Friday, January 9, 2009

Things that go "bump" in the night?

By Lonnie Cruse

Things were a bit stressful at the Cruse abode this holiday season. Hubby had some sort of virus, the kind that makes you sneeze and cough until your guts tie themselves into knots and your diaphragm goes on strike and you consider begging your doctor to put you on a diaphragm transplant list. Of course hubby managed to share his bug with me. Combine that with last minute shopping, wrapping, and cooking, and you have the first glimmer of holiday stress.

Our daughter-in-law wound up in the ER at least twice between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve with what appeared to be chest pains but resulted in her having her gall bladder out. Grandpa and I leaped into the breach to watch the boys while our son took care of her. And trust me, we're not as young as we used to be when it comes to baby sitting growing/squabbling siblings. Then, of course, there was the annual Cruse Cousins' Chili Supper, held at our house this year. Several kinds of cousins, six kinds of chili, four kinds of desserts.

Still life is rarely stress free and I thought I was handling it all pretty well until I woke up one morning covered in hives. Red, for the season, naturally. We have a friend who is a Physician's Assistant to a skin doctor, so I pleaded for mercy and she squeezed me into her busy schedule. It's a reaction to hubby's virus. And the stress. Take this medicine. Don't scratch. Whimper.

I take the meds, the hives disappear for a few days, but they're really only lurking beneath a couple of layers of skin, ready to pop out after the chili supper. And this time they're not going away. Maybe I shouldn't have tried all six varieties of chili? Hmmm.

So what does one do when one looks like a polka-dotted-probably-should-be-returned Christmas gift and knows she needs a bit of a break? Well, for me, it was tea and cookies and Poirot. While Christmas shopping I happened on a set of DVDs at Sam's Club of the POIROT series, shown on television a few years ago. I thought I liked the MISS MARPLE series better, but I needed something to watch besides the sappy new Christmas movies that came out this year, so I bought the first set. Ahhh, I'd forgotten the beautiful scenery in this series. The vintage clothing. The gardens. The trains. And Miss Lemon's spit curls. I love her character.

We eventually wound up buying all three of the sets in the POIROT series and have nearly watched them all. I'm now looking for the rest because there are 62 total episodes, and we "only" have 36, but these are much cheaper than what's online to buy. Sam's must have gotten a great deal.

I love English mysteries. Even the modern day variety, though I sometimes have trouble following the dialogue or a particular reference goes over my head. And if you have a favorite English actor or two, he/she is likely to pop up in more than one of these series.

A friend asked me if (after over two weeks, sigh) it was still possible to connect my dots. I responded that the dots were busy connecting themselves. I go to bed with the spots faded for the day, hoping they are leaving, and wake up to find the bumps got much worse in the night. I've gotten stronger meds, but so far it appears to be a case of me wearing the spots out before they wear me out. And still not scratching. And trying to figure out if there is something besides "the virus" causing this, like a food allergy or scent allergy (which has resulted in me eating a stricter diet and re-washing lots of already clean laundry with scent-free detergent, just in case.) But as long as I have POIROT, a hot cup of tea, and some left-over Christmas sugar cookies in a tin, I'm good. I'm even practically stress free.

What's your comfort TV watch? Favorite series? Do you watch it on DVD? Video? What helps you de-stress?


Paul Lamb said...

I've always thought that the British did mysteries better because their society was so class oriented. So much springs from people acting outside of their expected manner, and in at least one Sherlock Holmes tale, a certain suspect is exonerated simply because he is a lord and so could not have done the crime.

I think Americans do crime stories better than the Brits.

caryn said...

Right now we are working our way through the second season of The Tudors. I hit Blockbuster first thing Tuesday morning and rented the entire season.
Santa delivered the complete series of The Wire to our house so sometime soon we'll be watching something like 60 hours of it.
Sam's has the Poirots on sale? Sam even has them??? I have to go see if our Sam's has them!
Comfort TV for me is the British mysteries too.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Paul, I think you are right about the class thing.

Caryn, I haven't seen The Tudors, I'll check it out. Thanks!

Julia Buckley said...

Lonnie! I'm so sorry to hear your ailments are still lingering. What a Christmas--I'm sure you're glad to put it behind you.

Speaking of scenery, one of the shows that just make me happy when I watch them are the ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL episodes that PBS put out, perhaps 20 years ago? The Yorkshire Dales never looked so appealing as they do in these wonderful shows about James Herriott, the country vet. And Christopher Timothy had to do some very realistic vetting in the show!

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