Cape Cod and spending the night in the hospital. None fun. Thank God that has only happened once. But because it was so traumatic, it weighs on my mind every time I go on vacation. I bet when you plan your vacations, you never think about how close the nearest hospital is. I do. Every time now, since that accident. Getting in the car and driving has never been the same since.)

Anyway, we found interesting things to do in Maine and I will tell you about them in case you want to visit there yourself. And hopefully take you along with us as we laughed our way through the week. You can read the whole thing (long) or click on the links of interest:

Relaxing At the Beach - Not!
I Bet You Can’t Bet What We Did Next
Rainy Days and Bowling Alleys Always Get Me Down
Parks Are Not Safe Places These Days
I Ain’t Dead Yet
Last Day
My Kaneclusions

Relaxing At The Beach - Not!

We visited Old Orchard Beach, a place I had never been before. I had certainly heard of it and had passed the signs for it on many a trip to LL Bean in Freeport, but never managed to stop there. Being the nearest beach to where we were staying, Bayley's Campground, we had the opportunity to finally visit there. It’s a quaint little place, with a few blocks of both high-end shops and low-end t-shirt and souvenir joints. There is also a pier that you can walk on that has tattoo shops, t-shirt shops and restaurants. It’s a small strip, but just enough to do in the morning before hitting the actual beach. There is also a small amusement park section that has all the old standby rides like a merry-go-round, bumper cars, tilt-o-whirl. The latter being the first and only ride I went on. There was no line up for that ride so in an impulsive, “I can do this” moment, I got on the ride with Dianne and Rachel and halfway through the ride, I started to feel nauseous. We were the only ones on the ride and the ride conductor was being extremely generous by letting us ride even longer than normal. Great! I finally had to yell to him as tilt-o-whirling by him at warp speed, “You can stop it now.” He wasn’t paying attention. A few more times around, “OKAY, I SAID THAT’S ENOUGH!” That got his attention and stopped the ride. When I got off, I felt dizzy and started to break out in the cold sweat, the kind that one develops right before puking. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. But that put a kibosh on the rest of the rides for me. I was then assigned the “watch our stuff” duties while Rachel and Dianne went on a few other rides.

Next was the actual beach. It was packed, blanket to blanket. The tide was out so the beach appeared to be very deep. Surprisingly, the sand was fine and not rocky like other ME beaches I have visited. And the sand in the water was fine too, making it pleasurable to just stand there, enjoying the ocean, without the New England torture of losing your balance when a wave hits, regaining your balance by stepping on rocks, causing severe pain in your feet, but still standing there at the edge of the ocean, maintaining your cool, when all the while you really want to scream from the pain. Yes, a nice surprise. Rachel rode the waves on her boogie board while Dianne stood lifeguard duty. (Why are they called “boogie” boards? I shutter to think!) I helped myself to some homemade watermelon margaritas that I had made and just relaxed. Until…(yes, there is always SOMEONE that has to come along and ruin my buzz!)…these guys started passing a football around. The beach was crowded and they were doing running passes. Bear in mind they weren’t professionals. They missed catching the football several times. Dianne and Rachel had joined me by this time. At one point, one of them missed catching it and it rolled to our blanket. I told the man, who was in his 40’s, that he should go play somewhere else. He politely smiled at me, picked up his ball, and continued to pass the football around in the same spot. Again, one of them missed catching it and the ball rolled to our blanket. Now keep in mind, this wasn’t young boys, tossing the football underhanded to each other. No, these were men, trying to impress the girls on the beach, throwing spirals at each other and going deep. When missing, the ball didn’t die on the impact of hitting the sand. It bounced, kicked up sand in its travel, and could hurt someone if they weren’t paying attention. At one point, they missed, and the ball landed on a blanket with a set of grandparents and a baby. The grandfather told them to take their football somewhere else and asked them what was wrong with them, that they were throwing the football near a baby. He was quite upset but did nothing about it. The guy got his football and just smiled at the family like he had done with us. To say the least, it was obnoxious. And it definitely was ruining our relaxing day at the beach. But alas, in steps the heroine of the story.

