Saturday, 10 August
We were on the road by 6:30 this morning for the 162 mile journey to Provincetown. The ride, time-wise, is three and a half hours off-season. In August it has taken as long as six hours or more due to bridge traffic and the huge number of cars on the road, laden with bikes, boats and necessary paraphernalia associated with sun and fun on Cape Cod. This will be our seventeenth annual one-week Ptown summer vacation. All but one of those weeks was spent renting a unit in the same house on Commercial Street in the West End, so in a sense, it is like going on vacation by coming home.
We make the trip today in a little over four hours. I treated myself to one small cup of coffee on route. I had to stop and pee three times. The third time there was no rest area, so David pulled over to the side of the road and I hurriedly wandered into the brush and out of sight. I didn’t see the thorns on the low brambles and scratched the hell out of my legs. Oh well, there goes the last decent looking thing left on my body I could still show off. I’ve been maimed for the week. Now I’ve got to rethink all those darling shorts outfits I had planned.
Not only is this our long-anticipated vacation, it is also our pup, Mr. B’s fifth birthday today. He accompanies us every trip here. Our rental doesn’t allow pets, so he stays at KC’s Animal Resort where he’s got an air-conditioned kennel. The place where we stay has two shitty plastic window fans which sort of blow the air around occasionally. But who deserves it more than him? Provincetown has been voted the most dog friendly town in the USA for many years. I can honestly say that more dogs turn David’s and my head on the street than cute men these days.
Mr. B spends the day with us, walking around town being adored by the multitude of dog lovers he attracts. We eat either breakfast or lunch each day at one of the several restaurants that welcome good doggies to dine. He gets his water bowl before we are served our cocktails. Of course lifting his leg every twenty or so steps, inspired by the entrancing odor of the countless other poochies who’ve passed the same way is his idea of the perfect summer retreat. For Mr. B, Ptown has been named for one’s ability to pee wherever the hell one wants, and he certainly takes full advantage.
We drop him off at the kennel each afternoon by 5:00 so we can enjoy quality parental time, just his Dad and me, for the remainder of the evening. Next morning he is ready at 8:30 to do it all over again…and so are we.
Sunday 11 August
We’ve shared the house for many years with our dear friends N and R. N and I met at school where we both teach ESL. I know her longer than I know David. She and R have been together since forever. R worked for a huge computer company, and his job enabled them to travel the world, even live in the south of France for several years. N has taught a semester in China for the past three years. It is an amazing adventure for her each time. Still these two find sitting in lawn chairs in the front yard of our rental, sipping wine and nibbling cheese before dinner with the two of us a wonderful pastime. Go figure!
It wouldn’t be a proper summer holiday without them. Due to scheduling and other minor glitches this year, they nearly weren’t able to join us. David and I were heartbroken, but last minute, things worked out and here they are. N and I were chatting this morning about being at an age where it takes all kinds of creams and additional products to keep up with simple body maintenance. It had just dawned on me this trip, packing for our week, that it now requires a canvas bag full of goodies simply to prepare for each day. I am serious. Take a look:
Monday 11 August
Now we’re certain we are on vacation, because it is Monday and we don’t have to go to work like all you poor slobs back home. Today is also our 9th wedding anniversary. It’s the one we mark, but don’t really celebrate. We were married by a Justice of the Peace on the front lawn of this house under the only tree. N and R were our witnesses. They hosted a champagne and hors d’oeuvres party immediately afterward, offering a glass to curious passersby on Commercial Street. We were toasted by countless street-traffic-strangers. We were even photographed with some Italian tourists who couldn’t believe two men could get married. “Solo in America”, they repeated again and again between camera clicks. Then we took the small group of family and friends we’d invited to Bubala’s restaurant for dinner that evening and dined under the stars.
So we ate lunch at Bubala’s this afternoon, just the three of us (the dog came too) and we reminisced.
Tuesday 13 August
Uh-oh, the weatherman was right. It is a drippy day. We had breakfast at Governor Bradford (I started with a bloody mary) and made it back home before it really started to rain. Two guys were sitting on a bench on the sidewalk just beyond our place who had a shih tzu, so we stopped to talk and exchange dog stories. Their names were Brad and Joe and their pooch was Sophie. They are from NYC. We chatted forever until the rain became steady. They were those fun, warm and very real sort of people you sometimes meet away from home and know if only you lived closer you could be friends.
