We were supposed to head for Arizona mid-February for a month long vacation in the desert. Lots of reading, hiking, visiting friends and lying by the pool was planned. I had spent the long winter months dreaming of the break and the warm sun. December didn’t seem so long and dark when I had Arizona to look forward to.

And then, in the third week of January, my husband Brian suffered a retinal detachment in his left eye. And poof! Our daydreams of Arizona were replaced by the nightmare of a seven day, face down recovery regimen for him and the hard reality that we would not be able to travel in February.

I had already booked off the four weeks and so I started to plan a stay at home vacation. A client gave me tickets to the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The polar bears at the Churchill exhibit at the zoo deserve a second visit. Brian gave me a 1000 piece puzzle for Christmas that was begging to be put together. My usual pile of quilting, knitting and reading projects could use attention. Lots of things to keep me occupied.

We are two weeks into the four weeks and I’m happy to say that my stay at home vacation is teaching me a few things:

  1. To have a real vacation, I mean the kind that is deeply restful and rejuvenating, you only need to turn off the phone and the email, and do some things that are soul satisfying to you. No packing, no making arrangements to cancel the paper and feed the cat, no taking up stakes and moving somewhere else – just stay home.
  2. Nothing is more important than a return to good health. All the days in the desert would be meaningless if Brian’s eyesight could not be preserved. Gratitude for a skillful surgeon and an almost complete recovery of vision trumps Arizona every time.
  3. Whining about bad luck is a serious waste of precious time. I did a little whining when I found out we couldn’t go to Arizona (OK – I did a lot of whining), but it didn’t change a thing. It only made Brian feel bad about something that was not his fault, and made me feel worse as I wallowed in self-pity. Focusing on what we had to be thankful for instead made us both feel better.
  4. Yes, Winnipeg is cold in February. Mercilessly cold as a matter of fact. But my stay at home vacation is teaching me that you don’t have to be in a warm climate to appreciate the sun. For the past few days, the sun has poured into our windows and lifted my spirits despite the fact that it is glinting off snow rather than cacti.
  5. Our home is a lovely place to be. It contains all of our favorite books, art, furnishings and our beloved and aging cat, Mike. I’m not sure there is anywhere in the world, Arizona included, that is more comfortable than right here at home.
  6. Makeup and dress clothes are highly overrated. When you don’t go anywhere, neither are required!
  7. Chocolate is a serious spirit lifter. (OK – I knew that before, but it bears repeating).
  8. Having long stretches of time to think and plan is good for business. During the past two weeks, I realized that I am often so stressed and stretched by the demands of my schedule that I stumble from project to project without a real plan. This vacation has given me plenty of time to think about what’s next at Lorch and Associates and to create a plan for moving forward, all while assembling that darn puzzle!

All in all, this has been a pretty fine vacation so far. I wonder what the remaining two weeks will teach me?