In the Pacific Northwest, winter stretches forever. Short days. Long nights.
It’s the time of year when “cabin fever” can take on new meaning. Board games and jigsaw puzzles may help ward off its symptoms of restlessness, irritability and forgetfulness. But when a snowstorm or cold windy days keep a person inside, even those activities may not be enough.
“I need a project,” my husband moaned one day as he finished the daily crossword puzzle and began another uneventful day as a retiree. “There must be something around here I can work on.”
My mind went spinning with memories of a past winter project. The kitchen had been the center of a makeover for longer than a recovery from a facelift.
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“Well, whatever you do,” I begged as I sat at my computer, “please don’t start any huge projects unless they’re outside.”
The dreary days passed one by one.
“It’s my birthday,” I reminded Bill when the Super Bowl game came to an end. “What do you think about taking me out to dinner?”
We gathered our coats, our gloves and headed to the dimly lit garage. Seatbelts fastened, the Jeep engine roared to life as Bill threw it into reverse.
Bill pulled forward and then . . .
“The garage door is down!” I yelped as the car moved backwards, but it had fallen on a deaf ear — the right one.
A splintered door frame and missing panels greeted us as we tumbled from the car.
But the tale doesn’t end there — although I wish it would.
A couple of days later, as Bill watched the wood glue dry on the garage, he decided to do a chore outside — burn up some weeds and debris. A quiet breeze began to blow as he finished up and headed back inside. Lunch and TV news would be waiting.
He settled into his easy chair, a half-eaten sandwich in hand, when the telephone rang.
“Bill!” the neighbor hollered from the other end of the line. “Your corral is on fire!”
And just like that, my husband’s “cabin fever” disappeared when he got the projects he’d wished for.