on July 30th, 2022, my son and I packed up a moving truck and our car, took our cat, and headed to Montpelier, Vermont. having lived in Vermont for 12 years, I couldn't wait to return after foolishly leaving the Green Mountains for New York State when my son was 3 years old. you see, I grew up in New York, and when I left, I swore I'd never go back. but I took a chance on repairing relationships with my family before all the old people died, and while that went swimmingly at best, my chance to go back to Vermont has finally come. I mean, it came 15 years later than I originally intended, but my son wanted to graduate high school with his class, so I stayed for him, and we had some good times along the way. but graduate he did, and not only is he going to go to college, he's going to college in Vermont, and I couldn't be happier!
|so proud of my Teen!|
well, I could be happier, if we're being honest, because unfortunately, the housing we thought we had ended up falling through. not to worry, though, because I am in intrepid traveler, and though it's been a challenge to get through this experience with a pissed-off, stressed-out teenager and his rather demanding cat, I am navigating these waters as best I can with the tools I have. so I thought I'd tell you a bit about how that's been going...
we originally landed at the house of someone I used to know (more on this in the last post), and spent the first few days of August settling in, enjoying the gorgeous late-summer weather, and starting all the processes of establishing residency, such as transferring my car registration/insurance/driver's license, looking for more permanent housing, and going to job interviews. unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to leave our landing pad much sooner than anticipated, and without having made any advance plans, fell prey to the price gouging at local hotels like the Best Western Plus in Waterbury - Stowe. now, to be fair, this was a cushy room that came with two gigantic fluffy beds (I prefer a firm mattress), lots of pillows, wifi, tv, lots of parking, a pool and fitness center (much to the Teen's delight), and a delicious buffet breakfast that included most American favorites, and then some. they claim to be pet friendly, but we were so fried when we got there, we forgot to ask, and just chose to sneak the cat in, and keep the room immaculate so they would never even know she was there. we ended up staying two days and splitting the bill, which ran us about $300/night each. though the Teen really liked the accommodations, I didn't like the price. oh...I forgot to mention the tub! it was HUGE! and I filled it all the way up with hot water, and had a good soak. the tub alone was worth the price, but at those rates, there was no way we could even afford to stay as long as we did.
|while my chronic lower back issues didn't appreciate the softness of the bed, our cat Nahiri certainly did!|| |
from there, we still weren't entirely sure where to go or what to do, so we ended up back in my old college town, at a local campsite I knew of, but had only been to once for some reason I can't remember. the proprietress there is pretty sharp, and figured out that we were homeless, so I just told her the whole story, and while she agreed to let us stay for a few days, she insisted we have a tent, and not sleep in the car. since my tent and camping gear are buried in the back of the storage space because I didn't think we'd need them (mistake) we ran off to the closest big box store I wouldn't normally shop at (but these weren't normal circumstances) to buy a tent, some blankets, and food that can cook over a fire (burgers). we spent a perfectly lovely few days by the Winooski River at the Onion River Campground. now, if I had planned to go camping, this is definitely the kind of place I would choose. it's clean and quiet, with a rustic bathhouse, trails, blueberries to pick, and plenty of room between campsites. many of the folks there were set up for long stays, and I admired the effort they put in to making their campsites appear homey, with outdoor furniture, fenced areas for their pets, flowers and plants, twinkly lights, wind chimes, and more. I want to be one of those people someday!
|we were camped on 'the beach', which you can see on the map at the link.|
now, our cat has never camped before, or been in a hotel room, or traveled long distances in a car...and she did not like the tent. in the middle of the night she started pacing around and yowling, then she started scratching to get out, so I got up (I wasn't really sleeping anyway - lower back issues) and took her in the car so she couldn't slip off into the night. neither of us was happy, and I got no rest. I think we may have spent another night or two in the car before deciding to spring for another motel room, this time the Marshfield Inn & Motel, and their glorious pet-friendly room #8 for $124/night! my mom enjoyed staying at the Marshfield Inn a few times back in the day when I lived in the area, so it felt nice to be there again, now that my mom is gone. we were exhausted from bouncing around, catching random meals here and there, and dealing with the cat's distress, so it was nice to have a respite where we could all sit comfortably in our own space and stretch out, the cat could take her harness and leash off and move around freely, we could shower, connect to wifi, make use of the mini-fridge and microwave, and I could SLEEP on a Firm bed (praise all the deities!). it was a good few days.
