Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sunday Stealing

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1. Three things that scare me: Clowns, squirrels, air travel

2. Three people who make me laugh: my oldest friend, Stephen Colbert and the late Nora Ephron
If he played first base, we'd have a trifecta

3. Three things I love: The Beatles, The Chicago Cubs, and men with good hair.

4. Three things I hate: RWNJs, uncooked tomatoes, and Patricia Heaton. (Everybody Loves Raymond is on almost constantly and I cannot stand the sight of that woman.)

5. Three things I don't understand: Why people smoke, anyone who doesn't love pets, and why Patricia Heaton keeps getting work

6. Three things on my desk: Lots of paper, mug, vase

7. Three things I'm doing right now: this meme, giving my cat Connie her nighttime dose of affection, and trying to figure out this Hart to Hart episode that I tuned in at the 45 minute mark. (Yeah, it's a stupid show, but I find Robert Wagner's voice hypnotic.)

8. Three things I want to do before I die: I don't answer these questions because I'm afraid that once I accomplish the three things, I have to die.

9. Three things I can do: Write, speak well in public, fart around/do nothing

10. Three things I can't do: Sing, dance, lose weight

11. Three things you should listen to: me, The Beatles, and if ever you're in Chicago, our local PBS news show Chicago Tonight

12. Three things you should never listen to: Patricia Heaton (don't look at her, either), Fox News and anyone in a bar talking religion or politics (unless it's me)

13. Three things I'd like to learn: Spanish, self-discipline, and SEO (search engine optimization)

14. Three favorite foods: steak, pizza, ice cream

15. Three beverages I drink regularly: Coke, orange juice, water

16. Three shows I watched as a kid: The Man from UNCLE, Batman, That Girl

I'm not exactly sorry, but ...

I earmarked $1000 of my refund for fun. That's less than 30%. I'm putting most of it to savings/bills, some of it to completing my bathroom renovation, and $1000 for fun.

I've been daydreaming about what to do with that $1000 for a while. For every spring for years and years I treated myself to a spring spa getaway. Precious alone time in a new setting where I recharge my batteries. I always come back having learned something new -- about myself, about the world -- because of the change in perspective. I love these spa trips. Especially now, when I'm so bored with winter and know how chilly and unpredictable a Chicago spring can be.*

I've been to the Arlington in Hot Springs, AR, many times. Beautiful country. I've toyed with going back. My aunt goes to the Smoky Mountains and her postcards and photos made me miss it.

I've been to, and loooooved, Chateau Elan in Atlanta, but it's just too expensive. Now Colonial Williamsburg has a high quality destination spa and that's brought me a lot of joy. I love being immersed in American history when I'm not immersed in lotions and potions.

And then there's the spa in the graceful old Peabody Hotel in Memphis. I've never been there, but I've heard good things, and it would give me a chance to go back to Graceland. I planned on staying at a hotel right across the street from The King that actually has a guitar shaped pool! I loved how that trip would be a mix of stately and trashy.

But no, I'm going to Los Angeles next month. For just a long weekend of doing nothing I couldn't do here.

My oldest friend is going off the rails. Her depression is getting the best of her and her life feels hopeless. Her shrinks -- an MD and a PhD -- aren't able to come up with the right mix of meds and therapy to help. She's suffering and her pain is real. I love her and I worry about her.

So I'm arriving on a Friday, staying in an affordable little hotel walking distance from The Grove mall, and flying back on Monday. I chose to stay near The Grove because my friend -- who used to love going to the movies when she lived here -- never sees films anymore, even though she's living in the film capital of world. Parking at the malls with the multiplex cinemas is impossible. OK, she can park at my hotel and we'll walk. The advantage to staying by at the hotel is that I'll still get some alone time. I don't relish the thought of staying with my friend and her daughter and all their drama. This is my vacation, after all, and if I want to stay in a hotel, that's what I'm gonna do.

So there goes $911. It's expensive to travel 2000 miles. It just is. Hot Springs, Williamsburg and Memphis are also closer to Chicago and cheaper. While I spent a lot of time on the phone with Travelocity and I'm confident I'm getting the best ORD-LAX rate, it's still a bitch.

Now I know my friend and I will have fun. We always do. No one has ever been able to make me laugh like she does. And she's feeling isolated and needs a friend. I have the vacation time and I have the money and it feels like the right thing to do. Besides, we already have another trip to Vegas planned for my birthday in November. If she's willing to travel to celebrate me, this seems fair.

So Los Angeles in spring, Vegas in the fall and Key West for Christmas. My life is not too shabby. I realize that.

It's just that I keep seeing banner ads for the trips I'm NOT taking, and they make me sad. Beautiful travelogue shots of the Williamsburg and Memphis pop up and I'm filled with longing.

Oh well. This is the right thing to do. I can't afford to fly out to LA and pamper myself and continue renovating my bathroom. So the spa trip just has to go.

Sometimes being a grown up sucks.

*Really, never visit Chicago in spring. The weather can be sunny and 50º one day and 30º with freezing rain the next. I hate it. That's why I never go to Opening Day at Wrigley Field. The weather always sucks.