So. Trip report.
This first portion is going to be a sort of religious tmi, so I'm going to
Mikveh nights come when they come. You can't make them any earlier, and it's not good to make them later. So, while we were hoping that I could go the Saturday night before the trip, it wasn't to be. It landed on Sunday night. And it nearly didn't - Monday night, poor Jonathan had to do the highly embarrassing thing of taking a testing cloth and my underwear to a rabbi to make sure I wouldn't have to start over. Luckily, he said I didn't. That has to be worse for him than buying tampons!
So. We now had some choices to make. The plan had been to drive up on Sunday. We could stick to the plan and go to a mikveh there, or we could stay home and I would use my normal place, and we'd get up early on Monday.
Getting up early is always a problem. :) Also, my brother-in-law was going to be there, but he was planning to leave on Tuesday. That wouldn't give the brothers much time to be together.
However, we only knew of two mikva'ot in that area. One was in Tannersville, which is a forty-five minute drive from my inlaws and the other was only 20 minutes away, but it's run by Satmars, who are among the strictest sects - they're one of the very, very few where the women shave their heads after marriage. And we'd heard from a friend that they would not permit a woman with long hair to dunk. And my hair is waist-length. And both are seasonal, and either could be closed that weekend.
So. It took some doing, but we finally got the right phone number and I called the Fleishmann's mikveh (yes, like the margarine. That family founded the town.) And it turned out my hair wouldn't be a problem and that someone would be there on Sunday night at the time I said (I said 9PM, thinking that would give me plenty of time to go up, eat dinner and prepare.) So, problem solved. More or less.
We left later than we wanted to on Sunday, and hit a bit of traffic. Also, my mother-in-law misheard and thought we'd called from a different rest stop and gave us a shorter estimate of time. We got to the house at 7PM. She was already starting dinner (good!) which was grilled vegetables and microwaved corn. And salad. Corn on the cob, btw, is contraindicated before going to mikveh - it gets stuck between your teeth and that's a separation and can render dunking invalid. I would need to be very careful.
One disturbing note was that she served the grilled veggies, cooked on a meat grill, on her dairy plates and served butter with the corn. We don't think she treifed her dairy plates, but we did both avoid the butter on the corn, which didn't need it anyway. And we still don't understand why she even did that. But then, it's better than last year, when she wanted to serve those vegetables with *cheese* melted on top. And that's a *real* problem.
I have to say, if she weren't Jonathan's mother, we might have problems eating in the country house. If she were only a friend, we probably wouldn't eat there at all. We're stricter on kashrut than we have been in the past, but we're still pretty much middle of the road. She doesn't seem to care about minimal standards at times. It doesn't help that she will only buy kosher cheese for us, and asks us to take it with us when we go. I do *not* understand that last part at all. Does kosher cheese contaminate her "secular" stuff? If she chooses not to look for it for herself, fine, but I don't understand her antipathy towards it.
I think she's somewhat stricter in the city.
Anyway, it's totally embarrassing. Because *everyone* knows where I'm going. My brother-in-law even asks me questions. And it's not supposed to be that way - no one should know. But I have to get up in the middle of dinner and start preparing, and there's no way to hid that. I do that, collect Jonathan, who didn't want to wait home, and we drive there.
Where, for the next forty minutes, the nice lady who volunteered to do this because the regular mikveh lady was gone for the year, cut my finger and toe nails. My hair wasn't a problem, but apparently I left my nails too long. I've been to several mikva'ot in the course of my marriage. I've had the occasional snip at a toenail left a tad uneven (I'm not very limber. Toenails are hard) and there was one lady who filed the tops a bit blunter, but other than that, all I've had to do was a normal trimming. I keep them short anyway, and they break or I nibble them. I'm certainly not vain about them. I scrub them in the bath prior to dunking, so they're perfectly clean - which is really all that's required. Even long nails are technically permitted if they're perfectly clean and free of polish - or, although most mikveh ladies don't know this, beautifully polished without a chip.
She cut my finger and toenails to the quick - no white left at all. And then she went around all my toenails with a toothpick. Jonathan heard us chattering, and heard me laughing (she was a very sweet lady) and thought I was *crying*, that maybe they were cutting off my hair. Nope. There. :)
I took the rinse off shower and then dunked. Even with dunking eight times instead of my normal three, I was out in ten minutes. The whole thing should have taken fifteen at most. *Sigh*. And then we went back to my inlaws, although we'd first discussed going to a motel for the night. For. Uh. Privacy. But his parents would have been unhappy, so we chose not.
We spent the rest of the trip doing relatively little. It rained most of the time, so that curtailed a lot outdoor stuff. Jonathan took several walks with his brother and his brother's dog Betty, and I read a lot - both my own stuff and books that they had around the house. I finished OotP for the third time. Mom is reading it now. It's interesting because she doesn't read fantasy normally,so this is an entirely new experience for her. And she gets confused, and she not used to reading nonmysteries for little tiny things, so she misses a lot. Basically, she's not one for subtext. :)
We spent Wednesday doing various little things - going to a local housewares store to get a microplane and a new casserole, and then to a wonderful used bookstore about 40 minutes down the road. We bought about a dozen books, including a bio of Elizabeth I and a facsimile of Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe's "An American Woman's Home". With Mitchell gone, she could also make meat for dinner - he's a vegetarian. I'm a bit more comfortable with her meat cooking - she's much stricter on that than she is on dairy.
And Thursday, armed with tuna sandwiches for the road, we drove home.
All in all, it was one of our better vacations. I managed to avoid fighting too much - not easy with her nagging me to be more...obsessed with my diabetes. It took a while to even convince her that, A. I've been diagnosed with Diabetes II. I'm not just insulin resistant or pre-diabetic. I'm the actual thing. B. I'm managing very well by avoiding sugar and white starches and exercising, and I don't need to use medication, constant blood tests or to weigh every single carb I eat. My doctor says an A1C of 6.7 is excellent and what he wants; her group of amateurs say you must be under 6. I'll stick with my doctor, thank you. It means I can think of other things besides what I can eat. Yes, I'm on cholesterol meds right now, but that's because he *approves* of my diet as it is. I'd have to cut necessary things out to reduce the cholesterol load. So, I'm on meds. Meds that only act on the food in my stomach, btw, nothing systemic.
I love my doctor. He understands. :)
So, unable to nag me anymore because I had right on my side, she, and my father-in-law, and her brother, chose to nag Jonathan instead. Jonathan does need to make some changes. He'd be the first to tell you that. He's aware of how much he weighs and his physical condition. He's *not* stupid or blind. But, nagging him is not the way to go. And I'm also guilty about that. For which I have apologized.
We got home at 7PM last night, and I cooked pasta and reheated some frozen leftover sauce. And that was the trip.