The Best Laid Plans: A Winter Getaway That Bombed

The weather in Chicago made even the most optimistic of souls cranky, tired and ready to move to Tahiti.  Full disclosure: I detest winter: the cold, the dark, short days.  Around October (sometimes, earlier) I start fretting about what’s to come.  I try my best to enjoy the day I’m in, but it can be a tall order.

This year was no different.  Earlier than usual–around the end of November–my seasonal affective depression began to kick in.  I found myself wanting to hit the sack no later than 9:30 and had to push myself to stay awake any longer.  My energy level sank like the Titanic.  The walls were closing in, and that there was no escape.  In truth, the only thing that prevented me from doing or saying something I’d come to regret was the fact that my husband and I had sixty-five days and counting before beating a path to Mexico for two months.

Yes, I hear you:  What the heck is she complaining about?   She has a get-out-of-jail card.  Lucky her.  If I had her problems (as my dear father used to say), I’d be taking golf lessons.

I understand.  I really do.  But I’ve worked hard to have the flexibility and, yes, hard earned money to get the hell out of Dodge.  

Here it is a matter of days before Xmas, and there is not a snowflake of snow on the ground.  The sun is doing its hide-and-seek game of flirting with light and then cruelly thrusting us back into gray.  

That was not the case a few weeks back.  There was no in and out.  Only out.  I meditated on being a bear, warm and toasty in my lair of hibernation.  Not a chance.  I was destined to complain and, oh, yes, suffer.

I had to get away.  My husband and I did our due diligence and researched cheap flights to somewhere warm.  Top two cities on the list: Tuscon and Miami.  The former sounded like a cultural wasteland; the latter had been a yearly stomping ground for years when my parents lived in Florida.  Since they’ve passed away, we have not returned.

“How about New Orleans?  Let’s check the weather there.”

Not exactly the Caribbean but warm and sunny enough.  (Besides, I haven’t worn a bathing suit in maybe five years.)  

“Yes, let’s go to New Orleans.  Great food (I’m back on Weight Watchers), wonderful music, warm and  welcoming people.

Yep, let’s skip town and head to the Big Easy.

We slam dunked a round-trip fare that normally would get us from Chicago to Detroit.  Booked a fairly inexpensive guest house.  Packed light jackets and a sweater or two.  Who needs layers in sunny, 60+ degree weather?

We did!  “Oh, you should have been here last week end,” they said.  

Little consolation.  We froze our butts off and, aside from one somewhat sunny day, endured chill and rain.  (We did take umbrellas.)  Still, a getaway to warmer climes it was not.  In some ways, it was even more depressing than in Chicago where friends didn’t hesitate to tell us that the sun had not stopped shining.  

Is there a lesson here somewhere?  Do we begin to realize that the grass is not always . . . Oh, crap!  I hope that’s not the takeaway.   Are the gods admonishing us for not sticking it out come rain or shine.  (Oh, brother.)  Or love the one you’re with?  I don’t know: nothing clicks.  

The good news?  It’s sunny and warm enough with lots of layers to take a few steps outside.  I’m going for a walk.

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