Monday, February 10, 2014

Vacation in a Shut Down City


So, we just got back from Portland, one of our very very favorite cities to visit.  The trip planning was initiated by my work sending me to PDX to attend a conference.  Since H and I haven't really had an opportunity to get away together for, oh, fifteen thousand years, I bought him a ticket to go with me, thinking we'd have a nice weekend with some exploring, reconnecting, beer-drinking and maybe a Laurelhurst movie thrown in.

When I received an e-mail Thursday afternoon that my conference might be cancelled due to inclement weather, I laughed, thinking the conference organizers were pulling a Chicken Little.  When snowy photos started popping up on Facebook from friends in Portland, I got excited for a cozy weekend with just enough snow to make the all the coffee we were planning to drink taste extra yum.  When I got confirmation that my conference was definitely cancelled, I felt a hot minute of "is this a good idea?" before texting H that "yay!  we get a real weekend away!"

So we packed our down jackets and wool socks and hopped on a plane.

My boldness is evidence of a potentially awesome, potentially pain-in-the-ass cockiness that growing up in the smack middle of Alaska has given me.  Guys.  Portland was SHUT THE FUNK DOWN last weekend.  Hand written "CLOSED.  Stay safe!" notes in the doors of 98% of shops and restaurants.  The cute little refurbished trailer we had rented for lodging became unavailable last minute due to being frozen like an accidental igloo.  Waiting in 16° (Fahrenheit, not Celsius) temps under a magical and seemingly impossible combination of snow and nearly freezing rain with wet tingly toes for buses that never came.  Our favorite book store that is open on CHRISTMAS closing at 2:00 in the afternoon to allow its employees to get home safely.  One solitary bagel for sale  at the only open coffee shop we could find when all the breakfast places we went to were closed for the weather.  Cab companies refusing to take us to the airport when the buses and Max lines were cancelled.  It was just like vacationing in the Walking Dead, no joke (joking).

And somehow it was just exactly perfect.

It was us being together and problem solving and taking care of each other and having adventures and being flexible and sleeping 11 hours each night and eating a lot of pizza and hop skip jumping between open establishments and H giving me his extra down jacket to wear over my down jacket when he could see me shivering and eating ice cream while watching the snow fall and that amazing feeling of finding warmth after cold and the seeing people ski down city streets and taking risks and just being completely in the moment every moment.

It all so easily could have created fodder for arguments and frustration and disappointment, but instead it created an experience that reminded us there is something beyond expectation.  And while I was ever so grateful to slip into a much needed hot bath when we got home last night, the tingling toes were worth a weekend thinking only of the moment we were in.

Portland, stay safe.  I hope you thaw quickly.  We will see you again in July.

xo



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