Joanne Palmer: Notes from a staycation |

Joanne Palmer: Notes from a staycation

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— Friday, April 16, 4 p.m.: It’s a cold, crummy, cloudy afternoon and I’m lying on the couch listening to the sounds of slamming car doors, diesel trucks firing and the excited laughter of children. Mountain bikes are hoisted onto bike racks, suitcases filled with shorts, flip-flops and bathing suits are loaded into cars and coolers packed with beer, soda and ice are shoved into vehicles. Every time I hear a car door slam, I sink deeper into the couch cushions and further into my mud season funk.

News Flash No. 1: I am not going on vacation.

News Flash No. 2: Everyone has left.

News Flash No. 3: I-70 is closed. A spring snowstorm has descended on Denver. A severe winter storm warning is in effect. Travelers can’t get to DIA. They are missing their flights to warm weather destinations.

I’m feeling better already. I have experienced no travel delays getting to my couch. I haven’t had to worry about what to pack or finding a dog sitter. I have not strained my back pulling camping gear out of storage or strained my budget buying an expensive airline ticket. Best of all, I have not had to try on or buy a bathing suit.

Yes, I’m having a staycation. Finally, I’m doing something trendy. I’m staying put and logging some serious couch time. On the coffee table I have a stack of books, chocolate and a glass of wine. Every time a nagging, whining, productive thought enters my mind, such as “Get off the couch, you slug, and burn some calories,” I pull the blanket closer to my chin.

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Saturday, April 17, 8:30 a.m.: We go out for breakfast, and it’s easy to get a table. There’s no wait, no crowded parking lot, no noise. The weather still is crummy, and I feel no guilt crawling back on the couch. I need to digest, and vigorous exercise would only interfere with that process. I read until I fall asleep.

6 p.m.: Drag myself off the couch, take a shower and get dressed for Cabaret.

7:30 p.m.: Cabaret. The ballroom of the Grand is full. Wow! Look at all of these smart, savvy staycationers. We all look rested and relaxed. We are not exhausted from battling a snowstorm or setting up a desert camp where we might be stung by a scorpion or bit by a rattlesnake. We are not worried about contracting some south-of-the-border disease. We are laughing, smiling and fueling our own economy.

11 p.m.: I’m so inspired by Cabaret I come home and compose a song. All of my fellow staycationers, join in. This goes to the song “Maria” from “West Side Story.” Ready? On three. And a one, a two and a three:


The most beautiful sound I ever heard

All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word


The whole town has left on vacation

And suddenly Lincoln Avenue appears


I’m the only one not on vacation

Moab, Mexico, Mozambique all sound good to me


Everyone ditched me and went on vacation

And suddenly I can park wherever I darn well please


I’m loving my little staycation

And other people don’t realize just how much fun it can be


Say it loud ’cause there’s no one to hear you

Say it soft and I’ll still be staying


I’ll never stop wanting a


As you can see, my brain has turned to mush and I’m headed back to the couch.

The scenery is beautiful, wish you were here!