Living with the creeping crud

February 8, 1999

It's cold and flu season, and we Gehlkes have been suffering through it in the past few weeks. Poor Benji has it the worst, being in preschool where he is exposed to just about every known germ and perhaps a few unknown ones as well. Lately it seems that he gets over one virus and contracts another one, kind of like parasites on parade. He's had the sniffles, sore throats, hacking coughs, fevers, aches and pains, and stomach upsets since about the end of October.

Roni, meanwhile, has fought a couple of colds in the past month. Most recently it was a flu-like bug punctuated by a deep cough and upper respiratory congestion. She is feeling better now, except for a few side effects.

Glenn has had three colds since November, each a little more nagging than the previous one. Last week it was four days with a runny nose that no cold remedy could remedy. Like Roni, Glenn suffered from a deep cough, but fortunately that lasted only one day.

As we prepared to write this it seemed all were en route to good health -- finally -- for the first time in weeks. But then guess who came down with another cough and fever today? Benji!

None of this bodes well for plans for an upcoming trip to enjoy the snow up in the Sierras. With luck we will all recover in time to enjoy some good snowball battles near Truckee. Last year's snow expedition was a memorable one, with fresh snowfall to enhance the winter wonderland effect. Wish us all luck!

Speaking of trips, on Jan. 18 we took a rainy drive out to Oakdale to visit the Hershey Chocolate Factory Visitor Center and did a little bird and train-watching. We drove along a muddy levee road in Manteca to photograph a flock of snowy egrets, then in Oakdale we ate a "picnic" lunch while steaming up the windows of Glenn's car and waiting for the Oakdale local to finish its switching chores. Afterward, we drove down to Riverbank and hung out at the Amtrak depot waiting for an Amtrak train that never arrived. Disaster nearly struck when Roni's camera slipped off its strap and crashed lens-first to the pavement. We have run several tests of the equipment since then and it appears to have suffered few ill effects, although there is a ton of dust on the mirror. Photos of the trip will appear soon at Milepost 1147.2.

Benji has turned into a budding artist, thanks to a variety of craft projects he has participated in at preschool. Every few days we are gifted with paper snowflakes, hearts, trains, paintings and other kid-like creations. His drawings are becoming more developed. Still a lot of scribbles, but at least some recognizable characters in them. He has also become quite handy with a scissors. We put up a bulletin board in his room just before Christmas and he has filled it with pictures cut out from newspapers, magazines and other sources.

Glenn and Benji continue to have a ball building Ben's HO-scale train layout in his bedroom. Recently we have added a mountain and a freeway overpass, a road, trees and additional locomotives and rolling stock. He is rapidly running out of space, so we will soon have to resolve our quest to expand into the spare bedroom. More on this later, stay tuned.

Glenn, Roni and Benji

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