This month was a reminder to never try to plan anything in life. But to also be grateful for the results of the life unplanned. December is a big month for Chris and me.
It’s a month that contains (in no particular order): my birthday, our anniversary, Aunt Anne‘s birthday (and several other relatives), my parents’ anniversary, remembrances of people from our life who died (and whose deaths still bring pain), Christmas and New Year’s. The roller coaster of emotions barely stay on track, even in the best of times.
We had a great plan this year. In the BC times (Before Covid), we would often go to Niagara to enjoy the lights and celebrate my birthday. Just for a couple of days. This year we were so excited about the border being open we reserved five days, and I took almost two weeks off work for the travels since we would be visiting Mom and the kids after that then driving Mom to Ct. for Christmas.
Then changes started happening. A friend invited me to join her on the Killington slopes the 19th and 20th, making the turn-around from Niagara to northern NY to Ct to Vt. quite tight. Chris was all in favor of my girl slope time and suggested we shorten the Niagara trip.
Then we really started thinking about it. The buffet we enjoyed in Niagara no longer had the deal we loved, and while we were happy about the hotel time, it’s good to remember we actually live in a hotel. And Niagara doesn’t have a ton to offer in the winter when one is not about spending tons of time in the casinos. So we cancelled that trip instead of reducing it and decided to enjoy the place we live in.
It was at that point that I realized that a timeframe was now available to visit my parents in the south, which had been my New Year’s resolution for 2022. I’ve never been to South Carolina, where they currently live. Things fell into place for me to visit them Dec 13-15.
We had off work Thursday the 8th through Tues the 20th, and things were lining up nicely. Our church offered a quiet time of art-making on Thursdays morning (you could bring your own or they would provide materials and show how to create something if you wanted). It was a time to quietly escape the hubhub of the holiday season. Then in the evening there was a beer and carols event at the church. We did that pre-Covid and LOVED it. Then on Saturday there was a multi-media show at Simon’s Rock. So fun.
Chris and I would get our hotel time in our own home — snowboarding and attending local holiday events — from Thurs – Tues. Then I would fly to my parents until Thursday. Friday we would get Mom P from northern NY and bring her to Ct Sunday then on Monday I would hit Killington with my friend. Get my feet back under me Tuesday and work on Wednesday. Perfect.
Except Chris and I got sick our very last day of work. Not Covid (I took a test). Not a fever. Just one of the worst colds we ever experienced. No way we could do art. Or carols. Or concerts. Or snowboarding. We were in pure sleep-and-heal mode. It kinda worked. By Monday I was still ill enough that I asked my parents if they still wanted me (they did). I was feeling better so it seemed okay. The plan was to just travel masked. We’re all used to that by now, eh?
That was not the end of the crazy unplanned plans. I only had one full day on Wed. with them and was supposed to hit the airport about 2pm on that Thursday so I would have a nice morning with them before flying out. But then a huge storm marching across the country threatened unsafe travel right when I was going to land in NY. And there were tornado warnings on the south end of the trip. So I scrambled and got an earlier flight. My parents SUPER generously drove me to the airport at 4am. They just wanted me safe. I really appreciate that. And I’m so thankful it worked out. My flight was not only delayed on take-off, but would have been delayed for my layover. I would not have made it home until several days later, I think.
The weather was so bad it was very clear we were not going to get to northern NY to get Mom P. and bring her to Ct. That also ended up fine since they couldn’t find an organist at her church for Christmas. She was able to offer to fill that role and skip the travels, which was a big relief to us — especially since my lack-of-sleep gave me a health relapse.
My friend was concerned about slope conditions (it’s been very warm here and the slopes aren’t as covered as in times past) and together we decided to hit Jiminy instead of Killington. No pressure. Very appreciated at that point.
Funny thing – I was feeling better a few days after the SC trip so I went up on the mountain. I took a massive wipeout on Saturday the 17th and slammed my head (my new helmet works great!)
When I got back to base my nose started running, and it was like my cold broke loose. Probably tmi, but I went through half a box of tissues in the fallout. haha. I’m almost thankful for that fall — clearing out my head a bit.
The next day my throat was hurting so badly, though, that I warned my friend. It only hurt a bit on the inside but was so bad I was even hurting when I touched the outside of the throat. Then I realized it was pulled muscles from my fall. That gave me a chuckle. Dot still decided to visit. We had a great time boarding then yakking and watching a movie.
Then it was back to work. And time to plan to get to northern NY for Christmas with the kids and Mom. But again our plans were thwarted.
We drove 3 hrs to our kids and Mom on Wed. the 22nd to drop off gifts and see everyone. Were supposed to stay until Monday, but they were getting 2-4 feet of snow and high winds through Tuesday the 27th so we had dinner, hung out a bit and turned right around to come back to MA so we wouldn’t get stuck there with no Internet. (cuz I am holiday coverage and have to work on my assigned days).
It’s true we could have gone to Ct. for Christmas with family, but the travels on Wed caused another health relapse (this cold is getting really old). So we decided to stay inside, warming up and trying to rest and recover. In 31 years of marriage (as of Dec 28, 2022), Chris and I have never spent a Christmas alone. Not going to lie. It was kind of nice. I mean, I hope we don’t always do that. But when it has to happen, it’s not a bad thing. We watched church online while drinking mimosas, chatted with loved ones over the Internet and watched movies.
So yeah. December was/is really upended. Pretty much all we planned didn’t happen. But the events that did happen instead? Beautiful. The phone calls, the new adventures, the unexpected chances to relax — kinda awesome.
We even got a really fun pic of our grandkids that Bri created (and gave permission to share):
So there we have it. I think next year we might try to avoid December travels. Maybe just let the month do its own thing. This year clearly came with a strong reaction to our planning: