OK, here’s the part where I walk back some smack I wrote about the weather in southern New England.
The days are getting shorter, and the nights cooler. Which is why I slept in this morning. If you know me, you know I almost never sleep in, even on a Sunday, but today I didn’t get up until about 7:30. (I know, that’s amateur-level sleeping in, but it’s an improvement.) I felt decadent, and was reminded of some of fall’s gentler qualities. It’s still late summer, but today I slipped in to some fleecy slippers. They’ve been there, all along, in my closet. I’ve been the happy barefoot boy for months until now. But my toes told me they were happy to be back at home in those fleecy slippers.
Outside, the New York Times waited for me, bagged in blue plastic so you can find it in the bushes. The quick walk from front door to my newspaper was a tonic of fresh, clean, crisp September air. A pair of joggers and a bicyclist sped by. My front yard steps down from the street, so they didn’t notice me, disheveled in my sleepwear. Then, I walked out the back door to warm the grill. It’s Sunday, and that means we allow ourselves some bacon with breakfast. I light one side of the grill, and place the bacon strips on the cold side. It takes about a half hour to render the fat, and my kitchen stays clean. Why am I telling you this? It’s a long way around to say how nice the heat from the flames felt, and the maple aroma was just so … so … autumnal. Paul came downstairs humming a church hymn, obviously responding to this glorious morning. I like my Sunday-morning routine.
A month ago, I was enjoying sandal weather. I still prefer it to fleecy slipper weather, but today it’s not yet uncomfortably cold. It’s just right. I’m suddenly glad I didn’t make any plans to travel south in September. Lots of times, our Casa Nana project has taken us to Mérida when the weather back home was at its best. We went in May to sign papers, we went in July to review architectural plans. We were thinking of a November return, or maybe even Christmas, but now we’re deferring our travel plans.
I finally have enough time at a job to have earned three weeks’ vacation a year. I’ve never had more than two a year until last year. This is a milestone, and it comes at a great time. My travel these days has been much more purposeful now that we’re building a house in Mérida.
So now it’s mid-September and I still have two weeks to play with. But no construction has begun. Possibly, it will start in November, and if that’s the case, we’ll probably have a good reason to fly down in January or February. In high season, escaping Connecticut when there’s absolutely nothing good to say about the weather.
I’ll be able to spend five weeks in Mérida in 2013, Mayan apocalypse notwithstanding. Now, if I could spend all five weeks there at once, I’d really be in heaven, but I want to visit as the construction progresses. Next year will be THE year! It also means enduring the longest gap I’ve had between trips.
When you travel to escape the weather, timing is everything, and you’re never really certain your plans will fall into place. Last winter was mild, but the year before that, we were constantly enduring snow and ice. We woke up one day in tropical Mérida, hopped our plane home, and arrived to find an impassable driveway under several feet of snow. Having to dig out your driveway immediately after a week in sunny Mexico seems an especially cruel homecoming. But this works both ways…
Another time, we were the last plane out of LaGuardia as a storm approached. If the flight had been cancelled, we’d be driving home (which would be bad enough on its own) in a snow storm. I would have jumped off the roof of the LaGuardia Marriott if I had been forced to stay there. But by evening, we were sipping beers at Cafe Chocolate.
Years ago, we were at Newark airport for a 6 a.m. flight to Key West. The plane was delayed while crews de-iced the wings while snow fell around them, and I worried the flight would be canceled. I thought to myself, if only I can have lunch on Duvall Street, sitting under a banyan tree sipping a blue daiquiri, I’ll be happy. And it came to pass!
If only I can repeat that miracle this winter, but with a margarita on the Paseo de Montejo.