Portugal 2019, the Feedning

Sorry we haven’t been on much.  It’s been rather crazy.

As I expected, everything was crazy going up to the wedding, but it barely slowed down after.

Yesterday was mom’s 85th birthday, so, of course, everything came to a standstill while we celebrated that.

Around the edges, we managed to get lovely daughter in law’s family shown around downtown Porto and a castle, which was paltry, but they left today (early Monday.)  We don’t think they’re home yet.

We’re going to put the happy couple on a plane Wednesday.  And then we (Dan and I) stay another six days.

Low points so far: I forgot the tank on my apap.  Yes, even though I lost a ton of weight, I still need an apap, because my mouth conformation is weird.  Anyway, so I hadn’t slept since I left CO, and was falling asleep standing up.  Dan let me use his tank, so he’s sleep deprived today but I’m functional.  We have two more days of this, after which #1 son leaves me his tank (That mouth conformation thing. We have interchangeable ones) and get mine from the bathroom in CO when he gets there.)

Food.  Um… that should be both a high and a low point. The food is wonderful, but I’m so far off the low carb wagon it will take me a month after I get back to lose the poundage and get the inflamation to subside.  I knew how it would be, of course.  But I didn’t expect mom to try to feed us above and round the meals.  And I keep thinking I might never have this again, so…  Yeah. Not good.  I’m going on TWO walks a day when I get back.  And it’s only ten more days or so.

We’re going to need another checked bag and another carry on.  Part of this should be BOTH a high and a low point.  On the one hand, of course, we’re going to shell out for more luggage.  OTOH we’re doing so because we accomplished mission number 1: acquire student cloaks for me (mom gave mine away), my husband and the two boys, with patches for the right degrees.  Lovely DIL wanted one too and got it.  They’re really inexpensive, water resistant, tight-woven wool, and you can sew patches on.  (Hey, Larry, can I get an MHI patch?) With them on — as a friend put it — you look like a Hogwarts student who grew up and became a pirate.  The checked is because in our original booking through Norwegian we were extremely limited on carry on, and I want to take two changes of clothing on carry on.  One, because we have a 12 hour layover OVERNIGHT in Madrid.  We need to find some place to sleep, and if we do, we need clothes to change into.

One because I’m going to get a room to take a shower and change in the 5 hours in JFK, because by then I’ll be gross again. We’ll get to CO in the middle of the day and I want to look and feel like a human being.

Either from the carby carbiness, or because of the high humidity or whatever, the place where I broke my ankle is killing me.  And everything feels icky and achy. (Might be lack of sleep, too.)

The Good: The wedding went wonderfully.  Weird for a bilingual ceremony, but there were no glitches.  The kids were both radiant, and kept getting lost in each other’s eyes to the point that everyone else was deeply moved.

The banquet which my mom considered simple to the point of being unbecoming was quite good and more than sufficient. (Roman banquet like, as Dan saw it.)

The excursions we took DIL’s relatives on were fun, we mesh well and we might manage the thing that I never looked for: we might have discovered new friends in my son’s inlaws. It’s a normal, almost forced thing in Portugal, but I never expected it.  I’m glad of it though, that we can look on them as almost-relatives.

We also had a very good — if expensive, because we bought the things for the kids to take back — day today.

And we have a week or so to recover after they leave.

And best of all, dad and mom are doing better than I could have expected.

I’ll update again when I can.



115 thoughts on “Portugal 2019, the Feedning

  1. Sorry we haven’t been on much. It’s been rather crazy.

    What would be truly crazy would be you spending precious time physically present with family members (New and Old) on posting observations for family members (Affinity*/Digital?) to read.

    Go thou and cement bonds, create memories and love the ones you’re with. We’re not expecting much before Wednesday a week.

    *Ceding benefits of many doubts

    1. What RES said.

      We’ll be here and we promise to fix all the damage we do to the place before you get home.

      1. Which reminds me: we need to order another five boxcars of plaster.

        Oh, Hi, Sarah! No, nothing’s been going on, nothing’s damaged. Just like to have it around, you never know when it might come in useful. Really, everything’s fine, nothiing to see here, nothing at all.

        (Psssst – make that seven boxcars, and three of Portland Cement. Better get several tons of rebar while we’re at it.)

        1. Only if you’ve already used up the twenty and the ten in the Tower of the North Wind. The one with the blue tiles on its roof.

  2. “Lost in each-other’s eyes”

    Oh, my, that’s good. I recently attended the wedding of my step-mother-in-law (FIL passed a while back) and the couple (who are in their 60’s) looked like a pair of teenage lovebirds. VERY nice.

