Life Messes With My Vacation Plans

Early November to May weather in Chicago. No, really, it snowed on Halloween and last April.

I already mentioned that we are passing on our latest dream vacation: Southeast Asia. Instead, we have decided to jet off somewhere warm the first weeks of February, March, and April. I know what you are thinking: Isn’t it warm in April. NO! April is the beginning of the last third of winter here in Chicagoland. That week, we are planning a trip to Houston to see family and then on to Mechanicsburg, PA, for Passover seder with the other side of the family.

Did you ever notice that places you don’t consider tourist destinations are expensive to fly to? Four hundred dollars to fly to Harrisburg, PA?!?!?!?!? Four-fifty to get to El Paso!?!?!? And I don’t get to check a bag and I have to sit in the back of the tiny plane? Yuck. I really want to go to Big Bend, but we may end up folding it into a roadtrip.

OK, that leads me to the toughest decision. I really want to go to Big Bend, but I really don’t want to spend $450 a person flying to El Paso. I think that’s off the table, but then where to? Somewhere warm, but not expensive. San Diego? Tucson? We need a place with reliable, fast WiFi so Steven can “work.” We’re still pondering that one. Steven has to work during the week, so we want to go somewhere that I will have things to do, unless I manage to find some work. Anyone looking for freelance writing or editing? I’m your woman!

We did get the February trip solidified. We are headed back to Costa Rica courtesy of our friends Karl and Guiselle, who have moved to Playa Flamingo from Arenal.  Can’t go wrong with sun, surf, and friends. I don’t know if it will work out, but I may have to try scuba again. Plus, I have been Duolingoing for a while, so maybe I will even be able to speak to someone in Spanish. This time, I want to see turtles.

I am excited to go to Houston, not because I like Houston, but it’s been more than a year since I have seen my brother, sis-in-law, niece, and nephew. Way too long. It’s more fun to spoil them in person and it will almost be our niece’s birthday. Crazy aunt and uncle fun time!


Cognitive Dissonance

-12F with windchill of -36F

Wow, it’s tough to think about whitewater rafting, hiking through rain forests and up volcanoes, or touring a coffee plantation when you need five layers of clothing to walk your apparently-impervious-to-cold dog. I tried to pretend the crispy crunching of snow sounded like waves lapping on the shore, but I must admit, my imagination lacks that level of delusion. I beg to disagree–you are totally delusional.

I tried to imagine smelling salt air,  fragrant flowers, tropical foods, but even if the snot hadn’t been frozen in my nose, the frigid air doesn’t hold much odor (a teeny benefit when you have a wet dog) and if it did, it was filtered through my fleece face mask. Anybody smell the desperation of a sunshine girl stuck in the frozen tundra?

IMG_20190128_173836106The polar vortex is am extreme example, but serves to heighten the reason we need to have a trip (or in Steven’s case about a dozen trips) to a warm place booked and planned during the winter. Coping and hoping rise to an art when it’s -20F degrees and the groundhog is likely to see 12 more weeks of winter. Luckily, we will be breaking up the endless winter with our week in Costa Rica where there will be warm water, whitewater rafting, rain forests, and coffee plantations.

Unlike us, we are behind in the planning part of the trip. We know where we are staying, but that’s about the extent of it. I think the cognitive dissonance is too strong to overcome this week. Maybe by the weekend (when the temperature is forecast to 45-50 degrees over today’s joy) we will be able to get that spreadsheet filled out.