Not firing on all cylinders

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It started with the tell-tale tickle in the throat.

By Friday morning, I was a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, wheezing mess. I came into work long enough to finish a project and be sent back out the door by my boss and grossed-out coworkers, and then I crashed hard for the rest of the day.

Court shows.
Medical dramas.
Reality TV.
Cooking programs.
Trashy talk shows.

I watched them all.

I watched TV for twelve hours. Half a day. Though I love a good show and our DVR is always full, it’s rare for me to plunk down on the couch to while away an entire afternoon.

In fact, I never do that.

I grew up with active parents — parents who knew there was “always something to do.” In our busy household of four, we were constantly doing laundry, dishes, chores . . . playing with the dog, making meals, going shopping. We didn’t sit. And like many kids, if we complained of being “bored”? Well.

Don’t get me wrong: my sister and I had plenty of time to play, and my mom and dad weren’t exactly running a child labor camp. I have incredibly fond memories of all the epic goofing around we did. But when it came to keeping up the house, everyone was expected to contribute — and we did.

Now that Spence and I have our own home, all those buried memories of chores have been flooding back to me. With the house about 60 percent unpacked, I can’t help looking around at everything there is to do. Spence and I do relax in the evenings, but it’s usually after we’ve been working on a series of projects after work . . . running around until we’re too tired to do anything but collapse with the Food Network.

So Friday was unusual. Very unusual. Even though I felt too exhausted to do more than lift my head, I couldn’t fight this sensation that I should be doing something. Piles of laundry. Kitchen organization. Fridge cleaning. The sink of dishes. How do two adults dirty so many dishes?

Of course, I also felt the urge to read . . . and suddenly had uninterrupted hours in which to do so. But in the usual cruel twist of fate, I could barely concentrate on the text. I did finish Cristina Henriquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans, which was great and very emotional, but I only had 50-ish pages to go when that happened. So.

While I was going through an entire box of tissues and drinking too much coffee, my husband and a friend were laying our hardwood floor in the hallway. They started around 9 a.m. with a last-minute trip to Lowe’s, then worked until nearly midnight.

Nothing to make you feel sick and lazy like two men transforming your entire upstairs through sheer determination, sweat and lots of sawdust. And nails.

Not that I could have fired a nail gun . . . even if I had been firing on all cylinders.

Probably better that I stayed downstairs. For all of us.


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12 thoughts on “Not firing on all cylinders

  1. Hope you’re feeling better. Summer colds are the worst! I hate wasting any days being sick, but at least in the winter I can snuggle up with a blanket and tea until I feel better and not miss any summer fun. Or in your case, home remodeling. :)

  2. Sometimes firing on all cylinders is exactly what leads to getting sick or not feeling well so, in a way, you were “doing something” after all by watching 12 hours of TV. You were giving your body the rest it’s telling you it needs!

  3. Hope you are feeling much better! I also wonder how two adults can dirty so many dishes. I feel like mine our never done, but I am always doing them….life’s little mysteries. Some were never meant to be solved.

  4. Your description of your family sounds exactly like mine…I learned never to even look like I wasn’t actively employed around my mother :) Get well soon!

  5. I’m just like you. I didn’t grow up watching much TV and I still don’t watch much…unless I’m sick. Then it’s a serious TV binge!

  6. Aww, I hope you’ve been getting better since! I tend to tv-binge when I’m sick, too – though I don’t remember the last time I watched 12 hours of tv! Sounds like a good way to rest yourself :) Do take care! :)

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