The Cold War…

Fall as arrived.  The leaves are beginning to change colour.  The air has a fresh chill to it.  The stagnant, humid and stifling air of summer is no more.   That also means the cold days of summer are finally over.  Yes, I wrote that correctly:  the “cold” days of summer.  I work in an office.  Come summer, the thermostat gets set at something close to minus freezing.  This is to ensure that a “normal” room temperature is achieved.  At least, that is what the men in the building say.  I’ll give you a replay of a “summer day” at my work.

I have just gotten out of my air conditioned car (see, I don’t mind air conditioning) and I’m headed toward the front door of the office building where I work.  The air is thick with mugginess.  My straightened hair has begun to curl from the humidity.  My lacquered toes are peeping out from my strappy light pink sandals.  I am wearing a floral calf length summer dress.  It’s blowing breezily around my legs as the hot air blows around me.  As I open the front door to the building my breath catches in my throat.  The air is frigid.  Holy smokes I’ve walked into a meat locker!  Nope, nope, my mistake.  It definitely is my place of work.  I walk slowly toward my desk.  I am attempting to keep the warm air of the outdoors upon me as a shield until I can make it to my desk.  The final destination has emergency provisions in order to ensure regular blood flow and circulation thus halting any impending hypothermia.

My legs begin to stiffen.  My breathing is becoming shallower.  “KEEP MOVING!” yells my brain.  I finally make it to my desk and slump into my chair.  Blessedly my “office sweater” is still there.  I shakily take it off the back of the chair and slide first my left, then my right arm into the long knit sleeves.  The ice that was beginning to form has now begun to melt.  I am grateful for my office sweater.

The office sweater is a special garb.  It can be purchased in any store, but Walmart, Sears,  Target are good places.  You could even pick one up at a charity store like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  It needs to be soft because itchy sweaters don’t feel too good on ice cold body parts.  It is usually a large or extra large size making it more or less a one size fits all.  This is imperative as it will undoubtedly need to accommodate other women (sufferers) in the office.  This is especially certain during those times when someone has brought an office sweater home to wash it and has forgotten to return with it.  YOUR office knit will save their life.  Pockets, on this coveted article of clothing, are a bonus.  This is the receptacle for your facial tissue (due to dripping nose syndrome) and perhaps even lip balm.  You will eventually discover you have dry lips due to the chattering of your lips and harsh breaths you will inhale in order to maintain your status as a member of the living.

After putting on my office sweater, I reach under my desk and turn on my space heater.  As the coils start to glow red, I begin to have feeling in my toes.  The numbness in my toes has abated.  I happily wiggle my little piggies.  It feels so good.  I can feel the heat on them now.  My fingers have changed from the blue hue to a lovely pink vibrant and healthy colour.  I pull up the sleeves on my office sweater…to my wrists only…and turn on my computer.  If the sleeves went up any higher my arms would hit the slab of a cold desk and ice me out. There needs to be a buffer of warmth against the chillness of the desk.   After the anti-thaw ritual, I can now begin my workday.

During the course of the day, I will get up to visit the ladies room.  This particular room does not seem to get affected by the office temperature.  It’s a nice neutral room, but you can’t stay there forever.  My red legs (from the space heater) work as a shield as I walk around the office space.  Its defensive properties last about 3.17 minutes.  After that there are no guarantees.  I would liken it to an astronaut being lost in space.  Eventually the atmosphere will get you and kill you.  Getting back to your ship, a.k.a. desk, is the only way to survive.

I have visitors on especially hot summer days.  The OWNS (OWNS = Ones With No Sweater) announce their arrival at my desk with the loud chattering of their teeth.  They stand huddled together around my chair.  We breath sighs of relief as the heat emanates gloriously from beneath my desk.  The steady warmth can be felt for up to a two-foot circumference.  Colour returns to cheeks and lips.  Arms and legs begin to move more freely.  There is much rejoicing after the thaw.

This may sound like a tall tale, a complete fabrication.  I thought this scourge was only experienced by the females at my workplace.  Then one day, whilst surfing the [inter]net, I saw THIS documentary.

 

So here it is…the season of fall.  That time of year when the grand decision is made to ceremoniously unlock the thermostat and transition the office atmosphere from “frosty” to “toasty”.  Ladies!  Put away the communal office sweater.  Let it hibernate majestically for another year!  Now for closing prayer:

Thank you to the sweater gods

Who clothed and warmed our chilly bods

May office warmth be here to stay

So we can live another day.

Hallelujah!  We have survived another Cold War and we are grateful.

