declaration: down day

felled by two fevers, three stuffed heads, and enough coughing to blow out some lungs (and maybe a front tire, to boot) , the mama in charge around here declared a down day. all weekend long.

no errands. no sunday school. no leaving the house, not for the little one at least. instead, we stayed in jammies. ate late breakfast with muffins hot out of the oven. finished leftovers for lunch. made a stew that stewed all day. sprinkled glitter on the last of the valentines. invited grammy for sunday dinner. watched old home movies. made a lincoln log cake. one of us even cleaned out her work closet.

sometimes, it seems, the best thing you can do for yourself is catch a little germ. nothing wretched, mind you. just a little mercury-elevating, nose-clogging, mild-mannered bug.

nothing a little tylenol every six hours won’t shoosh away.

it’s the snow day without snow (although it looks at the moment as if we’ve been doused with plenty of that). it’s hibernation without being a bear in the back of the cave. it’s the traffic cop’s flat palm shoved in the face of a world that won’t brake for yellow lights.

so you grope for the medicine chest, and on the way you hit the pause button. you cough and you sneeze, you wipe your baby’s fevered brow. and for a few blessed hours you get the one thing that should be doled out in minimum daily requirements: peace, quiet, time to catch up.

while some of you are nestled under blankets–in broad daylight, mind you–sipping 7-up, quaffing jell-o, begging for gummy worms (because, silly you, you started a game where you were the mama bird and the sick little baby bird dozed in his fleece-blanket nest, fueled mostly on green wiggly worms made of 200 percent sugar), others of you get to go about business at 33 rpm, instead of the usual 78.

now, i am not recommending you go swabbing up sick houses, incubating bad gunk in your fridge, all in pursuit of a day without places to be.

but i am saying there are worse things than being stuck home with a stuffed-up nose.

maybe it’s that winter by now is getting the best of us. maybe it’s this cold that has chilled us to the very marrow of our old weary bones. maybe it’s as simple as the fact that climbing into and out of big rubber boots, zipping and unzipping eight layers of layering, losing and finding and losing again the warm woolen mittens (and even the backups), is getting to wear a bit thin.

sure a ticket to tahiti would help. but, folks, there is no travel counselor on speed dial at my house.

so instead we slow time the old-fashioned way, the way we learned back in our school days when we savored the day with a thermometer on standby next to our bed, a glass wrapped with a rubber band, so designated as a sick-person glass. it meant that while everyone else was shuffled out of the house in the morning, we got to sink our head back into the pillow. and while everyone else ate lunch out of a brown paper bag at a school desk, we got lucky and had noodle soup in a bowl on a tray carried up to our bed. so long as we didn’t slurp on the sheets, we were queen for a day.

and so it goes. all these years later. a little bit sick means a whole lot heavenly.

oh, if only we were smart enough to slow down without a dumb bug knocking us upside the nose.

at your house what slows you down, gets you to shut out a good dose of the world and the noise? and, by the way, does anyone else wrap a glass with a rubberband, or is that just my sweet mama’s very own brand of germ control? now passed from me to my boys. like a germ, maybe….