How I know it's time

1. When the phone rings, I flinch. Recoil. Feel slightly panicky. There is nearly no one I have the energy to talk to, but I am still waiting to hear from my soldier.

2. When the clock says it's time to wake up, my body resists every effort of movement even though I'm not sleepy and slept just fine.

3. The outdoor thermometer has been stubbornly, persistently, implacably stuck for weeks. I may never see 40 degrees again, and I know I'm not encased in ice and snow, but I'm not at sprouting temperature either. Not frozen. Just chilled.

4. Absolutely no project, with the occasional exception of academic work for the quarter, looks even remotely interesting.

5. We got a really, really good deal on our favorite hotel - for a whole week away.

And that is how I know it's time to plan for our winter's vacation at the beach. In less than a month from now. Salt air, and ocean light, and the sounds of gulls and other shore birds ... a record crab harvest this year, and I intend to eat my fill ... a large soaking tub and a stack of foreign films and some fruit and stinky cheese ... no web access, no ringing phone, no course work for the week ... the Great Husband all to myself for a whole week.

Man, oh man, is it ever time.

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