By Tim Leeds
It's good to live in a giving family.
I know. I've got a family of four, and we've been giving each other colds and other illnesses for about two or three months now.
Just as one of us gets over one batch of illness, someone else is coming down with something else. And around and around it goes.
Patrick, our 3-year-old son, is currently taking antibiotics, with prescription cough medicine containing codeine in reserve if his coughing fits pop up again.
My wife seems to finally be getting over her severe coughing fits. She's only had them for about two or three weeks. I don't know how she's managed to keep going to work with her coughing, shortness of breath and lack of sleep. (Hey, Jodene, I managed to work you into one of my columns again!)
Now I've got it. I've had a cold for the last two or three months, it seems like, but today I feel miserable. I have a tradition, going back to my earliest childhood memories, of having horrible coughing fits whenever I get a bad cold. Now it's back, and I don't like it.
It's just one of those things that goes with a family, I guess. My wife waits on the public at the Big K, Richard attends elementary school and Patrick goes to daycare. There's no way to avoid picking up those germs and bringing them home, I suppose. But I still don't like it.
It's really tough to take, watching my 3-year-old son with a fever and a cough, feeling miserable. It kind of makes you wish you could take it for him. Of course, now he's marginally better and I'm coming down with something similar, and I'm not so sure I don't want him to take it back for me.
The new standard winter weather patterns for Montana certainly don't help either. I don't think my body can decide whether it should get geared up for summer illnesses or whether it should be ready for fighting problems with 40 below weather. There have been chinook weather patterns here for as long as I remember, but this alternating -of-a-week to three weeks of temperatures in the 40s with -of-a-week to three weeks of 10 above to 20 below all winter long just isn't right.
I guess I shouldn't complain too much. At least we don't have hurricanes or frequent dangerous earthquakes and tornadoes. Dangerous flooding is fairly rare, too. (Knock on wood for all of those, although I think a hurricane is pretty unlikely.)
But, enough complaining about the weather and winter colds. Let's see, what else can I complain about?
I do want to apologize to whomever it was in that red car on Third Avenue and Second Street yesterday when I ran the stop sign in front of them. I hate it when people do that, and I apologize. I don't know where my mind was. I was thinking I was still a block away from the stop sign, I guess, and didn't even realize what I had just done until I was half-way through the intersection. Sorry.
I also apologize for what I see as not doing a very good job covering stories recently. I just can't seem to get focused on getting the job done. I hope to get refocused and start covering stories in the way I think I should be. Unfortunately, I've been saying that to myself for about four months now, and it hasn't happened.
But please, continue to let me know about things that I should cover. I love getting tips about stories. If I don't know what is happening, I can't write about it.
I hope this stuff isn't too bitter and depressing. With my aches, cough and shortness on sleep, I suppose I shouldn't have gotten out of bed today, much less tried to write an opinion piece. I'm sure that most everyone out there knows what I'm talking about, though. Winter in Montana is a lovely time, with the beautiful, peaceful (most of the time) white scenery; like a postcard or pastoral painting.
It's also, however, a time of 40 below zero and nasty winds, slippery streets and highways, and lots of cold and flu. Oh, well.