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Children, husband, dogs -- the whole town must have winter flu

Heather Lende

I should have been suspicious when one friend said she came down with food poisoning on the ferry on her way home from a winter Outside. But her husband didn't, and no one else on board seemed to either.

Or Sunday night when Dave (of the terrific Dave and Mandy folk duo) needed a stool to sit on, and did not attend the pre-concert potluck because of food poisoning. Or even on Sunday when I felt a little queasy in church, and a long walk did not perk me up enough to rally for Norm's annual Aloha birthday party, which always signals the arrival of spring.

I thought all these were isolated incidents until I picked up Caroline yesterday and my daughter said to be sure we all wash our hands. A lot. The kindergartners are all throwing-up, she said. Stomach flu is going around.

Another daughter, who teaches second grade in Juneau, called and said the highlight of her day had been when a little person puked up canned peaches. You can imagine. Then again, maybe it's best not to.

This morning, my husband Chip woke up and groaned that he had caught the flu, but it felt like food poisoning. Which brings us full circle. He is still in bed with a pillow over his head and Pearl is sleeping sympathetically in my spot. Is it my imagination, or does the dog look a little peaky too? Her breakfast bowl has not been touched. Phoebe (the grumpy, very old terrier) is under my desk right now and her stomach is making those squishy noises that are never a good sign.

Let's just hope the new city manager doesn't come down with this last (hopefully) winter bug before his first meeting tonight. (But if he does, be sure he knows it's not in the food. It's in the air, and on little children's hands.) I'm a little concerned that the borough assembly meeting is beginning at 5:30 p.m. The assembly is not allowed to go past midnight, and it has had trouble with that rule lately -- sometimes continuing meetings three times before completing them.

My editorial suggestion for the manager's first change would be to cut the packets from novel length (350 pages) to at least a novella (60-120) with the goal of making them short-story size by June. (Up to, say, 20 pages tops?)

Speaking of stories, Thursday night at 7 in the Chilkat Center is the second in the community players' River Talk series, where seven people each have seven minutes to tell a story themed "Thrills and Chills." I have been asked to participate, and I said yes, as I want to support it. But I'm a little anxious. I can't use a script, and I can't go over my time, and I'm just not that funny or as entertaining a talker as people like Pizza Joe are. But I'll give it a try. It is preferable to having the flu, anyway.  I think. And know that the flu, too, will pass, and spring really will come. It always does. 

Haines writer Heather Lende just finished her third book of essays, “Finding the Good.” This post originally appeared on her blog. It has been reprinted with permission.