2020 | Year in Review

Holiday Greetings to all,

As we all know this year has been a tough one for most of us.

Through it all we hope you are safe & well and stay that way.



2020 started out so well. We celebrated the new year with family and friends and all was well. 

In fact so great we headed for Ecuador mid-January to stay with friends (they are/were thinking about retiring there) with a side trip to the Galapagos Islands (on our Bucket List). 

A wonderful and unforgettable experience we will fondly remember forever. See Battisto.com for details… Here’s a link: https://battisto.com/2020/01/ecuador-galapagos-january-2020/



Mary and I are still working so we had to “make up” for leaving everyone at A-1 Vacuum for sooo long. Therefore, we were good little employees for the first two weeks at which time Mary and I (and Mary’s twin, Beth) celebrated our 47th Anniversary (and the twins 6x birthdays) at the place that serves the “Silver Butter Knife Steak.” For those of you not familiar with that reference, after COVID, try it, you’ll like it… 🙂 

Our business related responsibilities kicked in so we “Delta’d” off to Sin City for our annual Vacuum Dealer Trade Association Convention.

I know, you think it was all play and no work. Well…

We did work, I think, but there was some fun involved as well. Take a look…


We returned just in time for this nasty COVID crap to turn our world upside down. 


The lockdown begins. Well, not quite yet. 

The girls were able to get together for their bi-annual “Women’s Weekend,” Winter Edition. Sounds like they had fun but were preparing to get home for the COVID lockdown. I heard all of the meal planning and decided I was missing some great meals.

Then everything seemed to go into slow motion. Businesses like restaurants and gyms closed. Many others curtailed hours and access to customers. A new normal of working from home for many began. We had runs on all kinds of things, some I couldn’t figure out why. Even A-1 Vacuum got quiet as people went home and stayed there. But not for long…

All kinds of new things became popular.

Zoom, Duo, jigsaw puzzles along with lots more eating and drinking at home instead of out. We settled in for the long haul. The limited hours at work gave us more time at home. Walks around the neighborhood became the norm. Getting used to wearing a mask was difficult for many. Oh what fun we had.




What a change! Luckily the weather had cooperated for the most part.


A-1 Vacuum remained “open,” kind of… We shortened hours and went to “Curbside” Service only for a while to minimize the risk.

Sanitizing became a regular routine. All went well.

In fact it went to well the initial lull turned into cooped up folks in need of cleaning equipment.

Both service and sales took off to the point where I felt like a roll of TP…

We had a tough time keeping up for a while.

Looking back it was almost fun. It sure made the initial COVID lockdown go by fast…




A-1 Vacuum reopened to in-store traffic but still with limited hours and traffic. It seemed to work. Most people were very cooperative. Very few “bad apples” in the crowd so it was easy to work with customers. Many called first to see if we took appointments and allowed traffic in the store. With so many changes it wasn’t surprising.

Mother’s Day brought warmer weather and limited celebration for Moms all over. Very little visiting but plenty of electronic visits. A poor substitute but it worked.

Because of the limited entertainment options we found new ways to amuse ourselves. Getting the yard up to speed and adding bird feeders kept Mary and I busy outdoors. Evening walks kept us moving. All was well in our new normal.

The family debated how too approach the Memorial Day weekend travels to the lake. It was decided that we could safely gather, keep the social distancing as much as possible and take our chances. It worked out just fine.




June went too quick. We decided to replace the deck and spent time with David, our remodeler, to get things in the pipeline. Turns out he was as busy as we were at the shop. Apparently our deck has to last for a while longer. We’ll wait.

Work still had shortened hours so the longer days and good weather made for some great times on the deck watching the world go by. It got so bad that the FedEx guy (John) and the Speedee guy (also John) showed up at our house to pick up and drop off packages. We were closing the store too early for them. Being only 4 blocks away made it easy for everyone.


July was full of being busy at work (me) while the girls went off to play. Between 4th of July weekend at the lake and Women’s Weekend (Summer Edition) the lake got plenty of use, In between jaunts to the lake we did escape to a few “watering holes” that had started to open again.



August arrived and I was ready to escape so I planned a trip for Mary and I to Sacramento, California to visit my sister Sue and sneak off to Napa Valley for my birthday. As many of you know I try to be elsewhere on my birthday. . Things had loosened up a bit, COVID-wise so air travel was picking up and the wineries were accepting customers for outdoor tastings.

Wednesday we had a safe, smooth ride out to Sacramento on Delta. The trip was a bit eerie as the airport was basically empty and the plane was less than half full but the crew was great given the circumstances and the whole process felt safe and comfortable.

We rented a car at the airport and headed to Sue’s place for the long weekend with a side-trip to Napa and Sonoma on Friday.

The only obstacle was Sue. She was sequestered at home and not going out at all so we were worried she might not want unsafe “outsiders” invading her safe space. Surprisingly she accepted our visit with open arms. 

We relaxed and sat around catching up on everything going on including politics, which Mary was NOT willing to engage in. Sue and I had to handle that until Mary would put the kibosh on it or leave in disgust…

It was HOT! The pool felt great but we spent much time inside with the AC keeping things comfortable. Mornings and evenings were the best for outdoor activities. We’d head for groceries in the morning and sit out around the pool at dusk. We ate good (no indoor seating at restaurants) by creating our own or picking up take-out. The highlight for the take-out was a sushi feast we picked one evening.

With a trip to Napa and Sonoma on Friday and a drive to Folsom Dam for a walk in the park and lunch outdoors afterwards we kept busy but had to limit outdoor activities to short affairs as the temps were north of 100 each day. WOW! But it was a “dry” heat as “Walter” would tell you. (You have to know about Jeff Dunham to get the “Walter” reference…)

We flew back to more comfortable Minnesota temps to get ready to do some “babysitting” at the Capistrants and for the long Labor Day Holiday at the lake.


WOW! How time flies. Brian and Jamie celebrated their 25th Anniversary by escaping to northern Minnesota for a canoeing trip among other activities and Mary volunteered to keep an eye on the kids over the long weekend at their house. I joined her after work on Saturday after work for the balance of the weekend. Watching the kids keep busy was entertaining. They stayed busy with all kinds of activities around the house and with friends in the neighborhood. There was the usual hockey run for practice. Mary handled that. I rented a car for the weekend so I had the ability to come and go as needed. The highlights of the weekend were a competitive couple of games of Monopoly with Lucas, Natasha and Adia where Adia had her way with us on the first game but I came storming back on the second. She’s a tough operator. Very cut-throat and good. Next, chess with Aidia where I got lucky the first game but lost (for the first time) on the second. Adia is smart, competitive and knows how to win. A wonderful but humbling experience.



Our last visit to the lake for the Labor Day Holiday was fun. This time we headed to Sunset Lake (Cappy’s on Sunset) to stay with Brian, Jamie and the kids. A wonderful weekend filled with all kinds of activities on and off of the lake.