Catching Cold

Where did the phase, “I caught a cold” come from?  It’s one of those weird idioms.

I love idioms – those weird phrases we say that don’t really mean what the words mean.

You know like, “I’m all ears.”  Now that would be a weird, strange and possibly frightening image.  Serious, you’re covered in ears from head to toe?  How do you breathe? Eat?

Or how about the ever popular, “Hitting the nail on the head”?  Do you ever have a hammer in your hand when you say that? Are you even in a room with a nail and hammer when it’s said.  There’s a guy at my office who likes to say, “Let’s hit it on the head this time.”  You hit me on the head, with or without a hammer, and you’ll find me escalating the situation quickly.

If you think too much about these things, you’ll realize how stupid they sound.  Hence the word, “idiom” derived from manifestation of stupid – the idiot (who cares if that’s true or not, it’s a fun explanation).

But getting back to the “elephant in the room”, “catching a cold”, it seems that I have in fact caught a cold.  I didn’t mean to catch one.  I didn’t go out into the garden with a big net and swoop one up.  There aren’t any little traps on my desk to ensnare wandering microbes.

No, just the other day at work my throat felt scratchy.  At first I just put it down to have been assigned to a new manager and spending the whole day talking to him.  Mostly I was telling him how to do his job and he was mostly ignoring me, which is working well for us so far.

By the second day of marathon meetings to create a “road map” of all the work we’ve promised to do and aren’t likely to get done, (this is high-tech, the point of the road map is to have a map of where we’re going, not to actually go there – different processes, longer post), I was starting to feel a bit “under the weather.”

Well, living mostly on the ground and the clouds going over my head, I’m “under the weather” most of the time except when flying in an air plane which sometimes goes over the weather.

But I digress.

I have a cold.  You know the stuffy, coughy, can’t breathe kind of cold with a cough.  It’s annoying.  First you can’t breathe, then you break out into coughing fits followed by the world spinning slow counter-clockwise (or withershins for those of you studying 16th century Low German and it’s impact on the Scottish language).  It’s worse at night as every thing backs up and sneezing starts.  At least it’s a break from coughing.

My father use to describe two phases of a cold as: “At first you’re afraid you’ll die followed by a period when you’re afraid you won’t die.”

He use to also tell me, “If you take care of yourself, get lots of rest, and drink plenty of liquids, you’ll be over the cold in 14 days.  If you don’t, it could take two weeks.”  Thanks Dad!

The most annoying thing about the cold is that I sit around, take some medication and start to feel better.  After awhile I start to feel like I could go do something.  Then I stand up and move and that withershins (or the world moving backwards) starts up.  I was supposed to read the Bible lesson in church this morning for the big show, Easter Sunday.  Instead, I tried to leave a message on the pastor’s voice mail.  Luckily for me, Heather had the pastor’s cell phone so I could send a text without all the coughing and spluttering.

When did pastor’s start doing text messaging? I missed a memo there.

Well, I’ll have to end this post now.  I think it’s time for either my decongestant, or my cough medicine or my blood pressure pills.  Did I take that extra vitamin C I was thinking of? Umm, did I confuse the BP pills for the vit C? Was it 10 or 20 milligrams for the cough syrup.  Wow, that might explain this post.

There you have it right from the horse’s mouth, idioms are strange and colds a pain.



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Friday Wisdom – Doing it Right

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

More wisdom next week,


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Wednesday Woodworking – Desk Update and Next Project

Here’s Heather’s desk setup and in use:

Desk in the office.

and my next project is to clean this area up and cut down the size of this assembly table:

Too big for the space.

My shop is only about 160 square feet (as large as a big bedroom), so space is at a premium.  I built this assembly table/storage cart a few years ago.  It’s not working out as it’s just too big and tends to just be a flat surface that accumulates junk. The only useful thing it stores is my air compressor and air tools which only take up about half the space in the base.  So I’m going to cut it in half and make two carts.  I’ll use some of that junk wood on the right to make shelving inside the carts and what I don’t use is going to get hauled off to the scrap yard.

The second cart will get my jointer, sander, and maybe my small band saw.

If you need me, I’ll be using my table saw to cut a table in half.


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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

When I was a child, we went to church every Sunday.  It was the outing of the week – the one time when the whole family did something together.  Before church we had our one cooked breakfast for the week and we boys put on our suits, ties and good shoes.

We wore clip-on bow ties.  As I recall mine was a red plaid thing.  It was the sixties and my father was still living in the fifties.  Father wore clip-on bow ties everyday to the office where he was a tax accountant and had the joyful job of telling people how much they owed the government.  Well he did have the joy of sometimes telling people how big their refund would be.

But Sunday wasn’t about taxes.  It was about community, and being with family and friends.  Well, and there was that whole God, church, religion thing too.  There was also an aspect of seeing how much trouble you could get into without getting your “Sunday Clothes” dirty.

After church there was always the coffee hour where we kids would get the red punch, dad a cup of coffee, and mother would get a cup of tea she wouldn’t drink.  Then we’d all pile into the car and head home for lunch.

One meal I remember most is chili and grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was wonderful.  The chili came from a can (Hormel chili con carne without beans plus an added can of kidney beans – yeah seems weird to me now) and we got to use the big electric sandwich grill that could make four sandwiches at a time. Actually it was a waffle grill with changeable plates for sandwiches or waffles (we never made waffles).  At seven years old this was just all magical and tasted great.

I’m sure we had other things to eat for our Sunday lunch, but this meal was standard and was always a crowd pleaser for our family.  I do recall going to other church members homes for Sunday lunch and being surprised that they didn’t have a sandwich grill.  I was also disappointed to learn that Jesus probably didn’t eat chili and that likely he didn’t have sandwiches either.  Seemed odd to me, as that would have been an easy way to feed the five thousand – a big pot of chili and a sandwich grill.

This memory comes back to me often on a Sunday.  Today it came back because Heather and I had a can of Amy’s Organic Chili.  I’ll admit that canned chili isn’t something I relish these days, but it does bring back a flood of memories.

Memories of being told not to run at church, of singing hymns, folding the church bulletin into a paper airplane and flying them from the choir loft.  Memories of Sunday School art projects, the Christmas pageant, and the time I played a carol on the piano for the pageant program.  Or the many years one of our paper airplanes stayed stuck high on a beam in the sanctuary.

I was reminded of my father today, because I had to write the check for our taxes and was reminded of what he sometimes said about that, “Only them with money has that problem chum.”

Thanks Dad.


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