The third and final time the football landed on our blanket, Dianne said, “That’s enough!” She scooped up the football and started running towards the lifeguard station, the ball tucked under one arm, the other arm extended out to block. She looked like the female version of Tom Brady. Okay, maybe she didn’t look just like that. It was more of a fast walk through the deep sand to the mile-away lifeguard station, and about halfway there, she started to slow down considerably because it was a long walk and she was getting winded. The men followed her, pleading with her to give them back the football. She kept walking towards the goal, while I, her linebacker, told them why we were taking their ball. It was then that I discovered that they didn’t speak English. They followed her to the station. I lagged behind because I too was getting winded, but I needed to go just in case one of them decided to tackle her on the way. Seeing as it was football, it wasn’t out of the question. Anyway, she gets to the lifeguard station where 3-4 male lifeguards are. She explained that the guys were playing football and hitting everyone with the it. The lifeguard asked her if the football in her hands is their football, and she said yes. The lifeguard said to give him the football. She tossed it up to them. By then, she started to walk away and the guys started to plead with the lifeguards to give their ball back. I approached and heard the lifeguard saying, “She said you hit her with your football.” In fear that they might return the ball to these idiots, I said, “It wasn’t just her that they hit. They hit me and a family with a baby.” The lifeguard told the guys they could come back at 5:00 to pick up their football. I didn’t hear the rest because I had turned around knowing they weren’t getting their football back. As we approached the area where our blanket was, the people all around us started to clap, then they stood up and started throwing kisses and roses and money our way, for taking care of the problem. Okay, maybe they didn’t do that, but they DID clap as we approached and thanked us for taking care of it.

Ten minutes later we packed up our things and left.

But hey, because of us, the rest of the people didn’t have to contend with footballs flying at them while they were trying to relax at the beach thereafter. Our job there was done and somewhere out in the world, other evil doers needed our superhero intervention. (I had to go to the bathroom. It was time to leave.)

I Bet You Can’t Bet What We Did Next?

In our travels, we saw a sign for Scarborough Downs horseracing. I’m not much of a gambler (and the poker girls guffaw!). Seriously, I gamble maybe once a year, if that. I work too hard for my money, and working for a casino, I know darn well that very rarely does one win. So I know the odds are against me. But while in Rome, do as the Romans do. So the sign said the races start at 4:00. On Friday night, we grabbed something to eat and at 7:00 we went to gamble our money away. We pulled into the parking lot and it was empty. We asked a person getting into her car what time the races end. She said they were already over. Woohoo! I won! I didn’t get to bet anything, but I didn’t lose anything either! I broke even! And since that was so easy, the next night we did it again. But this time we went at 4:30 to catch the actual races. Dianne, Rachel and I picked numbers either randomly or picked them by their names in the program. It was a very scientific calculation. You may laugh, but it worked. The first race we placed a bet on one of the horses to show. (For all you non-gambling folks, this means that the horse can come in first, second or third place and you win.) Normal bets are $2, but we decided that since we were only placing one bet, we would bet more money on it, so we bet $10, or 5 times a $2 bet. If the horse won, we would get 5x the winnings.

Okay, the race starts and they’re off. We scream like idiots at our horse. “Come on, Lady Brown Noser!!!” Lo and behold, she wins! Woohoo! Yeah! High fives all around! Okay, what did we win? Let’s figure it out. The payout board read “96” for that horse to win, but that is based on a $2 bet. So Dianne and I calculated that we had won 5x that or almost $500. Wow, that was easy! And that was only our first race! We agreed that if we did actually win $500, we would leave right then and not tempt fate any further. We walked to the payout counter. All nervous and giddy, we handed the cashier our winning ticket. She, in turn, counts out our winnings. “Here’s $10 and Fifty cents. Would you like to place another bet?” “Wait a minute. There must be some kind of mistake. We won and the board said ‘96’. How could it only be $10.50?” “I don’t know Ma’am, but that was the payout. The horse you bet on was a favorite to win. You bet $10 and the payout on that horse winning on a $2 bet was $2.10. But since you bet $10, you get 5x that which is $10.50.” We left the counter, still unsure if that was right. We looked at the board again and discovered that we had been looking at the wrong board. The odds board was 96, not the payout board. Darn!

