My name is Hugo Jürg Hefti and I am fifteen months old.
My name is Hugo Jürg Hefti and I am fifteen months old.
A photo catch-up of our life in northern New Mexico (since the last post was so wordy)
And I won’t bore with you with all of them, but here’s a few of the fun ones:
Hugo is in constant motion these days: walking, running, dancing, climbing, “swimming”, and falling.
We SO look forward to having visitors! Thank you to all of our family and friends who have come down to The Land of Enchantment to stay and play with us. You ALL have an open invitation!!! Please come!!
Buying a home in Los Alamos – at least in the current market – is a daunting enterprise. The scenario plays out something like this:
And that, in a nut-shell, is how you buy a home in Los Alamos. *
* Unless you’re a Hefti.
We’d hoped to buy a home that we could afford to pay off in fifteen years. That is, until we realized what homes were going for, after which, expectations were quickly adjusted. We toured a few of the previously-described asbestos-ridden, low-ceilinged, low-light homes with little-to-no love on our end. The problem with Los Alamos, for us, is that the homes are packed in, tight as sardines – not much privacy, not much land.
Here’s what Los Alamos looks like:
The town spreads out over several finger-shaped mesas (flat mountains) with canyons in between. Limited land to build on means houses don’t have much breathing room. And many of the homes were built in the era of asbestos and lead and were all of a very similar shape (rectangular) and style (dark, galley kitchens, “cubby” rooms – i.e., NOT open floor plan). Our plan to combat these issues was to find a home that backed up to a canyon (most don’t), one that was built within the last forty or so years (many aren’t), and one that had some CHARACTER, one that spoke to us (none had yet).
Enter The Ugly Duckling a.k.a. The House on Camino Uva:
The story of how Camino Uva came to be ours spans many months, phone calls and emails to the owners. It also includes a six-hour drive to visit with Roy & Jane at their Colorado home and beaucoup hours spent on the internet researching how one purchases a home in New Mexico.
But in the end, on November 16th, 2017, we sat down at the title company, signed our names twenty-five or so times, drained a ridiculous amount of money from our savings, and then drove to our very first home together. We’ve owned – and called home – a sailboat and a camper but never an actual house. We are stoked!
A sneak peek at a few of our first (of many) projects:
It’s been an annual tradition going on twenty years now. Some folks, like Tom, are solid fixtures – showing up to the campsite (and in most cases claiming it) like clockwork every year. Others make more spotty appearances, their attendance affected by the demands of their lives: children, careers, relationships, health, finances, travel.
Since we started joining in the annual Thanksgiving celebration, Stéphane and I missed a few consecutive years due to our sailing adventure and our Maine misadventure. So this year we were determined to go – no matter that we had just bought a house two days before or the seven-hour drive – these things are small potatoes and well worth the effort to overcome in exchange for a few days of camaraderie, climbing, and cavorting in the desert.
Right now we live in the Jemez National Recreation Area, forty minutes west of Los Alamos, up in the Jemez Mountains. While we love the quiet and the ease of access to the outdoors, our goal is to buy a home in Los Alamos (gasp! I know, that does not sound like us at all, does it? Moving INTO not AWAY FROM town AND buying a house? That means settling down, right? Maybe…? Just goes to show you how much Hugo has changed our perspectives and lives!).
Creede, Colorado is a teeny little town tucked up in the San Juan mountains. Over the years it has morphed from its silver mining roots into a quaint, clean, funky little town catering to travelers, dirt bikers, hunters, campers, and explorers. It’s traded silver mining for tourism as its economy but has still managed to keep its historic vibe and quaintness. Trendy restaurants, an amazing outdoor store, funky art gallery, tequila bar and other fun shops line main street in historic buildings backed by sharp, craggy cliffs. I love this town and I love this particular corner of Colorado.
A great first trip back to our beloved Colorado to visit the gang! First of many! Now back to The Land of Enchantment to catch up on work so we can get back out and play.
