TBT: The Hermit’s Life

I’ve been writing this blog for so long now, it’s amusing to see how cyclical life is.  Apparently, I was running a low-grade fever right after Christmas 2021; this year, I was running a higher-grade fever around New Year’s 2023.

I’d completely forgotten that I rang in 2022 by going to bed at 10 PM after nearly a week of puttering around my house in a sickly fog.  My Christmas Break in 2022-2023 was much more action-packed, but that just meant the “slow down there, sport” illness hit right when I was supposed to go back to work.  D’oh!

That said, I do enjoy—in limited doses—the life of a hermit.  I’m very thankful to have a supportive family, and a strong support network of neighbors and friends nearby who can help me out in times of trouble.  But there is something appealing, especially during this dark, cold months, about holing up in my warm little house, eating frozen pizzas and watching horror movies.

For those that read my Tuesday post, here is a quick health update:  I think I am on the mend.  I went back to work Wednesday, as my fever broke.  I’m still coughing a bit and have some gnarly congestion, but my voice is back, which makes teaching possible—hurray!  Here’s hoping that as my health improves, I can use some of this slower wintry time to get crackin’ on several long-delayed book projects.

With that, here is 4 January 2022’s “The Hermit’s Life“:

During the long week between Christmas and New Year’s, I found myself struggling against some manner of illness (not The Virus, it seems, thank goodness).  I ran a low-grade fever for a couple of days, then suffered with a sore throat and some fatigue for a few days afterwards.  Fortunately, with the week off, I was able to hole up in Port Manor in Lamar, and regular reader and neighbor Bernard Fife brought me some homemade Christmas treats (and an at-home COVID-19 test, which came back negative).

I typically spend the holidays with my parents, or at least surrounded by family.  That was the case leading up to Christmas, but my mystery malady thwarted my plans to return to my childhood home.  Instead, from Tuesday (when the symptoms started coming on) through Sunday, I largely stayed home, with some occasional outings for groceries and the like as my condition began to improve (and once I realized I’d avoided the scourge of The Virus).

Needless to say, that is a lot of time at home.  I am very much a homebody, and like being there, but the demands of work, lessons, family, friends, and all the other social and professional obligations I get myself into mean I rarely get days alone at home.

Be careful what you wish for:  I had six days at home thanks to illness.  Had it not been for being sick, though, it would have been glorious.  Even so, it was pretty great.

I will hasten to add the following:  it did get boring at times.  Even I have my limits of how much downtime and loafing I can endure.  I ate way more than I should have, both as a result of an expanded gut from holiday cheer, but also as a way to pass the time.  That’s never good.

That said, I tried to use the time productively when health allowed.  I managed to do a great deal of writing.  I reached out to friends I had not spoken to for some time.  I actually got to read—gasp!—some parts of the books I got for Christmas.

I also built two incredible LEGO sets that my girlfriend’s parents got me, and which I will write about in more detail at another time:

I did not get as much done as I would have liked, though.  I’d meant to get a head start on lesson plans and such for work.  Well, those things never quite go off as planned, do they?  I hoped to do a bit more writing for non-blog-related stuff, but I put that off.

However, I was able to catch up on some handwritten correspondence.  The house, while still needing some dusting, is probably cleaner than it has been in awhile.  My laundry is not just done—which I enjoy doing—but folded and organized.

What I missed more than anything was social interaction.  Sure, I talked to plenty of folks via text (my sore throat was severe enough that phone calls were unpleasant) and such, but it’s not the same as face-to-face human interaction.  I’ve never been one to go overboard for New Year’s Eve, but being alone (other than with Murph) was a bit of a drag.  Granted, I was in bed by ten, but still.

Otherwise, it was pretty awesome.  I’m somewhat excited to be back teaching today, but it’s going to be a major adjustment after the last week.  I enjoy puttering around the house—I’m a putterer—and taking care of tasks at a leisurely, thoughtful pace.  The breakneck speed of the school day is going to be a real shock to the system, but I imagine I’ll be back into the swing of things in the next few days.

And last week will be but a distant, blissful memory.

—TPP

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