Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January Blues and Bugs

I love the changing of the seasons, and I wanted to live here so I could experience all four of them every year.  However, I do not like the flu and colds that come with the winter season, and it seems to me that friends’ illnesses has been particularly virulent this year.  My post-Thanksgiving cold lasted almost to Christmas, and I did lots of coughing. Happily Gerald did not catch it.  Then week before last he came down with what we called a cold, and we were grateful at least he was not coughing when we heard so many others say they were coughing until their ribs hurt. 

Coughing or not, Gerald sounded terrible, and when suddenly he had other symptoms, he sought medical help and found out the cold was really a very bad sinus infection.  Fortunately it was not one of those infections resistant to antibiotics.   He also had a terrible allergic rash at the same time, and a return visit to the dermatologist for new meds solved that problem. He is riding the exercise bike 30 minutes at a time, and he thinks he may have cured his crippling knee pain.  His exercise discipline has inspired me to do my leg exercises two days in a row.  (I did them four days in a row earlier in the month.  I must make this a priority because the weakness in my legs makes me walk like the old person I am.  I do not like that.)
Gerald brought me photos he had gotten off Facebook of our three great grandsons down in Georgia with the huge snowman they built today.  It is very cold here in Southern Illinois, but no snow for snowmen. Our lake is only partly frozen despite low temperatures because Sunday was warm and sunny again.  Our weather keeps bouncing from warm to very cold.  Despite all the warm days and so far no blizzards, I think I have heard more complaints about winter weather than ever before.  Maybe that is a result of being connected through Facebook; the weather is something we all have in common to talk about. We have two more months of winter, so folks better accept that cold weather will be with us at least part of the time for awhile. 

Although autumn and spring are my favorites, I have happy memories of being warm and isolated in the house during snow days when the children were allowed to stay home from school. Popping corn and making snow ice cream were special winter-time treats.  (Later when four-wheel drive vehicles broke that isolation and company showed up to destroy the family closeness, I resented it.)

I have less pleasant memories of cold coming into the house so that faucets needed to be left dripping and cabinet doors open to prevent pipes from freezing.  If we were not diligent, I can also remember poor Gerald having to go under the house and thaw pipes when he was already overburdened to keep baby pigs warm and the water flowing for all the swine down in the pig buildings. If the roads were bad, Gerald might load hogs in frigid dark early morning hours for the drive up to the East Saint Louis stockyards because the price would be better with fewer hogs coming in.  What a sweet relief when he arrived back to the farm safe and sound.  I think Gerald enjoyed the challenge back then despite the exhaustion that resulted, 

I enjoyed the challenge too although for me it was mostly a vicarious challenge since I stayed inside. My worst challenge may have been bundling children up to play in the snow and then soon unbundling them when they came in with wet gloves and chilled hands throughout the day.    Now none of those challenges exist for Gerald and me, but I feel great concern for those who are homeless and for those still struggling without proper fuel for heat this winter. I know the cold is destroying many family budgets.  I am grateful for the churches and the shelters that open their doors to those who need shelter and for all the volunteers and neighbors who help those needing help.

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