would be good.
think we've still got
a can of that fancy-pants minestrone, tucked away in the kitchen
cupboards somewhere ... a leftover from Jaymi's last visit. I haven't
eaten anything all day -- I've subsisted on orange juice and Alka
Seltzer Plus since Thursday, basically -- but I'm thinking that a bowl
of minestrone soup might be a very good thing, right about now.
Especially if it has a little Parmesan cheese
sprinkled on top, and
a handful of saltine crackers on the side, and it is served to me on a
little wooden bed-tray painted with wildflowers and ivy and covered
with a clean folded dishtowel.
would be especially
nice if I didn't have to fix it myself.
twist around in the
tangle of sweaty blankets and listen for noises from the next room. I
know he's out there. He's been out there all day, laboring over our
sick computer like a heart surgeon tending to a quadruple bypass.
Unlike most husbands, however, this one doesn't curse or mutter or
offer any of the usual helpful *audio cues* to indicate progress (or
lack thereof). Once in a while, through my Chlorpheniramine-induced
stupor this afternoon, I've heard the staccato sounds of rapid-fire
typing ... a pencil tapping briefly against the side of the desk ... a
single sharp intake of breath, no doubt as another pocket of
infestation is uncovered on our diseased hard drive. But right now
there is absolutely no sound at all coming from the dining room.
my sickbed I offer
up one polite, raggedy little cough. Hello?
Not so much as
a sigh or a sniffle or a squeaky computer chair hinge.
he took the
computer into the shop while I was sleeping. There was some discussion
about this earlier: if he wasn't able to clean out the virus and
restore our operating system to normal, he might have to take the
computer in to a repair center and pay someone to have it fixed. Maybe
he got tired of scanning and disinfecting and hand-combing bugs out of
the hard drive, one by one, and decided to have an expert look at
And maybe he
decided to sign us up for that Dollhouse Furniture Workshop, while he
was at it.)
reach over the side of
the bed and fumble weakly through the mountains of rumpled magazines
and dead Kleenex littering the floor, looking for my thermometer. I
feel a momentary tickle of irritation. Why
here at my bedside, feeling my forehead and taking my temperature and
looking all concerned and loving and husbandly?
My Inner Ten-Year-Old, still alive and cranky, always expects Grandma
to come walking through the bedroom door, whenever I'm feeling under
the weather ... bearing soup and thermometers and back issues of
National Geographic for my personal sickbed comfort.
Forty-Four-Year-Old, on the other hand, knows damn well she's on her
extract the last
handful of Kleenex from the box and give my nose a good, satisfying,
ear-splitting honk. I'm awake
now! it trumpets. Can
we get a little attention, please?
again I'm met with
silence from the next room.
he's out riding.
Guilt, tight as a handshake, clamps itself over my heart and squeezes.
We haven't ridden our bikes in two weeks. Last weekend, of course, I
was in TicTac, buying school clothes and feasting on Mexi-Fries with
carefree maternal abandon. This weekend -- a three-day holiday weekend,
at that -- would have been the perfect opportunity to catch up on some
... except that the
household has been unexpectedly overrun by bugs for the past three
of them the six-legged variety, I might add.
I slide the
thermometer under my tongue and flop back against the flat damp
pillows, waiting for my temperature to register. Just this tiny bit of
exertion -- sitting up, rummaging around on the floor, popping the
thermometer in my mouth, feeling sorry for myself -- has left me limp
as used dental floss.
the hell IS he?
he's taking a nap
on the sofa. Maybe he's in the laundry room, shovelling quarters and
bath towels into the ancient industrial dryer. Maybe he went to the
store to load up on orange juice and thermometer batteries and the
latest issue of National Geographic.
he's left me for a
cute computer repairperson.
thermometer emits a
single shrill *beep* -- Fully
cooked! it shrieks in triumph --
and I slide it out of my mouth to inspect the results. 99.4°.
This is good news. It had been stubbornly hovering around 101°
for the past couple of days, so this is definitely an improvement. Plus
I seem to be breathing a tiny bit easier -- some of that awful wet
death-rattle has subsided -- AND
I'm feeling my first genuine hunger pangs in more than forty-eight
leads me back to
does it take to get
a little service around this joint, anyway?
I ease my
flu-weary self out of bed and tiptoe carefully into the next room, just
in case he really is
taking a nap. But he isn't. He is sitting in front of the computer,
wide awake ... quietly typing song titles into an open Word document.
Standing two inches away from him, I am able to hear what wasn't
evident from the next room: the muffled sounds of the E-Street Band
filtered through a pair of Magnavox headphones. No wonder he didn't
hear my pathetic attempts at attention-getting.
soon as he sees me
standing there, he whips off the headphones. I expect he's going to ask
me how I'm feeling, or gently place his hand on my forehead to check
for lingering fever, or leap out of the chair and insist that I sit
down while he fixes me another glass of orange juice. But he doesn't.
took him three days
of blood, sweat and toll-free calls to the McAfee Help Center. Even so,
he says, some of our stuff still isn't working properly: the printer,
for example, and the online answering machine, and the program he uses
to create labels for his Springsteen bootlegs. But he has pretty much
managed to de-KLEZ our hard drive finally. Plus the virus protection
programs have been reactivated -- we'll never ever ever allow them to
lapse again, we swear to god -- and our e-mail and Internet browsers
are functional again. He looks as ravaged and weary as I feel, frankly.
My sick cranky self-absorbed heart unbends, just a little.
some soup?" I ask
him ... and I reach for the can opener.
throw a rock