Dawn of the (Not Quite) Dead


I have cabin fever.

The kids and I have been cooped up together for a week straight now, sharing germs and bottles of Sudafed while we fight our way through a particularly pernicious head and chest cold. It struck Caleb first, crusting his face (and the back of his hand, which is apparently preferable to Kleenex) with dried goo from his nose. Before the sun set that same day, Katie and I were doubled over with sneezing fits and Caleb had developed a hoarse, throaty cough that evoked images of a very near future spent in a steam-filled bathroom with the hot shower running.

As we cancelled appointments and called in school absences, we kept hearing less-than-encouraging tales of bronchial infections and insidious viruses that dragged on for days and even weeks. So we settled in for the long haul. I cued up DVDs of favorite animated movies in our 5-disc changer, Paul prepared to take over teaching my Bible school classes, and we laid in a good supply of children’s cough and cold medicine.

Seven days later, we’re on our third jumbo box of Kleenex, I’ve watched “Flushed Away” eleven times, and Katie’s teacher just called us at home to make sure we haven’t suddenly pulled up stakes and moved out of the district. I have heard so many whiny, snuffling versions of the cry “Mommmmeeeee!” that I’m thinking of changing my handle to something foreign and very hard to pronounce.

The good news is that our forced solitude is drawing to an end. None of us is running a fever today, and aside from some minor sniffles, Katie has made an astonishing recovery over the past 24 hours. She’ll be heading back to school tomorrow. Caleb’s cough has been slower to fade, but he is also displaying signs of restlessness; I even imagine I hear a faint buzzing sound when I get close to him, like the crackle in the air around a power station. He’s been recharging his batteries for the last seven days, and they’re starting to smoke.

As for me, I love my kids dearly, but I’m getting desperate to see the sun again.

Today, I put on lipstick to walk out to the mailbox, just so it would feel like an excursion. Besides, you never know when you’ll run into somebody you know at the mailbox, and the washed-out zombie look I’ve been sporting might frighten my neighbors.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll talk to some actual adults, to make sure I remember how. Remind me–what do adults talk about? All I’ve got is the ‘square vs. triangle peanut butter sandwich cutting debate’ and an extensive knowledge of the secret urban life of London’s sewer-dwelling rats.


13 responses »

  1. Glad you’re all on the mend. Will enjoy finding out what topics of conversation work for you when you finally encounter some adults.

  2. I am glad you are all getting better. Let’s see… what do adults talk about? In my interactions with adults today I was surrounded by talk about bad roads,snowplows that are late,the Ididarod,somebody getting a stem cell transplant, the perils of 13 year old boys throwing snowballs, the arrival of spring, robins with stocking caps on, income taxes, and an eye exam. Do these topics motivate you to venture out with adults?

  3. Can I tell you just how sorry I am that you are stuck in this germ infested hoo-ha…. but how GLAD I am that even someone as kind and lovely as you wants to change her moniker from MOM to ANYTHING ELSE? I totally shouted that at my kids: I! AM CHANGING! MY! NAME!!!!!! I WILL NO LONGER BE KNOWN AS MOM! I WILL NOW BE KNOWN AS QUEEN (insert nonsense noise here).

    To which the younger replied, Um, Ween? (Queen) I hab some more appa jooose?


  4. My most pleasant conversation was about the secret urban life of London’s sewer-dwelling rats. No kidding. Ask Marci. Sorry to disappoint you, my friend, but for more stimulating conversation I’m afraid you’ll have to look outside you inner circle.

  5. They don’t call it the height of cold and flu season for nothing. I have been miserable for about the last 3 days with the worst head cold I’ve had yet. I’m not looking forward to the kids coming down with it. You are lucky that at least you got it all at once instead of it being dragged out for weeks by only one of you having it at a time…but I know that only a small consolation. I sure hope you all get to feeling better soon!

  6. Again, you can write about a houseful of germs with such eloquence that I am laughing and nodding and wishing I had written this very same post (except, perhaps, to not have personally experienced it!)

    I love the idea of changing your moniker. Too funny.

    I’m around scientists all day, so you don’t want to know what they talk about – I don’t understand any of it. Other than that, it’s just me and the ten year old.

    GET BETTER KATRINA HOUSEHOLD (technically, I know, it’s PAUL and Katrina’s household, but you get the idea, right?)

  7. Maybe a nice review of the 5 animated flicks in your DVD changer might make for some good blog content. 🙂 I really do want to know how good that British sewer-dwelling rat flick is…

  8. While Flushed Away was not as filled with potty humor as I expected, I found that I could not fully enjoy the story after the main character was flushed because I really could not wait for him to take a bath afterwards. It made me want to wash my hands. That is the gist of the “adult conversation” that Kathy and I had the other day.
    And speaking of ill children, I had to laugh at how unnurturing(?) I have become since my children have become teenagers. I have them take their own temperatures, and if they do not have a fever they have to go to school. Josh hit the jackpot with a fever for three days. As I was sitting in the living room, I heard him coughing in the kitchen, and instead of asking if he was ok, I yelled gruffly, “You better not be coughing on anything in there.”
    To which he replied, “I am coughing into my elbow.”
    To which my husband replied, “Get out of the kitchen, and do not touch anything!”
    Poor, misunderstood teenagers!

  9. Adults talk about the politics and challenges of the marriage bed and shared admiration and attraction to Alan Arkin.

    Oh! And their kids!


  10. Glad you’re getting better! Poor Caleb …

    Let’s see, today I’ve talked about makeup, air hockey, weekend plans, dogs, work and cheese. I love my job. lol

  11. So sorry that I cannot help you with your ‘adult conversation’ topics…I’m surrounded by little guys way too much…and about the only adult conversation I’ve had lately has been with my geek 🙂 He’s always got something to discuss, whether I understand what he’s talking about or not. Now, as for the germs, they would be reason for my lack of blogging lately.

    But, I promise to return with cookies 🙂

  12. Cabin fever – I’m with ya sister. I’ve had enough snow. Enough weekends cooped up in the house. Enough.

  13. Aside from all that was already mentioned in previous comments, I had to laugh at you calling “mommy” a handle instead of a mere name 😉

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