ARE YOU CRAZY?
Now, I've done plenty of things over the years to warrant this question, I know. But this time, I really guess I can understand why they're asking. After all, anybody who would leave a beach house in North Carolina to come back to Illinois in the height of January might just be rightfully considered to be something less than the sharpest pencil in the box. But after spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas on the sandy island where we live for parts of each year, we both felt like it was time to go home for awhile.
I admit, I doubted my own sanity when temperatures out there started zooming up into the mid- and upper-70s beginning on the day we left, a more-than-temperate weather status that stuck around for well over a week after we headed north. But my young Carolina grandsons were excited to see the snow pictures I started sending when we hit the mountains of West Virginia.
I was, too.
Meanwhile, it's been good to see our home and the dear friends we miss whenever we're away. We've enjoyed the Galva Arts Council coffeehouse, basketball games, lunches down the street and in Bishop Hill, visits to the library, our regular Thursday night gatherings and Sunday mornings at church.
It was even kinda nice to see the mad cat named Max, who, apparently, sensed we were coming home and temporarily deserted his plush vacation digs down the street to meet and greet us as we pulled into the driveway. He is, in fact, so glad to see me that he hasn't even bitten me yet, though I sense he is beginning to become impatient with my slow-moving morning ways and will soon resume his time-honored custom of nipping me on the calf when I don't dish up his breakfast in a fast-enough fashion.
But Max is not the only resident of the ancestral abode beginning to resume some unwelcome, not unexpected activity. We had only been home a few days when I heard the horrifying sound of my ever-active spouse dragging a stepladder and a vast conglomeration of painting equipment from the basement.
Me: What are you doing?
She: I found an almost-full gallon of semi-gloss down there, so I thought I'd paint the laundry room.
Me: Didn't we just do that?
She: I think it was November...
Me: Yeah, so you see...
She: ...of 1986.
Me: Oh. Yeah.
Fortunately, I had a few other fish to fry while she was happily slapping paint around, so I mostly dodged that task, except for some oh-so-manly appliance-shoving, curtain hanging and light-fixture replacing. But my day will come, I know. Because, there's always something to do around this old house of ours, and as we speak, she's probably making a list. Chances are, my name is on it.
This midwestern swing will also include a much-anticipated visit to our much-missed son Colin and his family in the cold, wind-swept prairies near Fargo, ND. And if traveling conditions allow, I'd also like to check off another entry on my personal bucket list by heading way north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to see my sister and her family, and attend a sporting event I've always had a hankering to see: The U.P. 200 dogsled race.
Don't say it. Crazy, right? Maybe so.
Eventually, it'll be time to head south again. We already miss our grandboys and the wondrous, not-to-be-missed chance we get to be a part of their busy little lives. Spring comes early in Coastal North Carolina, too, with sunny days, warming waters and a beach chair with my name on it.
But, there's no hurry. No big hurry to be anywhere else but here.
Because I'm crazy.
Crazy for the place I call home.