My Staycation


This week I’m on vacation. In the past, I used most of my vacation time to go to Tennessee to see my mother, who passed away in December. My daughter #3, her husband, my sister and me were all going to go to Puerto Rico. My daughter works for American Airlines and gets free standby airfare for family. Then, the coronavirus took off and we decided to stay home. It’s a good thing we didn’t go to Puerto Rico, as they are dealing with the virus there, too.

I’ve never been to Puerto Rico. Actually, I’ve never been to Saginaw. My daughter went to Puerto Rico for a few days earlier this year and really liked it. So, she wanted to take us down for a few days. I had even hoped to maybe find a time and place to do some hurricane clean-up (Maria, 2017 devastated the island). Another year.

My wife and I are senior citizens and the virus is more deadly the older you get. I may actually be the most likely person at WOOD TV to have a rough time with the virus…not good. So, for (at least) 9 days, I am staying mostly inside my house with my wife and going out into the yard (to fill bird feeders, pick up sticks from the winter winds, get the mail, take out the garbage etc.) when the weather is nice. I actually just sat in the sun for about 15 minutes on Sunday. Gayle has cooked some nice meals and we’ve opened some wine. We’ve got the internet, and TV and books. I’ve had a fire going in the wood insert. We’ve called a few friends on the phone. I did get to talk with Justin Barclay on WOOD radio Monday AM from home. I am an occasional guest talking mostly about weather usually between 9 and 9:30 am. I’m still doing the blog (obviously), facebook and twitter. My daughter #1 has volunteered to go and get anything we might need. It’ll be interesting if it gets to the point that people +65 are ordered to shelter at home, like out in California or in Britain: “The over 70s, those who are pregnant, and anyone with underlying health conditions (around 20 million Brits) should try not to leave their homes…and avoid crowded spaces immediately. This will continue for the “long haul” – likely weeks or months.” In Italy, 90% of the more than 1,000 deaths occur in those 70 or older.

Crocuses blooming 3/15 at the Steffen house

I might not have seen these if I hadn’t walked around the yard. They were kind of buried by leaves…but I’ve got some nice crocuses in bloom.

Snowdrops at the Steffen house

These are snowdrops. I’ve written about them before. Many years ago (25?), I planted 10 snowdrop bulbs that I got at Fruitbasket. Today, there are literally hundreds of them in bloom by my front door. They get PM sun and some additional heat off the bricks of the house. These flowers often come right up through the snow. In a mild winter like this, they can be blooming as early as the 3rd week of February and can bloom for up to 6 weeks. Stay and watch in late winter and you’ll see a bee or two amid the flowers.

Snowdrops close up

Here’s a close-up picture of snowdrops. If it gets real cold (I’ve seen it down to 10 above!), they’ll wilt and look awful…only to spring back and look good the next time it’s sunny and 45°. I can hardly think of anything that cost me so little that has brought me so much pleasure over the years.

We did have a sportscast on the news Monday…well, more like a sports story. We’ve been doing reruns of Dick Evans on the road during our 5:30 pm news on Friday. Maybe we could do reruns of Dole’s Bananas on Thursday evenings. I think that would have a “bunch” of “a-peel“.

Some good news – no severe storms here in Michigan yet – we’re having a pretty good maple syrup season – I hear fishing on the Grand has been pretty good – and while it’s been a little warmer than average, it hasn’t been warm enough to get the blossoms going. If it can stay like this for a while, the fruit farmers will breathe a little easier.

Lots of cancellations…the Tulip Festival?! Wow! The tulips will still be beautiful in Holland this spring and you should be pretty safe if you stay in your car.

Also: Video of tornadoes in Morocco. Check out this tornado. Another video of the twister.

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