Last week, I did something unthinkable.
I went on vacation... and never took my laptop out of its bag.
I intended to use my time to catch up on work. I'd hoped to do some blogging, and even had a couple of afternoons when my husband and daughter left me alone (which means I had the opportunity).
I just wasn't in the mood.
2009 was a crappy year for my family. It was even worse for some of my friends. After all, the stuff I had to deal with only cost me time and money. But one of my closest friends battled breast cancer. That was bad. My friend Debbie lost her mother just before Easter... and her mother-in-law the week before Christmas, after a long bout in the hospital.
"We need to do something normal for the holidays," she said. "We've reserved both units in Park City and want you to join us there."
Debbie's family is in real estate and they own two condo/guest rooms at the luxurious Hotel Park City. Her invitation meant we could stay in one of them for a week and pay just a $75 cleaning fee.
We usually spend the New Year up in Sacramento with my family -- but this year, thanks to the easing of travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans, they were all going to be in Havana. We would have gone too... if the home renovation hadn't eaten so much of our savings.
The house has been a monster, soaking up all our time and energy as well as our cash reserves. My husband had already arranged to take off the week between Christmas and New Year, with the intention of wrapping up some of the loose ends (i.e., we still haven't installed the microwave hood in the kitchen or found all the stuff we'd stored in the garage... or even settled on where to rehang our pictures).
But we hadn't taken a vacation all year. Gareth had a week off in April while his mum was visiting us... but issues that came up at his office meant that he spent much of it working at home. The same thing occurred over the Independence Day holiday - he was on the phone during most of the six-hour drive to Sacramento and never felt relaxed because he had too much to take care of when he got back to work.
It was a no-brainer. We hauled out our rarely-used snow gear and drove up to Utah. And then, we chilled (in more ways than one).
I am badly acrophobic (not a surprise to anyone familiar with my other neuroses), so I did not ski with my husband and daughter. However, I did go tubing with them one night at Gorgoza Park. We enjoyed the hotel's heated outdoor pool (where the two families engaged in a snowball fight... yes, right in the pool)... and shopping at the nearby outlet mall, which was having an amazing after-Christmas sale.
We walked about the cute little downtown and shopped at our favorite bookstore, Dolly's (where we pet the resident cats, Mr. Dolly and Che). We enjoyed excellent meals at Main Street Pizza & Noodle, Yuki Arashi, Hapa Grill and Ruth's Chris. We took a horse-drawn sleigh to dinner in a mountain lodge. We greeted the New Year at the Canyon resort, with fireworks in the snow.
Most of all, we relaxed. We felt so good that we were barely phased by the 16-hour drive back home. This was largely due to our decision to check out of the hotel at 5:30 AM, only to get caught in heavy snow a couple of miles out of the city - my first experience with a "white out." We ended up spending 90 minutes at a McDonald's while we waited for the storm to pass and the snow plows to do their thing, and this put us in Las Vegas at the height of the holiday line of cars traveling back to Los Angeles. Our friends didn't set back home until 2:00 PM, sailed through the Nevada-California state line and arrived home just an hour after we did.
We feel refreshed and ready to take on the world this new year.