For reasons I don't fully understand, my husband loves infomercials and home shopping shows. He has never purchased anything from television but will actually stay up at night to watch a pseudo-documentary on Sounds of the Seventies. His favorite is the Quacker Factory lady.
If you are unacquainted with her, she is an older lady who seems to have developed a sizeable following hawking bedazzled t-shirts and elastic waist pants. (Have a look here.) My husband finds her and her empire hilarious, but for a long time I dismissed her as just another lunatic loudmouth in a whimsical sweater. Until one day last summer when I learned that she is actually a kindred spirit.
You see, I learned that, like me, Quacker Factory Lady loves palm trees, and, like me, she promised herself that she would one day live in a place where they could grow in her yard. Sadly, our paths diverge at the point where she actually made this happen for herself, while I am left planning vacations in Orlando and Orange County and dreaming of teaching English in Bali.
My love of palm trees is not so much about the tree itself as it is about what it represents to me. Palm trees are many things: hot sand, warm breezes, umbrella drinks. Yet, I know that most people with palm trees in their yards must actually go to work, shop for groceries, mop floors, oversee homework, and on and on. And this doesn't matter, because palm trees are to me, above all, about sun. They are the anti-winter.
I recently reconnected with a high school friend on Facebook and learned that she had settled in Florida. She told me that she is a stay-at-home mom and there was mention of a nanny and a black tie gala, photographic evidence of gleaming marble countertops and a backyard pool. It was not these things that stoked my envy. It was her declaration that when the temperature dips below 70 they all put on jackets. This is in stark contrast to me. Where they have the luxury of bundling up at the hint of a chill, I must persevere and so I've developed a defiantly thick skin.
The day the clocks fell back was my husband's last soccer game of the season. It was gray and bitterly cold, and yet I loaded the kids in the car and headed to the game; my only concessions to the chill were some hastily packed hats and mittens and a stop for hot chocolate. The players on the sidelines bobbed up and down, blew puffs of steam into their cupped hands for warmth, and snuck suspicious glances at the girls and me. Surely, we looked insane: I wore a vest rather than a full coat and Big E, following my lead, abandoned her jacket after a few minutes. And as we sat there and I willed the slate gray sky to azure and the biting wind to a balmy breeze, I convinced the girls that we should move to Florida.
By the awkwardness of my husband's squirm when I later told him of my plan, I'm guessing I needn't call the realtor. But maybe this Christmas he'll get me a little consolation prize...