The sky is a hazy shade of winter

I didn’t win the lottery. The Christmas decorations are not only packed away but have been packed away long enough that dust and clutter have once again begun to accumulate in the spaces they left behind. Then it snowed and the kids got sick. In short, it is January once again. Yay. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, winter bites.

I was rather unexpectedly sent to Chicago last week on behalf of the day job. Now, most of the time I like Chicago just fine. The day I left the skies were blue and somehow my direct flight was actually on time. I thought to myself, wow, if I could travel like this all time I might not mind it quite as much.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

“But who isn’t guilty of occasionally wanting to skim a page or two every now and then?” – Me

But it is January. As we began our descent, the pilot announced that the weather had warmed to a balmy 20 degrees (-6C). Darn, and here I’d forgotten to pack my bathing suit. Upon arrival, I huddled with other passengers in a what was essentially an airlock while we waited for the airport shuttle to arrive. When the shuttle finally did arrive, I almost missed it entirely as the hotel branding was nearly hidden behind a sheet of salt and grey sludge.

After cursing the heat and wishing for cold weather all summer
After cursing the heat and wishing for cold weather in December. Image courtesy of Flickr

I checked into my hotel and made my way into my room. The air inside was only a few degrees warmer than the outside. At least there wasn’t a wind chill. I glanced at the window mounted heater box curious as to the thermostat setting. I expected that someone turned it down, what I didn’t expect was that someone turned it off all together. Chicagoans really don’t notice the cold. I immediately corrected this problem, cranking the heat up, but even so I knew would take a while for the little heater to make a difference.

I burrowed under my covers, but I couldn’t quite escape the chill. I wound up passing that night with my gloves on and my winter coat draped over my shoulders. If images of the Poor Little Matchgirl running through my head weren’t incentive enough to stay awake, the various loud noises coming from the adjacent room certainly helped.

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” – Anthony Burgess

The following day, I told a colleague all about the accommodations from the night before. He cocked his head and asked why I didn’t complain about the room to the hotel management. I should have, in his opinion, been given an alternate room, or at least be charged less for the experience. I suppose he was right. He should know, after all, his job takes him on the road at least five to ten times more than mine.

“Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else’s fairy tale.” – Wade Ayeni

Why hadn’t I complained?

Like most people, I do tend to indulge in a bit of self-reflection at the beginning of the year, and this year has been no exception. And yet, I still haven’t completely figured out the answer. Was I silent because I feared confrontation after a long travel day? Was it because I am female, and if studies are to be believed, biologically conditioned to accept pain and discomfort, provided it is only temporary? Was it my sense of self-reliance? I had gloves and a coat in the room, why make the fix someone else’s responsibility when I can do it myself?

Or… and this thought gave me great pause… after working on improving my outlook for so long, have I managed to finally recondition my brain into truly accepting what life throws at me – the bad as well as the good?

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox

Could it be that this blog, my personal happiness project, is no longer necessary? Have I then finally achieved a zen-like state of being?



Nah. That’s most assuredly not it. After all, it’s January…

…but it won’t be for much longer.

30 thoughts on “The sky is a hazy shade of winter

    1. I tend to hide out as well, especially on the first day of travel. I’ll explore if I am in the same hotel for multiple days, but that rarely happens on my business trips.


  1. The few times I’ve ever complained about a room the experience turned into a headache for me because I had to re-pack what I’d taken out already which I found to be more troublesome than just dealing with the room. Plus, when life gives you lemons [for one night] I say make lemonade [for one night]. In your case, hot lemonade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I am not a fan of having to re-pack things either and I was tired. Luckily the rest of the trip was actually pretty educational even if I did have to drink three times as much coffee as I normally do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband and I stayed in a cabin once, and it was ridiculously cold. I mentioned it in the dining hall to our table mate the next day. Something like, “Was it difficult for you guys to sleep in the cold?” He said, “Why didn’t you just turn on the heat?” I was all, “There’s heat in the those cabins?!” I had to go back and search for it. It wasn’t in our bedroom but on another wall. I was glad I had at least complained to someone, but then I was just making conversation. I, too, hate to be a complainer, but some times it sure does pay off!


  3. I complained about a hotel room once after I found a dead roach in the shower. They moved me to another room down the hall and after I settled there, I realized, surely there’s roaches in this room, too.

    I’m as much of a navel gazer as the next woman, but I think the reason why we don’t complain is because we don’t believe it will do any good. I mean, they moved me to another room (and no doubt checked the shower and removed all the roach corpses before giving me the keycard), but did it really do any good? I just imagined all the unseen roaches crawling behind the walls all night.

    Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much.

    And you must be staying in a better class of hotels than I am (obviously, because roaches) as I don’t think I’ve ever entered a room with the heat or a/c already on. I always assumed that was because they don’t want to waste the energy on unoccupied rooms, but now I’m thinking I’ve just been staying at crappy, roachy hotels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m used to it when I travel internationally, but I guess I am spoiled when it comes to the heat domestically.

      Yeah, I don’t know that I would trust a simple move down the hall at a roach motel either.


  4. Delightful, introspective post. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My stroke gave new meaning to the word “resignation.” It’s not a dirty word, but its meaning is essential to survival. Michael J. Fox was right. Onward and upward…after all, can spring be far behind. I resolve to fly fish more, in spite of my crappy balance. So there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your last line made me lol! I bloody hate January. This jan, I had the job I was applying to whipped away for cuts, a sick child, wife diagnosed with a life long condition, a migraine (I have this now) and someone kindly hit my parked car and drove off. Correction – I fucking hate January. It sucks balls. You should have conplained but no point beating yourself up cause you didn’t. Maybe you just didn’t or maybe you were so cold your brain starting freezing cells and you couldn’t think to complain. Maybe next time you will. Some people just aren’t complainers – things have to be quite bad for me to complain, but my wife – man, she’ll complain at a misplaced leaf in Autumn! 😂


    1. I hope your wife’s condition is treatable at least. I love the line about the leaf in Autumn.

      Now I am thinking my January might not have been quite so bad even with sick kids of my own, so umm, thank you for that?

      We only have to make it through one more week, though!


      1. That’s awesome.

        The clock change makes me grumpy for a couple of days, but that’s about it. I think I need to start scheduling a couple vacation days between Jan-Mar so that I can give myself something to look forward to.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox

    What a wonderful quote from someone who has battled Parkinson’s for years.
    He is an inspiration!

    Hopefully you are more comfortable now.


  7. I absolutely adore this post and all of its quotations. Except, I’d raise your St. Augustine an Emerson, who wrote that “Traveling is a fool’s paradise.” Or at least that’s what I repeat in my head when I can’t afford, on a cold winter day, to travel to Tahiti!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You scared me for a minute there. … I’m not sure whether I would have complained or made do like you did. But since I’d be less accustomed to the cold I think I’d have done something about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.