We used our fancy calculation again for the next 6 races. One of the races, we bet on number 4 because that horse looked good prancing around on the track before the race. Dianne went to place the bet for #4 but then #7 came prancing by and he was different in that he wasn’t black or brown like the other horses. He was gray with black highlights. I said to Rachel that he looked like Swiffur. And as the words left my lips, I knew he was probably going to win. I told Rachel to go tell Dianne to pick Swiffur (number 7) to win. Sure enough, he won! But for whatever reason, even though we never placed just a $2 bet, we didn’t seem to hit it big time. Four out of the 6 races we bet on, we won, but somehow we ended up coming out with less money than we went in with. I’m not sure how that was possible. But I will say that Dianne was in charge of placing the bets and collecting the winnings. I think it might be time for me to find a new bookey. For the rest of the trip, we tried to figure out the best way to spend all our 50 cent winnings for that first race that we thought we had won it big. After all, we didn’t want to spend it all in one place.

Rainy Days and Bowling Always Get Me Down

I was told before I left for vacation that the weather wasn’t going to be good for the following week. That may have been so for CT, but in ME, it was a beautiful week. It only rained once and that was during the night. The next day was wet and on the cool side. It didn’t rain but it wasn’t going to be a good beach day. So we decided it would be a good bowling day. I hadn’t packed any socks for myself, neither had Dianne. So we made our way to the Family Dollar store to buy some cheap socks. Come to find out, the Family Dollar store doesn’t sell things for a dollar. I think they missed the concept in Maine. Items were marked $18.75, $2.99, etc. The socks I bought were $6. Maybe it was named Family Dollar because their last name was Dollar. But anyway, we get socks. According to Dianne, I was all set to bowl now that I had my socks and have my “Dungarees” on. Dungarees? What am I? A farmer? When was the last time you heard jeans referred to as Dungarees? Like, 40 years ago? But honestly, with me and my dungarees and white socks on, I was ready for bowling. All I needed was my wrist support and grip sack. (You know, the thing that professional bowlers use to prevent their hand from sweating.)

Bowling is one of those things that we wouldn’t do if we were home. There are always too many other things to do and due to the accident mention earlier, bowling is a strain on my hip. But on vacation, like I previously mentioned, somehow one finds the time and energy to do these things. We walked into the bowling alley and found out that it was candlestick bowling. Ugh! I hate those little balls! I like ten pin bowling, the kind with the big balls that you stick your fingers in. Thank goodness Rachel was there. She gave us the excuse to have the bumpers put on the lanes. Otherwise, without those bumpers keeping the ball in the lane, I don’t think I would have knocked down a single pin.

I bought socks and wore my favorite dungarees, all to bowl only one string. That’s how much I hate those little balls. Rachel won and was quite thrilled that, for once, she won in bowling. (And so it begins that she finds out that I’m not the best at everything. I’m not sure who will be more disappointed with that – her or me. There’s only so much longer that I can say that I let her win.)

After bowling, we went to the lobster pound (a farmer’s market type place) and bought lobsters at $3.99 per pound. We bought corn on the cob too. We brought it back to the campground to scare the cats. No, Silly, to eat! Speaking of the cats, this was the first RV trip for She-it. We didn’t know what would happen with both cats and all of us in such a small confined space. But it all worked out. Here are some pictures of their first trip together:

Swiffur, as we drove on the highway.

Both cats like the dashboard for some reason.

