Between growing up in the Midwest, spending four years in college in Texas and now living in Park City, it's safe to say I've never lived in a place where spring was predictable. Or frankly, all that enjoyable.

April and May in Nebraska and Texas meant many rushed and panicked trips to the basement, often by flashlight, in the middle of the night. Some days, tornado sirens were so frequent they just became background noise. Like the overhead music you hear in a fancy department store.

Upon moving to Park City over a decade ago, I realized Mother Nature was just as schizophrenic in the mountains as she is in the fly-over states. Where else do you wear a tank top and your puffy North Face ski coat within a few hours of each other? Sun warming your shoulders one minute, and the next a mad dash in a blizzard to cover the tulips.

Normally this time of year I like to get on a plane and head to a place where spring is always delightful. A place with azure waters, white-sand beaches and cheap margaritas. But my annual spring vacation budget was eaten up by last fall's remodeling project, so this year the only water I'm soaking in is when I fill my new bathtub.

Usually in April and May Park City sees a mass exodus -- people go on vacation, restaurants close for a few weeks and there's just not much to do in town. And while I'd very much love to be typing this column with my toes in the sand somewhere exotic, I will say being here for the entire mud season this year has forced me to appreciate these six weeks of solitude.


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You can get a lot more done when all of your typical distractions are going through customs wearing a sombrero.

In addition to cleaning out my closets, my garage and storage shed (and by extension making a dozen trips to the Recycling Center and Christian Center) I've decided to get in touch with my inner Picasso and I enrolled in a few art classes at the Kimball Arts Center. I was pleasantly surprised to learn they offer classes year-round and my goal is to graduate from my signature stick-figure drawing by June.

I've also signed up for a class at The Paint Mixer, where I'm told I'll follow step-by-step instructions and recreate a featured painting. Which I presume will eventually end up in my garage, closet or shed. But at least there's plenty of room for it now.

I also discovered this adorable little paint-your-own-pottery place at Kimball Junction called Color Me Mine. Apparently it's been there for years, but having never before been in the market for self-painted coffee cups, I'd never popped in. Now though, I think this is my new favorite rainy-day place. And my friends and family should consider this fair warning their birthday gifts this year will likely be a hand-painted soap dish or vase.

And while I doubt anything I produce will ever see the inside of the Louvre, I'd be happy to go visit it next spring if it does.

Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.