And the drama slowly winds down…

Good afternoon everybody,

I was too slow. I wanted to get a photo for you of Paul wearing his new helmet, but when I asked him where it was, he told me it was “out on the boat” and that is where it is staying. It sat here for several days after his good friend Calvin brought it by, and I failed to get a photo of Paul in the helmet… sorry! So this is the next best thing. This is the exact same helmet he has now:


Same box, same helmet, same color.

He is keeping it on the boat. I wanted him to wear it even whilst rowing OUT TO the boat, as sometimes the act of getting from the rowboat up into the lobster boat can be tricky and there is always the opportunity for a slip-and-fall during that maneuver. But he insisted he wear it only once he is IN the big boat. So that’s that. Since I don’t go out with him on the boat, no photo of him IN it.

But you get the drift.

It’s a bicycle racing helmet with lots of holes in it to vent the head with air. It goes up over his ears, too, so it’s not stiflingly hot.

And Paul is officially back to work, as of yesterday! I’m doing a happy dance!

That said, getting back to work for him has been less then smooth.

It all began last week. I came downstairs one morning and he was sitting in his chair in the Reading Room – which almost never normally happens. I was happy to see him there, but he had a clearly pained look on his face and I asked what the matter was. He then burst into tears and just fell apart emotionally. Finally I got it out of him (after imagining all the worst case scenarios!) that he was feeling like he’d let ME down! Getting this concussion and all. Our lives were so changed all of a sudden and he was feeling guilty and very sad over it all. I cuddled him and comforted him and told him that was silly… he couldn’t help it… he’s getting better every day now but it just is going to be slow rather than a speedy recovery.

So that was settled after a bit. Then, last week also he decided he’d use this non-working time to have the crew at his cousin’s boatyard pull his boat out of the water and get them to scrape the bottom and repaint it – this is a job he does himself every year around June, when the lobstering is slow, but there was no way he’d be able to do that job in his condition just now. They agreed and he was happy.

Then he ran into a family friend/lobsterman who asked him if he’d been down to see his boat lately… and what a nice job they were doing to it! Inside and out! Paul went down there and sure enough, they’d gone ahead and done some extra work that he did not ask for, and by the time he got home here, he was an emotional wreck again! He came in and sat down on the sofa and just lost it once again. He was so upset that they did that, and he just knew his cousin (who owns the business) would not bill him for all that extra work and he did not want to be “beholden” to him for it. I said just pay him extra then, but he wasn’t consoled. Oh he was upset. He is very independent and never wants to be given Anything from anybody… he pays his way and always has. Wow. Here we go again. I spent some time talking him into a calmer state.

He finally talked to his cousin and told him, calmly, that he really hadn’t wanted all that extra work to be done and that he insisted that he be given an invoice for ALL the work. Ralph agreed (I guess!), so it’s all settled.

So then, last week he had his 2nd follow-up doctor’s visit and doc told him he could go back to work on Monday (of this week) but to take it slowly.

So Monday rolls around and it was scheduled to be very hot and humid here. He got up at dawn (or before!) and drove down to Gloucester to get a load of bait (for several days’ worth of fishing) and came back and put it on board the boat. He used his helmet (what a good boy!) and he went out fishing for the first time in weeks! I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been, but it feels like forever!

He did his work slowly, he says, taking it easy for the morning until about 11 o’clock a.m. It was then that it happened… KLUNK! he got rope from a buoy caught up in his propeller! He shut the boat off right away so as not to damage it, and he sat there and tried to signal some of the other fishermen in the area to come over and give him a tow in.

No one saw him. It was mid-morning and they were all working away and he did not want to bother the Harbormaster either so he just waited there trying to flag down someone… which went on for an hour and a half! Finally, one of the Porter boys saw him and came over and he got a tow back to his mooring. He had some things to do about making arrangements to have the boat lifted out with the hauler to have the rope removed… etc… and by the time he got home here it was 4 p.m. and he was a mess, all wet and sweaty and grimy looking, and saying “What a nightmare of a day!”

Oh dear!

So he contacted Ralph again and they agreed to lift the boat out today (Tuesday) and get the rope free of the propeller. He tried calling the regular diver, Dougie, to do it but kept getting a message that his phone was not connected. So Ralph’s guys did it, and that’s all I know of this story so far. He was gone when I got up at my usual 8 a.m. hour, and I’m hoping that all went well and that he is happily out there on the bounding main maybe eating his peanut butter and jelly sandwich right about now… and pulling up his traps.

For all that he went through yesterday, starting very early in the day (he was gone before 5 a.m.) and all the hassle he had, the concussion stuff was never even mentioned, he was more like his old self — and for that I am very grateful. I hope he doesn’t have some kind of a relapse today. It’s not quite as hot today as it was yesterday, still too hot for me but tomorrow should be nicer, cooler. He plans to sell at the Farmers’ Market this Saturday too… yay!

So that’s it to date.

I’ve got to go. The mailman is going by and I want to retrieve the mail when he leaves ours..



P.S. Paul got an itemized billing from Mass. General Hospital for his less than 24 hour stay there, from around 8 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. the following day. Over $13,000. Less than one day. His share was just over $65.

