Tuesday, October 06, 2009

All the excitement

These two few days are full of sports hype--the excitement of the Minnesota/Wisconsin football matchup, the Vikings/Packers game, and the single-game playoff today between the Twins and the Tigers. But it's raining and cold, and I am the third person in my family to get sick with the flu. Oh wretched Jesus, or oh merciful jesus, or so help me god I AM going to get an early flu shot next year. My son Tim was confirmed with the H1N1 virus last week. I tended him as carefully as I could, running cool baths, rubbing his head and shoulders while he lay feverishly on my lap, all two-hundred pounds of him in a cold sweat. He was, like me, calculating in his sickness. "I think I feel better," he'd say, and then "I could probably go to school tomorrow," and then, an hour later, "I feel a lot worse now." When the sore throat morphed over to nausea and pains in his stomach, I rubbed his back while he lay stretched out, head limp on his hands. "Why do I feel better when you rub my back?" he asked. His temp got as high as 105 and we were both scared. But he is almost better and back to school today, where 225 kids were also out sick. He hasn't eaten much so I hope he makes it through the day okay. I heard from my friend that General Mills expected 30% of their workforce to be out sick this week.

Kind of strange to watch the hype of Monday Night Football with all the accoutrements of this sick household. Half-eaten bowls of red jello, glasses of apple juice, all the layers we've been wearing strewn about our couches and sick-beds: socks, cardigans, sweatpants. All of them we pull on and then off, and on again. Such a contrast to the bright-toothed, tight-bellied, sparkly NFL cheerleaders and the football players with the tight butts showcased in their white football pants.

Tim and I went to the Highland Park Library Saturday, so sick we were of TV, and he got two sci-fi titles and I got:

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Wrobleski
All the Small Living Things, Stegner
Jaques and Julie, a Pepin/Child cookbook
and Sew Easy, the essential guide to getting started

The last I got because it has all the projects printed on fold-out card stock, which are tucked into a case on the left; inside the case on the right is the guidebook, and it feels like I'm playing with paperdolls when I go through it. Turns out I can't look at the cookbook at all, not one bit, because I can't hold down any food. Even the scrumptious country tart looks unappealing to me.

Which reminds me, at West Publishing one of our secretaries was always battling weight and then she got the severe flu and was out a full seven days. And when she came back and we asked her how she felt she said she lost 10 pounds, and that was a good thing for her.

I ran into a few former West colleagues at the memorial service for Will Powers and we reminesced a bit. In the eighties, at the Kellogg Boulevard location, I sat between Roz and Lisa, back when we were assistant production editors in the college textbook division. Lisa suffered from general anxiety and the job only made it worse. She would always twist her hair when she was on the phone (we didn't have computers on our desks then so you can imagine how much we were on the telephone back then) and by lunch she had a swirling tower of red hair, twirled from base to tip like the top of a soft-serve cone. Roz would shout over the cubicles to tell Lisa to smooth down her hair. It happened often. And then Lisa had a problem with clenching her jaw too tightly, even during the day, so she wore a dental appliance to protect her teeth. She also rubbed her toes against each other too much and appeared on the elevator wearing sandals and a toe divider like the ones you might get for a pedicure. It was winter and when Roz saw the sandals and the purple toe divider she gave Lisa an exasperated "Now that's really carrying it too far, don't you think, Lisa?" Roz was about the only one who could be honest with her.

Now my head's getting a little dizzy--all this writing is the most excitement I've had for a few days. If you're a Twins fan, let's root them on this afternoon. And if you're a Tigers fan, well, my heart goes out to you. God knows your city needs this boost. But still, a win in the dome would be a perfect way to exit that marshmallow.