Hidden House is snugged up high among the ponderosa pines- one of a handful of homes scattered around the hills in the Jemez Mountains forty minutes west of Los Alamos. Our neighborhood is called “La Cueva” (the cave; not sure why but I will find out and report back). Our street, a red sandy road, leads to a lightly-traveled two-lane highway; at the corner a fishing shop where we sometimes sit and get wi-fi. The owners, La Cueva locals Jim and Nancy, park their shiny, cherry red ’68 Camaro out front and sell maps, fishing gear, guns and ammo, snacks and coffee to the weekend tourists.
There are miles and miles of trails and forest roads to explore, countless camp spots to discover, and fifteen minutes down the road, a wonderfully accessible climbing area (easy button with Hugo is key). Natural hot springs are another sweet little feature of the area.
Our first few days in New Mexico have been filled with adventure, exploration, and learning how to maneuver in the outdoors with Hugo in tow. I think we are really going to love it here! Come visit!!
The wheels sqwaked as they met the pavement and the San Juan Mountains, still snowy at their tips, peeked at me through the window of the little regional jet. Hugo and I had arrived at our almost final destination: Montrose! A short stopover here to see our friends and then off south to our new home in Los Alamos (Jemez Springs), New Mexico.
It was an emotional reunion at the Montrose Regional Airport: Stephane, Hugo and I had been separated for more than two weeks and The Village and I for a year and a half. And no one had yet met Hugo! Many hugs, a few tears, and one poopy diaper later, we are off to enjoy some precious time with our most special friends.
In one weekend, Hugo experienced his first Jimmy Buffett party, first day camp, and introductions to all of his aunts and uncles: new faces, smells, sounds, and time zone for the Little Cricket. He is soaking it all in and doing so well with adapting to all the new – we are so proud of him.
Such a whirlwind trip! We did not get to reconnect with everyone while we were in town – but we will be back to Montrose to visit soon, and often. SO glad we are finally back west and close to our community. Now, it is time to head south to our new home in New Mexico!! Woop Woop!! Here we go!!!
Today is your very first Fathers Day!
I wish we could be together today but I know that you are working hard out west to make way for mommy and I to come out. We’ll be there soon and we miss you so much.
I love you to the moon and back.
The Cajete Fire started in the Jemez Springs area just yesterday. 700+ acres on fire. Homes evacuated. Dropped pin is Hidden House; blue pins are road closures.
After seven hours of packing the “schnick schnack” (the last little odds and ends that we thought would take only a half hour to square away), multiple trips down the driveway to add to the growing pile of trash bags and recycleables, and a final walk through, we finally loaded up Hugo and Myra and set off on our new adventure!
Day Two: in between the bad service plaza food (chicken McNuggets, etc.), funny looks from truckers while pumping and driving, and car seat breaks for Hugo, we receive news that we have scored a short-term rental in Los Alamos! (well, Jemez Springs, a half hour west, but beggars can’t be choosers). Yes!!!! A big relief for us and now Stephane can head directly to New Mexico instead of crashing at The Little House in Montrose.
Day Three, heard through the static of my walkie-talkie: “I love you! Happy anniversary!”
We celebrate our #3 in true Hefti fashion: nomads on the road, homeless with all of our belongings in tow. Parting ways in the parking lot of the Cleveland Red Roof Inn, Hugo, Myra and I, Tig + trailer are off to Michigan while Stephane heads down US Route 66, truck + Baby Bison in tow, en route to our final destination. I am a little jealous as I click off the walkie-talkie for the last time. Road trips are fun, made particularly more exciting when you are driving to your new home for the first time. Except we aren’t too keen on giving Hugo car seat-related PTSD. So to Michigan we go, to relax, enjoy some family time, and take a breath before the next step.
Stephane made it to the land of brilliant blue skies and red rocks.
I’m sitting on the guest mattress (our last piece of furniture left in Hurd House) tipping back the final few drops of an Allagash White – brewed in Portland, ME – in honor of our last night in Maine. Stéphane’s covering night shift for one of the pilots so yes, I am drinking alone. But it’s a nostalgic-excited-nervous-celebratory kind of drinking alone so no need to call social services, people.
