Where oh where have I been, you ask? I wish I had better news to share.
Mostly, I have been in Florida. You would think that this would be great, as Chicago winters are notoriously cold and snowy and dreary and many people from my general area choose to spend some large-ish portion of those months in warmer climes. Like Florida. Which is something my folks decided to test the waters on this year, renting a place between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale for four months.
In theory, three trips to Florida three months running, especially when those months are December, January, and February, should be a great thing. The ability to get and maintain a facial color other than greenish gray. Spending some time outside not all bundled up. A gift, really. And how fortunate to be in such a position at all.
In practice, not so much.
December saw myself and Dad on a road trip to get Mom’s car down there, since renting a car in high season for a month is only slightly less than a year of college tuition. We arrived after our uneventful 20 hour drive, with a large-ish list of errands to run to get the place set up, only to find that Florida was feeling a bit parched and had decided to have a freaking MONSOON. Ever drive five miles an hour through two feet of standing water attempting to find someplace, anyplace to have dinner? Not fun. The fact that once we DID find a place to eat, the ceiling above our table sprang a leak halfway through the salad course seemed so ridiculous it could not help but be funny. I pushed my empty wineglass over to catch the falling water, and can now say that we had three inches of rain AT OUR TABLE. The rain did not let up for the rest of my brief stay, and I returned home the same color as when I left.
January found myself and Little Sister heading back south to visit Mom and Dad for an extended ten day break, after which she and Dad and I would drive the aforementioned car back to Chicago. I had two major goals. Get a decent tan, and work out everyday. I forgot to tell Florida, who decided that a record cold snap was in order, and my immune system, who decided that this was the perfect opportunity for a head cold.
I don’t just mean a little colder than preferred, or chilly at night. I mean that someone DIED of hypothermia. In Miami. There was SNOW. In Ft. Lauderdale. The four of us spent the better part of the vacation either huddled inside reading and playing board games, or wrapping up and trying to put our faces in the sun on the balcony. I spent most of it wrapped in a blanket, blowing my nose and eating chicken soup.
We did discover some interesting things about the area. Firstly, it is loudly, publically, unabashedly flatulent. Here is a list of the places where we were subjected to the resonant and odiferous fart stylings of South Floridians:
The movie theater (ditto snoring, talking through the movie, getting up to leave and come back fourteen times, opening cellophane packages endlessly, and laughing at inappropriate moments)
Barnes and Noble
The workout room
Waiting in line to get seated for dinner. And lunch.
The grocery store
The Hard Rock Casino
The Miami International Art Fair (also, 3-D renderings of graphic images from the Kama Sutra made entirely out of plush toy googly eyes)
We also had great people watching, especially at Mo’s Deli, where one can see a parade of colorful characters which is almost as great as the food. We never did get used to the driving techniques of the locals which seemed to include a combination of driving as slowly as possible on the roads while driving as fast as possible in the parking lots.
The major accomplishments of this vacation: I read ten books, went through three large boxes of Kleenex, ate eleventy-million matzo balls, and came home the same color I was when I left, with the exception of being really red and chapped around the nose.
When Little Sister and I returned week before last for a brief visit, we had one major goal. Warm our chilled Chicago bones in the sun and perhaps, just perhaps, get the teensiest bit of color in our faces to combat the winter pallor.
True to form, Florida had missed us so much that it decided to welcome us back with THE COLDEST TEMPS SINCE JANUARY! Yep, we brought the frigid back with us, and got four days of chilling winds and cloud cover.
I have nary one extra freckle.
Lucky for me, despite Florida not bringing one bit of warmth, there is a new Charming Suitor who has been keeping me plenty toasty back here at home, not to mention happily busy, which is the second source of my radio silence. But now that the travelling is done and I am settled, expect much more frequent posting and some exciting new features in the coming weeks!