Here at my quarantined Budget Vogue desk, I plan for a well-deserved, well-thought-out, well-choreographed summer retreat: the backyard tent.

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The tent itself is a large one, one I’ve had in my basement for years, one that I used to travel with my children, my nieces, my family for simple excursions south and north. It is designed to allegedly “sleep eight” but, oh no, this tent will be sleeping one.

This summer, I’m simply going to set it up outside, will refer to it as my summer home and outfit it with a magnificently cozy bed, a side table for books, a lamp, a soft carpet and a chair to sit and escape the ceilings I’ve been under since March.

I’ll announce to my daughters, to my husband, “I’m going away for a night or two. I will be unavailable so you’re on your own.” Chances are, they will exhale, be grateful not to hear, ”Who’s dishes are these?” or “Why don’t you read a book?” or “Who are you texting?”

Let’s face it, we all need a reprieve from quarantine.

And my goal is to keep it simple this summer, to continue social distancing, to practice the same tools my family has been using all along. My husband will fish, my daughters will run and write and read and swim; I will camp and escape and, on occasion, open my summer home to my little family.

My world has been made smaller by COVID but larger in the same breath. I will find joy in the backyard, in the retreat of a tent, in the simplicity of a moonlit sky.

And while it’s challenging, dear Budget Voguers, to not feel we’re “missing out,” I’ve found this a glorious time to notice what I’ve been missing out on for decades: a backyard, a tent stored in the basement, the Yahtzee game we’d not used ever — thinking, “someday I’ll play with my daughters.”

If you have the opportunity to create your own summer retreat, your own getaway, this may be the summer to bask in the simplicity. And, who knows, dear Budget Vogue fashionistas — that simplicity may last a lot longer than COVID.

We have the sun, we have each other, we have hope. Let’s keep it simple and bask in health, backyards and mortgage-free summer homes.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at