Two weeks ago today I had to put dear Frankie to sleep. She was old, almost 18. And she had been dealing bravely with her thyroid disease for a few years. Recently we got that under control with a new prescription food, but the last few days she clearly wasn’t feeling well. She was drinking OK but not eating at all, losing weight fast. I took her into the vet, where I learned she most likely had kidney failure. No long-term treatments available. She made it clear that she was ready – she has never been so placid at the vet. He gave her the shot and ten minutes later, she was gone.
The house has felt very empty and lonely these last few weeks. And now we know for sure that the mice are living in the cellar, because those strange noises can’t be the cat. Or at least, I don’t think they can be!
A and I talked long and hard about next steps – we have long known we would get two kittens when Frankie was gone, but we had not figured out how long it would be before we made that decision. Well, it only took a week for us to know we needed to do something. So last Saturday we went to the Bangor Humane Society and chose two little sister kittens. One is mostly black, with some white on her feet and belly. the other is a black and orange tortie. They played with us and let us pick them up – the tortie even purred for me! They have to get spayed, then we can take them home. That was supposed to happen today so we could get them tomorrow, but it has been pushed back a day – not sure why, but I guess they are ok. There is a third sister that might get to come to us if no one else wants her by the time she is ready, we will wait and see. I really can’t wait to get them here – I have taken down all the curtains and fixed up the nursery for them (others refer to it as the guest bathroom!) and I am ready! Especially after this week, since A is away the house feels very lonely and echo-y. Especially with all the curtains down!
The other animal story for this week is about the one I saw on the way home tonight – a moose! It ran across Rte 1 in front of me. I have never seen one around here before – in fact the only other times I have ever seen them is up on Rte 9, a few years ago. I really never expected to see one around here. This was pretty startling, it took me a minute to realize just what I was seeing, then to stop and make sure it wanted to stay on that side of the road, and that it was traveling alone. It seems it did and it was, so I came home with no further excitement. Moose really are huge – especially up close and personal like on the road. Taller than my car, that is for sure. And dark. They suck up all the light. Very strange.
subtitle: Eat and drive
So. I wrote a whole long post about our vacation trip up to the county. And I thought I posted it, but instead, I guess I deleted it. Crazy! I didn’t have the heart to write it again, so I didn’t post anything. There, I showed WordPress! But it doesn’t help me post the trip notes!
I can’t recreate it, but I can give you the highlights of the trip. First – well, it was cold. Snowing in fact, in Fort Kent. Like, they had to plow kind of snowing. And we traveled up on a Sunday. Nothing was open. I mean NOTHING. We went up on the road less traveled (Rte 11) and got all the way to Fort Kent before we found any place to stop and eat and stretch our legs. It was a beautiful ride, I have to say, incredible empty landscape.
Fort Kent was somehow smaller than I imagined, which is strange, not sure what I expected, but I have enough experience with Washington County to know what rural towns are like. Hmmm. Anyway, we lucked out that Roc’s Diner was open. We had read about it in Down East Magazine this month, so we decided since it was open, and we had a good review of it, we would stop for some lunch. The food was good and hot and the server was cheerful and quick. Couldn’t ask for more!
Took photos by the Rte 1 terminus sign, of course, like good little tourists, and then headed south on Rte 1 (there is no other way to go on Rte 1 in Fort Kent!).
So. Still cold. Now sleeting/raining. Still Sunday. Everything still closed. Everyone still home keeping warm and dry. Saw that Madawaska has what looks like a nice downtown with real shops owned by people not stockholders, but all closed, so we kept driving. In Van Buren, we found an open Rite Aid, so we stopped and walked the aisles to stretch our legs and get warm. Then back in the car.
We noticed that all the towns have big elaborate roman catholic churches – kind of reminded me of France with the cathedrals in the tiny towns.
Kept driving. Got to Caribou. Had to go explore a bit, so we headed for the “business district” Man, more cold wet closed buildings. It all looked very depressing,and we truly were starting to wonder WHY we were doing this! I mean, if we wanted cold wet and depressing, we could have toured towns much closer to home.
We got to Presque Isle around 3. Still cold, still raining, but our hotel was open – yippee! Also, more signs of life, in that they have chain stores which were open. In among them, we found a gem of a fabric/yarn store, locally owned. The prop gave us lots of info about where to eat, and what to do before we left town. We learned that there are THREE yarn stores in Presque Isle. Wow, a wealth of shopability.
We tried to find one of the restaurants she told us about but as it didn’t have a sign, we finally gave up and went to a pizza place. Good pizza, of course, since it was Pat’s – same as at home. At least it is a Maine chain….
The next morning, L and I went for a swim in the pool before breakfast, after which we cleaned the slush off the car and began our tour of PI. We stopped at one of the yarn stores which also turned out to be a scrapbook store – those county shop owners sure know how to get my heart pounding! and then went in search of things for A to do as it was her birthday trip, after all! She was excited to find a tractor Supply store, so we went in there and toured the place, got some random things, including some see potatoes. Can’t go to the county and not come home with potatoes!
From there we headed to UMPI to see the sun – the start of the solar system model. Then we drove to Houlton, stopping along the way to photograph the planets. We never found Mars, though. Stopped int eh rest area to get photos of PLuto, and then we went on to find our lunch place – Grammy’s restaurant, outside of Houlton and SO worth the trip. Unbelievable amounts of delicious food – and whoopie pies the size of layer cakes – for three dollars! Holy cow, did A have fun.
Then back over to Rte 1, heading south to Danforth, then over to Lincoln the turnpike to home.
So we spent two days in the car, in the cold rainy weather, just driving to our next meal. But we saw a lot of the county, and I would go back there again, it looked like there were some interesting things to see and do. But not in April. Not on a Sunday.
(A plus? I made two hats while A drove.)