    May your son and new daughter have the kind of happiness my Lady and I have enjoyed for the last third of a century!

    1. Being an odd and having always wondered ‘why?’ since I learned the word, I’ve often wondered how that eye connection thing actually happens? Electrical waves passing between two people, or what?

      It sounds like a great trip, though, and I hope you’ll have a chance to slow down and enjoy being with family for a bit before you come home.

  3. That sounds so terrific. Having a week when everyone else is gone will give you a lot of nice time to just “be” with your parents, even if your Mom keeps feeding you. Maybe you can even work a walk or two in while you’re still there, just to “be” in the place you grew (even if people will think you’re the strange American when you do it.)

    1. … just to “be” in the place you grew …

      And don’t let the how much it isn’t the place you grew get to you.

      Philadelphia is a pretty old and set city. 49 years ago I left it for other parts. I have found myself startled by the extent of the changes on those occasions I have visited.

      1. My father was born in Long Beach. He would not willingly go to Greater Los Angeles, because he remembered what it had been.

        1. My husband is the same about San Diego; specifically Lemon Grove where he grew up.

      2. An aside, not necessarily in response to Philadelphia:

        The response to any assertion of any “old” New World Thing that I’ve seen from Europeans is pretty much universally “My home town has bridges older than the oldest non-indigenous thing in North or South America”.

        Basically similar to how the European concepts of “big” and “far” are scoffworthy to Western hemispherians.

        1. The saying I’ve heard is:
          “In the US, 100 years is old. In the UK—and much of Europe—100 miles is far.”

        1. It was a depressing day when I first got a pedometer and realized I was walking 10,000 steps a day and with ease.

          It meant I had to do more to lose weight that way.

      1. we met a beautiful chocolate-brown cat and followed rule 9 “Pet any stray cats you meet.”
        She wanted to follow Robert, but we dissuaded her.

        1. What happens if you come across a kitten on a skateboard? Pet, or refrain from disturbing?

          Congratulations to the couple!

      2. I had been under the impression that the proper disposal entails packing them up in an old kit bag? Guaranteed to make you smile, smile, smile.

  4. “that we can look on them as almost-relatives.”

    This is what I grew up with. Mom’s family was always included with all (as in ANY) celebration with Dad’s family, even when celebrations were on Mom’s folks side (like their anniversaries, and birthdays.) Didn’t taper off until all us grandchildren were married with children, with in-laws of our own, and more (a lot more) spread out. Even until recently, extended family reunions has always been one reunion, both sides.

    To the point that when paternal grandfather died, dad’s youngest 2 siblings (8 and 10 at the time), had 5 male father role models to go to: 2 uncles, their older brother (dad), a BIL, and my maternal grandfather. It also helped that mom’s younger brother was a playmate. It’s not that mom’s folks didn’t have extended family too. Just they were spread out in Montana, not western Oregon.

    This is how embedded this was. When I got married, my husband’s family was (& is) small. No problem, just fold them into my extended clan, especially since his parents were my grandparent’s age, older siblings older than my younger uncles … uh, No. Was. Not. Happening. I tried.

    I’m glad that despite all the crazy, wedding was great.

    All in all. YEA!!!

    1. What a lovely way to grow up! One of the biggest blessings in my life has been that my parents and in-laws like each other and hang out together even when the kids and I weren’t there.

      1. Yes. It was a great way to grow up. Did not know any different. Which is why it was really cold water to suddenly have to do the swap holiday day thing. Luckily families were close enough to pull it off. If we didn’t spend the actual holiday day with the family, we stopped in during the holiday vacation, either coming or going. I remember one year (’84, I think), we had early Christmas dinner with my sister and her new husband in Portland, then followed the folks and younger sister home to Eugene, the next day, Christmas Eve, we were suppose to head over the pass to La Pine for Christmas day … Snow and Ice hit the valley early the 24th; couldn’t get out of the valley for 3 days, passes were shutdown … MIL was not pleased; even tho it meant in-laws got us (again) the next year for Christmas.

        Son. OTOH didn’t have to deal with dad’s side VS mom’s side. FIL passed away 6 weeks before son’s birth. After son’s birth we went over to Bend every weekend (over the pass when we had to stop at Indian Campground for newborn to nurse, coming and going, every weekend) until MIL moved into assisted living, which lasted a whole 2 weeks (long story) … then she move in with her daughter in Portland. After that it was Portland once a month, spend 2 hours with MIL and SIL and kids (who were 15 and 17 years older than son), then spend the rest of the day with my sister and her daughter (who was 6 months older than son.) But holidays were with my family, every year, every one. Given our child is a one and only, when if, ever, his significant other shows up, we’ll go where they are … easy.

