WARNING: CABIN FEVER CAN CAUSE DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR

As the calendar creeps through March I try to prepare myself for the inevitable onset of Cabin Fever.

Here in Ohio, the snowdrops poke out of the ground, and the willow branches take on their amber hue. But that’s about it for tried and true harbingers of spring.

Back home in Tennessee, daffodils are already up and running. Of course, they’re not called daffodils there. We Southerners prefer to call them “buttercups.” Never mind there is a waxy little yellow wildflower properly called buttercups. We are set in our ways about lots of things and referring to daffodils as buttercups is one about which we are devout.

Considering my long sojourn here in the “Nawth,” it seems I would be more accepting of its weather patterns. But it has never been so. March should take seriously the vernal equinox instead of continuing to languish in the winter doldrums. I can remember the first winter I spent in Upstate New York. It just kept on snowing. The “survivors,” as the natives liked to call themselves, had already warned me about the snow starting in November or earlier and continuing for an indefinite time. I was then prepared for a thick blanket of snow from Thanksgiving through February, but March and part of April came and went and it was still snowing.

I very nearly lost my mind. Some say I did lose it. Some say it’s still lost. It’s just that it seems somehow immoral that winter clings on so long. I have to admit it makes me a little crazy. Not as crazy as my family thinks I’m crazy, but enough to make me occasionally wonder why I do what I do. I mean, sometimes I surprise myself.

During one especially worrisome episode of Cabin Fever a while back, I decided to build a solarium on the back of the house and move the kitchen into it; I ordered books on glass painting, commodity trading, polymer clay, and Zen; I made a commitment to learn “Pancho & Lefty” on the guitar, mainly because I only recently discovered its composer, Townes Van Zandt; I bought a 12-piece setting of gold-plated silverware in a faux mahogany box; and I toured the craggy hills of Central Ohio looking for a place to build a log cabin.

I resolved to exercise and train for the U.S. Open Senior Tennis championship. Martina was thereby served notice. It is I who would be kissing the trophy while she must be contented to hold the runner-up’s silver platter.

My daughter wanted to know if I had bought a book on “How to Perform Your Own Tummy Tuck with Hedge Clippers and Super Glue.” Well, perhaps an instrument less cumbersome than hedge clippers but. . .

It was during one of the Cabin Fever episodes that I went to Nashville to visit Best Friend Robert. We went out to see our buddies, Don and Jimmy, in the country. The boys raise those cute little Shih Tzu dogs. I had decided I wanted a dog. Mind you, I don’t even like dogs, but I had to have one.

As we watched the puppies romp and play in Jimmy’s and Don’s living room, I once again surprised myself when I withdrew my checkbook and wrote a check for $500. I bought two! I named them Shotzi and Maxi.

Daughter and family were shocked, but not nearly as much as I was. When this mood strikes me, it’s as though I step out of my body and fly around near the ceiling watching myself do the most outrageous things. As soon as I had the puppies in the house, there I was up there again watching in wonder.

“What the. . .she’s really done it this time,” I said to me. I always refer to myself in the third person when in shock mode, and sometimes I pretend I don’t know me at all.

The cute little dogs got right to work making me even crazier. They chewed, ripped, and tore up everything they could reach. They pooped on every floor in every room. They barked at me by dawn’s early light every morning. They wanted to go out, though God knows why; they always waited to come back in the house to do their business.

The crazy woman had made a big mistake.

The day I came home and found they had unraveled a two-inch strip of my brand new Berber carpet pushed me over the edge. As I stood looking at the ruined carpet I realized I liked the carpet more than I liked the little dogs. When I found in the bedroom my Italian leather boots in shreds, that did it. I gave the cute little dogs away.

John’s friend, Larry, said after the first forsythia blooms, there would be only three more snows. He had seen its yellow blossoms that very day. At this point, March 29, there have been two snows since Larry spied a blooming forsythia. Neither snow amounted to much. The first was about an inch and the second barely covered the hopeful green grass.

I will leave my snow boots at the bottom of the steps just inside the front door, where they have been since Thanksgiving.

After the next (third) snow, I will take the boots upstairs and put them in the back of the closet. Should there be another (No. 4) snow, I will go upstairs to retrieve the boots. I will put them on and wear them to Larry’s house. When I see Larry, I will take off one of the boots and use it to beat him severely about the head and shoulders until he begs for mercy.

Should Larry think I am kidding, I can direct him to several erstwhile friends who can attest to my sincerity when speaking about the duress under which I place people who play fast and loose with snow prognostications.

One must be careful about weather predictions. Don’t go looking up at the sky and saying it looks like it may be clearing. Don’t, under any circumstances, put away the snow shovel. Don’t even think winter has done its worst.

Oh, yes, there is one other thing. If you see my neighbor, Richard, bring out his golf clubs, rush to the IGA and buy every loaf of bread and bottle of milk you can find. Run home and batten down the hatches. Believe me when I tell you:  we’re in for a real nor’easter!

 

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2 thoughts on “WARNING: CABIN FEVER CAN CAUSE DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR

  1. Millie – got behind reading your last 3 stories, but have now enjoyed them all – just as I knew I would. God gave you a wonderful way with words, Old Friend.

    I’m was late due to trying to get a jump start on spring yard work between rains and cold weather. Although I did a lot of pruning in the fall, there was plenty waiting for me when Spring started peeking around the corner. You know I have a large yard – so I’ve had to pace myself picking up tree branches, pulling weeds, raking more leaves which my neighbors always send my way each year and finally, trimming all the crepe myrtles.

    But I am happy to report that the “buttercups” have bloomed well this year and I
    have enjoyed their golden glory immensely. All the bulbs came from my mother’s yard years ago and I have transplanted them several times as they’ve multiplied well, along with the iris, in these last 18 years in my Joelton, TN home. I also have some of her
    pink peony bulbs and the shoots are up and growing. So are the wild onions and dandelions!

    My peach tree bloomed profusely and the pink blossoms promise there will be lots of fruit – but alas, they’re never big enough to eat for I don’t prune or spray it. I’m a city girl living in the country and I love it – especially when Old Man Winter gives up the ghost and Spring brings us yellow forsythia, redbuds and dogwoods to savor and we enjoy brown dirt under our fingernails once more.

    Winter was very long and harsh here this year, but others have had it so much worse.
    My hat’s off to all who have survived the endless snows and bitter weather..
    Koren

    • It’s not all your fault you have fallen behind reading my stories. I’ve put more of them out at a furious pace. As I mentioned it’s more difficult than I imagined. Even updating the old ones is harder. The older I get the pickier (is that a word) I become. Seems.it should be just the opposite. John says I surprise him every day. But speaking of surprises, please tell me you have not lived in the Joelton house for 18 years. Not possible! Nine or ten maybe but never 18. Fer Gawd! And you’re still out digging in the dirt. Why don’t you plant no-til corn in that humongous yard and make it pay for itself while you sit on your porch and watch it grow? Arriving in Gnashville on May 2. Hope to see you while I am there.

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