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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cure for cabin fever

It's official. The cabin fever season started early this year. 
Cabin fever is a common chronic mind-altering seasonal disorder that usually makes its appearance about the time we receive our income tax statements.  This year the cabin fever was early, rearing it's ugly head when the last Christmas cookie disappeared. 
Experts agree that the early appearance of this disorder may have been caused by what has turned out to be the toughest winter in 25 years. As predicted by this columnist in my long-range weather prediction column last fall. That's how I knew my own cabin fever was coming on, when I started  writing a column about writing a column.                                                                                                                           
Cabin fever victims often endure a wide range of symptoms, from drowsiness to insomnia. Ask yourself, have you ever worked on a really humongous jigsaw puzzle? Tied flies? Or wrote to the  newspaper?   
You could have cabin fever.
It's not something you have to be ashamed of anymore. I had cabin fever. This is my story.
Knowing you have cabin fever is the first step in finding a cure. Many experts will tell you they have a cure for cabin fever. I think I must have tried them all.
I played “board (pronounced bored) games” but consistently lost. I tried to get organized but first I had to make a list.
You need a pencil and paper for that and there's no way to find anything in a house that's cluttered with the effects of cabin fever. I tried to learn new things like, how to speak Canadian. So I watched the hockey game until I figured out what a “hat trick” was. Which is when a player scores three goals in one game, eh. Like I need another piece of useless information.                                                
Then I realized that these so-called cures for cabin fever were nothing but a self-defeating waste of time that only left me convinced that winter would never end.
I began to take the weather as a personal affront. I blamed the weatherman. Then realized I was the weatherman, which only led to a self-loathing, knee-jerking, gut-wrenching, food-hoarding disorder where I stocked up on chocolate until the shelves were bare.
Fortunately, I found the real cure for cabin fever that was both therapeutic and diagnostic. I ran out of firewood.
Maybe it was a symptom of a severe fishing problem. I was too busy fishing to cut any firewood the previous summer when it would have had time to dry.
There was only one thing to do, find a standing fir snag that had been dead for a couple of years. That was long enough for the needles to fall off. The wood had time to season.
That's important if you want to avoid the dreaded chimney fire.
You want to be careful falling a snag. They don't call them widow-makers for nothing. Once a dry snag starts to fall over their punky tops and limbs can break off and come flying back at you hard enough to stick in the ground.   
They say a real logger can hit a stake with a falling tree. This is done by first making a precise undercut, then making a back cut that leaves a small hinge on the stump that determines the direction of the falling tree.
I did better than hitting a stake with a tree. I hit my truck. I wonder if that counts.
After I used my ax to pound the fender away from the wheel enough so it could turn, it occurred to me,
I didn't have cabin fever anymore.

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