Back to the lobsters, I cooked it all over an open fire that night. We ate it outside on the picnic table that was provided by the campground. Lobsters, corn on the cob, melted butter, glass of wine. No smelly house after cooking it all. Does it get any better? Yummy! Then we watched the sun go down behind the treed skyline and toasted marshmallows and played the game “I’m going to a picnic and I’m bringing…”. When it got too chilly, that even my “dungarees” weren’t keeping me warm anymore, we retired to the RV and called it a night.

The view from our RV and campfire.

Cooking Lobsters

Parks Are Not Safe Places These Days

In Scarborough, there are two water parks on the same street, within a mile of each other. One is a water park and amusement park place, the other is just a water park. We went to both. At Splashtown (also has Funtown, but we didn’t want to have fun, we just wanted to splash, so we didn’t go to that section), we rode on one of the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) water rides I have ever been on. First, before even getting on the slide, we had to climb a 5 story staircase that is outside and constructed of decking materials. When someone moves on the stairs, I swear it shook. The trick to this was to not look around or down. These stairs provided access to 2 different rides. Rachel and I had mastered the stairs of doom by going on one of the rides together earlier in the day. But then for the last ride of the day, we decided to take on the “Tornado”. This ride looked intimidating but after looking at the little kids that were going on it, I thought, how bad could it be? We talked Dianne into coming with us. Dianne has a fear of heights and didn’t appreciate the stairs experience at all. No matter how funny I thought I was to dance on the stairs while waiting, she was petrified from the 2nd step all the way to the top. Once we reached the landing at the top, the three of us climbed into a 4 person blow up raft. I strategically sat facing the tube we were going to enter because I hate going down those rides backwards. I had it all figured out in my head. The three of us sat there in our bathing suits, our legs overlapped each other’s, waiting anxiously to be scared out of our wits. The kid in control of our fate, gave us a little shove and before even moving, Dianne was screaming. Another little shove and off we went, careening down waterways at lightning speed, twisting and turning in the tunnel of death. Dianne screamed the entire way. I’m sort of used to it but she outdid herself on this one. Glasses were cracking all over Maine by her hitting notes that I never knew she could hit. Water was being dumped on us unexpectedly, making us gasped for breath and not being able to see where the torture tunnel was taking us. We turned, twisted and went on its side in the tube, all trying to hold on to the little tube handles provided for our safety. But that was nothing compared to what was to come. All of a sudden, we dropped 20 feet straight down into a huge funnel-shaped contraption that sent us flying across it like doing the half pipe in a tube. From my angle, all I could see was us coming dangerously close to sliding out of the half pipe at the top of he rim. My heart was in my throat and I had no idea what Rachel was doing. Dianne, on the other hand, I was painfully aware of her. Still screaming of course, she decided she was really going to brace herself for this half pipe thrill. She placed her foot against my shin and clamped down as hard as she could. Rachel was laughing the entire ride. When the ride was over, I had a bruise on my leg in the shape of Dianne’s foot. If I screamed at all, my screams were screams of pain, not from fear. Well, maybe a little bit of both.

As you can see in the picture above, it is the ride that is green and in the shape of a cone. It doesn't look like much from the picture, but trust me, it'll make you wonder if you're going to die or not. For Dianne, this ride became known as the “cone of shame”. For me, it was the “cone of pain.” For Rachel, it was just plain fun!

The second water park that I mentioned was called Aquaboggan. It was smaller in size and had more water slides than anything else. We had received free tickets from the campground we stayed at and we were determined to use them because they were free. Upon entering the park, a man was standing in the roadway to the parking lot handing out a flyer or coupon of some sort. Not knowing what it was, I rolled down my window. He handed me the below coupon and said we could get 50% off the price of our admission.

At that point, had our tickets not been free, I would have turned around and left the park, knowing that there was a Tea Party convention being held there that day. But that day was the only day we could do it and it was free. We agreed that we would only stay an hour. And upon handing over our vouchers for the free pass, we made it explicitly clear, they came from the campground and NOT from the tea party and none of the proceeds were to be used towards the Tea Party movement. It was written all over the 16 year old ticket clerk’s face, “yeah, whatever.”

