Unexpected Staycation

Because we had a long weekend that included the MLK holiday, we decided to extend our stay from the previous weekend through the week, enabling us to take cocktails and dinner each night at Cloud 9 while returning to “work” at Hampshire at the start of each day. The unexpected 11-day staycation gave Chef Cliff the chance to try out a few comforting meals in his new electric skillet, including an awesome Hamburger Helper-type dish and a hearty breakfast skillet. Yum!

We settled in for the weekend on Thursday evening, knowing the warm, mild weather would soon turn cold and windy. As Jon worked from Cloud 9 on Friday, Cliff went to Camping World of Alvarado to pick up a dual-stage propane regulator to replace our failed unit. Considering weekend temperatures were expected to be in the 20s, it was all the more imperative that we had a functioning furnace. As it turned out, our oil-filled radiators worked well, keeping the cabin temperature at a comfortable 70 degrees even as the outside temperature dipped to 28.

As the cold front came through on Friday, with winds gusting to 50 mph, our dog Maya was inconsolable, so Jon stayed up with her most of the night. Consequently, he crashed on Saturday morning, napping well into the afternoon. But we still had time to take in a Jamie Oliver 15-minute meals marathon on Dabl and a Pati Jinich marathon on Create. Who knew you could make a tasty beef stroganoff in 15 minutes? Why haven’t we tried caramelized pasilla brisket? Both are now on the menu.

With subzero temperatures keeping us indoors, we settled in to watch what turned out to be a rather lackluster Grand Ole Opry, with performances by the Bellamy Brothers and Dennis Quaid (yes, Dennis Quaid!), Joe Bonamassa, Chase Bryant and MercyMe.

Sunday found us engaged in our typical pursuits: “CBS Sunday Morning,” breakfast cocktails, The New York Times, brunch, nap. One benefit of being out this weekend was the opportunity to observe spectacular moonsets over the lake. Our rig was positioned in such a way that we could see the moon setting early each morning through our bedroom window. The first full moon of the year is known as the Wolf Moon, because this is the time when wolves are the most active.

After enjoying a sunset toast, we enjoyed a dinner of spinach ravioli with chicken, followed by three episodes of “And Just Like That,” HBO Max’s sequel series to “Sex and the City.” We admit, we enjoy this show. It’s getting all kinds of hate across the internet, but we never expected it to be a reality show. It’s a comedy-drama, so it’s meant to be, at turns, funny and serious. We’ve been satisfied by the characters’ story arcs, even if we are a little tired of the ridiculously out-of-touch “we’re so old at 50” storyline.

On MLK Day, we once again reflected on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968. When Jon turned 35, he noted to friends that he hadn’t really achieved much in life, especially considering that Martin Luther King Jr. had, by that age, received the Nobel Peace Prize. They reminded him that King had also died before the age of 40.

True enough. In the last speech of his life, Dr. King said “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place.”

Now that we’re in our late-50s, we’re more appreciative than ever before that longevity has had a place in our own lives. More than recognition or achievement, we treasure the time we have together. Much like the characters in “And Just Like That.”