Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Year of Do Learning Activity #1 - Go Native

When I decided to leave my job last fall, a lot of jokes were made, by myself included, that I was retiring.  My last day of work actually happened to fall on Halloween, so for my costume I actually went as "retired" - replete with a floral shirt, a putter, and a Bloody Mary.  While I'm not drawing on my Social Security yet, my day to day activities may sometimes resemble that of a retired person - ambling through grocery store aisles at 10am on a weekday morning, trying all of the free samples.

I've decided, well, we've decided to stay consistent with this year's theme (see 1/11/15 post) and really get into the spirit.  Tomorrow morning, we're going to make like snowbirds and head to Cape Coral, Florida, despite our nest being very far from empty.  This idea actually came about from Jess around the midpoint of her pregnancy with Guthrie.  Recognizing that this might be the only extended time that our entire family would have limit commitments to school and work, she suggested we consider heading some place warm for a few weeks in attempt to circumvent us killing each other all being home together at the same time.  Me, always up for an adventure, was quick to oblige.  Why would we stay in frigid Minnesota in the winter, all cooped up in the house together.

So bright and early, or whenever we can load up all of our crap, and the kids of course, we'll hit the road.  Our hope is to pack a 26 hour trip into three manageable days of driving.  We figure we'll be able to get about 2-3 hours at a pop before Gus needs to eat or someone needs to pee.  It will be slow going, but we're in no hurry.  We've got snacks and games, DVDs and music.  It will be great family bonding time.  Once we get to Florida, we'll have just under three weeks to enjoy warmer climates and the friendly confines of some congenial Germans' vacation home.  Not the full snowbird effect, but I'm sure we'll be hitting up our fair share of "Early Bird Specials".

I wouldn't go so far as calling this a vacation though.  We'll still have the day to day "opportunities" that we always have.  In fact, they'll probably be amplified a few notches and come more frequently since we'll be in a different environment and likely on a different schedule, definitely while on the road.  The upside is that we'll be able to address these "opportunities" in flip-flops and bermuda shorts, which will be a nice change of pace.  Jess and I agreed the other day, when it's all said and done, we'll be glad that we did this and probably never want to do something like it again.  I'm excited to go, but not excited in the way I was when Jess and I went to Hawaii last year.  I'm just ready to get somewhere we can be outside with out three or more layers on.  Yesterday, the kids and I spent a better part of the morning riding their bikes in a circle in the garage with a space heater on full blast.

I also wouldn't say that we can really afford to do this, financially that is.  We've made a decent amount of financially suspect decisions over the last few years (especially since buying our house), and this will definitely rank up there.  Keep in mind I'm currently not drawing any income, and Jess is cobbling together sick leave, borrowed sick leave, and vacation to get paid for about half of her maternity leave.  We also don't have any acquaintances in warmer climates that would be able to provide us free lodging (besides Ecuador, which is just shy of impossible to get to with small children).  Not that I would expect anyone to willingly welcome our brood into their peaceful, beach getaway.  But this will really be our only opportunity to engage in such tomfoolery, and the kids are super excited, so we wouldn't want to disappoint them.*  There is an extra bedroom available for sublet if you wanted to escape the cold weather for a little while and come stay with us.  I can't say that it will be really relaxing, but we'll give you a great deal.

I'll try to update along the way, and once we get there, because I'm almost certain there will be some good material that stems from this.  YOLO, right?

*Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, Isla and Havi were having some epic meltdowns, which caused me to nix our standard book reading.  Between sobs, Isla looked at me with tear-filled eyes and asked, "But can we still go to Florida?"  Damn near broke my heart.  I obviously responded with, "If you say the magic words" (see 12/8/14 post).      

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