Friday, February 4, 2011

The calm after the storm

I’m off tomorrow morning. I’ve had my usual freak-out planning and packing, but that’s all done now, and I’ve been wandering thoughtfully around town all day telling freezing, snow-shocked friends that I’m headed for New Zealand, which is in the Southern Hemisphere, which happens to be enjoying summer right now. They become a little less furious at me when they discover I’m going to be plodding about with 25 pounds on my back, but they’re all still fulminacious. So that’s all good.

Weather, touch wood, looks okay for flying SouthWest out of Bradley tomorrow at 9:50am, EST—possible snow showers. Denver, where I have to change to a different SW flight at 1:50pm, MST, looks similar. Then it’s Air New Zealand from LA, lifting off at 10pm, PST (1 day, 3 hours, 24 minutes, 35 seconds).

There have been some wrinkles. Our leaders headed down early to take care of some details before the rest of us arrive, but got stuck in the grinding machine that has been New England weather this year. I think they are in California now (re-routed through San Francisco) and will be boarding Air NZ later this evening. And it turns out that our group of 15 is now, due to injuries, a group of 12. I feel for our three friends, who must be devastated to miss out on this trip we’ve all been looking forward to for so long.

Nonetheless, I’m floating, hoping to maintain this zen-like state through at least one airport and, if I’m sufficiently worthy, all the way through LAX, where I will fall blissfully asleep on Air New Zealand Flight 0005 and awake...

In summer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

4 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 58 seconds

This winter wonderland is getting old. We apparently got over 70 inches of snow in January...the most on record. It’s also been unusually cold. Paul and I have often been walking in negative Fahrenheit temps. Single digit positives have been normal. This morning was a balmy (and, I must admit, rather beautiful) 16°F (-9°C) in more snowfall. We’ve all been looking forward to a change in the weather. Tomorrow we’re going to get it. A vicious ice storm.

But I rise above all this. The groaning roof rafters, the ice dams along the eaves, the magical shrinking driveway, the slippery roads, the terrible footing, the canceled parties, the malfunctioning furnaces. I philosophically snap my fingers at all this. Because assuming an open airport Saturday morning (mere contemptible “snow showers” currently predicted), I’m finally hauling my fat, pasty, frostbitten, chilblained New England self off to New Zealand.

Where it is summer.