Tomorrow, after we pack up our last few items, we will endure the teeth-chattering, shock-destroying drive out of Hurd Point one final time. We will turn right on Upper Dedham and left on 1A. We might stop at “the little store” to grab an over-priced snack or some water (they can charge what they want, they’re the only show in town and they know it). Then we’ll take 395 south. We’ll cross the bridge over the Penobscot River one last time – and I know Stéphane will turn his head up river and look for the helipad at Eastern Maine Med, straining his eyes to see Echo Mike (his heli) one last time.
Then we’ll merge onto 95 south (ignoring the yield sign as we rightly should) and we will set our eyes to the wide open west, and the next big adventure.
We bought a book for Hugo at BJ’s (Maine’s equivalent of Costco) called “Good Night Maine”. When reading it to him we’d joke and read it as “goodbye Maine” because we’d hoped we’d get to say goodbye one day. Well, that day has come. So for tonight, this last night, I’ll say goodnight Maine. And tomorrow, goodbye.
Sayonara, Vacationland: in less than two weeks, The Heftis hit the road for the Land of Enchantment!
So what do we know about New Mexico? Admittedly, not much. Wikipedia tells me that the roadrunner is the state bird (who knew?! Not me- I thought roadrunners lived only in the desert landscapes of Wile E. Coyote cartoons).
Mountain Project tells me there is some great rock climbing around the area, and, after some further research, I am excited to report there are miles and miles of mountain trails just waiting to be biked / ran / hiked.
There’s a lot of sunny, dry days; views for miles, open spaces, and public land. There’s not a lot of traffic, people, bugs, humidity, and trees.
We will set up base camp at 7,300 feet in Los Alamos – a smallish mountain town spread out across several mesas with the Jemez Mountains uplifting to the west and the terminus of the Rocky Mountains a bit to the east.
It’s not Montrose and it’s not Colorado. But it’s close enough and Stephane and I are excited about what we have learned about the area. And we’ll be close enough to meet up with our Colorado crew, so we’re calling it a day for now. We’re headed back west and that is good enough for us!
While we are escaping the land of black flies, humidity, and endless trees, we must also part ways with our generous, caring, and fiercely supportive tribe. Our “girls”, V and Nicole; Kevin & Lorry, Kathy & Charlie, and “The Helges” (as we so lovingly call them). And Stephane must leave behind the most professional, tight-knit, and badass group of co-workers he has had the pleasure to fly with to date. So yeah, it’s sweet, but it’s a little bitter too.
For myself, professionally, Maine has allowed my business to grow and I am happy that I will be able to continue my work – remotely – with my newest client.
So, here’s to the road ahead: adventures with old and new friends and maybe, one day, a place to hang our hat for good.
And here’s to the road behind: we’d never be where or who we are now without traveling the windy, buggy, and bumpy road through Maine – picking up some awesome friends along the way and adding a little bug named Hugo to our family.
I’ll leave you with some images I stole from the internet. Trust me, we’ll be posting some of our own REAL soon!
For some reason I can’t seem to remember much these days. Like, what were our days like when Hugo was one month? Three? No clue. I’m thinking this memory failure is a side effect of sleep deprivation. Or hormones, perhaps? Some cruel trick played on mothers so that they forget how hard this all is and decide to do it again…?
So to help me remember, here’s a little evidence of life at four months:
Ans there you have it- images of what Four Hefti Months looks like. Stay tuned for month five- which is now (I’m behind, go figure).
We finally got a taste of what a real Maine winter can look like after experiencing our first Nor’easter. All said and done, two feet of snow blanketed Hurd House. That’s a lot of snow to remove, particularly when the engine of the snowblower you just purchased on Craigslist decides to seize.
