The results are in

By the time you read this column, the fat lady will have finished her song. The results will be in.

Hopefully, you will have voted for the candidates who will lead this nation to prosperity once again. Hopefully, before you filled in those little circles with black ink you did your homework.

Did you find out if your candidate believes in the free enterprise system?Did you ask your candidate's opinion on tax increases? Did you find out what his/her thoughts were on growth of government at all levels? Did you ask him/her how he/she would deal with the debt and deficit issues ... by increasing government revenue or decreasing government spending? Or both? Did you find out what the plan was for creating jobs? If you feel confident that your winning candidate understood the concept of individual responsibility and role of government, then you probably did your job.

Let's go

Three weeks and counting. Counting what you say? Counting the days until Christmas, counting the days until my next birthday, counting the days until spring? Nope, I'm counting the days to the time when my boot hits the continent known as Antarctica.

If you follow my columns, you will remember that back in July I told you I wasn't planning anything big this year, just a few days in Vermont, sitting on a deck by the lake, reading books, drinking margaritas, playing Scrabble, and wondering what time we should start the grill.

I did go to Vermont where I ate, drank and read, but something was missing. It was 90-plus degrees pretty much all summer -- a temperature I don't tolerate well -- plus I was bored. In addition to turning on the air-conditioning, I began to seriously think about a trip to someplace where the ice doesn't melt in three seconds flat. It was the cold I was missing.

I have been on the National Geographic mailing list for some time, having participated in the Genographic Project. (You can discover your "deep" ancestry by purchasing a kit and tracking your genetic ancestry through your DNA.) Now the organization sends me informational CDs and DVDs and books regarding upcoming expeditions that whet my appetite to the point of drool and sleeplessness. I started thinking about my Walden Pond college essay about the farmer that carried the farm on his back. I already had enough stuff ... didn't need another thing. I remembered my class in death and dying. "Carpe Diem!" said the professor. I remembered my own mother who never went anywhere because she wanted to make sure she left us all a "little something." When Mom passed away last year, there was a surprise package for each of her four remaining children ... enough to put on a new roof, or get me on a trip of a lifetime -- an expedition to the South Pole. I chose the trip.

If you should call my office while I'm gone and someone says to you, "I'm sorry, but Patricia is out of the office," they will not be kidding. I will be so far out of the office, off the tip of South America, past Drake's Passage, on some ice floe communing with the walruses and polar bears, or maybe rowing a sea kayak among the bergs. I'm pretty sure Linda won't be able to forward your message to me.

This will be my first "soft adventure." A soft adventure by my definition is one that does not require a trek up a mountain at high altitude, or schlepping through a jungle so muddy that it literally sucks the sole off ones boot, or sharing a unisex communal toilet that is really a hole in the ground. I will be luxuriating in a five-star floating hotel, eating meals prepared by a gourmet chef, and hanging out with 147 other excited explorers who are equally interested in seeing ice floes so cold they look blue, and waddling penguins, and whales shooting out of the ocean. This is a continent that is melting fast, according to the experts, and I want to get there while it's still there, and before it's on the radar of every living soul.

As you probably know, there are seven continents. After this trip, Australia will be the only one I haven't visited. If I'm lucky, I'll live long enough to wipe that one off my Bucket List, too.

Thanks, Ma.

Hasta nuevo aviso! Board of Directors.

See you later, Fairfield.

Patricia Ritchie is the president and chief executive officer of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce. When she's not traversing the globe, she can be reached at