Snowbirding

The Thinker by Rodin

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s cold out there … at least across most of the country. In western Massachusetts where we live we’ve been bearing much of the worst of it, enduring temperatures more familiar to North Dakota in January than even here in snowy New England. We’ve only been residents here two years, but we hear from the locals that this is cold even by New England’s winter standards. Cold and snowy. Christmas was picture perfect, with four inches falling starting around midnight. Since then we got above freezing just once, and very briefly. Mostly though it’s been cold and getting colder with daily highs in the low teens Fahrenheit if it makes it that far. When I went to bed last night, it was -4F. Overnight it got down to -12F, breaking the -11F low from the day before.

This kind of cold pretty much makes you stay indoors. Some poor buggers have no choice but to endure the elements. Workers spent last week at a house next to us under construction, doing what looks like putting in plumbing. With strong gusts of wind the wind chill was frequently in the minus teens. Even inside our house with the gas furnace going it still feels cold. Perhaps it’s aging, but unless I am under the covers my legs feel cold.

Which is why New Englanders with money hie thee hither this time of year rather than endure it. On our cul-de-sac except for a widow across the street we are the remaining residents. Fortunately this arctic blast that won’t go away is at least well timed enough to make us appreciate our first attempt at being snowbirds in many years. Come Thursday we fly south to Fort Lauderdale. Come Friday we board the MS Westerman of the Holland America line and spend 15 days and nights on southern seas. I am hoping when we return eighteen days later it might be somewhat seasonal around here again, which means highs around freezing and lows around 20F. Then I can do things like walk outdoors again. Right now when I go anywhere I’m almost immobile in my many layers of coats, scarfs, hats and gloves. I resemble a larger version of Ralphie’s kid brother Randy from A Christmas Story.

It’s going to take a lot of time in tropical climes and sitting on deck chairs for me to thaw out. Of course, to Donald Trump this is all evidence that there is no global warming. Being a moron of course anything that agrees with his predispositions proves him right. There are mostly higher than average temperatures elsewhere across the planet but these reports of course Trump cannot acknowledge. Doubtless he would call these reports Fake News. So what we are enduring this winter is likely to become even more exceptional, which suits me fine. I’m okay with winter as long as it doesn’t become crazy winter. This is crazy winter.

Since we have the means, we’ll escape it for a while and I’ll try to keep you posted. Cruise ships theoretically have Internet, but it’s cost prohibitive for all but the wealthiest. I have discovered that you can rent WiFi hot spots that should work when we are in port. This beats the alternative of trying to find a free WiFi spot somewhere in port. We’ll see if it works out. So expect pictures and remarks of various ports of call over the next few weeks as we slowly sail through the Panama Canal eventually ending up in San Diego. It’s the longest cruise we’ve ever taken, with plenty of days at sea to enjoy on a desk chair and watch mighty oceans slowly slip by.

It’s not too hard to see us following the pattern here in our 55+ community of snowbirding for the winter. Winter in New England can be cruel and it is exceptionally cruel this year. The desire to get away to warmer climes is strong. I’m just hoping my shaking knees can make it two more days until we head south to Fort Lauderdale.

Happy 2018 everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.