For most of my life, I have harbored a cold and bitter hatred toward two things: 1) January and 2) February.
To me, these months are the worst kind of torture, a wasteland of drudgery where people are forced to watch reruns of Two And A Half Men while eating coconut-covered tomatoes and drinking that syrupy concoction they use to test pregnant women for gestational diabetes.
(Yes, if you were wondering, these are a few of my least favorite things.)
At first, I thought the first two months of this year were going to be semi-kind. January went by at a slightly quicker snail’s pace than usual, as if maybe the January Snail had been given large quantities of caffeine.
The caffeinated January Snail charmed me into state of blissful delusion. “Hey, maybe February won’t be so bad, either!” I thought, picturing 29 days of puppies and rainbows.
OH, GRASSHOPPERS. If only I had kept my guard up. If only I had remembered that February is a cruel mistress, smiling as she approaches and then kicking you in the shins when she arrives.
February launched its reign of terror with a late-January ambush I never could have seen coming.
Walking pneumonia, or, as we called it, “The WALKIN’ Pneumonia,” took us down HARD. We both missed several days of work and had to outsource childcare for Baby Girl.
February: 1, Rileys: 0
Mere days after our triumphant return to health, Rob was booked for a colonoscopy.
Now, if you’ve never had one of these, you may not know that the day before is the worst part. You can’t eat all day long, and you have to drink this stuff that . . . makes some things happen.
Naturally, he did not go to work, because, well. You can imagine.
So I got ready for work on the morning of his colonoscopy prep day. We got Baby Girl ready for school. We got in the car. I backed out of the driveway.
And Baby Girl vomited all over the backseat.
Which meant I had to stay home, because really, when your husband is prepping for a colonoscopy, you cannot ask him to babysit all day, even if you are out of sick days and will have to take a cut to your paycheck to stay home. You can’t do it. Not even if he tries to convince you he’s up to the task.
February: 2, Rileys: 0
Fast forward a few more days. My dear friend and Soul Sister Robin came into town. She wanted to get together with me and a few other writers for dinner. We met at a swanky restaurant around 8:00 pm–which is generally my bedtime. But I was DETERMINED to have a good time and not be an old lady.
I felt weird, though. Like, in my head and stomach regions.
“It’s nothing,” I thought as I changed out of my pajamas (because yes, I already had them on, DON’T JUDGE). “I’m just a little tired.”
I put on some clothes that were absolutely NOT cute enough for the restaurant, but they were all I had, and I was too tired to care.
I went to dinner.
And I stared quietly into space as the others carried on fantastic conversation.
I could not hear because my ears were stuffy. I could not talk because my throat felt like it was coated with fuzz. And SLEEPY, oh, I was sleepy.
I went home before everyone else, not yet realizing that the Devil Germs had landed, and lo, I would succumb to their attack the very next day. Because killing a night out with other writers was ONLY THE BEGINNING of this diabolical plan.
February: 3, Rileys: 0
Valentine’s Day rolled around. Now, I know some people love it and some people hate it. We fall in the middle. We do something fun, but not something that makes everybody feel mildly nauseous.
Our usual V-Day plans include spaghetti, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and a whole lot of laying around. It is PERFECT.
But you know what’s even more perfect?
Eating at a fancy restaurant and then spending the night at a fancy hotel while your mother-in-law stays at your house with your toddler.
But, NATURALLY, I woke up sick the morning all this was supposed to go down. Rob wanted to surprise me, but when it became obvious that I could not get out of bed and wasn’t in any kind of shape to be going ANYWHERE, he had to spill the beans.
“Should we stay home?” he said, crestfallen.
“WE’RE GOING,” I shouted. “February will NOT ruin this!”
And so we went.
And I stayed in bed the whole time, force-feeding myself chocolate and failing to find anything good on TV.
I felt terrible.
So terrible that when we we woke up the next morning and I wasn’t able to eat breakfast or, you know, stand up, Rob put me straight in the car and took me to the doctor.
February: 4, Rileys: 0
As the end of the month drew near, I began to breathe a sigh of relief. SURELY the tyranny would end soon. SURELY March would turn the corner and bring us back to the light side.
But no, no. February was not done.
From the day after Valentine’s straight through the first week of March (YOU OFFICIALLY OVERSTEPPED YOUR BOUNDS, you wretched month!) the Devil Germs plagued me. None of the doctors could identify what, exactly, I had.
More Walking Pneumonia? We don’t think so, but it could be.
Random virus? Sure, why not.
The last two weeks of February blurred into a steady stream of BLERG. I got up every morning and pretty much fell into the shower. I took Baby Girl to school. I drove to work without remembering how I got there. I went home and tried to rest. I got in bed at 7:30. Then I got up the next day and did it all over again.
Writing? Forget it. Cleaning the house? HA! Being social, smiling, doing ANYTHING that did not involve either A) watching TV or B) sleeping?
NOT A CHANCE.
It was an underlying sickness, for sure, but there was something else at work here. What was it again?
Oh right! Mild depression.
February: 5, Rileys: 0
With the right combination of cold medicines and counseling, I felt sure I’d be good as new by March 1. And I HAD TO BE, because I was supposed to go to my FIRST EVER writing workshop on March 3 in Mobile, AL, where we would stay with some wonderful relatives and basically have The Time of Our Lives.
I WAS SOOOOOO EXCITED. Because if there’s one thing Rob and I love, it’s a ROAD TRIP, and we hadn’t been on one in FOREVER. Also? Mobile is awesome. And we like our family members. And the workshop was going to be led by my friend Lena, who I’d never met in real life!
March 1st came.
I did not feel well.
March 2nd came. So did some tornadoes. We spent the night at my parents’ house, in case things got bad and we needed to hunker down in the coal cellar. (Yes, really.)
I still did not feel well.
March 3rd dawned and I knew: we weren’t going to Mobile. Which meant I would not get to meet my friend Lena. I would not get to experience my first writer’s workshop. And, perhaps most importantly, there would be no Dirty Dancing reenactments.
February: 6, Rileys: 0
Now that March is in full swing, things are looking up. I *finally* feel better. Almost WELL, in fact. Yesterday, I did Wii Zumba. I’ve started taking vitamins again. My morning alarm does not make me want to smash things.
AND, March contains my very favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day! And also Spring Break (because I am a teacher and I still get those, HAHAHA)!
So ADIOS, February. You will NOT be missed. And next year? I’ll be ready for you.