I think I could turn and live awhile with the animals…

They are so placid and self-contained,

I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied… not one is demented with the mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth.

~ [Walt Whitman, from “Leaves of Grass, No. 32”] ~

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10 Responses to And the drama slowly winds down…

  1. Bex says:

    To Courtney Hamilton – I wish you’d left a contact address here. Yes, Ma Toft’s was my favorite little store… mainly for the dill pickles!! It’s long gone now. The train station is also long gone. The National Grand Bank is there now. They paved Paradise and put up a (bank and a) parking lot! It’s right down at Pleasant Street just past the corner with the Spirit of ’76 Book Store. It’s a low, one story bank now which takes up that whole block almost – over to where the old “Miller Ford” used to be on the corner of Pleasant & Sewall. My old stomping grounds!

    Here’s the site now… (ugh) where Ma Toft’s once was located:

    I asked in FaceBook for any old photos of that block and got one:

    “Ma Toft’s store was the last one on the end of that one-story brick row of businesses.


  2. Courtney Hamilton says:

    Hey, Bex!! I randomly stumbled across an entry on the internet somewhere where you wrote that you used to frequent Ma Toft’s variety store in Marblehead. Edna “Ma” Toft (Upton) was my Great Grandmother on my father’s side! I’m taking my father, Curtis Hamilton, to Marblehead for his 80th birthday in August and we’re gonna be on the lookout for the old site. Do you happen to remember where it was? My dad seems to remember it being by a train station, is that correct? Thanks, Bex, and I’m glad I found your blog!!!


  3. Sleeps_With_Rocks says:

    Bex does happy dance! Good for you.

    Paul is better and back to work. That seemed fast to me but glad he is doing that well. Sorry about the nightmare day. Sigh.

    Paul breaking down and worried about failing you…he is super sensitive and kind. I can understand why he might think like this. My limits have me feeling very similar in my situation.

    Upset with cousin…first thing that really came to mind and I hope this does not sound too presumptuous but maybe Paul has to be more open to people helping him. Just a thought.

    Wow, you have good health insurance!


  4. Sandy says:

    I’m also glad that Paul is back on the boat and wearing the helmet, which is really neat looking. I agree with Bonnie that the concussion might be related to his being more emotional. But I think it’s wonderful that he let it all out, which was probably a relief for him. Paul has always sounded to me like a guy who is more than willing to help family and friends when they needed help. I think Ralph tried to do a nice thing, which in a way would have been a cosmic thank you to Paul for all of the hard work and good things he’s done. But he sounds like my Dad, who always wanted to pay his own way, not accept favors etc. Anyway, I hope he has smooth sailing so he gets his confidence back.


  5. TopsyTurvy says:

    I agree with Bonnie that some of Paul’s emotional reactions might be the concussion. It’s one of the symptoms, actually. But too it could be just all the emotions coming to a head as he starts getting better and realizes he’ll most likely be okay.

    Had to smile at his stubbornness with billing for the work on his boat. Could be the stubbornness runs in the family though and he won’t see quite everything listed on there at full price. đŸ˜‰

    Poor guy, he’s having a heck of a time just getting himself and his boat back to functioning normally. Hope this is the last of it for a while and that he can just happily putter along for the next few months.

    *hugs to you both*


  6. Eric Mayer says:

    I’m glad Paul is back to work, but damn, he sounds like my grandfather. (Which he isn’t. I’m only about five years younger) Grampy worked pretty much until he simply couldn’t. He didn’t want to take anything from anyone. When he had to leave his last job, as a janitor, he was eligible for unemployment insurance but you did have to occasionally pretend to apply for jobs. Mind you, my grandparents had no money at all. Never did. They scrapped by ever since leaving their family farms. They needed every cent they could get. So the unemployment counselor came up with some openings for night watchmen, which someone who was seventy might plausibly apply for, but which my grandfather, hobbling as he was by that time, was not in danger of actually being hired for. Well, he refused to apply thought it meant losing unemployment. Never mind that everyone knew what the score was and even the counselors were fine with it. No. Grampy said, “Anyone can see I’m not fit to work!” He would have felt humiliated to take anything. Despite that life hadn’t given him anything.

    Getting old is shitty. I hope Paul continues along in good health. It’s remarkable he is hardy enough to go out lobstering. I guess there are still a few people in this world who aren’t eager to be takers.


  7. crochetlady says:

    Glad to hear that after the emotional feelings got out, he is back to “work problems as normal”! Even though the problems are a pain he dealt with them in his normal way. That means your life is back to normal! Happy dances for you!


  8. Glad to hear Paul is working his way through the challenges of getting back to work, it sure doesn’t sound easy! Fingers crossed that he brings in his catch and gets to market it as planned, that should feel good.


  9. Sandy Freel says:

    GREAT NEWS of his healing….it is ok to feel it is a weakness but infact it shows how strong they are..He has a wonderful mind set.
    You as the wife gave the best thing you could give him in time of need “hugs/comfort” Best gift he could get..true love healing


  10. Bonnie says:

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised the concussion has a physical role in the emotional one. Hope he has a better go this week.


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