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The best laid plans don’t always work out | Opinion | The Press and Standard

by | January 31, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: January 31, 2016 at 11:15 pm

I love my husband; I also love solitude. That can pose quite the dilemma since spouses generally, you know, live together.

So when Widdle went out of town last week, I made big plans … to read obsessively, give myself a pedicure, refinish an armchair, do yoga and maybe check out some new shops in Summerville.

What I actually did was cough, sneeze, read old HGTV magazines and drink NyQuil.

I started sniffling Monday at work. When I got home, Widdle took one look and said, “Stay away. I can’t be sick on this fishing trip.” God forbid he should fight the funk while baiting a treble hook.

Monday night my sinuses were like concrete; I slept open-mouthed, panting like a Pekingese.

“I always knew you were a mouth-breather,” Widdle chortled, to no-one’s amusement but his own. (Can anyone explain how sinuses can be completely blocked, but your nose runs like a faucet?)

On Tuesday I called in sick to work and Widdle backed away even further. “I feel so bad for you,” he said from the safety of his recliner, as he gnawed a foot-long sub. “But please don’t come any closer.”

Early Wednesday morning I woke up freezing. Widdle was standing in the bedroom doorway. “I’m leaving, honey,” he called. “Feel better! I love you! Oh, the power went out at 3 a.m. Bye!” And he was gone.

I should have licked his toothbrush, I thought, and passed out under a pile of blankets.

The power was still off at 6:30 a.m. I literally got dressed in the dark, smeared on some makeup by feel, put on my glasses and went to work. (I did manage to brush my teeth by perching our sole working flashlight on the bathroom vanity. Tip: Never brush your teeth by flashlight while looking in a mirror. You’ll have nightmares for a month.)

My job involves greeting the public; that day I’m pretty sure I frightened the public, not to mention sneezing and wheezing on co-workers. If the tables were turned, I’d be straight-up spraying Lysol on anyone who came to work sick, and I should have stayed home. But I have my dad’s work ethic, which is: “You can call in sick one day, but two days? You’d better be dead.”

When I got home the electricity was restored — but the house was 61 degrees. I called Widdle.

“Whoops,” he said. “Heater issues.”

“WHOOPS?!?” I croaked, and hung up. Then I pulled on thermal underwear, sweatpants, mismatched socks, a plaid bathrobe, gloves and a ski mask. If I’d stepped outside, I’d have been arrested.

Finally, after several calls back and forth, I flipped a breaker switch and voila — sweet heat!

The next few days were a blur of NyQuil naps, Afrin, Puffs and “The Collected Stories of Flannery O’Connor,” which I really can’t recommend when you’re running a fever.

There was no pedicure, no yoga, no redecorating, no shopping. Just me, greasy hair and an increasingly bad attitude.

Widdle, to his credit, called twice daily to check on me.

“You sound better!” he’d say, ever the optimist.

“I ab NOT bedder,” I whined. “I still fill offal.”

“We’re catching lots of fish,” he’d chirp. “Love you!”

Really, what more could he do? Sympathy goes only so far, and it wasn’t his fault I was sick.

By the time he came home (a day early; they got cold), I was almost well. And I’ll bet you know what I did, after he’d spent five days holed up with four grubby guys in a car and motel room.

That’s right: I Lysoled him from head to toe.

(Julie R. Smith, a wimpy sick woman, can be reached at

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