Germ warfare

Typically this time of year, I like to dust off my “first snow” editorial, waxing poetically about my hopes, aspirations and dreams for the upcoming winter recreational season. About how my skis are so rusty I’m going to need a tetanus shot before touching them. That is, once I find them. I suspect they’re still in my Rocketbox on top of my car, where I left them caked in mud after closing day last year. At least I hope that’s what that rustling aroudn up there is every time I come to a short stop.

Anyway, this year, there will be no tales of mother storms and knee-deep turns. That’s because, currently, I am knee-deep in a precipitation of a different sort, cleaning up the aftermath of Hurricane Hurl.

That’s right, I’ve taken to naming the illnesses this fall that have bombarded my home like a Gulf Coast shrimp shanty at landfall. It all started two months ago with a little tummy turbulence, followed by a two-week severe sore throat warning and a weeklong nasal monsoon.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hypochondriac. At least, I never used to be. In college, I earned the nickname “old ironsides” due to the fact that I made it through my entire undergraduate career without so much as a dry heave. When the antibacterial bandwagon got rolling a few years back, I refused to get on board, priding myself on the “it builds stronger immunity” mantra and “five-second” rule. In our house, if you can get to it before the dog does, it’s still good.

However, I began to grow a little wary somewhere around the time terms like “hand, foot and mouth disease,” “conjunctivitis” and “impetigo” were introduced into my vocabulary. In other words, right when my offspring mastered the fine arts of rolling around on grocery store floors, sticking anything smaller than an eight ball into their tiny mouths and touching everything within 3 feet of the ground, with a particular fascination for public restrooms.

Anyway, all I can say is my occasional trip to the sick bed has now turned into a revolving door, with some new and higher evolved form of pestilence constantly looming on the horizon. However, I must admit that I misjudged the latest tempest, mistaking it for more of a passing squall than a full-blown Category 5. At first, I chalked it up to some bad asparagus, which really has no business being in the northern hemisphere this time of year, anyway. Besides, it was convenient ammunition for the next eat-at-home vs. eat-out debate. There’s no better way to get out of cooking than to poison one’s family.

However, the suspicious, foreign asparagus was exonerated as one by one, everyone, including those who abstain from anything even remotely green, fell ill. Including the dog.

Unfortunately, old ironsides was perhaps hit the hardest. Unable to withstand the gale, she was reduced to a quivering heap of rubble for a few days, resurfacing only occasionally to make sure no one was sticking knives in the toaster, playing with matches or crank calling 911. Eventually, however, the low pressure lifted, the proverbial skies cleared and we thought we were headed for smooth sailing. There was even one member of the family who remained unscathed. Throughout the entire ordeal, my first born son, the same one who has an entire life savings of spare change in his appendix, remained symptom free. Perhaps there was something to my better-living-through-dirt philosophy, after all.

Little did I know, as I headed off to work on a Monday night, that we were merely in the eye of the tempest. The abdominal waters had already started to churn. It was going to be the perfect storm.

In fact, no sooner had the poor tyke laid down to sleep then he put out the international gastronomical distress signal: hand over mouth, cheeks bulging like Dizzy Gillespie. Leaping to action, Sean shepherded Baxter out of bed and to the toilet. But somewhere between the kitchen and the bathroom, Dizzy blew his horn. The winds reached top velocity as the intense pressure sent a fountain spewing between fingers and onto the kitchen linoleum in a display that would have made Linda Blair jealous. Impressive as that was, it had the unfortunate consequence of turning the kitchen floor into a veritable slip and slide, and, well, I’m sure you can surmise the rest.

Needless to say, as I returned home later that night and pieced together the errant area rugs, mop bucket and pile of dirty clothes by the back door, I felt a little guilty about missing out on the action. I also know that payback is a bitch, and hurricane season is only just beginning.

– Missy Votel

In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down