after that, when we'd been driving around without a place to go for so many hours I needed to get off the road for everyone's safety, we got ripped off at the Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood who said we could have a room for $220/night, but charged my card $320 instead. when I went back to the front desk to discuss the issue, the receptionist was incredibly rude, though eventually agreed to refund me $100. she didn't, but she did refund me $50. when I called to complain about that, they called me a liar and hung up on me. so who cares about the amenities there, because they suck, and no one should go there, ever. and their breakfast was bland and tasteless. ugh. I hate them so much for taking advantage of me like that, and I'm getting angry all over again! luckily for us, the Marshfield Inn had another pet-friendly room available, so we jumped at the chance to stay there again.
this room - room #9, still a bargain at $144/night - has a small kitchen that comes with a mini-fridge/freezer, counter & sink, a hot plate, and pots and pans to cook with. also some cups, dishes, utensils, and other amenities. I can't even tell you how happy my son was to be able to cook a few meals! to be fair, he much prefers the fancier hotels with the pools, fitness centers, and squishy beds, but I'm happier in Marshfield with a fan rather than a/c, the peace and quiet, the hiking trails and swimming holes, the general stores, and the view. while we were waiting for the room, we took a ride up to Danville where I remembered from my college days the American Society of Dowsers had a little bookstore and a labyrinth. the bookstore was closed, but it was lovely to walk the path overgrown with mint and clover that smelled so good as my sneakers gently crushed them, soaking through with morning dew. and once we saw a sign for the Great Vermont Corn Maze, there was no stopping my pursuit of joy within all the chaos!
|the labyrinth path is a bit overgrown, but if you know the way, you can find it ~|
the corn maze was great fun - there are options to explore the BIG Maze, which they're also a beef farm, and we would have bought some of their beef if we had known we would have a way to cook it later! as the kids say, "100% would recommend"!
|"mayday! mayday! I appear to be piloting this vessel incongruously named 'French Toast' through a large field of corn, please advise!"|
after another few days at the Inn, we had another night in the car before stumbling upon the Firefly B&B in Lincoln. they claimed to be pet-friendly, yet hadn't counted on someone traveling with a cat, though after chatting with her a bit about our situation, the proprietress - Issy - agreed to let us stay as long as our kitty stayed in the room, and generously discounted our room to $90/night (cash or check only - no credit cards). that was fine with us, as we were getting up early the next morning to head to our storage space to pick up my son's trunks and bins for college, and we needed a safe place to stash the kitty while we drove back and forth all day. it was hard, but we got it done...well, the Teen got it done, I was mostly useless other than as the driver. then I cried as I made my way back to the Firefly alone, for my first night as an empty-nester, without even a nest. good thing I stopped for a creemee on the way back...if you don't know, in Vermont, soft-serve ice cream is called a creemee, and it's pretty serious business in this state. we all have our favorites, and we swear by them!
|this one came from Papa Nick's in Hinesburg - it was Bragg Farm good, but not Dairy Creme or Crossroads good! 😀|
so, my son's 'summer of homelessness' ordeal is over, and he has a little bit of time to relax into his new surroundings and collect himself before classes start in a few days. I've mostly been parking in places like the two local synagogues that I know of, and my old college library parking lot to take naps, but I can't ever really get a full 5 hours of rest in the car, let alone more. and then I'm falling asleep every five minutes, and shouldn't be on the road. so, I finagled a deal with the innkeeper at the Marshfield Inn & Motel for one of their pet-friendly rooms for a week, at a greatly discounted rate (just under $400 for 6 days). they gave me room #9 again so I have the little kitchen, and I think the cat feels safer here because she's already been here a few times. I can't believe it's been almost a month of this already, and I still don't feel any closer to being settled in terms of having housing, any social services, or a job. there's no way I could keep a job with all the moving around, and sleep-deprivation! so I need some help to pay for the room this week, and I've mostly been using my time here so far to figure out where I'm going to stay next, and see how many tarot sessions I can fit in while I'm stable enough to do a few readings.
I haven't made it up the hill to visit the person who's caring for my houseplants in at least a week, and I do need to visit my plants, I miss them so. the Teen is being standoffish with me and not answering my texts, and the cat misses her favorite human and is being overly clingy. I'm hoping to see if I can't find someone to foster her for a bit while I navigate the 'next step', whatever that may be - and I hope it's some form of employment, because I need the cash. if you can't tell from the above commentary, all these rooms and driving around have blown a hole in my finances, and I still have expenses to cover, including helping the Teen out with any college related needs, and litter/food for his cat. and let's all keep a prayer in our hearts for my dear car, without which, none of this would be possible. I hope you enjoyed this 'trip around Vermont', and that you feel compelled to send some funds our way - I'm happy to offer you a tarot reading in return.