Now, we have sold and purchased many items on Craigslist over the years and have, for the most part, always had positive experiences. I guess it was only a matter of time before we got screwed. It was just really, really bad timing. So, to the seventy-year-old man in Winterport who sold us the lemon machine, I say to you: what you put out into the world will come back to you in one way or another. Karma’s a b$%!#.
The storm and the snow was actually a fun and welcomed distraction from our daily routine.
Is it possible to have an eeeeep post without a ppicture of our sweet Hugo? No, it is not. Here you go:
February 19th: Happy birthday Grams!!! Except I get the present today:
This is the face of a boy that just slept the whole night through.
Smiles all around this morning!
Hugo’s four months and babies fly free ’til their two – so let’s fly home to Michigan and introduce him to his family!
A good time was had by all and many lessons were learned in regards to travel with Hugo. He is proving to be a resilient and mellow little dude. He does cry – but guess what? He’s a freakin’ baby! Air travel was really not as overwhelming and scary as I thought it would be. Nice to have this first one under our belts – the next big trip will be to Switzerland at some point – hopefully this summer.
It’s the morning of our last day in Michigan before flying home to Maine. We’d spent the past four days showing off Hugo to friends and family, playing euchre, and drinking Pete’s latest beer fave: Founder’s Rubais Ale (a raspberry-infused brew).
Dad says the same thing he’s being saying since he and mom were out to meet a two-week-old Hugo: “Hey you two, why don’t you go out on a date? We got Hugo.” Three and a half months ago, a date seemed like such a frivolous way to spend free time (with a two week old baby, any free time is best spent sleeping). Today, however, is a different story and we can’t get out of the house fast enough.
It’s 10:30 in the morning and we are on a mission to find a Bloody Mary. Driving down the Nautical Mile, all the restaurants are either closed for the season or closed until lunchtime. I’m ready to throw in the towel but Stéphane steps up and saves the day, finding Butter Run on Yelp.
I’ve driven by this place a million times growing up; over the years it’s had different names- Mar Dee’s, Blue Star, etc. Today it is Butter Run. And today we strike gold in our choice of bar AND table – right next to two quality gents, Matt and John: hockey coaches in their free time and regulars at Butter Run.
Now I thought we were being a little crazy ordering a Bloody Mary at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, but these two made us look like saints in comparison, chasing their flights of whiskey down with shots of beer. We tell them it’s our first date since having Hugo and John says, “Well then, we need to celebrate with a round of Irish Breakfasts!” For those of you who do not know (I had no clue), an Irish Breakfast is a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of OJ topped off with a piece of crunch bacon. A little odd-sounding but quite a pleasant combination of flavors. Together we raise our glasses of Jameson and cheers, “to Hugo!”.
We could not have had a more enjoyable date spent in the fine company of Matt and John – who also picked up the tab on our breakfast! Thank you boys!!! We look forward to catching up with you again next time we are in town and breakfast is ON US then!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Heftis!
In lieu of bringing yet another tree into our lives (we have enough of them here in Maine), we decorated a happy little pine just off the back porch.
So…what else has been going on at The Heftis the last month?
The heating oil is low.
It’s been snowing all morning and our steep, slick driveway, now hidden under five inches of powder, must be tamed by Wednesday or we will go without a heating oil refill ’til who knows when. Which means frequent trips to the gas station, filling five gallon jerry jugs with diesel and schlepping them home to heat Hurd House. Not great. Better than nothing but not an option we are stoked about.
It’s a good thing I am cold and itching for some exercise. I have been dying to move and sweat – to wake the next day to achy muscles and a feeling of accomplishment. Taking on the driveway with a shovel will be the perfect solution to my temperature and temperament. Hopefully when I have finished and Wednesday rolls around, we will be rewarded with a delivery of sweet sweet oil and a little peace of mind. That is, until the tank gets low again.
Biting off a little more than I could chew, Stéphane steps in and finishes the job – another Hefti tag-team mission accomplished!
Here’s hoping the snow stays away until after our oil delivery on Wednesday.
