Steve is in Florida for the next 100 days, getting his endorphins balanced and avoiding the Midwestern gloom that asphyxiates him. I am content to stay here, with my pack of Milly and Mabel to dig in with. As I type this, they are stereo-snoring on the bed and I am rethinking my choice.
My kids think it is odd that Steve can sashay off without consequences. They never consider that with our 24/7 life within these 4 walls, some ventilation is required. Both of us enjoy the change of pace.
He will golf, walk on the beach, and try to excise the 20 pounds that snuck back in the last 6 months. He is living in 900 square feet in a complex that makes Del Webb look like The Young and the Restless. His days will be formatted around his podcast. It is not South Beach. But there is sun. Windows can be open. Boats slide by. The blimp drifts overhead. After 30 years being tethered to a time slot and a mic, he can send a show from anywhere. Basement or beach? No contest for my California Dreamer.
How does he do it logistically? He has the Sling Box hooked up so he can watch Chicago TV, and he reads the papers online. Dag, Brendan and Erica will still come to the house. Steve takes a magic machine with him and he just plugs it into his computer, and voila!, it's a radio station for the 21st century. No ads, no weather, no traffic. Dag handles the controls, edits out all the riff raff and coughing, and sends it into outer space, where it is grabbed and downloaded into i pods/phones/computers/ipads for consumption.
What will I do with my time? I have always contrived projects to make the time fly, but this year I have more of a punch list. I'm less ambitious in my old age. Last year's project of culling copying, editing and reassembling tens of thousands of photos into individual histories for the boys about killed me. It was overwhelmingly sad to see myself age and see my parents grow feeble. The fruits of that task remain in the guest room closet: no one ever really looked at his bin of memorabilia or scrapbook. They did not take them to their homes. Someday....
This year, I wanted to strip the wallpaper in the guest bath and paint, because my son told me the room was old fashioned. I'm not 100% sure I am comfortable on a ladder without a spotter. Fake knee, you know....This may be a job for a pro.
Perhaps it would be best to downshift to puttering- with the overstuffed closets, dressers and underbed storage. With my accumulated chaos. It is time to edit the Dahl detritus.
I have the urge to drag the furniture to new spots, though I am reasonably certain it looks best as it now stands. Then I could move it all back. I watch too much HGTV, I think.
Carpets will be scrubbed, and the furnace room will be overhauled. I will dismantle the crib and relocate the "nursery" so it isn't above the noisy TV room. When there is a warmer day, I will attack the attic. It seemed like a good idea to thrust all the Christmas junk at the opening of the attic stairs. A good idea to Steve. I'll get to it. Not this week.
I have a couple of beading projects, and I downloaded four books yesterday: Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Defending Jacob by William Landay, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbach and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. If I could stay off of the computer, I would blaze a literary trail. These books were all recommended to me- opinions anyone?
I set up the DVR Season's Passes today: I cut out all of Steve's shows and added mine. Grey's Anatomy- you're back! Anger Management: I hardly knew ye! Good bye.
People always ask me if I get lonely. Well, no. To keep from being sad, I think of this time in segments: after four weeks alone, I will go to Florida. By then, February will be fading. (I love a stunted month- 28 days is all we need of February.)
March is a big month for me: I am going to Phoenix for a week with the whole family, including Steve. As March wanes, I will set out on a Provence riverboat cruise with my sisters and a pack of fun girls. So this time is just a flash in the pan.
Just to make sure Steve didn't stalk too many girls on the beach, I asked him if he would do a writing experiment with me -alternating voices on shared topics- and he gave me the kindness of fake interest, but with no commitment. I may send him a list of topics and assign it as homework. The man owes me something - he's in Florida, and the dog snoring is not.
For the moment, I am just adapting to life as a free spirit. Unformatted, undisciplined, unambitious Janet of Winter. Not too different from unformatted, undisciplined, unambitious Janet of the rest of the year. Just alone, so no one will judge me or redirect my slackitude. A fine change of pace.
Steve had better hope I don't get too used to it.