On this page will appear past examples of my weekly newspaper column,

"At the end of the Line with Ed Kelemen."

Keep coming back, because it will be frequently updated.

Cabin Fever

Originally Published March 9, 2007

      Cabin fever. Ahh, what a malady. It isn't of the physical being, but rather of the psychical one. It becomes prevalent in these parts toward the end of winter and the onset of spring. It manifests itself in a wave of restlessness, and an inability to sit still. Its root causes lie in the stale indoor air that we have been forced to breathe for weeks on end. That and idiotic flickering images on a screen in our living rooms that we have been forced to watch for unending hours at a time.

     Then there are the freeze-thaw cycles that come this time of year. One day the sky is blue and and the sun warms you to the point that you walk to the mail box in short sleeves. The next day dawns gray and fluffy white pieces of rain slam to the ground, propelled by an artic blast of air. The trek to the mail box involves a hat, coat, boots and gloves.

     It's no wonder that people get itchy. Women display their sense of impending spring with an incredible flurry of house-cleaning that unfortunately sweeps up everyone in their path, husbands and sons included.

     Men, on the other hand, show their sense of seasonal unease by making a mess. For instance, in our formerly peaceful domicile, I have decided that it will be great to welcome warmer weather with a remodeled pantry and downstairs bathroom.

     Egress to the pantry area is through the dining room. This means that, in order to experience the unbridled joy of deconstruction prepartatory to reconstruction, the dining room must be cleaned out. The Lovely Little Lynnie thought that this is a good thing. The boys and I weren't so sure. After all, in involved cleaning. Little did we know what treasures were about to be unearthed.

     Cries of, "Hey Dad! Look what I found under the buffet," were combined with flat statements from the wife, "You don't really intend to keep that old thing. Do You?"

     A trove of useless papers that I had been saving as my gift to future archaeologists found its way to the burn barrel, much to the delight of the youngest son, who harbors arsonist tendencies.

     Finally the room was cleared out enough to begin that phase of construction loved by guys everywhere: demolition. Tools for the job were lined up. A sledge hammer made an infrequent appearance, along with a wrecker bar, crow bar, hammers and a reciprocating saw. 5-gallon buckets were readied to receive their loads of plaster and other debris. It was a wonderful sight. We were going to get down and and dirty.

     A voice intruded into our glee. "Just how long do you expect me to live with everything from the dining room piled up in the living room?" It's amazing the volume that that little person can achieve when she wants to.

     "Til we're done, hon."

     "And, just how long will that be?"

     "Oh, I don't know- a few weeks, maybe."

     "You've got two."