Monday, February 11, 2008

Cabin Fever

Once again we were hit by a storm. Saturday night a "clipper system" rolled into the Great Lakes, dumping several inches of snow. That wasn't the bad part. The system was followed by an Arctic cold front, which dropped the temperatures down into the single digits, and accompanied by 20 to 30 mph winds, which dropped the wind chills into the below zeros.

We had gone to our friends' house for dinner on Saturday night and the drive back to our home was nothing less than treacherous. The roads were slick with ice. Visibility was difficult in the white-out conditions. The traffic crawled along and there had been numerous slide-offs. Just beyond our exit on the highway was a multi-car accident, so, thankfully for us, we didn't have to negotiate around the pile-up through that dangerous spot. We made it safely.

Sunday morning, what ho? Snowed in again. Hundreds of churches had canceled Sunday service. Authorities recommended avoiding driving unless absolutely necessary. It kept snowing and the winds howled, rattling the windows and doors. Even though I turned up the thermostat, the house felt like a walk-in refrigerator. The kids were complaining for the cold and the dog refused to go outside. On the news was reported a 30 car crash on one of the major highways. No one had to tell me to stay home.

I have to admit that, even for a die-hard Michigander like myself, I am getting restless. There's lots of things one can do to stay busy - watch a movie, play games, work on a project, etc. Those are all grand suggestions on how to be entertained and pass the time, but what did I opt to do? I cleaned house.

As you may or may not know, I happen to be the Queen of Domestic Dilemmas and the Princess of Procrastination, so when I opt to "clean" anything you could pretty much chalk it up to the end of the world or an invasion of aliens (you pick). That's how cooped up I felt on Sunday. None of the traditional pasttimes appealed to me. Because of this, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that I am suffering from a mild case of Cabin Fever.

I decided the best way to combat my symptoms was to retreat to a part of the house which is particularly neglected - the second floor. There I dueled with dust bunnies, tackled the trash, and swabbed the decks. I conquered the clothes piles, tussled with toys, and battled the books. A few hours of my time later and things were shaping up nicely.

Next I went into the basement, empty baskets in hand. I had to finish some laundry and also thought I'd see what else I could accomplish. Of course, there were clothes in the drier waiting to be folded and stacks of clean clothes on top of the machine. I took care of both and started a load to wash. As I stood there, revved with adreniline, rocking on my heels, I spied it... Mount Ironing.

Now, I usually have good intentions, telling myself, "I'll do 15 minutes of ironing a day and will have it done in no time." Since I am a resident of the Land of Procrastination and Denial, what I really do upon seeing the pile is cringe, avert my eyes, and walk past as fast as I can. The truth is that I never make time to iron because I HATE IRONING! But yesterday, what did I do? I forced myself to start digging through the clean clothes until I uncovered the ironing board and plugged in the iron. The embarassing part of all of this was that I was finding summer clothes in the ironing pile and clothes that my children have actually grown out of!

Some people would have hated their flaws more and spiraled into deeper self-loathing, "I'm such a loser because I haven't ironed since last year!" but not me. I forgave myself for my flaws and faced them, "Who cares?" I said, and put in an hour's worth of ironing. I have to say I made quite a bit of progress. Don't worry, I didn't try to tackle Mount Ironing in one day. I worked for a while and then called it good. Outside the wind was howling still and the world was a blustery one as seen from my window. The kids were excited about the possiblity of NO SKOOL the next day. We had dinner and then watched two of my kids' favorite Sunday shows - America's Funniest Home Videos and Extreme Home Makeover - and then it was time for bed. I felt better for having accomplished some things that day, but inside I was secretly dreading the possibility of being imprisoned by the weather for a second day in a row... Chalk it up to Cabin Fever!

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