Tomorrow Hugo will be two months old. I have no idea where these past sixty days have gone and what I have actually done during this time; they have zoomed by in slow motion. A friend of mine shared a “new mommy” saying that I find quite appropriate to our new life:
The days are long and the years are short.
The days are ridiculously long – particularly if Stéphane is on shift – but the weeks are just flying by. All day long I do nothing and everything, all at the same time. It is the most important nothing and everything I have ever done.
We celebrated Hugo’s first Thanksgiving by going on a family hike / trespassing event. Bundling up The Little Bear in his warm, fleecy bear suit and telling Myra the magical words that make her life (“let’s go for a run!”), we headed out the door and bush-wacked up the thickly-forested hill in our backyard. We quickly crossed into no-man’s-land – not sure whose property we were on – but we didn’t quite care: who gets mad at a couple hiking with a newborn on Thanksgiving? You’d have to be the biggest douche in the world, really.
Up and up the hill we went, determined to find a view that let us see over and beyond the thick curtain of trees. And we did eventually get a peep of our Phillips Lake from above – after which we came across a hunter’s stand at which point we decided to evacuate the area.
We are slowly collecting more “baby things”. Try as I might to keep our belongings to a minimum, we keep increasing our inventory of “Hugo stuff”. Each item does seem necessary though, like this newest addition: an Osprey (supporting our local Colorado businesses!) baby carrier (for extended hikes in the back-country). He’s a little small for it yet but we could not resist the half-off sale at Cadillac Mountain Sports!
Returning to work has been challenging with a newborn in tow. It has taken Stéphane and I a month to figure out how I can best work and be a mommy. What I have learned, after many failed attempts, is that I cannot do both at the same time. Thank goodness for Stéphane’s work schedule and for his willingness to be super dad so I can devote a little time to my business!
This just in: all those bibs that you received, washed, and stored away in the back of the dresser because you thought they were for when Hugo was older and eating messy things like seafood (think Joe’s Crabshack)? Yeah, guess what? They are for when Hugo pukes up milk! Guess how many onesies have been changed due to milk puke? A lot. Guess I was out sick the day they went over that little gem. Yet another Mommy Memo missed.
The number of ounces of milk I have pumped to date. To put this into perspective, that’s 64 bottles of wine, 12.5 gallons of water, or 201 cups of coffee. The Girls are hanging tough and performing admirably.
The number of hours I have sat hooked up to the pump so far.
The most number of consecutive hours Hugo has slept in one night so far – go Hugo!!
Most miles run post-Hugo.
Times I have been peed on while changing Hugo’s diaper. I must have missed that Memo too. Have since learned a pee-protection technique that has been deployed successfully on the changing table.
Well, The Hefti Family has survived over a month. As I type, I hear Hugo Bear’s soft coughing/grunting noises coming from the crib. Which means he’ll be up soon. Which means a slapdash eeeeeep post – so here goes:
Top seven observations from our first month (because ten would take too long and I’m tired)
And as the cries have now moved up a level from minor to premium, it is time to attend to the my little schnacki (that’s snail in German). Here’s to another month!
He has many names:
The Curve-Breaker (coined by our group because he is so amazing at pretty much everything)
AirWolf (remember that 80s high-tech helicopter show?)
And in the last two weeks, a new one has emerged:
The Magic Coffee Table
Yes, you read right. The Magic Coffee Table. Just check out this short video and you will start to understand why:
Having lost three times the normal amount of blood during delivery along with the typical wears and tears (literally; ouch) that occur with a natural birth, I was pretty wrecked and exhausted once Hugo joined us. The second we arrived home to Hurd House, the day after Hugo was born, Stéphane was in instant caretaker mode.
Knowing how I hate clutter, he is in a constant buzz around the house: folding baby blankets, re-arranging pillows that had been tossed to the floor after failed breastfeeding attempts, and washing Hugo’s pee-stained onesies (we’ve since figured out the penis has to be pointed DOWN before closing the diaper; the pile of pee-stained onesies has greatly diminished since this breakthrough).
