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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cabin Fever

After being stuck in the house all day today, I am really glad now that we went to the museum yesterday! Pat McManus wrote once about "Two Man Tent Fever," and I could feel it starting today. I'm definitely looking forward to going to work tomorrow, provided the roads are clear enough.

I've really only had three real cabin fever experiences that I recall. (The tent time on the "Monsoon Trek" during my first trip to Philmont was bad, but at least it was broken up by the daily hikes in the rain.)

My first (and most severe) cabin fever experience came during the great Freeze of '83, an ice storm that locked central Arkansas up for the better part of two weeks. The worst part was that we were without power nearly the whole time. That meant that we had to eat only what we could cook over sterno, and sleep on the fold-out sofa in front of the fireplace, waking up every couple of hours to stoke the fire. We had bed sheets hung over the exits from the den to keep in the warm air, so we actually had to put on coats to go to the bathroom down the hall. And worst of all, at least for an 8 year-old, was that I couldn't go out and play in the snow, since there was no way to get dry and warm after coming in. I got to go out a little each day, but not for the woods-walking, creek-splashing romps that were my wont during snowfalls.

My second experience with cabin fever was during a snowstorm in college, and it was only second hand. We'd shut up in the dorm for several days, but I was pretty much ok with it. I could go to Brough for meals, and I spent most of my time playing Action Quake anyway, so it didn't particularly bother me to be confined. I knew Heather was bothered by it, but I didn't realize how nuts it was making her until she marched by my room on her way to the door, announcing that she was walking to Blockbuster to get movies, and that if I wanted to go I had until she got to the door to join her. Blockbuster was two miles away. That actually turned into a really fun snow trek adventure with a bunch of our dorm friends, but I was really worried about my girlfriend's sanity for a little while.

Finally, my latest bout of cabin fever came during the Great Ice Storm of 2000, when Heather Marie and I didn't escape central Arkansas in time, and wound up spending most of a week with her parents in the trailer they lived in at the time. At least we had a generator, though, so TV, cooking, heat, and hot water were available. We'd also just gotten Magaidh about a month before, and I was still pretty stressed out over having an inside dog for the first time, so I think a few days of forced proximity really helped me bond with her.

So, compared to those periods of confinement, this weekend wasn't too bad. We never lost power, we got out a little bit yesterday, and we knew that we could get out today if we absolutely had to. Besides, it isn't too unusual for us to spend entire Sundays at home without leaving the house anyway, so it wasn't too much of a stretch for us.


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