Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hazy Memories of Break, Which Now Feels Miles Away

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This morning came early, with my mind awake and swirling literally hours before my alarm was actually scheduled to go off. Perhaps the charm and nerves of the first day of school never quite dispel, no matter how many years (23) one has been attending...

Today I feel tired. It could have been the early morning, though I fear it has more to do with symptoms of brewing illness I detected as I turned over in the middle of the night. How lame is it to call in sick after two weeks off? I guess I may find out, depending on how these germs play out...

This weekend was simply wonderful. After a full week of work for Curtis, we packed up the Subaru (almost to the brim) and joined my family out at the lake. An hour and a half out of town is the perfect amount I have decided: too far to drive back for anything; close enough to leave at 8:30pm if that is what work requires. After unloading skis and games and hot cocoa and books and all the supplies needed to construct and sleep in a snow cave, we crashed for the night, ever aware of how the temperature (well below zero) would affect our activities.

Turns out that a house full of people raised in Alaska (plus one transplant that is currently dating my sister) makes for many a trip outdoors, even if it's -25. We explored the local trails on snow machines, ever aware of frozen fingers but taking in the glittering branches and vibrant sky around every corner. Curtis determined it to be a perfect weekend to sleep in a snow cave (what better way to ring in the new year?), and along with my brother and my sister's beau, mounded, hallowed out and crusted a spectacular snow cave. Perhaps the most entertaining part of this year's cave was that Curtis was determined to impress me with new and improved snow-cave-engineering. When I scouted it out around 10pm New Year's Eve, I was impressed with both the shortened entry tunnel, the raised ceiling, and the warmth inside. There had to be at least a 50 degree improvement. Curtis still hopes that I'll join him in his snow cave at next year's winter-survival-extravaganza. The jury is still out on that one.

After a full weekend of activities, we were ready to head back to civilization, and unfortunately found ourselves with a vehicle that wouldn't start. While we reminisced about what a regular occurrence this was last January, we huffed and puffed and pushed the car into the garage to warm up, aided by some "Heat" in the gas tank. Two games of Eucre later, we managed to bring the car to life, and headed home about three hours behind schedule.

Sitting at my desk with a calendar empty of finalized lesson plans and bins empty of graded papers, I find myself still feeling very full. This break felt a bit more "normal" than usual due to Curtis's work, but the time we managed to steal away with family and each other was a gift. Though I would have traded all my presents for two weeks off with him, but I'll happily take two weekends.

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