Transmogrified, Evil Villain…

Life is great!  I am happy!  Cough…Happy!  Cough cough!  What the heck is going on?  Hmmm, there is a wee tickle in my throat.  Ahem, ahem…cough cough.  HACK-COUGH!   My nose is itchy.  What is this?  There is leakage from my nasal passages.  Grab a facial tissue and blow my nose.  Blow again.  One more time!  Phew!  Think I got it all.  Great!  Wait a minute.  I can’t hear anymore.  What is going on?  I don’t have a fever or anything.  What new strain of evilness is this?  Yes, it appears I have a cold.  If it is so normal then why do I feel so AB-normal?

I have become a transmogrified evil villain!  I am usually the upbeat “Pollyanna” type rooting for everything good in the world!  “You can do this!”  I exclaim.  “Live in denial!” I yell to myself.  This self-lie usually works to trick my body into thinking that I am not ill.  It’s not real.  I can get past this.  Yet, here I am on day 9 (yes day 9) and I have managed to get hearing back in one ear.  The Super Cough has diminished to a mere whisper of its previous potency.  My bruised ribs have finally stopped screaming at me so I guess I actually did not crack any ribs in cough-a-lot episodes.  My sinuses…oh my…those beauties made my eyes look like fish eyes…all bulgy and watery.  Why am I describing my ailments?  I believe it is vitally important to share information that might make others feel better about their life situation, knowing that there are “others” like them.

To be honest, the reason I bring up my gross illness is because I have become a horrible human being.  I have become an uber, ugly, vindictive “reality show” type personality on the person I love.

When you get sick as a parent, you are not allowed to show weakness.   You are the doctor.  You are the nurse.  You are the most patient and understanding person in their lives.  When they say their teardrop hurts their cheek, it’s a reality you need to remedy to make them sleep.  However, when the children are out of the house and you become ill, you finally get to plead illness (and insanity).  Who gets the brunt of your illness woes?  Your bestie!  The person who will always be there for you through thick and thin.  It’s true right?

Think about it.  Wiseguy told me right from the beginning that one crucial element of a good relationship is:  COMMUNICATION!  For those of you who do not understand what that means, I shall simplify.  If there is something that is bothering you and you are holding it inside instead of talking about it, that means you are NOT communicating.  This would be a perfect example of my parent’s household.

In my parents house if you were upset, you held it in because there was no point in discussing issues.  Parents were always right.  Siblings?  No talk…more about actions and getting even (bwahaha!).  So, now I had to learn this “talk” thing.

For those of you who were taught manners and behaving properly and “be sure not to offend anyone” this was a difficult task.  After several years I got the hang of it.  It’s not about yelling and picking on each other, it’s actually discussing things, in adult words, no F-bombs.  It’s sharing thoughts, ideas, opinions.  It really does work.  Well, it works while you are both of sound mind.  When one gets sick, sense and sensibility gets thrown out and the evil “sick” monster takes over.

As previously mentioned, I have been the caretaker for many.  If I did get ill (i.e.”West Nile Virus), I still had my father-on-law come to me whilst I was lying on the couch and ask me: “What’s for dinner?”  Yes, it’s true.  When children get sick, parents don’t get timeouts.  It doesn’t matter how tired you are, the children are most important and one day you hope you will have time to sleep.  So, here I am, 20 years later, sick myself, and I am incorrigible.

I have been apologizing to Wiseguy on an almost hourly basis!  Why?  Because I am yelling at him for not speaking loudly enough for me to hear him.  My ears are plugged.  When my one ear canal finally opened up I complained that he was talking too loudly.  Even better… he now has whatever ailment I have and I am complaining when he can’t hear me!  I am agitated.  I am irritated!  I can’t hear properly.  I keep throwing verbal darts at Wiseguy.  He can do nothing right.  He made me a beautiful breakfast and I complained about the pan he used.  Cruel!?  For sure!

So, this little story is two-fold:

To Cold Sufferers:  You are not in your normal state of mind.  When you find that you are going crazy and verbally assaulting those you love, remember to apologize for being an intolerable pain.

To my hubby:  You are the best!  You should get hazard pay for dealing with my psycho-sicko mood swings.  I’m here for you.  (I hear you coughing right now.  Thanks for letting me share my unhealthy goodness with you!  Bwahaha!)

P.S.  Although I am of the elder-world, I find that many children’s books can simply explain life’s difficulties.  As adults we find “big words” to explain our life situations.  Over the past few days, in my whiny state of mind, I thought about how “horrible” I felt and recalled one of my all time favourite stories.  It made me laugh out loud (nowadays known as LOL):  Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Do you have a favourite storybook?  If so, what is so special about it?