Looks like there will be no wine and cheese in the front yard this afternoon. Rained out.
N and R are smokers (as is David) so they invested in one of those collapsible canopy things they set up on the back patio to smoke if the weather doesn’t cooperate. We moved back there this afternoon. I started on rose wine at 5:00-two glasses before dinner at 8:30. On the way to dinner we stopped at Bayside Betsy’s where we each enjoyed a Southern Comfort Manhattan UP. Our favorite bartender there Nick was off, but cocktails were lovely anyway.
Onward to Jimmy’s Hideaway. Dinner was so scrumptious, rich, filling and ‘oink-oink’ I cleaned my plate. I also washed it all down with two glasses of an incredible French Cotes du Rhone. It wasn’t until we began walking back to the house that I realized I was experiencing an excess of something-maybe everything. I passed out, sound asleep by 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday 14 August
I awoke at 5:05 a.m. No headache, seemingly rested, but my stomach was queasy. I reached for my traveling arsenal of gastric remedies. Gas-X was of no use, Zantac ditto-heartburn not being the problem. I chewed two Maalox, hoping it might ease my tossing tummy. Nope. This was the landlubber version of sea sickness. I was fighting noxious nausea. I lay in bed quietly groaning. I want to puke, but I don’t feel like doing it in a foreign bathroom with an audience. It’s that horrible sick feeling where the only thing to possibly make it better is your mommy. Her death in 1999 making that an impossibility, I chose the only alternate route I knew. I swallowed half of a 1 mg Lorazepam. In less than twenty minutes I was ambulatory. Sipping herbal mint tea made me a nearly new man. I am certain it had to be yesterday’s tomato juice in the bloody mary, or possibly the aged gouda on my crackers.
N and R are leaving this afternoon. We will miss them. Already we have pushed beyond the halfway mark on our week. Because of the incredible weather, with the first half of yesterday the exception, we’ve been able to accomplish our planned shopping at nearly all our favorite haunts. Saturday and Sunday was the annual Massachusetts Tax Free Weekend, so serious purchases were accomplished early on. We kept the dog with us tonight to sleep over (unbeknownst to the ‘landlady’) and walked to pick up a pepperoni pizza. We were all ready for a quiet night eating in front of the tube together. It was almost like home and an early night for all.
Thursday 15 August
An old buddy from college and subsequently NYC recently relocated to Massachusetts with his longtime partner, now husband. Because they really didn’t know Provincetown, we invited them to finish the week with us. Busy lives haven’t allowed us a lot of time together since their move, so we are all looking forward to a good visit.
David and I skipped both breakfast and lunch, having only coffee and danish-and Mimosas. Note to self: must monitor the alcohol levels today. When the boys arrived we broke out the wine and caught up on our lives since we last got together just before summer. We tried to be respectful of our innocent mates and not reminisce too much about our KSU days, but there were a few conversations revolving around names we’d forgotten we even knew, let alone remembered some forty years later. The laughter was shared among us all.
Eventually our little party moved to The Patio for dinner. We had to wait longer than was necessary, due to a ditzy hostess who hadn’t a clue, however our little waiter boy was quite cute, charming and efficient and made up for it. My tall Mojito helped some as well. I realized, that aside from pizza in front of the TV and dinner Tuesday night, we have eaten all our other meals outdoors this entire week. That is something we both adore and shall certainly miss when we leave Saturday morning.
Friday 16 August
We all went out for an early breakfast before our friends left to sample the sand and sun at the beach. Afterwards I took the dog with me to Joe’s for coffee and wi-fi. Although we’re on vacation, I cannot wean myself away from the internet. My iPad has been betraying me, so it wasn’t too long before I gave up. On the walk back to the house, I did a little more shameless promotion for the blog, leaving these new postcards in various shops along Commercial Street.
Before dinner at Ciro and Sal’s, a Provincetown dining fixture for decades, the four of us enjoyed cocktails and more laughs. Friday night there were as many, if not more people in the streets than in the afternoon-every restaurant and bar packed. Stuffed and content we all still found room for a little ice cream as we waddled up the street to the house. It was my only dessert the entire week. Monday will be soon enough to step on the scale to access the damage the week of overindulgence had on my old body. But who cares? We enjoyed a typically wonderful, relaxing vacation in our beloved Ptown and could not be more content with our place together in the universe.