Thankfully, the park was relatively empty. There was a weird aura surrounding the park, or maybe it was just me. I hated the fact that I was being surrounded by such hateful people. More so, I knew for the day that I was going to be in the minority of those that shared my point of view. A scary place to be. As we walked out, we passed two families: 1) an African-American family and 2) A Two-dad couple with their kids – both families were there to enjoy the day with their families. As we left, I wondered if they knew it was Tea Party day at Aquaboggan, or if they just didn’t care. I fully expected to read headlines about some kind of altercation in the newspaper the next day. But decided to let it go because I was on vacation.

At the campground we stayed at, there were two pools. One day, we went to the pool closest to our site. Oddly, there were no chairs for people to sit on at the pool so we didn’t stay long. When we left, about 100 yards away, we walked by one of those big jungle gym type playground structures. There didn’t appear to be anybody on it at the time. Once past it, I heard a little girl crying. I looked back and found her on the ground, crouching over and holding her stomach. I walked over to the 4 year old and asked her what happened. She said she fell and hurt herself. I looked around for a parent or adult and there was nobody in sight. I asked her where it hurt and she said her stomach, all the while, crying. Then I noticed a woman in a beach dress quickly moving from the pool area towards us. She came to her daughter and asked what happened. The girl replied in a tearful sob, “I hurt myself.” I said that I thought that she may have fallen from the top of the high structure, because she wasn’t below it when we walked by it seconds prior. The mother, thinking that the child was faking I guess, scooped her child up in her arms and started rapidly kissing the child’s stomach as if to make it all better. The child cried and pleaded with her to stop but the mother didn’t listen and kept kissing away. Within seconds, the child threw up all over her mother, all over the woman’s chest and it went down her dress. She put the child down on the ground and was stunned for a minute. The child said, “Mommy, I don’t feel good. I told you, I hurt myself!” It was only then that the mother started taking it seriously. But even then, she didn’t react like I would have. Her main concern became going back to her site to change their clothes. Both Dianne and I suggested that maybe she had hit her head and could have had a concussion. The mother said it crossed her mind too. I would have been calling for an ambulance if that had been Rachel. But the mother kept walking and made the little girl follow her behind. As they disappeared into the myriad of trailers, reluctantly I walked away, not knowing what else I could do. The thought of what became of the little girl haunted me the entire trip.

At Aquaboggan, I was sitting on a bench while Rachel and Dianne were riding on the water slides. Again, in charge of “watching the stuff”. A man walked by that caught my eye. The man was in his late 30’s early 40’s maybe, full head of hair that was sandy brown and shimmered in the sun. He was in tip top shape, and to boot, had a beautiful face. As he walked past me, my immediate thought was, this guy was homecoming king in his school and possibly his career was being a model. That’s how attractive this man was. It was obvious to me that following this man was his son. He too was a strapping young man who was dressed similarly to his father, in designer labels. He had the same haircut and the same facial features. The only difference was, strikingly, the young man had a birth mark on his face that extended from one side of his face to the other, completely covering his nose. It was dark purple in color and stood out on his face as the first thing one would notice. Watching as the two men walked past me, I wondered how hard this must have been for the good-looking father to have a son with a facial imperfection like this. Were his hopes and dreams dashed away when he looked at the child for the first time? Was he disappointed to have a son that wasn’t as pretty as him? Could he relate to his son when mean kids made fun of him in school? Something he probably never had to contend with. Then I decided I wasn’t going to give it any more thought. After all, I was on vacation.

I Ain’t Dead Yet

On our vacations, we rarely sit around and do nothing. We generally like to go and see all the sights we can when we are in a given area. A lot of times this can be exhausting. This vacation was no different.