    2. Dad’s mother didn’t get along with a lot of people (including Dad), so they weren’t part anything to do with my Mother’s side. (Visits with them were pretty much only-when-obliged until things went really sideways.)

  5. Thank you for the upbeat update. It is good to know that things finally got back on track and especially that the wedding went off without a hitch! May the rest of your stay be as enjoyable and may everyone and everything arrive back home as scheduled. 😉

    1. One would expect, in a way, that there would be exactly one hitch.

      1. Ah, you are correct. I should have said “without a glitch”. 😉 May that hitch prove strong and joyful!

        1. The objective is a no-glitch-hitch, and it appears to have manifested.

  6. I want to look and feel like a human being.

    Sigh. Such low aspirations. Better you should attempt to look and feel like a dragon, or even a wallaby.

    1. Looking like a dragon or even a wallaby while going through an airport is asking for ruction and hassle.

      Which can be fun, sometimes, but not at the end of a long trip.

    2. I can’t tell whether I look and feel like a human being, or some species of xenosaurian wearing a badly fitting human mask. My various checks give wildly divergent results.

      1. Humans are easy to fool.

        I’ve know of Dragons who have reduced their size to that of a six-foot tall human, dressed in human clothing, walk down the street apparently unnoticed by humans.

        Of course, it is possible that none of the humans wanted to be the first to claim that they saw a dragon walking down the street. 😈

  7. After dealing with our family’s wedding in California in 2017, I can only imagine the level of craziness in pulling everything off overseas. Congratulations to you, the son, the new daughter-in-law, and all the friends and relations!

    1. They are now sold in specialty stores I couldn’t find. I finally located one, and it is very reasonable. They don’t know they could make a killing selling on line.

    2. They are wrong on one thing: student cloaks USED TO BE cheaply made. In my day, my mom MADE mine by hand because the others were so cheap. Now students often wear them every day in winter. The ones we bought are waterproof and excellent material (also twice the normal cost, but eh) so we plan to wear them in winter.
      I shall turn up at the monthly huns dinners in winter swathed in midnight black!

      1. I’m envious – I want one! No place to wear it, and the weather here would make it intolerable most of the year, but… sigh.

    3. *Want*.

      I kind of like it that the local students are isolated from the price shock of competing against buyers worldwide.
      But I still want one.

  8. Glad to hear things are ‘mostly’ going well, especially your parents doing well!!!

  9. Maybe you can use some of the trip as a tax deduction*, if you can set another story there; the Portuguese parts of MH Guardian seemed to pop for me. I’m waiting on the shipment of Femme Noir to see if I can get some additional information.

    *I am not a tax advisor, and if you knew what my bill was this year, you’d know that.

    1. the funny thing to me is, the little mini rants on government, we don’t know if they are Sarah’s or Larry’s… 😀

        1. i dunno, some ‘sound’ more like you than others. I have to agree with Larry tho, I love the voice you found for Julie.

          1. Yeah, Julie’s voice was great.

            I’m tempted with jokes, but my humor feels a little inappropriate.

            I’m happy to hear that folks are okay followin’ the wedding, and I think Guardian looks very nice.

          2. Any should sound like the character expressing such views.

            We ought not make the mistake of attributing to an author views that are expressed by any character.

        1. John Ringo has chapter length ones… and? my point was that we couldn’t tell Sarah’s from Larry’s…

          1. Chapter-Length? I could swear I’ve read some book-length ones by Ringo, interrupted by brief bursts of action.

    2. I’m overdue with a novella to Larry — which is a condensed version of Grant in Portugal. I.e. Dark Fate. The not having a an APAP isn’t helping.

      1. Very good to hear. I was a bit bummed that after all that discussion way back when Grant’s role in Guardian was practically non existent. Glad that the effort will be put to good use after all.

    3. +1 on the tax deduction. The problem being that business expenses have to be more than 2% (IIRC, I could be mistaken) of AGI to be deductible.

      1. My recollection (understand that my coursework on the topic is thirty years out of date) is that any business expenses are deductible against the business income. The formula runs Income – expenses incurred in earning that income = taxable income. Expenses in excess of the actual earned income are not deductible, but may be carried forward against future years’ income.

