The brilliant orange setting sun in the accompanying photo is a deceitful center of the scene in my late afternoon backyard, as the arrival of yet another blast of Arctic air in Northwest Ohio sent temperatures diving back toward the single digits. This is one of the colder and snowier winters in recent memory, and the combination of the two means that I have spent an inordinate amount of time inside the house this winter.
Cabin fever is setting in.
My son's screamo songs and my daughter's Disney Channel programs each claw on my nerves like the talons of a vulture on a freshly-snared rabbit, and I am sure that my own idiosyncrasies are also a source of irritation to the other people living in my house. Of course, with wind chill readings well below zero many days, even a few minutes outside increases the risk of hypothermia, so trips outside are limited in duration. However, if cabin fever continues, I may have to trade numbed fingers and toes for some sanity.
Yesterday's brief foray above freezing was short-lived, and I unfortunately had to spend much of the day indoors. Naturally, today was a day that just had to be bitterly cold, since I had some free time. I did make it out of the house for a few hours with my wife and a couple of dogs, but I suspect if I could develop a statistical model of my outdoor activity this winter, I would find that the total hours outdoors must be about half of my normal level.
And as I returned to the house and saw my son dozing on the couch - the same young man whose late-night clunking around kept me tossing and turning until 2:30 am - the cooped-up resentments returned, and I struggled to resist grabbing a pot and a metal spoon to dish out a sonic payback to him.
Like I did this morning about 9:00, when the same night-owl man-child was sleeping on the same couch. Of course, after I woke him up with a clanging pot this morning, I felt guilty for acting in such a juvenile fashion. After all, I am the adult here, and I should set the example instead of perpetuating the malevolent cycle of sleep disruption.
Right. I really should have blocked my cell number and called his phone a couple of dozen times, a device that has this amazingly loud and screechy metal guitar noise. That way payback would be mine, and he would have no clue as to who the hell would call him a dozen times at the ungodly hour of 9:00 am on a Saturday.