Coronavirus forced my vacation to be a staycation, but I survived

Editor’s note: We understand the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, but we know everyone could also use a laugh in these challenging times. With that in mind, here is a lighter take from our columnist that we hope gives you a brief break from the current serious news cycle.

Almost every year, I take a vacation during the last week of March. 

It usually follows the grueling two weeks of covering the BNP Paribas Open and always includes my parents, who visit the desert from Michigan around that time every spring. We might go to Vegas, watch college basketball, go to the movies, hit my favorite desert restaurants, and shuffle through valley casinos during their trip. 

This year I still had the week off, and thanks to the conronavirus, the only things missing from my usual routine were the tennis tournament, my parents, Vegas, college basketball, movies, restaurants and casinos.

So I had to get creative. I still traveled a lot. I went to my living room, my backyard, the kitchen, my bedroom, and for something a little more exotic, the guest bedroom. 

I did the usual stuff, jigsaw puzzle, sudoku, read a book. I can’t lie to you guys, I would never read a book, especially with my phone so close to my hand and Netflix available on the TV. 

But it wasn’t all puzzles and TV, here are the other highlights of my week-long staycation quarantine. Some of this may seem familiar as we all are trying to figure out how to pass the time while staying at home. Once you finish that jigsaw puzzle it can get a little rough. 

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‘You try to make it line up then!’

A natural instinct is to do some household improvements you’ve been saving for a rainy day. (Which is a good loophole I use to get out of doing stuff because it never rains here.)

But my wife, perhaps feeling that our relationship was going too well, had a fun idea. Let’s put up some wallpaper. Yikes. I think one of the rings of hell is just a non-stop wallpapering project. 

Undaunted, she chose a cool pattern and had it delivered. It was the kind of pattern that required the neighboring strip of wallpaper to line up perfectly with the previous strip. Double yikes.

It took us three days to do a wall that required eight strips of wallpaper. It didn’t come together perfectly. We only fought about 82% of the time. “Hold this corner!” “No, hold it strong but give me some slack.” “Why did you let it bubble up?” “I didn’t let it bubble, you did!” “It’s not lining up!” “I know it’s not lining up, that’s because of the bubble.” “You try to make it line up then.” “It never lines up, that’s what makes it wallpaper!” 

So in other words, it went better than I expected. 

I have to admit the end result does look pretty great, and we’re still married, so I’ll call it a win-win. 

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This the end result of the three-day wallpaper adventure with my wife. It was a relationship-tester to be sure, but it looks great and we’re still married. (Photo: Shad Powers/The Desert Sun)

‘Cool, bonus coleslaw!’

Playing it safe and smart, we decided to avoid even essential trips like going to the grocery store, so we  tried a delivery service for the first time ever. 

Our Ralphs delivers so we went to the website and picked our items. We tried to stock up for about two weeks so we chose 52 items. When it came time to set up the delivery, though, it wasn’t giving us a delivery window option. 

As first-timers we weren’t sure what was happening. Maybe they don’t allow alcohol. So we took away the wine and the beer. That left us with six items. Just kidding, of course, that left us with 48 items, but it still wasn’t working. So we cut out a few more non-essential items. Away went the ice cream sandwiches. Good-bye to the creamy peanut butter I needed to replace the crunchy peanut butter I accidentally bought the last time I ventured out. Eventually we were down to 41 items, and voila! It said they could begin shopping right away. 

Specifically, a text said Elaine L was doing our shopping. She would send automated texts throughout telling us they didn’t have certain things: eggs, Clorox wipes, Kleenex. And another text that she had to substitute a few things from the brands we picked, mayo, creamer, tuna, etc. 

And in less than an hour, she was on her way to our house. She arrived, carried the six grocery bags to the door. We asked her to leave them there on the ground. She said “no problem,” we said “thanks” and away she went. Not too shabby. 

Wearing gloves, I grabbed the bags and brought them just inside the door. I took out each item individually and gave it to my wife who wiped them down. It was kind of exciting to see what our replacement options were, and as I unloaded each item there was a big 48-ounce tub of coleslaw in there. Something we didn’t order, and didn’t pay for. Bonus! 

If you’re reading this and you ordered delivery from Ralphs on Saturday and were missing your big-old coleslaw when you got your groceries, I just want you to know it tasted great. Good choice. 


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