Sick Day and Mom’s Away

Anyone who has existed for any extended period of time can identify with the experience of catching a cold. Except perhaps for those perfect people who never get sick and always have plenty of clean dishes stacked neatly in their designated places in the kitchen cupboard. However, the rest of us know the discomfort. Have you ever been so sick that it felt like a razor sharp boulder was grinding a hole into the back of your sandpaper throat with every swallow? Were you ever so ill that your skin hurt and your head throbbed with the weight of being three sizes too big and each breath came out as the wheezing cough of a wizened, cancer ridden, ninety-year-old man? Have you ever been so forgetful and unfocused that you could do nothing but flop onto your sofa in front of The Emperor’s New Groove and wonder if the arch nemesis that you never knew you had actually did manage to drug you in your sleep? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions you have had a very bad day and probably a fever. Also, if you failed to call in sick to work that day, you deserve the judgement of the unwitting coworkers you infected. You may be one of those people with a successful job or career who has wisely decided to stay under your parents roof for a while to save up money and avoid expensive rent payments. Yay you! The rest of this will likely not apply to you. Mothers are fabulous, magical creatures who can turn from protective snarling mama grizzly bears to life saving medics with twenty years of field experience and all the know-how to cure your worst booboos over the course of two second. They have not yet however mastered the ability to aparate to your tiny apartment kitchen from three states away to whip up a batch of your favorite chicken noodle soup at the first sniffle of your runny nose. 

In this case, when Mom is a phone call and a plane ride away, there are a few things I do to feel better. First, forgive yourself. You are a driven, hardworking individual but today you feel like you got hit by a bus and your are allowed to be lazy. Second, let your boss know that you’re not going to be in today. As stated earlier, your coworkers don’t want you there spewing your disease over every communal surface. After you have concluded that you are not going to work and informed the appropriate people, go back to bed and stay there until noon if it makes you happy. There will be no wake up alarms on your day of rest and healing. There are some items you’ll want to have on hand for when you do finally become conscious.

Sick Day Necessities:

  • Tea (and honey) – Throat Coat is always good for a cold.
  • Canned Chicken Noodle Soup (or another variety of your preference) – Cooking in your current state is probably out of the question.
  • Laptop and power cord – Netflix and mindless Youtube videos are your friends today.
  • Your fuzziest pajamaz, slippers, and warm blankets.
  • NyQuil (or a substitute. Similar off-brand medicine is typically less expensive)
  • Lavender bath salts (or your preference to soothe all your aches and pains)
  • Plenty of tissues.
  • Anything else that your mom used to have to make sick days a little better.

My personal favorite sick day item is a pale sea foam blue sweater that my mom made for me for Christmas last year which fits perfectly and is almost like being wrapped up in a warm mommy hug even when she can’t be there. Nothing like lazing on the couch in that sweater and my fluffy pajama pants with my computer and an ever mounting pile of tissues to put me right. To sum up, if you’re working, cleaning, exercising or otherwise expending energy toward typical productive causes, you are doing it wrong. Sleep. Rest. Heal. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow. 


Team Combat Hobart: Mission accomplished

It is possible to love your job and appreciate your coworkers while still wishing you could smack them upside the head from time to time. This is a natural and nearly inevitable feeling which stems more from spending the eight most wakeful hours of your day everyday to spend time with these people rather than a true ill will toward anyone in particular. While such measures provide comedic relief in cop shows, they’re sure to land any reasonable, non-fictional person a pressing phone call from HR at the very least. There are three magical words to resolve almost any workplace irritation without involving Human Resources. Tactical Laser Tag. 

Few things are funnier than watching fully grown adults that you spend your entire professional life with dress up in military gear and run around like five-year-olds. Ideally it is best to bring enough of your work buddies to field two teams. That way you get that little jolt of pride every time you work together to achieve the laser tag objective while also having the satisfaction of getting off a good shot on that guy from the office two doors down from yours. You are relieving stress and pent up frustration while simultaneously supporting a sense of comradery among your coworkers. You might even have so much fun that you’ll all decide to grab a beer or dinner together afterwards. This is the correct order of things. DO NOT go out for food and drinks before entering your nearest tactical laser tag facility as laser tag is first and foremost a physical activity and you will definitely regret that plate of Thursday night wings. Save it for after.  

Such was the wonderful and exhausting experience that I had at Team Combat Hobart just a short drive from Valparaiso. My lack of regular exercise and deep passion for food and sweet things was brought into sharp and painful focus. However, despite being incredibly out of shape, I’m looking forward to the next laser tag adventure with bubbling anticipation. It’s so refreshing to meet people all over again in new settings, especially when you’re all wearing army vests and shouldering some mean looking laser guns.  

IKEA Party: How many engineers does it take?

One of the greatest questions of our time has been solved, the question that no one asked but everyone should know the answer to. How many engineers does it take to assemble IKEA furniture? Answer: nine. At least that’s how many crammed into the living room of my apartment on a Monday night to construct my dresser and two bedside tables in exchange for nothing more than a promise of a group dinner. In all fairness, the process can take as many engineers as you want it to and you can participate as much or as little as you like. These individuals tend to be highly efficient when confronted with a puzzle and will likely be delighted to solve it for you if you let them. 

Such was my experience although, originally I was just requesting assistance carrying the heavy IKEA boxes up three flights of stairs to my apartment. I wasn’t expecting them to put the stuff together once we got there. But thank goodness they did. I am an engineer myself and love a puzzle as much as my fellows but I was utterly unprepared for the sheer number of pieces and parts waiting for me just beneath all that cardboard. Of course there were instructions and I’m relatively confident that I could have understood them and constructed the stuff myself if I’d had to and it would have likely been a project spanning an entire week, maybe two if I was feeling lazy. But, thankfully, that was unnecessary. 

I’ve made the heartwarming discovery that people are basically good and happy to lend a hand when asked. There was also the more amusing lesser discovery that if you give engineers a puzzle, they will show up in force. But generally, people want to help where they can and a shared story of chipping in to bring your home one step closer to perfection makes for much better conversation than the tale of terrible woe at your worst IKEA nightmares come to life. 

It is a very special friend that can show up at your door unannounced and make themselves at home. One should cherish these people for the lifelong gems that they are. However, all the other wonderful friendly people in your life need an invitation. Inviting people into that sacred little corner of the world that is a shrine to all that makes you you and where you go to unwind from life feels horribly uncomfortable but is a hurdle that simply must be overcome for a well adjusted adult life. You will be so glad that you made this leap. In my case, every time I open one of my non-slamming IKEA dresser drawers I smile a little as I remember that time when my apartment was full of engineers busy passing around tools and instructions to complete my little construction project before dinner.