Sub Zero

Dear Family,

This week was bitterly, bitterly cold. The kind of weather that makes
you really appreciate having a house to live in. On the days when the
sun came out, our heat actually switched off during the day. It's
amazing to live in a place that takes advantage of simple physics.

For the first time in a long time, there were _long_ stretches of time
when my kids were fun this week. Ben seemed more relaxed, less unhappy,
and he did lots of origami, drawing, and being pleasant. He also
suddenly seems to have grown out of all his pants. Jem seemed like he
had a growth spurt too, and his accomplishments included adding the "r"
into his pronunciation of the word "more", learning to say "HI!",
figuring out how to put together legos, and completely refusing to pee
in the toilet. All signs of his budding independence, I'm sure.

I took the boys to the "littles" playgroup at Northern Light learning
center, which is an homeschoolers' resource center downtown. Thus far,
Ben has wanted nothing to do with it, so it was exciting that he finally
wanted to go. It was stressful for him (lots of screaming children can
have that effect on even the most social), but he wants to go back. I
also took both boys to the Sciencenter on Wednesday for nearly five
hours. I think they would have stayed until it closed. And did I
mention? That afternoon (I'm crossing my fingers), my two children
actually PLAYED--TOGETHER--for half an hour. There is dim light at the
end of the tunnel.

Jeff did lots of work this week, and is also busy researching the
perfect mechanical clock kit to get for himself...I mean, for _Ben_. He
and Ben went skating on the pond on Monday, and also took some really
cool photos of the sunrise--as viewed through the ice crystals on our
front door.

My vague feelings of absolute desperation this week have stemmed from
the fact that my immune function has been substantially reduced to about
a 3 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being healthy and vigorous).
Seriously--before five years ago, I didn't get sick very often. Now,
it's been since early December that I've had a low-level cough, and then
the craziness of the holidays sort of put me over the edge. And I've
been more or less sick since then. This week, it was more--WAY more.
Insane amounts of phlegm, and a burning soccer ball in my throat, and
absolutely no energy. All I wanted to do was sleep. Nine hours at night,
plus naps. And the thing is, no one made it totally clear, when I signed
up for this job, that there would be no sick days.

I've got these elaborate fantasies of spending at least 24 hours inside
a sealed chamber (soundproof) with a comfortable bed, and during that
time I would get to sleep whenever I wanted, and when I was awake I'd
just read fascinating yet mindless literature, and then I'd go back to
sleep, and NOBODY would interrupt me for any reason or chew on my nipples.

So there you have it--my non-selling memoir will be entitled "My
Ironical Life."

Okay, I think I need to leave the back room now. I kind of closed myself
inside and left my wonderful husband with two cabin-fevered children,
one of whom really needs a nap but is unwilling to succumb. So I think
I'd better take my turn.

Much love to all,