We had rented a car to get around so we didn’t have to just stay in Scarborough. By the way, when reading Scarborough, how many of you start singing in your head, “Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parlsey, sage, rosemary and thyme.”? Every time I saw a sign that said Scarborough, I sang that. How annoying is that?! But no more annoying that what Dianne did. Every time there was any type of traffic on the road heading in the opposite direction as us, she would say, “They must be evacuating.” It got to the point where even if we saw 3 cars in a row, she would say, “They must be evacuating.” When the parking lot was empty at the racetrack, she said, “They must have evacuated.” Yeah, to go on vacation with people, you have to accept these little annoyances about each other and find humor in it somehow. Otherwise, you may want to kill each other. And since I ain’t dead yet, we must be compatible in our annoyances. I found myself joining in: In seeing a flock of Canadian geese flying above us, I said, "Wonder where they're headed...must be evacuating.)

Speaking of “I ain’t dead yet”, I have seen Spamalot on Broadway when it was playing in New York, but in looking for interesting things to do in Maine, Dianne found that it was playing in Freeport and bought us tickets for a matinee show. I didn’t know if it was appropriate for Rachel to see but the age on the website was 8 so I went along with it. We drove to Freeport (lots of people evacuating on the other side of the highway!) and had lunch at Pedro O’Hara’s, a restaurant that served Mexican and Irish grub. A weird combination. So weird that we just had to try it. After looking at the menu, I didn’t know whether to have the fish and chips or a burrito. Or maybe a fish and chips burrito combination – the McBurrito? (I made that up.) And worse than not knowing what food to order, making the decision to have a margarita or a Guinness on tap was an even harder of a decision. I decided to mix and match by getting a burrito and a Guinness. This way, no ethnicity would feel slighted.

We left there and headed to the college that Spamalot was playing at. We had front row seats. It was an excellent show. Whatever inappropriate lines there were went right over Rachel’s head. We were so close to the stage that several times the actors sang right to Rachel. That was pretty cool. About halfway through, the bean burrito and Guinness started to work their magic in my stomach. But I hung in there, not wanting to disrupt everyone by exiting my seat in the middle of the play. I hate when others do that. It’s distracting. I did, however, want to quote one of the famous lines from the play, “I ain’t dead yet.” If you ever have the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. I guarantee you will be entertained and will laugh.

After Spamalot, we drove to Wilbur's of Maine Chocolates for a chocolate buffet. I had pictured a food buffet with all types of different dishes made with chocolate. But this was a candy store that had tables set up with bowls of their various chocolates to eat. They also had a chocolate fountain with strawberries, cantaloupe, little cream puffs, and pretzels to dip. Dianne, Rachel and I were the only ones that were taken on a tour (because we asked for it) of how they make their chocolates. Many years ago, I used to make chocolates and sell them. Looking at all the molds and the process brought that all back to me. A tedious process indeed, but I used to love to eat my mistakes.

We ate so many chocolate covered whatevers, that we all started getting a little silly, followed quickly by feeling nauseously full and not wanting to see nor hear about anything chocolate for a week. After which, I wasn’t quite sure I could honestly say “I ain’t dead yet.”

We visited another chocolate place called Len Libby’s Candies and they had a life-size chocolate moose on display. It’s one of those Roadside America must-see tourist traps. One of those free exhibits that draws you in, and once inside, you can’t resist buying candy. I spent $35 on chocolates. Free, my…

Speaking of tooth decay, we also took a tour of Tom’s of Maine. You know. Tom’s All Natural Toothpaste? We had to book the tour in advance because they don’t take drop ins. When we got there. We were greeted by this sign:

So we followed what it said and sat in the herb garden that consisted of maybe 10 plants:

