The Dreariest Month

Paul and RyderJanuary is the dreariest month of the year. There are also arguments for February. But, in February you can smell March, and March smells like hope.

There is no hope in January.

In January there’s snow. There’s 2 more months of winter. There are primaries. And, then there’s resolutions.

“This year.” I told my husband firmly. “ Just resolve to stop getting sick.”

My husband looked puzzled, pulled his blanket closer, and adjusted his wool hat.

“Are you talking to me?” He asked suspiciously. And sneezed, shivered, and went back to his book.

January, combined with 4 germy grandchildren who get babysat together (aka -Camp Uncle Josh) is a continual re-run of the the old logic puzzle. How do you get the fox, the farmer and the chicken across the river? Without anyone drowning or being eaten.

“Mom. It will be fine.” my daughter assured me the day before Camp Uncle Josh. “Max does have strep, but the antibiotics will kick in, making him non-contagious by noon.”

“But Camp Uncle Josh starts at nine.” I replied, puzzled. “Oh. OK. Wait. I normally take Max and Abel for swim lessons at 9, and the Y has child-watch. So if I take Abel and then take Auggie instead of Max and put Auggie in child-watch while Abel swims then put them both in childwatch…then Max will be non-contagious when we get there at noon. All set.”

“Umm. What did I just say? Let me write this down.”

It would have been a good plan.

Except then Greg called and said Abel didn’t want to go to swim lessons. Then he called back and said that Abel had a temperature of 101, but added optimistically that he seemed just fine…except for the temperature thing…

“Umm. Greg.” I cautioned. “I am NOT going to bring “101 degree Abel” to Tracy’s house for Camp Uncle Josh without Tracy’s express permission. Just saying. You need to call her.”

“Oh. Yeah. OK.”

Then Tracy called back.

“OK Mom. Here’s what going to happen. I’m going to take the day off. I wouldn’t…” she added defensively” but…you might be noticing that I can’t actually talk. I’m not sick. Not really. But…sometimes clients don’t want you doing home visits with their kids when your voice sounds like…”

“What? I can’t hear you…”

Tracy coughed, and explained again. “Max is sick. I’ll stay home with Max. Ryder will go to your house. Max and I will sleep and get better. Uncle Josh will babysit ‘101 degree Abel’ and Deathwish Auggie at Greg’s house…Umm…sorry…my voice is going…”

“Kids?” my husband asked, looking up in sudden alarm “Coming…here? But…” he added plaintively, with a weak little cough…”I’m sick…”

“You should have thought of that before you had children and grandchildren.” I replied firmly.

I am happy to report that this plan worked well for everyone.

“What? What everyone? I was sick. I didn’t need germie kids too…the fox drowned and the chicken got eaten…” he sniffed dramatically.

“You know…” I added meanly. “We’re going to have two tomorrow as well.”


“Abel had a temperature of 101.” I explained. “They won’t want him in pre-school. And we normally take Auggie Wednesday morning…”


“Tracy and I have resolved….” Greg told me bravely. “This year, we’re going to try to keep the kids apart when they’re sick…”

“What? Nooo…How will that work? No…Just keep them apart from me….” my husband wailed in the background.

“You know…” I added, continuing my mean streak… “I heard at knitting that winter vomiting disease is going around…”

“Nooo…Stop…I’m sick…leave me be…”

January is the dreariest month, with primaries, snow, cold, germy children, and pathetic sick whinny husbands. January is the month of no hope.

But I have a solution! Next year, I going to resolve to just skip it.

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