Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winter Vacation

(Photo courtesy of Brekenridge Resort)

By Mark W. Danielson

Colorado is beautiful, particularly during winter. With it meringue mountains, cotton clouds, and sapphire skies, what’s not to love? For skiers, February is a perfect vacation time because kids are still in school and the slopes aren’t crowded. Since February weather can also bring ice, snow, and strong winds, it’s also a great time for airline pilots to take vacation. I’ve been doing this for years, and most of the time it’s worked out quite well.

But this February has been unique. It’s brought Colorado record snowfall, which has had skiers flocking to the slopes. But the odd weather patterns have also made the avalanche danger high. Several people have been killed, and more are certain to fall. But since I gave up skiing years ago, I had other priorities. First, do some interior painting to get the house ready for sale. Second, to have fun. Turns out it’s far easier to paint than have fun. Allow me to explain.

Shortly after returning from my January trip, my daughter needed to borrow my car because hers was having mechanical problems. My schedule was wide open so I drove it down, and she drove me back home. The only downfall is she had been sick with the flu. The result? She had transportation and I got horribly sick. That meant I missed my next trip because I was barely able to move. The good news is I lived to paint another day. After getting well, my step son visited for several days and he had been sick with a sinus cold. Needless to say, his visit sentenced my wife and I to more misery, and yes, we’re still battling this virus a week later. On the positive side, our interior painting is completed. On the down side, we have barely left the house all month.

But what staycation is complete without chirping smoke detectors? My rule of thumb is if one battery dies, replace them all, so right after changing several, two detectors started chirping. Okay, I say. Maybe the spare batteries from the cupboard have been in there so long they’ve gone bad. So off to Lowe’s for more batteries, and when I return, Badda Bing, Badda Boom, they’re in. But no sooner that I step back that I hear, chirp, chirp. Fuming, I go downstairs to think. The thing about batteries is there is only one correct way to put them in. The bad thing is in smoke detectors, batteries fit either way, and you need far better eyes than mine to see its polarity markings. So I get my reading glasses, climb the ladder, check the polarity, and determine that yes, I’m an idiot. After properly installing the batteries I hear the wonderful sound of silence. Bear in mind that neither of these detectors chirped before I replaced their batteries.

But wait, that isn’t the end of my staycation fun. No sir, no ma’am, not by a long shot. First, you need to add my multiple doctor visits -- and who doesn’t look forward to them? Then add my multiple physical therapy sessions for my bad back and you have my list of things that made this winter vacation special.

But there is a plus side to all this nonsense. Prior to my getting the stomach flu, Lyne and I had been considering taking a short cruise. You know the type -- one of those last minute package deals that make it irresistible, except four cruise ships suddenly had major illness outbreaks, so maybe our viruses prevented us from spending a couple thousand dollars to be sick at sea.

Of course, there’s always next year. Hopefully by then we’ll be in a different location waiting for our new house to be built. Between illnesses, we did make it to the Denver Home and Garden Show, so that’s something. I’ve also gotten a lot of editing done on my next book. But what vacations really come down to is spending time with my wife, so in this regard, it’s been great. As for the bugs we’ve both suffered though, I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Gosh, Mark, your "staycation" sounds like mine. An unblievable amount of snow, wind and ice this year, illnesses and a fall that resulted in a fractured wrist and ribs. So much for our California month in the sun. I did get a lot of reading done, so it hasn't been a total loss.

Jean Henry Mead said...

P.S. I know how to spell "unbelievable," but try typing with a splint on your wrist. :)

Mark W. Danielson said...

Unbelievable, Jean. A bummer for both of us. My lingering illness is making me cranky. (Ask Lyne.) I should be well in a few more days. Naturally, I have to fly all week.

Bill Kirton said...

I keep reminding my son (not that I need to) not to take health and fitness for granted. The problem is that we all do and it's only experiences like yours Mark, and yours Jean that make us realise how truly great it is just to be normal. I hope you're both over it all soon.

Mark W. Danielson said...

I absolutely agree, Bill. My daughter called yesterday saying she has a kidney stone, and there aren't many pains worse than that. Good health is something to appreciate and never take for granted. Lyne and I are at 90% now, and I'll gladly take that.

Ben Small said...

I used to ski there every year. Loved skiing Summit County. A-Basin was my fav.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Ben, this year nearly all of the Colorado ski areas could be renamed A-Basin -- as in avalanche basin. Not a good year to ski off the groomed slopes, but it sure is pretty.

Jaden Terrell said...

I've never been skiing and spent only a few hours in Colorado on the way to a business trip in Wyoming. I would love to go back someday though, when I have more time. Mark, I hope you feel better soon.