A woman eventually came out of the building and greeted us. We were the only people taking the tour that day. I would venture to guess for the entire month. The tour guide’s first words to us were an explanation of why she had a bruise on her cheek from falling on her face outside the building, and for us not to worry, that her husband had not beat her up. Fake chuckle. Little did we know, that was going to be the most amusing thing she would say for the next hour. And even that wasn’t that amusing. Onward. If you’re ever thinking of taking this tour while in the area, I would say that it is THE most boring tour I had ever taken. Lots of rules and regulations of what we could do and not do; we had to put hair nets on and they had to be just so (which I don’t mind but it was all in the way it was presented); the one thing we went to see, which was to find out how toothpaste actually gets into the tube, come to find out the toothpaste machine was on the blink so we didn’t get to see that. What we did see was just a bunch of workers, standing around the machine in their hair nets that were just so, doing absolutely nothing but waiting for the machine to be fixed. We wondered why the tour guide couldn’t walk over to them to find out how long it would be or to see what was actually happening. But she was the type that took her job very seriously and treated the tour like we were invisible to the workers, as if there was a glass wall between us and them, which there wasn’t. It was just a plain old warehouse.

We did get to see how their deodorant is packaged though. It comes out in liquid form into the containers and then hair dryers blow off the bubbles that form on top of the liquid. Then it solidifies. Not too exciting but at least we got to see that.

If you’re in need of toothpaste and want to get a few free tubes of Tom’s All Natural Toothpaste, which by the way, Tom sold to Colgate and doesn’t work there anymore, I would say go to Tom’s tour because we at least got that. But otherwise, I didn’t think it was worth the trip there.

Last Day

We did so many fun things on this trip but this blog has been long enough. But just to mention a few other things we did: We went to see a rockin' band at the campground pavilion and danced the night away; We walked through the forest when it was pitch black out to get to our RV and somehow laughed our way through the fear of the possibility of coming face to face with a bear (it could have happened); We picked wild blueberries from bushes in the woods; Played minigolf and Rachel won; Had lots of ice cream; I drank a couple varieties of blueberry wine; Dianne tried blueberry soda and liked it; and She-it was finally named. (Oh, you’ll have to wait for the next blog to read about that!)

On the last day of vacation, we bought 6 lobsters to bring home with us ($37 for 10 lbs of lobster!), returned our rental car, and packed up the RV to come home. Check out time was 1:00. But since the car had to be back at 10:00a.m., we thought we would get ahead of traffic and leave early. We were all set to go and, like clock work, something had to go wrong with the RV. It wouldn’t start. To make a long story short, at 2:00p.m. we still hadn’t gotten it started and had to call for assistance from the campground mechanic. An old guy who had a big beer belly came to our rescue. We thought he was going to get trapped under the RV and not be able to get back out. Then what? We’d have to stay until he lost weight so he could slide back out? Anyway, we tried jumping the battery, charging the battery, bypassing the alarm system and jumpstarting it by hotwiring it. We tried everything and nothing made it start. It wasn’t until the old man said, “Have you tried starting it in neutral?” Nope, let’s give that a try. Sure enough, that got it started. Phew! We all got in the RV and headed home. It all worked out because that put us in the area of Chuck’s Steakhouse in Auburn, MA for dinner time. A favorite place to stop when we’re in that area! See, it all works out for a reason.

My Kaneclusion #1: Taking vacations can be very educational, and most times, they are not relaxing. I don’t go on vacation to just sit around. If I wanted that, I could do that at my house. I knew a young woman who was going to Hawaii with her boyfriend and before they went, she had asked me what there was to do there. I spent some time putting together a list of must-sees for her since I had been there before. When she came back from her vacation, I asked her what she thought of the things on the list. She hadn’t went to any of the things I recommended; she hadn’t tried any of the food I suggested. I wondered why I had wasted my time. I think she would have done the things I suggested, but her boyfriend didn’t like to do anything but sleep. So when I asked her what she did do, she said that they did the things that they wanted to do - nothing but lay on the beach and sleep in the room. No seeing black sand beaches. No luaus. Going to Hawaii and not going to a luau is unheard of. But her take on this was that they were going to go back and they would do those things next time. How could she be so certain that there would be a “next time”. (Off track slightly, her and her boyfriend broke up within the next year. There wouldn’t be a next time as I suspected.)

