Saturday, April 28, 2012

Couch Kingdoms and Grown-Up Sick Days

One of my favorite things about being a kid was staying home from school when I was sick. I didn’t like the sick part (who does?) but I loved the staying home part. I honed my Ferris Bueller faker skills early in life too. While I never borrowed a fancy car or sang a Beatles song in a completely unnecessary parade sequence, I had all the symptom faking skills down.  And I was a cute kid so I’m sure that didn’t hurt. No parent is going to tell their cute kid to go to school if they say they’re sick. If I ever have children, I will probably let them stay home all the time. I’m a pushover when it comes to cuteness and sickness—hugs, blankets, and toast will make it better (even if you’re lying).

Childhood sick days took place in what I like to think of as the Couch Kingdom. Pillows and blankets would be arranged just so on the couch and you could burrow into them to nap the day away. Books and magazines would magically appear (along with your missed work for school which was promptly ignored). Ginger ale and cinnamon toast (my mom makes the best cinnamon toast in the world) were staples.

I was Queen of Couch Kingdom. I preferred Teen Beat and BOP magazines and Judy Blume, Babysitters Club, and Sweet Valley High books (although this would eventually morph into Christopher Pike and Stephen King—I was a weird kid). Probably the best part of being Queen of Couch Kingdom was absolute control of the television. I could watch whatever I wanted. Even when my brother got home from school I was still in control because I was sick (and bossy and bratty). Some days I’m amazed that my brother likes me.

For the majority of my elementary and middle school years, television control meant that I watched the movie version of Annie over and over again. Annie was the middle school equivalent of You've Got Mail - I had to watch it. My family, and I’m including aunts and uncles here, hate this movie and it’s my fault. Occasionally I’d change it up and watch some other movie (probably Strawberry Shortcake themed when I was younger) or I’d watch soap operas with my mom. I have a soft spot in my heart for All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital. I haven’t watched any of them since 1991 but I love an Erica Kane joke as much as the next person.

The magic of the Couch Kingdom was that someone was there to take care of you. It didn’t really matter that I wanted to watch Annie my mom would still be there with more ginger ale or Kleenex or calamine lotion (when I had chicken pox). She’d bring another blanket if I needed or buy me a magazine at the store. Being sick as a kid was awesome. Being Queen of Couch Kingdom was even better.

I participate in a 30-day photo challenge on the Facebook. For those of you not familiar with the concept each day has a different theme and you post a photo depicting said theme. The photo has to be taken and posted on that day. It’s a great way to be creative and take wacky pictures. I love photo challenges. One of the themes this week was “If I Was a Kid Again” and I posted a picture of my grown-up sick day. Grown-up sick days are terrible.

Kitchen Table Kingdom isn't as much fun

I have spent the better part of this week sick and feeling sad that grown-up sick days are not anything like childhood sick days. Most of my sick days as an adult have really just been “work from home” days. I might stay in my pjs (although I rarely do this) but I’m still checking email and doing work stuff. When I taught high school, I felt guilty calling in sick; my colleagues would have to sub for me (which meant that they lost a planning period or lunch time for many of them) so I often went in despite the fact that I was hacking up a lung. This may have actually been my penance for faking so much when I was kid. I wasted sick days instead of saving them (like some sort of bizarre sick day karma).

Unfortunately, Pumpkin is useless when it comes to taking care of a sick person. She lays on me (which I guess is comforting) but she’s a cat. She can’t make tea or cinnamon toast. She would prefer to ignore more or play with her toys. I have to remember, “Pumpkin is not Lassie.” Lassie would have been able to make tea or at least tell someone I was sick so they could come and make me tea.

What Pumpkin does when I'm sick. Isn't she amazing?


  1. I swear to god Erin we're the same person....
    Were you sick yesterday?? Because I was. I spent all day wrapped up in a blanket drinking tea. I was just super glad I didn't completely lose my voice during my training.
    Hope you feel better!

  2. We are the same person! I made it through my Thursday training although I'm sure the people on it were worried my voice wouldn't last. It was at that stage that one of our co-workers calls "a cross between a pack a day smoker and a phone sex worker." We do keep it classy at work.

    I spent yesterday at my "sick bed/kitchen table" not being very productive. I feel better today. Hope you are too! More tea, lots of water, and rest, rest, rest!