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 booklocker.com or amazon.com.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at email@example.com
Find more columns by Palmer here.
Steamboat Springs I hate the weather in Steamboat. Most of the time it’s perfect, and that’s the whole darn problem. There’s too much sunshine. No humidity. No rain. All admirable attributes, unless you need to get something done. Every day is perfection. Crisp denim blue skies. Cool nights and mornings, perfect for snuggling under a comforter. Please tell me.
How am I supposed to be productive when paradise awaits outside my door? As I type this, the sky is a robin’s egg blue dotted with powdery clouds tinged with pink. It would be a sin to waste a precious sun-filled summer day such as this, a mortal sin, right up there with envy, gluttony, sloth, pride, greed, lust and wrath.
Now, like all sins, I am paying the price. There are tumbleweeds of dust rolling across the floor. The appalling part is I do not need my reading glasses to see them.
I’ve decided to bill it as a new decorating trend: Dusty décor … the original look of the ol’ West.
Yep. Move over, ShamWow guy, I’m going to star in my own infomercial: “Howdy, friends and neighbors, welcome to the Lazy Palmer Ranch. I am trying to replicate an authentic, down-home Western environment right here in good ol’ Steamboat Springs, so I’ve decided to go au natural. The lonesome cowboys ridin’ the range surely didn’t come home to an antiseptic house. No! They checked their guns at the door but sure shootin’ stomped right across the kitchen floor with dirt and dust falling freely from their Wranglers. Well, boy howdy, the same exact thing happens right here at the Lazy Palmer Ranch. My floors have the authentic scratchy feel of a cowboy’s beard after he’s set a day or two in the saddle. I can send you a free dusty décor decorating kit right now for $29.99. That’s $29.99. Act now, don’t delay.”
Why, even the lonesome landscape around my house is dying from neglect. My grass looks like it needs Rogaine for Men. It is seriously bald, and where it is not bald it is yellow. My bad. I neglected to read the instructions on the weed killer. Who knew you were supposed to dilute it instead of using it full strength? Squirt, squirt. The weeds are gone, but oops, so is the grass. Alrighty then. I’m gonna grow me some prairie grass so I can attract some yippin’ coyotes and package the whole kit and caboodle up for sale. Maybe I’ll even throw in a hoot owl.
I grew up in the Midwest, and I miss those heart-pounding thunderstorms. The terrifying kind of storm where the sky goes black and bolts of lightning pierce the sky. Boo-ya! Those are not-to-be-messed-with storms, the kind where you need to dive under the covers with a good book and watch Mother Nature’s fireworks display. Or head for a storm cellar.
Here, a storm lasts, what, a puny 10 minutes? And typically, it’s so polite. Most of the time, the rain waits until late afternoon or evening before it cuts loose. The slight humidity that comes with it gives a curl to my hair and a shot of moisture to my skin. The plants perk up, and the grass I haven’t yet killed is momentarily happy.
Without rainy days, it’s hard to find the time to return phone calls, clean closets, bake banana bread or do a crossword puzzle. Laundry doesn’t get folded, the garage floor isn’t swept and magazines pile up waiting to be read. While the sun is shining, am I really going to worry about excess facial hair, quarterly taxes or writing a catchy end to this column?
Nope. Not a chance.