Cold remedies include VaporRub and NCIS reruns

Semi-retirement is not dull.

On summer days we do not work, I take the dogs early for a walk around the neighborhood. I check on water in the fountain and fill the birdfeeder. Now I check the progress of my vegetable garden. Cucumbers and squash are growing. Everything else is healthy. But sometimes down time is really “down” time.

My spouse rarely suffers cold symptoms, four or five times over the course of 21 years. Yet it is my opportunity to be nurse for a day. Giving her some quiet to binge watch NCIS episodes (she dozes when the TV is on) was helpful, she said, but some additional remedies were needed. I needed to make a run to the store.

Where a couple hours earlier, I had taken the dogs to the self-serve dog bath, the later trip had unexpected detours. Sometime between the last and this trip, early afternoon, the Fire Department deployed, with a road-cleanup crew and CHP re-directing traffic. This occurred at an intersection a five-minute dogwalk from my house. Fortunately, I knew all the side streets to get out and back more easily.

Had I any bourbon at home, I might have reconsidered the prescription to aid my wife. If I had a couple of shots, I might have considered one for the corpsman as well as for the patient. But I had none. Since I did not know how long the cleanup might take, at the store I chose a remedy straight out of my 1960s childhood. I brought home chicken soup, Vicks VapoRub, and cough medicine.

Now I just keep an eye on the TV. As long as something is streaming on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, my wife will get some rest. I will know if she is up and around if I smell VapoRub coming down the hall.

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