Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Westward, Ho?

Having spent all my life in Maryland, the concepts of "Spring Break" and "March" seem to me to be a laughable oxymoron. After all, when the local college that employs me had their hiatus last week, temperatures hovered in the 40s even on the so-called first day of Spring--hardly the environment one associates with the gentle robins-and-daffodils season..much less swimsuits, sunscreen, and slushy cocktails. (Oh wait, I'm confusing my reality with MTV again--I hate it when that happens...) But the situation went right over the edge of "mildly amusing and slightly silly" to "downright ridiculous and...obnoxiously unacceptable" when my childrens' vacation week started today...with frozen white stuff floating from the sky all day long. What. The. HECK?

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Here she goes again with yet another diatribe about how much she loathes Winter, and how she suspects March to be the evil demon spawn of, say, January and February--just windier, damper, and crueler--since after all, have I mentioned it's supposed to be SPRING by now, doggone it? And don't get me wrong, I do still believe all of those things...but I've had occasion in the last few months to ruminate on topics meteorological, spiritual, and physical, specifically as they relate to the cold, dark period of the year. Along the way, I recognized a few incontrovertible facts about myself, such as 1) My body definitely experiences frigid weather more keenly as the years pass. Sometimes there aren't enough thermal layers of clothing, or steaming cups of tea, to banish my inner chill on a given day. 2) An extended bout of frosty conditions saps my energy, making me tired and lethargic.  3) (A new one) Cold weather seems to give me headaches. (This I find particularly delightful--so I can shiver, bundle up, clutch a hot drink, and sit around inside with my head pounding....exhausted and unmotivated to do anything much more than daydream about tropical islands...yaaaayyy)

As a coping mechanism, I used to vent my frozen frustration by speculating aloud how I was absolutely certain that it had to be much nicer in California--and also how I really, really, really belonged there, instead of in the icy tundra...of the Mid-Atlantic. (Um, you might have noticed I can be pretty melodramatic when it suits me. At least working up a good rant can also raise my body temperature and burn a few calories, yeah?) Husband and sons became accustomed to this and learned to take it in stride. That is, until this Winter, when they noticed that my idle chatter got a little more...focused and purposeful. I'm suddenly just not so sure how many more years I want to spend in a climate where I'm too chilly for about a third of the year, and wilting in the heat and humidity for another third. (Oh, and that stuff makes my skull pound, too. Sigh.) So today, cooped up in the house, resentfully watching the flakes out my window, I did a bit of waaaayyyyy preliminary, extremely speculatory (making up words--a definitive diagnostic symptom of "needs a warm getaway, STAT") research...into where I'd rather be at the moment.

And, after extensive, intensive...Googling...the front runners are (drum roll): Flagstaff, Arizona--where the average temperature ranges from 43 in the coldest month to 81 in the hottest. Of course, the nighttime lows range from 17 to 51, so that might be a little on the coolish side. Okay, then, moving on to: Santa Fe, New Mexico, with similar number (44-86. and 18-55). Hmm, we can do better, I think. So our final candidate (for today, anyway) will be: San Jose, California. Daytime highs from 58 in January, to 82 in July; nighttime lows from 42 to 58 in those same months. Folks, I've been spouting for YEARS how it's my fondest wish on this Earth to live in a place where I would never require a coat (granted, this is me we're talking about, so yes, I'd still have to wear  sweaters, but I'm okay with that!) and the mercury would never dip below 50 degrees. Close enough, and ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! (Incidentally, does it surprise anyone that my weather utopia lies in California? Didn't think so...) Besides, San Jose is situated a mere 50 miles from the Pacific! (Which is too cold to swim in, but hey, you can't have everything.)

Now I just have to convince my family that it's not certifiably insane, but rather boldly adventurous and positively life-changing and personally growth-stimulating...to pick up and relocate to the OTHER coast. The kids are slightly worried that Mom may have lost it; they seemed to be surreptitiously observing me today for signs of impending...flight risk. And Husband expressed a teensy bit of concern about the fact that San Jose is nestled...right between two fault lines, including the infamous San Andreas. But I told him "Pshaw, that's just part of the excitement, right?" (For the record, I didn't really say "pshaw". I just can't spell the noise that actually came out of my mouth. Thanks for the creative license.) So it seems I have my work cut out for me...perhaps a Cross-Country Family Fun Field Trip would be a good start...now secretly googling "air fare to California"...mwah hah hah!

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