It comes as no surprise to my circle of family and friends that I would break something necessary to the enjoyment of my Florida Panhandle winter vacation in a lovely beachfront condo. A lovely beachfront condo on stilts with a staircase of twenty steps leading to the front door and the living level. A lovely beachfront condo with a flight and a half of steps leading to the second floor bedrooms.
It’s 29ºF outside. The wind chill makes it feel like 20ºF. That wouldn’t be unusual or of particular interest for the month of January—except that I’m in Florida’s Panhandle where it’s not supposed to be 29ºF with a wind chill factor of 20ºF in January.
I’ve heard it said by some that global warming is to blame. Now that’s scary. If the Earth gets any warmer, we’re all going to freeze to death.
Macho Guy, Schnoodle Dog and I left Michigan to spend our winter vacation in the South to get away from that kind of cold. The idea was to spend time having fun in pleasant, warm and sunny weather. Ha! That is so not happening. Come to think of it, last year was pretty chilly too. It could be a seasonal weather pattern, but not one I’m in favor of.
When we first arrived in the panhandle this year, it rained and it was chilly. It rained quite a bit. It rained nearly every day for a week, and then it stopped. The sun came out for a couple of days, lulling us into a false sense of security. Yeppers, we fell for it.
When we least expected it, the weather gods played their nasty impractical joke on us. If you have been watching the national weather, you know that it’s cold down south, very cold. Not just very cold, mind you, it is freaking polar vortex cold down south.
This is not what winter weather down south is supposed to be like. It’s not supposed to be frigid, icy and snowing down south. It’s supposed to be sunny, pleasant and warm down south—even hot. I’m supposed to be spending my days wearing a swimsuit (one that covers as much of my mature figure as possible) and sunning myself on the sugar white sands of the shimmering Emerald Coast while reading a heart-warming and spicy romance novel. Macho Guy is supposed to spend his vacation playing bogey golf.
On the forecast of snow and/or sleet and ice, local school districts in this area of the panhandle ordered schools closed for the next 48 hours. Businesses closed. Golf courses closed.
When ice formed on the road surfaces, bridges and portions of interstate highways were closed. I’m guessing there was no line item in the transportation department’s budget for salt. Down south, I imagine they only use it for the rims of Margarita glasses.
Since it was too cold to do anything outside today but shiver, we decided to go to the movies. We bundled up in the winter coats we wore the day we left Michigan. There were only a few cars on the roads in addition to ours. We figured they belonged to “Snowbirds” like us who know how to drive in winter weather. Strangely enough, the roads we travelled were all clear.
We arrived at the theater only to find a notice taped to the entrance announcing that the theater was closed because of the inclement weather forecast. The second theater we tried was also closed. So was the nearby mall. It was mid-afternoon—broad daylight—and all the sidewalks had been pulled in.
There was nothing to do but go back to our rental cottage and sit around watching TV. Ho-Hum. We might as well have stayed in Michigan. If we were at home, we would not be paying rent in order to be bored stiff staying indoors in the winter. At home, we could be bored stiff staying indoors and shiver free of charge.
I am not pleased with this unexpected turn of events—and I am not taking it well. Neither is Macho Guy. We talked about a winter staycation for next year—where cold weather and snow wouldn’t come as a surprise and mess with our plans—and we talked about all the money we’d save. It sure is something to consider while we’re sitting around this rental cottage watching TV and being bored stiff.
I knew we should have packed a deck of cards. 🙁