Stéphane zooms around the house in constant work mode: sweeping up the never-ending piles of Myra’s hair, baking amazing oatmeal and walnut breads, making homemade yogurts, and cooking up fabulously tasty, nutritious meals. Washing clothes, dishes, floors, and butts (Hugo’s thankfully, not mine); caring for Hugo so I can catch up on sleep and get my strength back.
The second he learned that the proper position for breastfeeding is 90 / 90 (ninety degrees at the knees and then again at the back – straight posture), Stéphane disappeared down to the garage. The whirring of drills and other such tools ensued and a short time later he emerged with a stool – topped with a scrap of carpet – for my feet: to help me attain the 90 degree knee bend while sitting in the La-Z Boy chair (my legs being too short otherwise).
Waking up for the fifth time that night for my hourly pumping, I entered the living room which had been transformed into a calming environment: la-z boy chair prepped with boppy pillow and supporting pillows, fire going, mellow music playing softly in the background. Lactation tea in a mug next to my pump, and a zip-lock baggy holding buttered, homemade oatmeal bread as a snack and delivering a special message: I Love You! You may think “cheesy”, but let me tell you, when your body is torn up and exhausted along with your emotions and you are trying to figure out how to take care of an actual human being that you grew; throw in a little sleep-deprivation and hunger and make it 3am: tell me THEN how amazing that zip-lock baggy and its message becomes. It’s all about perspective. And it’s looking pretty fabulous from mine.
So yes, this post is super braggadocious on my part but I am just so proud of Stéphane; proud to call him mine and proud of the amazing husband and father that he is. The Hefti Clan of Maine, now numbering three, is hanging tough and figuring it out.
Some more pics of our sweet little Hugo:
So very much more to say on this topic but at the moment I have the use of just one arm – the other is engaged in infinitely more important business: holding our son.
So to be brief: Hugo Jürg Hefti joined Stéphane and I Monday morning, October third at 11:46. I was able to have the natural, non-medicated birth we were hoping for (ouch) and after an hour and a half in the birthing tub and fifteen minutes on the birthing stool, Baby Cub is here.
Stéphane caught and placed Baby Cub on my chest, face down. We were so excited that BC was here that we didn’t even think about the gender until one of the nurses asked! We then flipped him over and…
Mom, dad, and Hugo Bear are happy and healthy. Mom and dad are sleep-deprived but Hugo is getting tons of food and sleep and that’s what matters.
Lots more photos and stories to come.
During our sailing adventure, Stéphane and I had the pleasure of spending time with Paul Denton, fellow sailor and adventurer extraordinaire. We met Paul in the Bahamas and buddy-boated with him and a few others – island-hopping around the Exumas, sharing meals and stories on each others’ boats at night; bonding and enjoying life together in a way so very different from how it is done on land in the M-F 9-5 Life.
He was a quiet man but once engaged on a topic, witty and generous with stories of his time sailing and exploring the world. He was encouraging of and so very inspiring to Stéphane and I.
Monday night Paul took his life.
His last note to friends spoke of his unbearable struggle with depression and loneliness. I would not ever have guessed he possessed these inner demons. We had no clue.
And so, dear Paul, fair winds and following seas, friend.
Be at peace now.
“Don’t forget we have Lorry and Kevin’s barbeque next week!” says Stéphane.
It was the fifth reminder in as many days; if I was perceptive or even slightly suspicious, I would have thought something was up.
I was completely blown away by the kindness of these women who really don’t even know me. Onesies were bestowed, a stroller and Boppy pillow revealed themselves under lovingly wrapped paper, and even the long-sought-after Boba (baby-wearing wrap) made its appearance. All of these items started showing up as “fulfilled” on our gift registry over the last few weeks – which was puzzling because my Michigan baby shower had come and gone. Little did I know that the Life Flight Ladies, led by Kathy, were gearing up for Round Two.
Well, “the barbecue” was a complete success and such a special evening. It’s a pretty powerful thing to know that you have a community of people behind you, rooting you on and looking out for you. Until the evening of “the barbecue”, such a community did not exist for us in Maine but just. like. that….how things change.
