I spent the morning frantically tidying up my already mostly-tidy house, so a realtor could bring by a prospective buyer. It is surprisingly difficult to run through an entire house in an hour and have it show-ready. Even when it’s already mostly-tidy. And afterwards, as Echo and I hung out down at mom and dad’s house, I started thinking about all the stuff I SHOULD have done and didn’t. Like cleaned the wood floor in the family room (although I didn’t have time this morning – it WILL be done this afternoon)… and wiped the fingerprints off the microwave… and turned the pool pump and waterfall on, so it looked nicer… and hidden those two jars of coins that are inexplicably sitting on the floor in the bedroom (WHY do we have two jars of coins on the floor in the bedroom??). But did anyone ever decide to NOT buy a house because the owners left jars of coins in the bedrooms? (Well, I love the house… but those COINS…) Maybe it’s not such a big deal… and on the plus side, I’m already up to 5279 steps today…
Anyway… right now I’m listening to the Muppets and John Denver Christmas album on my iPod. Yeah, that’s right. I’m a total nerdy weirdo who listens to John Denver. AND the Muppets. (I’m not sure which is worse…) But I bet if you asked Eric, he’d have the SAME album on his iPod – right Eric? (Right? Hurry up and say you have the same one so I don’t look like the only nerdy weirdo around here…) This album always makes me think of chicken pox. (Hmmm… I suppose I should explain that…)
It was Thanksgiving 1982, and mom and dad had invited a few friends for Thanksgiving. There was a family who lived in our neighborhood, plus mom and dad’s good friends Lisa and Tony. They all brought their kids, so there were six kids altogether – me, Eric, Gina, Craig, Megan, and Ryan. After dinner, the six of us hung out on the floor in the living room watching Mary Poppins and digesting our turkey. There was no hint whatsoever of the malady that would soon befall us…
The next day, Lisa called my mom and said that Gina had come down with the chicken pox. And, interestingly enough, chicken pox happens to be contagious for a couple days BEFORE the actual chicken pox spots start to appear. And it has a two-week incubation period. So two weeks to the day of that Thanksgiving dinner, the pox epidemic was unleashed. I got it, Eric got it, Gina’s brother Craig got it, our friends Megan and Ryan got it, and even Tony got it – he’d never had chicken pox as a kid.
The strange thing was, as far as illnesses go, it ended up being not so horrible. I mean, sure, the constant itching was rather annoying, and I’m sure we all had fevers and sore throats and general malaise… but whereas most kids with chicken pox are immediately quarantined from all their peers, Eric and I were still able to go to Megan and Ryan’s house and watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas with them on TV, and not worry about anyone getting sick – because everyone was ALREADY sick.
And since we happened to come down with this illness about a week before school was letting out for our two-week winter break, we ended up having THREE weeks off from school. That was a very big deal to us elementary school-goers. Eric and I made the most of our time by hanging out in our PJs and sipping ginger ale and listening to lots of Christmas music. I vividly remember listening to that Muppets and John Denver album, over and over, probably every day we were stuck home from school… we’d sing along, and pretend to play instruments, and forget all about the calamine lotion that was spotted all over our arms and legs.
As far as childhood illnesses go, it was probably the best scenario we could hope for. And like I said, I STILL think about Christmas 1982 as soon as I hear the Muppets and John Denver sing the Twelve Days of Christmas. And if that makes me a nerdy weirdo, then so be it… :)