Every other year for the last 35 years, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been a year I dread. Because that is the day of the annual civil war in Florida – the football game between the University of Florida and Florida State University. And for the last 35 years, I’ve lived in one or the other of the two cities (Tallahassee and Gainesville) which alternate hosting the game.
I’m not a football fan, so I’ve no interest in the game (which was on national TV). My interest is in not having to endure the craziness that attends the game when it’s in town. Before the game, the streets and stores are packed with locals stocking up for tailgating or home parties. During the game, restaurants with TVs are packed with fans watching the game. After the game, restaurants and are packed with fans celebrating a win or bemoaning a loss.
My strategy for staying away from the craziness has been…staying away. For many years, I left town during Thanksgiving week. My favorite refuge has been Las Vegas but I’ve also taken a cruise and last year it was driving the California coast.
With permanent vacation approaching next year when I retire, we stayed in town this Thanksgiving. Because I am often not in town this time of year, I didn’t realize until a few days ago that the game was here this year. Oh noooooooo…..!
I thought about leaving town for the day. The usual suspect for a day trip is Pier Park mall in Panama City Beach. But the weather forecast was for a high of 64. No way I’m going to be outdoors across the street from the ocean (with its wind) in that temperature! What’s true about the heat is also true about cold: it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. (I’ve been in Vegas in January, where 45 degrees at night in 20% humidity is pleasant, but 65 degrees in Florida’s high humidity is cruel and unjust punishment.)
The next choice was St. Augustine but the weather forecast for there was 63 and it’s on the ocean too. Also, that’s at least an overnight trip, which normally I’d not have a problem with. But with the holiday, I’d be on the Interstate for three hours Sunday (today) on the return trip with heavy traffic from all the folks returning home and I didn’t want to push my luck with them. So St. Augustine was out.
I resigned myself to spending most of the day hunkered down at home. Did some yard work. Started on Christmas cards. Some online research for two possible purchases I’m considering.
One of my credit cards is offering 5% cash back for all online purchases through December. Although’s it’s working fine, our microwave is 17 years old. Might be time for an ounce of prevention.
My computer will be seven years old the day after Christmas. There’s an HP “box only” on Black Friday sale for $279 that is a great deal…except that it has Windows 8, which appears designed for tablet and other mobile uses rather than desktop PCs. I may be able to rig my old hard drive with XP into the case and boot from that drive… (I hate that these new boxes have no additional bays for second hard drives or other things because external drives have become the norm.)
And for enquiring minds, it was Florida 37-26.
Note to self: plan to be out of town Thanksgiving weekend in 2014. Biloxi might be nice….New Orleans during the day, Biloxi casinos at night and the outlet mall in Foley on the way home. Now that’s a game plan!