        It is unlikely that any expense beyond Sarah’s direct personal expenses would be considered as a business expense (e.g., neither Dan’s nor Robert’s nor Marshall’s travel expenses may be used as shield for Sarah’s income.

        Of course, the key rule in all tax claims is the credibility of the expense/deduction claimed. Being able, with a straight face, to argue a claim is legitimate — what I call the “But your honor; she said she was nineteen!” principle — generally means that, in the unlikely event you are audited, your penalty will merely be dis-allowance of the claim, leaving you to pay what you would have had to pay if you had never made the attempt (with, perhaps, a small interest charge — trivial if you consider you earned interest by holding onto your money a trifle longer.)

        As always, authors should employ a good tax accountant and rely on the preparer’s experience and judgement.

  10. I totally empathize with your APAP issue. I once left the power supply to my CPAP home during an overnight trip. The night was hell and the next day was zombie time.

    Glad you have a partial work around and every thing else seems to be going well.

    You’re posting more than I expected so don’t sweat it.

    1. I took an overnight train several years ago, and discovered that I cannot sleep without CPAP. We’ve had a few night time power failures, and without backup power (now set up), sleep doesn’t happen.

      I’m lucky with my CPAP machine (a ResMed #9). If the humidifier failed, I can disconnect the two units and use the compressor solo.

      1. I use the lMandibular device to pull my lower chin forward (thus lifting the tongue from clogging the throat) when I sleep. Darn thing broke (again) during Oregon Spring Break. The one week the repair source is shut down (not enough appointments and most those have historically cancelled, so that became a shut down week). Had to wait 5 days to get thing fixed. It was an easy fix, took 10 minutes and $100. But WOW, did my FitBit sleep numbers go to heck in a hurry. It was a long 5 days.

        1. I got my ResMed a few years ago, replacing a 10 year old machine (which in turn replaced one 7 years old). Finances were such that I could afford a spare compressor unit, and eventually, I got a humidifier and the rest, so it’s a complete backup for the working machine. (I swap once a year. So far, so good.)

          Part of the rationale was the possibility that I might need to take a long road trip on short notice. (That happened when my stepfather died. Mad scramble.) That’s not likely to be the case now, but the hospital asked me to bring a CPAP machine when I had day surgery last year. I wanted to leave the setup alone in the hotel room–expecting to feel like crap, so I brought the backup. Didn’t need it, but it was nice to have handy.

          FWIW, I tried replacing the bearings in the original machine. Got the spacing for the impeller fan wrong, so it sounded like the smallest 747 around. Unfortunately, about as loud as a real one in the bedroom. I now understand that such motors are *not* designed to have the bearings field-replaced. Without special jigs, one can demagnetize portions of the rotor and/or stator. Not good.

          1. Our problem … we RV it. Do not plug in. Do have a small generator, but those are not allowed to run all night to power CPAP machines. Realize there are probably battery options, but given the reported noise of CPAP units, probably won’t help … then there is the backpacking … The mouth piece works (so far … provided it doesn’t break, again.)

            1. My first solar system is on our tent trailer, originally to power the first CPAP machine. 300W worth of panels, roof mounted, with batteries that don’t need to be vented. (AGM batteries. I need to buy a new set after 19 years…) I haven’t checked power consumption of the latest machine, but it’s pretty quiet. I know battery packs are available for it, but don’t know how much time it would support on a charge.

              As far as I can tell, it’s soft tissues at the back of my mouth that cause my apnea. I don’t need much pressure, but I need a little. That drops the noise a lot.

              1. The mouth piece works. We’ll see if it keep breaking. I hear from my Dentist (who I didn’t know made them, darn it) makes a different older style version. This one keeps breaking, I’m springing for the other type. Insurance can just pay for it … (yes, they will squawk.)

                1. If you do go for CPAP, you don’t necessarily have to see a sleep specialist (speaking from a standpoint of not using insurance for the equipment; the first one was hell enough, and the others were purchased before insurance). A family practitioner or even a dentist can prescribe one.

                  There are small machines for travel. You now know as much about them as I do. 🙂

                  One website gave clues for a prescription, and I took that and wrote a subscription; automatic CPAP machine, min 4.0 max 20.0 cm of water (I changed it to min 6.0 to get to sleep without choking…), and *all necessary* bits and pieces. Thus, I have an open prescription for masks, nasal pillows (an old style did me wonderfully, but they went out of business; the new one hurts, so I went to a mask) and various gubbage. Gave it to my family practitioner, who said yep, and sent it over his signature to my supplier.

