We wrestle cabin fever with varying degrees of success from about October through March. Weather, daylight, schedules, finances and forgetfulness along with me being a single parent conspire against us.
Living on the boat with kids, at least for me, is a LOT like camping.
(Can you tell I’m not feeling the romance of it these days?!)
View from our windwo Saint Patrick’s Day 2014
Minimal space and minimal possessions create situations without simple, easy solutions. Getting our one pair shoes or one coat soaked may mean using wet or damp gear for a few days after. (You can imagine how awesome that is on a 20 degree day!)
Snow and wet weather gear are bulky (hello space issue) and difficult to dry out. There is no “just wear your other pair of boots”. We don’t have room (or the amperage) for an on-site dryer I can just pop things into so they’re ready for the next day, nor do I have room to hang things to dry.
We had raingear, but found it to be bulky and hard to store properly without it getting mildewy. Mildew is super appetizing, no?
If it’s rainy or snowy AND windy, it can be downright miserable to be out and about. There is an indoor play area here but I have yet to figure out their hours and pricing structure in spite of calling, visiting, checking the website AND soliciting info from friends and strangers. I forget we have an ice arena (maybe because I don’t know how to skate?).
There are lots of team sports type things, but they’re costly and not really practical for our drop-in lifestyle.
Winter Trap Shooting League
The summertime is easier with the better (usually) weather and the additional daylight. Then it’s easy to load up and go explore the beach or play in a park. Catch, kite flying, frisbee are no brainers in the summer. But, the rest of the year…
In spite of all that, we have found some cabin fever helps that I DO remember (sometimes!) to do and can afford once in a while.
For $20, I can get all three of us (my oldest currently living out of state) in a comfortable, warm theater watching something we all enjoy. Our Costco sells $19.99 movie cards worth $25 in spending power. What that means is, we go grab a card (and sometimes a hot dog) and head to the late Sunday afternoon showing whenever there’s a PG- or G-rated movie. (The kids are 7, 12 and 14. At the moment, my oldest is with friends in Washington.) I don’t feel at ALL obligated to purchase soda or popcorn. Sometimes I do it, but often, I don’t.
I like the movies because I know exactly what to expect. The cost is reasonable and known upfront AND it isn’t a commitment. No signing up for a season of movie going. It’s not a club. It’s just week by week.
We are at our church a LOT. Our church is so nice to us. It is hard to believe how kind they are (feel free to comment on that). We attend regularly on Sundays and then once a month they host a movie night with a kid and an adult feature. It’s fun. It’s free. The bathrooms are awesome and so’s the leg room. Company ain’t so bad either. 😉 I go to a ladies Bible study and my oldest goes to Confirmation once a week. We actually utilize our church building a lot for daily living, too.
Hike is maybe a misnomer. I really like the British term “hill-walking”. It seems less strident and arduous. Hike always conjures up these super outdoorsy, fit, ooh-ahh boots and brand name jackets types of images and well, that’s not me. Hill walking on the other hand, seems much more casual, like most anyone could do it.
We don’t do a lot of walking because I do forget about it and the weather/daylight issue. And in the summertime, I worry about bears.
But, there are a couple places we enjoy going. There’s a beautiful Catholic shrine nearby. We enjoy the grounds there once in a while. We have a neat trail on the site of a historic mine. This area has the added benefit of a playground for the youngest.
Shrine in early spring
Right by our airport, literally in the landing path of planes, we have a slick trail as well. The kids really like seeing the planes come in to land right above their heads.
Another trail we enjoy takes us around one of our lakes. I like this one because it’s got a variety of terrain but nothing too steep for too long.
I try to scope place out prior to adventuring out with the kids. I just really hate doing things “cold’. I really prefer to go new places with a companion and then take the kids. That’s how I discovered two of the four above.
This one isn’t as awesome for the kids as it is for me. We have three or four theater companies, a symphony, lots of live bar music opportunities, a dance troupe, an independent film house and some really cool programs hosted at the local university. And tons more. There is just a LOT of music/theater/writing/artistic/intellectual opportunity here. I try to do as much of that as schedule and budget allow.
Playgrounds present the same challenges as hiking so it’s not one utilized much in the fall, winter, and spring months. There is one just a couple miles away that my youngest really enjoys. It has lots of climbing structures, hiding places, swings, balance opportunities, slides… it’s just really great for physical play and imaginaton.
At our local playground last spring. It was maybe 40 degrees. The lake behind was still frozen and people were playing hockey on it.
We also use our local McDonald’s for the indoor play area. I hate going there. It’s uncomfortable. And loud. And I feel obligated to purchase something since it IS a business. And… my kids are usually hungry. And I get tired of saying “No.” But, it has come in handy as a drop-in place and there are usually other kids there so my little guy enjoys that. It is totally a sign of desperation when I am there, however!
I don’t take advantage of this one as often as maybe I should or as I’d like. I can’t reciprocate by having people over since there just isn’t a place to put them. But I do have one friend with kids that I’ll ask if we can come over. This works better for my youngest than my oldest, but he’s usually the one chomping at the bit the most! So, he’ll play outside, or build with legos, or, play Minecraft with my friend’s youngest while she and I visit.
This winter was pretty abysmal for snow play. And maybe that’s why we struggled more this year with cabin fever than we did last. BUT, when we do have decent snow, I take the kids sledding. I love this activity. It’s cheap ($15 for each sled at Costco!) and easy to access and, if it’s cold, cold, cold, well, they don’t really get wet! Oh, and it’s something all the kids enjoy.
Skiing and snowboarding are popular here and we have a resort close by. It isn’t an activity I’ve been able to really encourage too much (gear and money), but the school my kids attended last year did some downhill and cross country ski opportunities. My older two are homeschooling this year and my middle child had the chance to do ski lessons with our homeschool group, but the derth in snow put the big kibosh on that. However, when we do have snow, this will be an activity the kids can definitely take advantage of more frequently.
In addition to the cultural events, we try to do the neat things offered in the community. Most recently there was a Winter Celebration with fireworks at the ski resort. That was really a fun time even though it was drizzly! We always see people we know at those things. I love the sense of belonging to this place as faces light up in greeting.
Wow. This is quite a list and there are so many opportunities here. This winter we really struggled. I am so glad spring is coming and the daylight is coming. Once the temperatures are consistently above 40, even with the rain, we’ll be outside a lot more!
I’d love to hear what you guys do for those times of cabin fever. Many of you have similar challenges with weather, transportation and finances. What ways have you found to combat the winter stir-crazies?!