Earlier this week, I made my first batch of chili for the season. It's my concession to the end of warm summer days spent out at the grill making burgers, brats, steaks, chops, chicken and pretty much everything else every night. Now it's on to the "winter diet" of heartier fare like chili, meatloaf and Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
It's also time to start focusing on the things that help get us through the long, cold winters in Wisconsin. During the summer, there is something to look forward to every day: golf after work, a weekend up at the lake, a live concert or having a few drinks on the patio. For the next six months, however, it's nothing but going to work before the sun comes up and coming home after the sun has gone down. You need those few special events or days just to give you something to look forward to.
I try to break up the winter monotony into as many short segments as possible. Right now, I'm in "Cram in as much golf in as you can before the courses close" mode. A precious few minutes on the driving range or the practice green during the workweek--followed by as many holes as you can fit in during the fading daylight on the weekend. The goal is actually to become sick of playing golf by the time I can't play anymore.
Next comes "Just make it to Thanksgiving" mode. Every once in a while I'll check culinary websites for new recipes for stuffing or gravy just to distract from having nothing else to do. Then comes "Just make it through the Holidays/College Bowl season". I know I'm not alone in this one. Check out the increase in the number of obituaries on-line in the weeks following Christmas sometime. It's almost like all of those grandparents just want one more day with the family before passing on.
Also this week, my wife and I booked our annual winter vacation--going to see my parents in Florida this year. And that is about the only thing that gets me out of bed for the months of January and February--knowing that I am moving one day closer to sunshine and not having to dress like I'm about to climb Everest just to take out the garbage. I put their winter haven in my weather app so the 75-degrees that they are enjoying sits next to the -15 that we are enduring up here. My daily planner also gives me a countdown of the days until the Southwest flight lets us leave the snow and cold behind--even if it is for just a week.
After that trip, March Madness and the Masters helps to ease me into the middle of April--and perhaps the beginning of tolerable weather again. Here's to making it through one more trip into the darkness.