HodgePodge By Charlie Hodge – Are you ready for the summer of your life?

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HodgePodge By Charlie Hodge

Are you ready for the summer of your life? As John Lennon tabbed several beautiful years ago, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

That line trickled through my brain last night as Tez and I brainstormed over when she should book her summer holidays  before summer is over. Her (law-office) job never closed when Covid-19 kicked in – just her physical office. Like many others Tez’s work shifted into our home. Suddenly our home phone became her office phone, Zoom became the new face to face, and four male cats became co-workers within laughing, crying and eye-ball rolling range. The water cooler and coffee machine are in our kitchen as is her lunchroom. Private conversations are easy – she simply closes the door to her new office which also doubles as our laundry room. Door closing is rare however since my ‘office’ is downstairs.

Ironically it looks like her holidays might well resemble every other day in the past four months since our holiday destination so far is mainly the back yard. In our case that’s dandy. As part-time recluses Tez and I prefer to stay home as much as possible.

However, lovely as home can be it’s nice to take trips, see friends, and learn and grow through experiences. It’s difficult to actually ‘get away’ or ‘take a break’ from the pets, kids, yard work, or other stressors of the home if one never goes away.

COVID-19 has basically eliminated long distance travel. Flying or cruises are out of the question, so is travel to the United States. (As of this morning the US has set a record of 60,000 new cases in one day while 37 states show infections on the rise).  Thankfully the border between Canada and the U.S is slated to remain closed until at least July 21. I predict it will remain closed for the remainder of the summer. Opening the borders would be a total health disaster.

All the more reason to embrace the Staycation concept.

B.C. residents are blessed with options while facing our forced confinement status. The millions of foreign tourists that normally focus on B.C. as their destination can’t visit if they want to. Without the influx of visitors from other countries, and limited travel for Canadians the opportunities in B.C. have opened up for locals.

Parks and beaches are much more accessible (only B.C. residents can camp in parks or campgrounds) and face much smaller potential crowds when on outings. In addition many businesses such as hotels or tourist related businesses are offering wonderful deals in order to generate income.

With my dependence on portable oxygen devices to stay alive my travel is challenging, but certainly possible. We plan on picnic type visits to some old favourite spots such as the Summerland Experimental Farm grounds, a couple of beaches in the Valley including Sun Oka and Kalamalka Lake, a day trek to Osoyoos desert, and other day-trip adventures.

A day in our canoe would be lovely, though we have to find someone to help us get it into the water, or a place we can safely keep it near the lake. No better way or place to picnic than in a canoe.

Of course not all adventures need to be somewhere else. There’s great potential summer fun at home. Thankfully our one-third acre provides a number of spots to hide and relax in. The trick is to remember the latter and relax rather than constantly work.  Our goal is to dream up some holiday fun things to do in our yard.

One option is to set up our tent and simply pretend we are camping. Not only does it save a lot of time, energy and money not having to find a campsite, but it also means easier access to washrooms, running water, cooking implements and, oh yeah, shelter when it starts to rain or blow to hard.

We are digging out the long forgotten and unused croquet set.

In another endeavour to have some summer fun Tez and I purchased a large kid’s lawn pool last week and plan to put it together this coming weekend. (Stay tuned – there has to be a column in that experience). We have become so frustrated with hearing all the splashing and joy on the other side of the fence from the Accent Inn hotel pool we figured we needed our own pool. Tiny, plastic and certainly not heated – we figured if it could fit the two of us and a couple of drink holders we are good to go.

The way I figure it, if we get it set up and warmed up and then  enjoy enough beverages we won’t care we are not in the ocean in California, in a heated pool in France,  or the Accent Inn pool.

Ah yes, summer vacation. Say Tez – could you pass me the sunscreen?

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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