                  I chose cpapman dot com, out of Washington for the stuff. Have dealt with them off and on for 17 years now. Recommended. There’s a large DME place that specializes in CPAP, I gather they’re well hated. See the board mentioned below for details…

                  There’s a forum: www dot apneaboard dot com that does a lot of user based support. Highly recommended. I got the clinician manual for the ResMed so I could tweak as necessary. Have I mentioned that I’m a retired engineer? It’s part of the DNA.

                  1. Thank you for the information. Book marked it for future reference and study.

                    Did the in home sleep study. Slept worse than normal. Didn’t take my normal “aids” (OTC, have glaucoma, can’t take the “good” OTC stuff.) Nothing at this point is going to let me sleep without any interruptions. Device might be preventing the breathing from stopping, does nothing about the bladder, the dog, the cats, or the fact a household member come home from work after midnight. Honestly, that is what the sleep aids are for. Don’t really help going to sleep, but when I do get up, because (pick one), then I will go back to sleep afterward.

  11. Getting along with the in-laws is a very happy thing! Congratulations on the happy events and family-ness expansion. ^_^ It’s also good to hear that you’re enjoying your trip; I admit curiosity about the ‘Roman banquet’ – I hope there are photos you’re willing to share of that.

    1. There are. I’ll get them posted when I return. Internet connection sucks. There were THREE courses in addition to an appetizer buffet and a desert buffet.

      1. If you love them feed them seems to be a theme in a great many western European cultures. It’s certainly the case in the part of the midwest I grew up in which combined a lot of English, German, and Dutch immigrants.

        1. Never been to a family reunion where we didn’t eat very well; two or three meats, veggies, cake, pie.

          And as long as she was alive, Grandmama O. would exclaim, I wished I’d known you was coming! I have baked a cake! And she would have; probably coconut.

        2. Eastern Europe as well.
          Much cabbage. (Boiled and pickled!) Many root vegetables (ditto) . Many unpleasant textures, sickly colors, and tastes that need acquiring.

          1. Sorry; couldn’t resist; it was homophone city around here last week or two: sense, since; title, tidal; etc. plus whatever I didn’t (eventually) catch.

  12. Glad to hear everything went off without a hitch (okay, with one hitch, but that was the one that was supposed to happen 😉 )

    But I didn’t expect mom to try to feed us above and round the meals. […] The banquet which my mom considered simple to the point of being unbecoming was quite good and more than sufficient.

    Your Mom sounds like my Mom: every time she’s hosting an event — no, scratch that, every time company comes over, even if it’s the neighbors from down the street coming to pick up or drop off something — she puts out a HUUUUUUGE spread of food. And she’s always fretting that she hasn’t prepared or put out nearly enough. It must be a Mediterranean thing: Mom’s half Italian and takes after the Italian side of her family.

    1. It’s present in Poland as well, so it’s not just a Mediterranean thing.
      It’s either a Europe thing, or a human (subtype female) thing.

      1. Human thing, I think. When in doubt, feed the guests to show how well off (and prepared to defend it) you are, and to prime them to be your allies at least for the night. (And if they get a little loose with information due to overfeeding, alls the good.)

  13. They are disgustingly adorable when casual. I can’t even imagine how they’d be in front of a crowd with a ceremony. So glad that things seem to be going well, even if you are being fed until you’re fit to burst. Drink more water lol

  14. Don’t you need those cloaks to fight unnatural evil in Portugal?

  15. Ship or mail whichever way is cheapest all the clothes etc. you won’t actually need on the way home. Best travel advice I ever got. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  16. Congratulations! Three cheers and a tiger! Mrs. Hoyt has been talking ’round the wedding businesses, so I wasn’t sure it was wise to comment, but since it is official: My heartiest felicitations! God bless the new family, and the joined one’s.

  17. Travel & in-laws & questions of sanity in one package.
    The In-Laws (1979) Peter Falk, Alan Arkin

  18. Parabems, e boa viagem.
    Can you buy a CPAP here to serve temporarily? Anyway, have lots of fun there in the North. Que tudo corre bem.

  19. Hey, everyone! New Sarah story out, in the freshly-released Noir Fatale anthology! For all y’all who didn’t get e-arcs, enjoy it today!

  20. What flowers are blooming there? We’ve gone through daffodils (Feb-March); azaleas (April). The rhododendron on the north side of the house is starting to fade, and the bay trees and the hedges are in bloom here.

    1. I’ve got speedwell and pansies and lithidoria and columbine and lungwort and pinks.

      Also a lot of sprouts. some of which I can even identify.

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