With the patient walking once again, flipping his cane to call the elevator and taking the metro, Nurse Ratched, bored from sitting in the apartment and limited to domestic activities, itched to travel once again, this time heading to the wintry mid-west, the land from which she came. She defied the mantra to go south in the winter, heading into the Michigan cold to visit along time colleague and friend. Her friend been grounded for a few months while she recovered from a surgery. We don’t see each other very often now that Nurse Ratched is focused on sailing and her friend off traveling for speaking engagements and consulting work around the country. So, this was an opportunity for both of us to share the slow lane for a few days. The mission was clear — hang out together, see a few movies, eat freshly baked Christmas cookies (she’s a grand baker), and have Nurse Ratched assist in a bit of heavy lifting to put stuff into storage. They did all that and more.
A huge winter Vortex plunged south out of the Arctic and Canada, delivering seriously gray bulbous skies and dropping about a foot of snow on the door step. It made me remember why I loved Christmas time in the mid-west (holiday lights twinkling through the snow covered trees and bushes, snow forts and snowball fights), but also why I’m glad I don’t live this far north anymore in a land where snow shoveling and snow stomping is a regular activity, requiring boots, scarves,
gloves, hats and even sky masks. But, my friend and her dog, Max, were undaunted, making three trips a day out into the winter wonderland. I walked with them once, then got smart and stayed inside, ready with the towels to dry off Max upon their return.
However, the visit was not bereft of sailing talk and tales. Nurse Ratched met an elderly man named who lived in the same retirement complex as her friend’s dad who is now 93. Lou joined them for dinner. Nurse Ratched mentioned that her boat, Dolce Vento, was on land for the winter and that she was waiting out the winter anxious to get back living aboard in the spring. Suddenly, Lou’s tired eyes sparkled as he enthralled Nurse Ratched with stories of his Mackinaw sail races and cruising on the Great Lakes and visits to the Chesapeake for sailing out of the Magothy River. Lou and Nurse Ratched couldn’t help themselves as they swapped boat data – sizes, layouts, engines, sail configurations and the like. By the end of dinner, they agreed that nothing could beat the Wye River on the Eastern Short of the Chesapeake Bay for exploring and gunk-holing (anchoring).
Upon returning home, Nurse Ratched found herself out of a job. The patient fired her. We were back to being ourselves — Dorine and John. We’re both smiling, pleased that we are both still alive, are best friends and devoted life partners. Now, together we face the continued tedium of winter apartment living. Perhaps another trip is needed. Stay tuned!