My Day in the Sun

The view to the west from the foot of the bed, where there was some sun — and Marrakesh.

Yesterday was a Goldilocks day, if Goldi’s three bears had been in the house with her the entire time and were really two cats and a dog. I spent the day trying to find just the right spot, and every time I thought I had it figured out, an animal was there ahead of me.

Tuesday afternoon was the county’s flu clinic day. This wasn’t the “drive-by shooting” it’s been in the past, where you just drive up in your car, stick your arm out the window, get jabbed and go — this was a walk-in clinic, the way they’ve been managing covid vaccines, which were also on offer if you were of the Pfizer variety.

Everyone else at work went for their flu shots two Tuesdays ago, when the county only publicized it as a Pfizer clinic. Kara called to confirm, and yes, you could get a flu shot, so they all went. Without me, who initially harbored some faint hope of getting there by the clinic’s close at 6:30 — up until a middle school football game stretched way into the dark.

Last week the clinic moved to Crested Butte, so Lynn and I set our sights on this week. Weatherwise, we could have picked better: we got there about 10 minutes early to confront a line stretching clear along the rodeo grounds in the cold wind that didn’t bring too much of the promised/threatened snow.

Vaccine clinics, it turns out, are quite the social occasion, and because this one included flu there were not just us geriatrics but also young kids with their parents. Some friends and neighbors were volunteering their time to help staff the clinic, while others, often people we hadn’t seen for awhile (although one of Lynn’s postal patrons was there, and he very generously offered his coat to our friend Sue, whom we ended up next to in line), so we got all sorts of caught up while wending our way to the point of injection.

While Lynn is a veteran of flu shots, I am a TL-come-lately, and have only been doing this for a handful of years. The first year I got one absolutely nothing happened, including I didn’t get the flu. The next year, while I was at work the next day, I started feeling a bit off, and it occurred to me it might be because of the shot.

The next year the day-after was worse, and the year after that ever more so. But I was optimistic this year, despite my two doses of Moderna taking extra days out of my life. I was even more optimistic yesterday morning, when I woke up feeling fine. But then the body aches started.

The first clue was that the arm I didn’t get stabbed in hurt just as bad as the other one. I thought I’d be all prophylatic and took an arthritis-strength acetaminophen. Even though I had to put my coat on while still inside the house, I figured I could go to work and if not move screens around, at least do some light-duty desk work.

My coat never came off. I parked in the two-hour zone right next to our side door, rationalizing that I’d worry about my car in two hours, and headed for my desk. Where I called up one e-mail and sat there reading and reading, not getting it to make much sense. Fifteen minutes after I got there, still huddled in my coat, I packed up and headed home.

Where my plan was to find some sunshine and lie in it.

My first thought was the recliner just under the east-facing guest room window. But it turns out, that was Na Ki’o’s first thought, too, and he obviously found it to be just right. I deferred to a bed under an east-facing window, where my head and shoulders were in the sun. I fell asleep while watching late-night talk show host monologues on Youtube.

When I woke up, Marrakesh, who who rarely knows exactly what he wants but never hesitates to vocalize his unhappiness, was at the patio door wanting in. He jumped up on the bed with me, but that still wasn’t what he wanted, we both guess, and he left. Too hard? Too soft? Who knows? Certainly not Marrakesh.

The next time I woke up, the sun was shifting around to the south, so I moved my pillows to the floor, where I was basking just like the dog who came to keep me company the second I got down there, planting his head on my hip. Despite drugs, my joints were still terribly achy, rendering the floor warm but not comfortable. I determined to move to the couch, only to discover that Na Ki’o had already done so.

In all fairness, it could be that this is Ki’o’s daily modus operandi, following the sun all over the house. And normally when I come in and the thermostat reads 72 about the last thing I want to do is repose in the sun. But in the throes of vaccine side effects — let’s just keep telling ourselves, it must mean the vaccine is working — 72 might as well be below freezing.

Our house is canted just enough to the southwest that the allegedly-south-facing room on the west doesn’t get a lot of sun, but when I peered in around noon, the side of the bed looked rather sunny. Nearby was a very stretched-out Marrakesh, who thoughtfully left just enough room for me to perch in what turned out to be a rather small patch of sun.

One of Ki’o’s many vets paid a house call to give him his laser treatment, which left him languidly on the futon, out of any sun. This freed up the couch, although between the angle of the sun and the clouds scudding over, I had to resort to a blankie, which I fell asleep under while watching Scrubs reruns on TV.

Later, tiring of the prone position, sort of, I helped myself to Lynn’s recliner, which came with the unexpected bonus of late-afternoon sun streaming through a west window. Only then did my internal sensors recalibrate and make me feel like 72 was plenty warm without added sunshine.

This morning I’m having trouble deciding whether to be cold or hot, and a few of my joints are still creaky, but I’ve decided I will probably live. And maybe even be able to read e-mails at work.

This has definitely been a case of “careful what you wish for.” Because doesn’t that sound great? A day spent at home doing not much of anything, lying around in the patches of sun the animals aren’t already in? But I can’t say I enjoyed my day in the sun.

As Goldilocks learned, the quest for “just right” isn’t an easy one. Yesterday I could barely bear it at all.

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