Saturday, October 15, 2005

the things that can't be seen

I have a cold. Big deal, right? Everyone gets colds. The drag for me is that a bout with EBV about nine years ago permanently damaged my immune system, resulting in the ability of this little cold germ to hang on for months. If the past eight winters are any indication, chances are I'll be blowing my nose until about April.

Here's a fun Kelly factoid. In 2001, a local grocery store was going out of business. In the process of clearing out the inventory, 3-packs of my favorite tissues were sold for a ridiculously low price. Ever the bargain shopper and deserving of my husband's nickname for me, "Boogie Girl" (which has nothing to do with dancing), I proceeded to purchase every single one -- 108 full-size boxes in all. Several shelves on our storage rack in the garage were dedicated to housing them, and it was the kind of year for me that required regular restocking trips to that rack. Although it was interesting and even a little fun not to have to buy tissues for almost a year, when we did the numbers, we realized that I was going through one family-size box of tissues about every three days.

So, am I doomed to another winter of a constantly uncooperative nose? Or might I be able to shake it in the standard 1-2 weeks?

I need to just pipe down about the itty-bitty inconvenience of a cold that could possibly last six months. As I've said before, if [insert_current_issue_here] is the biggest thing I have to worry about in my life, then I am spectacularly blessed. Still, it's too easy to get caught up in personal minutiae. Since Times Square's Waterford crystal ball descended into the year 2005, life has been particularly challenging for me. A couple months into it, conversations with family, friends, and co-workers uncovered the fact that I was not alone in having a challenging year. With this kind of concurrence, I usually attribute it to the alignment of the stars. Makes as much sense as any other explanation.

Now tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, drought, the melting ice cap, avian flu, and other various natural disasters seem to indicate that, in fact, the universe itself is having a challenging year. Maybe it really is astronomical. Maybe it's all just cyclical. Maybe there's some greater force behind it all -- hidden to those of us who either experience the pain or witness it.

A few months ago, Ted and I visited a small town in New Hampshire we'd never been to before. It wasn't just a town we happened to drive through, it was our destination. We admired it for the pretty trees and lake, the one-intersection downtown, and the lovely quiet. Last week, in the midst of a long, rainy spell in New England, that town was all over the national news because its lake overflowed, the dam broke, the whole town became submerged in water, and numerous houses literally floated away. Every byline on every story about the weather in New England was from this town. We had nothing to do with that town before our visit, but somehow this disaster feels personal. Our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Alstead.

Ick. Too much ick this year. I have to go to bed. NyQuil, Vicks VapoRub Cream, and a box of tissues await me.

Real post time 1:17am. No mariachi band tonight. Downright quiet, short of my coughing outbursts.

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