So I was off work from the 25th, Christmas, through the 1st, New Year’s Day. Went back on the 2nd. I shouldn’t have, but after a long vacation or a holiday, you don’t call off sick unless you’re calling from the doctor’s office or hospital. There’s a nasty cold or two going around, as well as the flu. I’ve had my flu shot, so that was less likely, assuming they chose the right strain. Not to mention I didn’t have some of the key flu symptoms, like chills and eyelash pain. Fever isn’t always present. Learned that one last year, when I had everything but. No, this is definitely a cold, though it is really vicious. Started Sunday night when I felt a bit tired, and my throat was a little raw. Well, I was still recovering from that football game one week prior – my throat had been sore off and on for days. Before I fell asleep, though, I had to find myself some mentholated rub so I could breathe. Woke up Monday to that wonderful, post-nasal-drip-through-the-night feeling. Swallowing was excruciating, talking very unpleasant. It was bad enough that I even tried the lidocane gel I had from a strep throat scare earlier this year. That stuff tastes awful! Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to eat or drink, though, so it was necessary. Got the nose sorted so that wouldn’t happen again, but I did go through an awful lot of tissues. Tuesday morning, even worse. No New Year’s celebrations for me. I did manage to stay up past midnight. Had absolutely nothing to do with the fireworks outside making the neighborhood dogs – including the incredibly loud one next door – bark for a while.
New Year’s Day, I felt a little better, like I was going to be alright Thursday. Wrong. I did go to work; as I mentioned, you don’t call off the day after a vacation or holiday unless you’re calling from the ER. Regretted it almost immediately. Went through several more tissues, coughed up small bits of lung, and spent the bulk of the day debating whether I should go home early. Friday, because of my normal cycle (get sick, rest, feel better than I did, go to work too early, relapse), I felt miserable. I caved – I called off. Spent the entire day in bed, except for trips to the bathroom or kitchen. Got creative with some chicken broth and cous cous for lunch. It was…interesting. Yeah, interesting is the right word. Felt good on my throat and through my chest, I will say that.
Feeling much better today, but I’m trying to remind myself not to go crazy on getting stuff done. It’s difficult, though, because we’re expecting WINTER STORM ION. That’s right, we’re up to the letter I in the winter-storm-naming that The Weather Channel has taken upon themselves to perpetrate. We are actually supposed to get dumped on, then temperatures bottom out. We’re lucky – our high on Monday should be -2F. It’s much worse just a few miles to the north. I have toilet paper and bread – I just need milk and beer. I don’t tend to keep those on hand because I drink neither milk nor beer, but it’s required when a massive snow storm is predicted.
Two winters ago, it was so mild, flowers bloomed a month early. Last winter saw a bit of snow, but nothing particularly dramatic – not for lack of predicting it, mind. That awful, dangerous storm we were supposed to get in March left us all reeling. Must have been an eighth of an inch of snow on the ground; city nearly came to a screeching halt. So now we’re being reminded what winter can be. Of course, being where we are in the country, the bitter cold was preceded by near 60 degree temps, by, say, 24 – 36 hours? Seemed that way, anyway.
There is one benefit to the weather – see, I am a bit of a football fan. Just a bit, mind. I’m certainly not one of those who gives a play-by-play the entire game, filling up everyone’s Facebook newsfeeds with non-sequitur congratulations and screams of rage.‡ My team, the Cincinnati Bengals, has, for the third year in a row, made it to the post-season. This time, we even got home-field adavatage. We haven’t gotten past the first game in the post-season since 1990, against the Houston Oilers. This year, though, no one is saying we got lucky, that everyone else collapsed, giving us our chance. We *earned* this spot.†
Anyway, this game tomorrow has a bit of an interesting twist – in January of 1982, the year of our first Super Bowl appearance, we had a few games to play. We made it to the AFC Championship series, and we got to play at home. Winters in Cincinnati can be…challenging. Three days before Christmas, it was over 60 degrees, Fahrenheit. Christmas Day topped out at 28 – no snow, of course. Record high in 1982 was 65. The record low of -8 was set in 1983, 365 days later. On Sunday the 29th, before I really felt sick, the temperature topped out at 64.
New Year’s Day in 1982 had a bit of fog, but that was it; the temperature was within the typical range at 44, and precipitation was zero. According to records, it was mid-50s on the 6th. Two days later, the bottom dropped out. From a high of 54 to a low of 12 is a bit of a shock. On the 9th, the low was only 2 (that’s -17 C for those playing along in the rest of the world). Cold, sure, but still football weather.
January 10th, 1982, the day of the AFC Championship game; the official temperature according to the site I’m using is -11 F (-24 C). Original reports claim a windchill of -59 F (-51 C). That’s North Dakota cold.
Two teams faced one another on the gridiron – the Cincinnati Bengals, and the San Diego Chargers. Now just a few years before, it was so cold that the Ohio River froze. That was the 2nd year in a row – 1977 and 1978. There were people crazy enough to try driving across. They made it, but they were lucky. I say that to point out that the Bengals have dealt with harsh cold like that on a far more regular basis than the San Diego Chargers. That game – which the Bengals won, by the way – went down in football history as The Freezer Bowl.
This year – tomorrow, in fact – the Bengals are hosting a 1st round Wildcard game – against the San Diego Chargers. We are currently under a winter storm warning, too. Most of it isn’t supposed to hit until after the game, but weather can be unpredictable; one can hope…
‡I’m so totally that person
†Yeah, I said ‘we,’ what of it? Even when the Bengals lose, it’s still ‘we,’ so nyah!