Sometimes I think how nice it would be to have a little sickness. Nothing serious. Nothing involving vomiting, for instance. Diarrhea I could live without, and any of the numerous snot-based illnesses would not be on my list.
Just a basic fever-malaise-sleepiness kind of sickness, something to send you to bed, away from chaos, armed with Tylenol, liquids and every episode of “I, Claudius,” the best mini-series ever.
It never works out, unfortunately. When that sort of thing happens, I’m usually too busy sleeping and dreaming of giant amorphous globs of matter. And that’s probably too much information; sorry.
We’ve had some warm weather lately; nothing to trigger any alarms other than with the media, but warm. I got up at 6 a.m. yesterday, prodded by my son who was having a milk emergency (i.e., he wanted cereal), and took advantage of the cool morning to take a walk and water the flowers. By early afternoon it was getting toasty on the west side of the house, so I went to the basement to cool off and be productive.
I’ve written about my basement before, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t continue. It’s a day basement, partly underground but still with plenty of light, and obviously designed as a mother-in-law apartment, laid out and plumbed/wired for a living area, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen; about 1200 square feet.
Since we have 1900 sq. ft. or so upstairs, plenty of room for us, and our mothers-in-law tend to like where they live, the basement has always been an afterthought. I had a home office down there for 17 years, and at different points we’d use it as guest quarters, a den or even a master bedroom, but for the past few years it’s been a repository of broken futon frames, old computers and Star Trek paperbacks.
It’s the coolest part of the house, though, and since my wife suggested that I at least carve out a living space, a redoubt where we could retreat from the near-90-degree weather — and since I always do what my wife suggests, except when I don’t — I headed down under for the day.
I think maybe I went overboard. I started moving junk, boxes and broken furniture, and I couldn’t stop. I found out that carpets are surprising durable, and that furniture deemed unworthy for upstairs is actually quite functional downstairs, as long as you turn it right side up. Suddenly (well, not suddenly), we had a very adequate additional living space to beat the heat, complete with a loveseat (newly covered), a still passable if mildew-y sleeper sofa, an entertainment center with one of our approximately 1200 TVs, an only slightly handicapped chair, and a coffee table.
But basements are generally Disneyland for mold spores, as we all know, and perhaps specifically my basement. I admit to being pretty ignorant (i.e., in denial) about mold except to know that it can affect the immune system, but maybe it was mold. Maybe it was just my time.
I just know that around 7 o’clock yesterday evening I started to feel strange, and by 10 I was feverish. Julie said in the middle of the night I swung an arm around and touched her, and she thought she’d suffered second-degree burns. I was hot, and in no mood for Roman intrigue or anything else on TV that didn’t have NyQuil ads.
I seem to be better now, although most of today was interesting, sort of somewhere on a scale between lethargy and delirium. And I have a meeting tonight I really can’t miss, so I’ve been following the old common sense maxim: Feed a cold, negotiate with a fever.
My sickness, whatever it may be, will retreat long enough for me to fulfill my obligations tonight, and in return I will reward it with ice cream when I get home, and nothing even remotely resembling PBS programming, which seems only fair.