When I go on vacation, I do as much as I can in that area with the expectation that I’ll never be back again. There are so many places to see, that I rarely repeat vacation spots. So I try to fit in everything I want to see and do on that trip, not leaving it open to “we’ll do it next time” because I know there might not be a next time. So many things can happen to prevent a next time, isn’t there? Death, illness, lack of funds, just to name a few.

I go on vacation to take on new experiences: to eat food I’ve never tried, to take tours of places I’ve never been, to get to know other cultures, to sight-see, to people-watch. All an incredible learning experience.

My Kaneclusion #2 - I believe that people come into your life to teach you something. Friends that come and go; spouses that you marry then divorce; people you meet in the supermarket or at a soccer game; even one-night stands have great learning potential. All add valuable lessons if you can see what those people's purpose for coming into your life is for.

But the ultimate lessons come from our children. Nothing could have been more clear to me than the eye-catching, beautiful man at Aquaboggan who had a son that had a facial deformity. That man is certainly learning a lesson or two, having to deal with things he had never had to deal with before. Maybe his lesson from his son was about how cruel the world can be; or maybe he needed to learn a lesson that looks aren’t everything; or maybe he had teased others for not being so attractive and this was God’s way to teach him that lesson. Having seen those two together, it got me thinking about how much we learn from our kids. It’s such a shame that some parents can be so arrogant as to think that they have to be the ones that know everything when it comes to their children. From what I can see, it’s not all about us teaching them. It’s about them teaching us!

I wonder if the woman that had her child throw up on her learned anything from that experience. I wonder if the child did have a concussion and that the lesson was to teach the woman that her dress was not the priority to address. Did she figure that out later in the day? Did she learn a lesson about not leaving her 4 year old child on a playground by herself because bad things can happen? Whatever the lesson was supposed to be, she, (And we!) learned something from it.

Due to Rachel’s hearing impairment, I have learned to listen to everything more clearly, through my daughter’s ears. When things are noisy, I can’t stand it because I know she struggles to hear in those environments, even though she doesn’t let on that it’s hard for her. And when I have to repeat myself because she doesn’t hear me the first time, I’m more patient with her when having to repeat it – or at least more than I would have been years ago before having her. I can’t say that I’m always patient, but I try. She has taught me how to listen, really listen. She has taught me that people with disabilities can do anything and everything if they put their mind to it. She is teaching me new things every day. And I hope that, because of that mutual respect, that we can continue to always learn from each other. Because after all, she has different experiences than me; she’s meeting different people than me that she is learning from, and I can learn from her if I’m open to it.

Vacations are certainly fun AND educational. Even if the tour of Tom’s was a flop, I learned so much during that week, and every time I go on vacation, that I can’t wait for the next one. Where that will be? I don’t know. But one thing I know for sure, there are new experiences out there waiting for me and I welcome them. And you can’t learn anything by sleeping in your hotel room or staying in your house by yourself day in and day out! So where will the Kane’s end up next? Probably not in Maine, but maybe Spain? (Since it rhymes?! Ha!) And most importantly, there is no vacation from learning!

1 comment:

Sharon Kane said...

Dear Anonymous,
I will not post your comment that you left for me in regards to this blog article. I will, however, say that had you finished the article, and read "My Kaneclusion" at the end, you would have found my point. I always wrap up my articles in this section. I would suggest that before you cast judgment, you read the entire article.

I am the parent of a hearing impaired child. Also to note, anyone that knows me knows that I love music. When the doctors told me the news when she was born that she couldn't hear, I cried for two weeks. I know the heartbreak of having a disabled child and having to deal with a cruel world. I also know the disappointment that one feels when things don't go as one plans. So don't preach to me about being happy to have the child at all. I love my daughter like no other mother, and I have learned so much from her. (Which was my point had you read on!)

I won't spend time retyping my conclusion solely for your benefit. You are welcome to read it yourself. If you're not man or woman enough to post who you are, Anonymous, you know you must be wrong. I'm not explaining my meaning to someone who doesn't even know who the Tea Party is. Please go to another blog and spew your ignorance elsewhere. Your comments and opinions are not welcome here.