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Staving off cabin fever ... hide the axe

Cabin fever, for the purpose of this dining room behavioral exploration, is when you are stuck inside of your house due to inclement weather with little to no hope of leaving for days.

It sounds like winning a time lottery to me.

I daydream about this regularly and have a radio by my cupcake bed to listen for the miracle of an Archuleta County Snow Day. When it snows, I send psychic subliminal messages to the commissioners and the county administrator to assist them in their decision making.

So far, I’ve only received a snowman ornament and a fancy cake pan for my mental exertions, but this may be due to our unseasonably mild winter and not a failing of my prodigious powers. Plus, the fancy cake pan is really cool.

In any case, many people experience cabin fever as restlessness, irritability, irrational frustration, forgetfulness, excessive sleeping and mild paranoia.

An extreme cinematic case of this is Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” If you have not seen the movie or read the book by Stephen King, this is not a good thing and ends badly. The main character attempts to murder his family with an axe and ultimately freezes to death.

Because I heard through the dining room grapevine that Pagosa Springs is going to receive feet of snow and subzero weather New Year’s weekend, I asked my people what they do to stave off the effects of cabin fever.

Here are my 10 favorite responses to the question, in no particular order.

1. “Get crabby and yell at people.”

2. “Oh yeah, ’The Shining.’ Where is my axe, anyway?”

3. “Play blackjack by myself. I always win, too.”

4. “I get out my boom box, listen to Pink Floyd and dance my heart out.”

5. “I watch reruns of Lawrence Welk and when my family isn’t around, I dance and sing.”

6. “I get kind of grouchy, and then after a while I won’t remember I have it. What is cabin fever again?”

7. “I don’t want to talk about that. But here is my recipe for roasted vegetables ... (Call me if you need the recipe.)

8. “Pull the covers up over my head and wait for spring.”

9. “I’m building a banjo. Then I’ll learn to play it.”

10. “I was home for five days and couldn’t get out until today. I was going nuts in my house without anyone to talk to. Did I tell you I’m getting a washer and dryer? When I lived in Aspen Springs, we used to party to keep from getting bored. Now I have electric heat and I don’t have to build a fire and I have even more time. Mostly I read books, but I need to talk to people.”

I don’t worry about my people in the dining room. When it snows, they trudge in anyway, knowing that a delicious hot meal and grousing at me about the weather is an antidote for the cabin fever blues.

I worry about the people who can’t leave, who aren’t able to shovel the snow, who need fuel for heat, hearty meals and someone to listen to their stories.

Snow is falling heavily outside my office picture windows. The Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office issued an official storm warning. The dining room rumors of epic winter weather are now officially confirmed. Only a few of my people braved the roads to eat this last day before the New Year.

I think I will check on my neighbors this weekend, two of them more than 40 years older than me with walkers and oxygen. After sleeping late tomorrow, I will knit, play board games with my family and hide our axe.

Emergency boxes

We have emergency boxes of snacks and easily prepared “meals” for a suggested donation of $6.50 in our office. The emergency boxes were designed for use in case of power outages or inclement weather. They are also great for winter travel in your vehicle.


With the closing of the downtown City Market, we remind you that we have a Senior Bus that runs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please call me, Jodi, at 264-2167 for details.


Are you homebound or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals on Thursdays. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities at The Den:

Friday, Jan. 7 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen, special presentation by Liz Schnell 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 10 — Paul Roberts, banjo 12:30 p.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 11 — Chair massage 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 12 — Blood pressure checks 11 a.m.

Thursday, Jan. 13 — Closed.

Friday, Jan. 14 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Gym Walk 12:30 p.m.; ASI board meeting 1 p.m.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you to renew or buy your 2011 ASI membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and over will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 7 — Meatloaf with onion gravy, mashed potatoes, zucchini with onions, breadstick, strawberries with topping, whole wheat roll.

Monday, Jan. 10 — Hamburger, oven browned potatoes, corn, lettuce, tomato and onion, carrots and celery sticks, strawberries and banana.

Tuesday, Jan. 11 — Chicken cacciatore, Italian vegetables, whole wheat penne pasta with tomato sauce, foccacia bread, fruited lemon Jell-O.

Wednesday, Jan. 12 — Beef stew with vegetables, tossed salad, cornbread, fresh fruit salad.

Thursday, Jan. 13 — Closed.

Friday, Jan. 14 — Tilapia with mushroom sauce, peas, cucumber salad, mandarin oranges, bran muffin.