Thank you Life Flight Family!
We’d been working so much lately it was like I’d won the lottery when Stéphane presented me with a gift borrowed for the weekend: a full-body climbing harness! I’d outgrown my regular climbing harness a few months back so had given up on the idea of climbing until after Baby Cub arrived. However, a full-body harness is a game changer! Definitely able to climb safely and comfortably in one of these babies! A big thanks to Jon Tierney for loaning me the harness!!
Note to self:
When going on a road trip to Michigan from Maine, knowing that the route will go through Canada, please remember to bring your passport with you next time.
Because we all know that the very best part of a road trip is the beginning: the excitement of leaving home, cooler packed with spritzers and snacks for the road, podcasts downloaded and ready to be listened to, the road opening up before you, the anticipation of the upcoming days off. The middle and end parts of the road trip you tend to find yourself “in the driving zone” (middle) and then “ready to be done” (end). But the beginning? That’s magic. And nothing kills the magic faster than having to turn around and go home an hour into the trip. You get ONE shot to set the proper road trip vibe – it is a precious moment that fades all too quickly into the monotonous grind that it actually is. And I ruined it by forgetting my passport. Son of a….!!
After a grueling twenty hours on the road, we made it to Exit 222 – St. Helen, Michigan – the cottage!
We were only able to spend a day and a half up at the cottage with Pete and Ryan, but we had a fabulous time nonetheless.
It was a whirlwind of a trip home, as usual, but, as always, so worth it. While we aren’t in love with Maine, it is nice to be a day’s (albeit long) drive from home. Because it’s always good to be home again.
A big huge special thanks to Grams and Mom for throwing me the bestest shower for Baby Cub! Love you both so much!!!
Life Flight of Maine is an IFR program. IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules (versus VFR, Visual Flight Rules). IFR means you can fly in the clouds with zero visibility. You use only your instruments to guide you (instead of looking outside). So, instead of looking out the window and seeing that you are X number of feet in the air and that X mountain is off to your left or X building to your right, you rely on technology alone to get you where you need to go.
In order to do this, you have to be flying the right helicopter (not all helis have the stuff you need to fly IFR), and you need to have nerves of steel.
Here’s a video of Stéphane getting a little IFR practice flight in. The flight nurses tag along (in case they get a call while they are out flying) and one of them took a little footage of the trip.
Summer has arrived: the time that we were told was so beautiful and perfect; the season that made the windy, bone-chilling, gray winters and rainy, muddy springs all worth it. It’s the time of blue skies, fresh lobster, outdoor concerts on the river, increased road traffic from tourists, ninety degree, 100% humidity days, and…
As I sit on the deck, reclined in one of our red plastic Adironack chairs, swatting at horseflies and batting away gnats and mosquitoes, I wonder if Maine summers live up to the hype and if they truly tip the scales, making it worth living here the rest of the year. While it was another hot and humid day, at least the evenings bring some relief from the heat, if not from the relentless irritation of bugs.
I am fairly certain that Maine has the largest collection of the most irritating, obnoxious bugs around. They bite your skin whether exposed or covered, swarm in your ears, launch themselves at your face, crawl up your legs if you dare to shed your flip-flops, and make it pretty unbearable to be in the great outdoors.
Basically, bugs abound in Maine. And they come out to play hardball in the summer. And they don’t play nice. It’s ironic in a sick sort of way, our little nickname for each other (bug). Little did we know when we first coined our pet name that the word would take on new and irritating connotations in Maine.
In other more upbeat news, mom and dad came out to visit! Among other things, we burned pork in the fire pit and played lots of euchre (girls got crushed by the boys and Stephane’s Swiss Shuffle – he flipped a bower AND had a loner pretty much every time).
So we’ll see what August brings – perhaps all the bugs drop dead, the temps drop to the seventies, and the humidity lightens – perhaps AUGUST is what everyone was talking about.