Maybe it’s just… February

The other day a dear friend said something along the lines of “Maybe I’m not a horrible person and maybe the world isn’t awful. Maybe it’s just February.” (I am paraphrasing a little, I think.) This struck a chord with me, because everything does seem particularly awful right now, but doesn’t it EVERY February? And aren’t I just as surprised, every single time, to discover that JUST POSSIBLY it’s a Calendar Thing rather than a Life Sucks Thing?

I am a slow learner, is my point.

Calendar or not, this “short” month is feeling particularly long, not the least of which because it always seems to be in February when I decide that’s IT, I am really going to get in shape now, seriously, I am, because my pants don’t fit and it’s cold out and I require pants. The problem is that at various daily intervals I also decide I require: cookies, chips, a second helping of whatever I had a good-sized serving of already, or a Random Piece Of Cheese. I’m not one of those “I work out daily and eat right and goshdarnitall I cannot figure out why I’m not losing weight” kinds of people. I am one of those “I do not exercise nearly enough and also I eat constantly so SURPRISE, I weigh more than I should but, you know, Sour Patch Kids are delicious” kinds of people. I start working on it (daily exercise! sensible eating!) and then life gets hard and I remember that chocolate makes everything better. Whoops.

Anyway, I’ve decided that yes, I’m totally going to blame it on February. Why not? Hey February, you are disgruntled and a little pudgy. You remind me of myself! Let’s be friends. Or let’s just move on to March. Whatever. But first: a moment to pause and appreciate Valentine’s Day.

Darling Otto doesn’t seem to suffer the same kinds of mood swings the rest of us do, thank God, because it’s nice to have one sane person in the house. And despite the fact that February is being so… February-ish… he was determined that we would have a nice Valentine’s Day because he is a romantic.

Mind you, the night before—as I almost always do, because I am totally the guy in this relationship—I turned to Otto in a panic and said, “WE’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING FOR VALENTINE’S DAY, RIGHT??” Because sometimes he does something sweet and I’m all, “Oh, is today a holiday? You know I love you whether Hallmark says I should or not, right?” Realizing that a conventional show of romantic love would only serve to make me feel guilty and lacking, he gently patted my knee and said, “No, dear. We’re just going to go to Costco to buy pasta. Okay?” I swooned. You can’t put a price on a partner who knows exactly what you need.

[Sidebar: We normally only go to Costco 3-4 times a year, but last time we went, we got this Tolerant lentil pasta that I fell in love with, so I had been saying we needed to go back and stock up sooner than our usual quarterly visit. I may have joked that because I like it so much they would surely discontinue it, and threatened to go buy an entire carload of pasta just to make sure we have some.]

So that was that; for Valentine’s Day, we would take a trip to Costco. BY OURSELVES. It was a Saturday and the children had no interest in doing anything other than sleeping and making brownies (aim high, kids!), so we left them at home and headed out. And then my dear husband tricked me, sort of. First we went out to lunch. BY OURSELVES. Then we continued a conversation we’ve sort of been having in fits and starts ever since our family trip and bicycle adventure in Breckenridge last year about maybe getting new bicycles so that we would ride more often and spend more time together and get some exercise and all that good stuff. (Note: I did buy myself a new bicycle about five and a half years ago with high hopes, but said bike is HEAVY and I hardly ever ride it. When we did our ride in Colorado we rode really nice, lightweight bikes and started talking about getting bikes like those.) We ate, we talked, we went to a local bike shop and ended up riding around the store on a couple of aluminum-frame bikes which make our current bikes feel like boat anchors. Then we went to Costco and bought an embarrassing amount of pasta and continued talking about bikes and realized we’d been gone all day (BY OURSELVES) and so we ordered pizza on the way home and the children were happy to see us when we returned. Or they were hungry for pizza. Either way.

It was all very romantic. And that night, Otto looked deep into my eyes and said, “I’m going back to the bike store on Monday to buy those bikes. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Not to be outdone, I thanked him, then said, “I’m going to… make a lot of pasta. Happy Valentine’s Day!” I think I’m getting the better end of this deal, to be honest.

Otto should be home with our new bikes very soon. I know that anyone in the Boston area will be unmoved by this, but our forecast is calling for possible snow. Probably because we’ll have new bikes. My apologies to everyone in the Atlanta area; it’s my fault.

I’m excited to have such a nice new bike and I’m thrilled at the idea of spending more time getting some exercise, outdoors, with my husband… but then I remembered that I’m really very lazy and that it’s a billion degrees here for about 8 months of the year. When I didn’t use the other bike much, well, it wasn’t a huge deal, because that bike was pretty cheap. The new bikes are… not cheap (well, okay, anyone who’s really into cycling will see them as cheap, but for people like us—tightwads who are not serious cyclists—they’re not)… and I will not be able to bear the waste of money if they don’t get used. So apparently we’re going to become Bike People. And that means I’ll get to spend time with Otto AND maybe eventually I’ll fit back into my pants, right? I mean, assuming I don’t eat all that pasta…?

March will be here shortly, and if I actually start riding that bike around, by April I might not even hate everything anymore. Maybe.


  1. Ani

    Bike riding has been a “life-skill” rite of passage here for both my kiddos who both learned fairly late how to ride a two-wheeler. This will be the first summer all four of us can go for a ride. Enjoy!

    Related: wear sunglasses. Bugs in eyeballs hurt. :-)

  2. StephLove

    I am so ready for winter to be over and I don’t live anywhere near Boston. I live near DC, where school cancels whenever there’s a rumor that someone, somewhere saw a flake, and I work at home and have two kids, not little kids, but still…I am over it, is all.

  3. not supergirl

    February can suck it.

  4. ali

    So I was on of those ” a bike is a bike” people for years. I hated cycling. But then, I gave it to my husband pleading me to leave my heavy huffy (see what I did there) and bought a trek.
    Best decision ever. I love cycling now. ( this may also have to do with my purchase of cycling shorts. BUY THE SHORTS)

  5. Alison

    Oh, ditto on the February blues. My pants don’t fit either and I am snacking too much because FOOD TASTES GOOD and exercise is NO FUN.

    Both my kids want new bikes. I’ve always thought it would be cool to ride bikes as a family, but who knows if I’d actually follow through with it, since in Texas the weather is pleasant for bike riding about 2.5 months out of the year.

  6. Chuck

    He’s definitely a keeper, Mir. :) Glad you had a nice Valentine’s Day!

  7. Daisy

    Such a sweetheart!

  8. Hall

    The nice thing about riding bikes in the summer is that you’re making a bit of a breeze, just by riding along! Do you have good places to ride? Trails or nice roads with wide shoulders?

  9. Sonia

    So glad to hear my pants aren’t the only snug ones right now….

  10. Jamie

    Same here on the pants and exercising! Though I did go skiing last week, but then made up for it eating out every night! Plus beer, lots of celebratory skiing beer.

    So bikes… I’ve thought about getting the kids and I new bikes, too. Need to start researching!

  11. Kristin

    My kiddo’s psychiatrist says that January and February are her hardest months because that’s when she deals with more patient problems – her patients being kids, right? She says it’s a combination of the Other Side of the Holidays, plus kiddos having that winter break then going back to school, plus the overall dreariness of the weather – they don’t go outside as much.

    I agree – maybe the world doesn’t suck, maybe it’s just February :-)

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