The rain moved in as advertised. Diana and Kéa left Alaska at 45F and sideways rain for Rhode Island at 45F and sideways rain. To say that I feel like I’m being followed by a dark cloud would be both accurate and an understatement. The Weather Channel is tracking my coordinates to better predict where the heavy stuff will come down. The girls pulled an all-nighter for a change of scenery. Little did they know that a change in climate would cost extra.

With 24 hours at 91 High Street, we were able to take stock of various needs and put together a summer to-do list. It would be long. First on the docket is the removal of an ancient fuel tank and the conversion of the house from oil heat to natural gas. National Grid, our local utility company, promised a gas line by late May, and now promise to “tentatively” have it started in the week ending July 31st. With this fantastic news I called Amerigas to have propane delivered for hot water and cooking. We had the oil burning furnace disconnected, because…you know, who needs heat in Southern Rhode Island over Memorial Day weekend?  Oh wait.

Kéa’s plan was to power through the day, not nap, and cold turkey the jet lag. Diana was asleep by 10 am. Both methods proved effective, but Kéa struggled to get to 7 pm. Friday night’s dinner was a bowl of chowder from Phil’s just across the Saugatucket River, followed by ice cream at Brickley’s on Main Street. We didn’t have to worry about the ice cream melting. That could take days. The house was a raw 52 degrees on Saturday morning and our summer wardrobe was still wet from the walk back from dinner. Our train back to Boston wasn’t until 4 pm and we needed to find a dry place with food and heat.

The Mews Tavern provided the perfect venue and we held down a table with our cribbage board for a few hours while rain lashed at the windows. The day flowed forward with an Uber to Kingston, an Amtrak to Boston South Station, and a bus to Portsmouth. It would have been nice to have our own transportation, but…you know.

The plan was to meet Diana’s extended family in Rye Beach, NH and celebrate being together for the first time in two years over Memorial Day weekend at the beach. We ultimately made it to NH, but relentless weather kept us trapped inside all three days. I should have just asked everyone to meet me in Arkansas. There would be no beach. Strams being Strams, the family made the best of it with cards and decibels. Lots of decibels. 

It’s now Wednesday. The sun came back just in time for our early departure and Joe, at 96 years young, gave us a ride to the bus station. We masked up, boarded the coach, and fought morning traffic into Logan. We’re currently at 36,000 feet over Minnesota and eager to return to 45 degrees and rain. I have no idea if or when I’ll see this Jeep again, but at some point I’ll need to return to Arkansas to retrieve my trophy bike. I’m sure Bryce misses me.


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