Jeff Hutcheson

Hi I’m Jeff, and I used to be on TV. Now? Retired, and living the good, and currently self-isolating, life in my adopted home of PEI. Why PEI? That’s what happens when you marry an Island girl, in my case Heather. I introduce you to her, because she will be a common thread in this, whether she likes it or not!

My current situation is this. Heather is a teacher, and, as I mentioned, I’m retired after a 40 year TV career. On March 1st, I left for Florida, to spend a month in the warmer climate and play some golf. Well, actually I was hoping for ‘a lot’ of golf. Heather was supposed to join me on March 14th for a week during the school break. I had already prepared myself to play ‘a lot less’ golf during that time frame.

Admittedly, as the COVID-19 situation really began ramping up, anxiety began to sneak in and it culminated on Friday the 13th. That’s when the federal government issued a no nonessential travel advisory to the United States. This immediately gave the travel insurance companies the green flag to yank coverage as soon as possible. In my case, I had until March 23rd to get out. I got back to PEI on March 19th, and knew I had to self-isolate, was prepared to self-isolate, and began to self-isolate. Clearly thinking about self-isolation, and actually executing self-isolation are two different things.

My self-isolating is different from some others. I travelled alone. Heather didn’t travel, alone or otherwise. This put me in the self-isolating position of self-isolating ... from my wife. Not easy. On so many levels.

Where to start? Well, first I scored the upstairs master bedroom and she is downstairs. That’s a great example of ‘bedroom distancing’. If I appear to get a little grumpy during my 14 days, you’ll know why. There is also a gerbil living in the basement, and we have three cats. My feeling is we are just an unlatched cage away from a giant fur ball down there and I’d just as soon not be a part of that.

From time to time in our isolation, issues have come up. Important ones too. Is there an extra extension cord around so I can plug my phone in on the couch while watching TV and streaming Ray Donovan? Is vanilla the only kind of yogurt we have? If our ice maker goes on the fritz, can a repair man come to the house? What if we run out of cat food ... or gerbil food for that matter?

These issues pale in comparison to my most recent dilemma. ‘Snack distancing’. Here’s what happened. Since neither of us are leaving the house, we decided to order from our local Superstore online. You simply download their app, and order.

Because so many Islanders are doing the right thing, ordering online to reduce being in a crowd, we discovered it would be five days between the time we placed the order and the time Heather could pick it up.

Five days. Never saw that coming.

So we proceeded to fill out the order, and at this point it’s important to note, very important in fact, that Heather had control of the app. And you know what that means. No ‘secret ordering’ for Jeff. There would be no “I didn’t know we ordered these twizzlers” during the unpacking process, or “hey, where did these cheezies come from?” So I had to begin immediate, but seemingly vague, negotiation to try and get some snacks ordered.

I should tell you that I might be little teeny, tiny bit overweight. Not a lot overweight, but in the end, we could all stand to lose a few pounds. When you’re just a teeny bit overweight, your loved ones like to remind you that you don’t necessarily need those chips, or don’t you think one box of Smarties is enough, or, don’t even think of getting another one of those molten chocolate lava cakes. You learn to cope.

I could go on, but it’s probably easier to just skip to the end of the ordering story. Safe to say, I will savour each one of my Blasted Xtreme Cheddar Gold Fish snacks. Baked. Low fat. Initially I chimed in that I thought we should order at least four packages of Blasted Xtreme Cheddar Goldfish snacks because you never know how long it will be until our next order. I sure hope they have some in stock when we pick up. I mean, seriously, how far can I stretch two packages?

Jeff Hutcheson is a retired national television presenter who now calls PEI home. His lighthearted column will appear weekly. He can be contacted at

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(6) comments


Great column Jeff...thanks for bringing a smile to my face. I think we are all gerbils right now...on the COVID 19 wheel of isolation.


[beam]You are half way there Jeff.

Bernie Anderson

Great to have so my einn mmh e put a smile on our faces .. well done .. you are half way there


Blasted extreme cheddar are the best. One package only does 2 snack meals for me though?


Jeff has always possessed a very hilarious and witty sense of humour. I look forward to his weekly column and wonder which path he'll take from bedroom to kitchen; clockwise or, counter clockwise. I'm on the edge of my seat in anticipation.


Great article. I am “an Island girl” that lives in Cgy. Have a place on the beach in PEI. AlWays enjoyed you on morning show! Hoping to go to PEI this summer.

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