Flannel, Peace and Hunger

With yesterday being Leap Day – a once-every-four-years event – I wanted to do something special. February 29th is rare, and it practically screamed for something unique and fun. Adventurous, even. I contemplated various ideas in my head, but quickly dismissed most of them, as they fell a little short of what I was aiming for (namely, living to see another day). Skydiving? Hell, no. Bungee jumping? Not on your life. Taking a stroll down the aisle of Walmart? Never in a million years. It was too cold and wet for hiking, or a trip to the beach, or even a jaunt downtown. However, I realized that I had never once, in my entire life, curled up beneath a set of flannel sheets in the middle of the afternoon while reading a good book.

And so, that’s precisely what I did yesterday, for about ninety minutes.

I am hooked on The Hunger Games trilogy, and Tara got me books two and three for Valentine’s Day, so I have been eagerly lapping up Catching FireI usually knock out two or three chapters before bed, but am so engrossed in the story I didn’t want to wait that long. Besides, Suzanne Collins has this annoying little habit of ending each and every chapter with a mini cliffhanger, making each book extremely difficult to put down. I find myself wanting to keep reading, regardless of the hour, just to find out what happens next! It’s a rare book that can captivate me so strongly; few novels – of any genre –  have ever managed the feat of pulling me in like this. So, even though crawling into bed at 1:30 in the afternoon is the epitome of decadent laziness, I did indeed find myself in that very position on Wednesday. Better still, I wasn’t wearing pants. But only because jeans and flannel sheets don’t mix. It would have been absurdly pointless to keep them on. Those sheets, by the way, were a gift from Tara’s mom, Tracy. I’d remarked how much I liked them last week when we were staying with her, and next thing I know she’s practically shoving them in my suitcase, imploring me to take them home. I swear I wasn’t hinting, but they are flannel, and have peace symbols all over them. What was I supposed to do, pretend I’m not secretly a hippie at heart? What with my Woodstock records and lava lamps and stash of LSD?

Leap Day 2012: flannel sheets, peace symbols, and a good book!

Kidding about the LSD.

I’d never owned flannel sheets before, always believing they would be too warm and uncomfortable. My body temperature has always run warm, anyway. Right up until my gallbladder surgery in November. Ever since, my internal thermostat seems to have readjusted itself, and I find myself much colder than I’d ever been before, or am used to. Tara suggested it might be the blood pressure medication, and there’s some evidence that elevated blood pressure might, indeed, cause a person to feel warmer than others around him. I have no idea whether this is the case or not, but I can tell you that those flannel sheets are a godsend every night. I slip beneath the covers come bedtime and don’t have to put up with chattering teeth, no matter how cold it is. They keep me nice and toasty, and are plenty soft.

Plus, they’ve got peace symbols on ’em. Have I mentioned that?

As nice as my afternoon reading-in-bed break was, I couldn’t stay there for long. I just felt too damn guilty whiling away the day in such fashion, while plenty of other people were going about their routines, stuck in cubicles or bussing tables or bungee jumping or wandering the aisles of Walmart. I allowed myself that hour and a half, but then forced myself to get up and put pants back on.

Before heading downstairs to the couch, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, while my first Leap Day since my last Leap Day wasn’t exactly chock full of excitement, I still managed to do something fun and different. Man, I can’t wait to see what my next Leap Day will bring.

The day after Leap Day has not been without its share of thrills, however. This started with a phone call at 6:05 in the morning, rousing me from a luxurious sleep courtesy of my peace symbol flannel sheets. It was an automated phone message from the kids’ school district informing me that CLASSES WOULD BEGIN TWO HOURS LATE DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. Inclement weather? I wondered. Nobody had been forecasting anything more exciting than rain. Skeptical, I peeked through the blinds, and was greeted with the unexpected sight of snow. Quite a bit of snow, actually. Gleaming and white and covering the neighborhood in glorious wonder. This, after a disappointing winter largely void of anything even remotely exciting. Plus, it was March now. I read somewhere a few days ago that the odds of Portland seeing measurable snow after February 25 are about 1%. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I did what any perfectly sane 42-year old parent would do in this situation: leaped out of bed, threw on a robe, dashed into the hall, and excitedly encouraged my kids to look outside, look outside!! 

I have really got to get a grip on this snow fever of mine.

Besides, here it is, 2 PM and everything is completely melted save for a few sparse patches in the shade. Those, too, will be gone by sunset. What’s the point of getting excited over a couple of inches of heavy, wet snow when it’s all gone within hours, anyway?

Actually, the answer is simple. I’d rather enjoy a brief, fleeting glimpse of beauty than to never experience it at all.

A great philosophy for life, by the way.

Totally worth the few hours it stuck around.

Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

23 thoughts on “Flannel, Peace and Hunger

  1. A day well spent. I live a fairly reclusive life and people ridicule that but I am perfectly content doing what you did part of every day. I suppose I should buy some sheets for the mattress, however.


  2. The Hunger Games is SUPER addicting. I finished a reread of the first book last week and need to put 2 and 3 on my kindle so I have them for travel (Ie, chaperoning high school kids) this weekend and in a couple of weeks. Besides, I kind of love reading on my kindle more then I thought I would, even though I have the hard copies of both books. I’m stoked for the movie!

    Mmmm. Flannel sheets. Reading in bed snuggled in warm sheets is the best. Usually more fun if you have a cat (or 2) snuggled up with you keeping you warm. This also works with an SO. 😉

    And your weather looks SO strangely like ours today – its snowing and pretty much every school in the state closed today when in reality, they could have just delayed a couple of hours since by the time I went to work at 945, the roads were clear.

    Long comment is long and rambling!


  3. Is there a better combination than peace and fleece? I think not. Yes, I know you said flannel, but somehow I thought “fleece.” Plus, it’s hard to beat the “Hunger Games” trilogy–unless you are reading “No Time for Kings, ” of course.


    1. Aww. Thanks, Kathy! You sure know how to butter a guy up. Maybe I should turn “No Time For Kings” into a trilogy?! Of course, that’d be difficult, given the ending…


      …you-know-who didn’t really you-know-what!! Hmm….


    1. You’ve already expanded my horizons in so many meaningful ways, babe. Introducing me to pine nuts…and green chili gravy…and teaching me how to use Pine Sol the correct way…(teaching me to use Pine Sol in the first place, period)…


  4. I love the rare ocassion when I can go to bed in the middle of the day with a great book, surrounded by pillows! Since I don’t do it very often, it makes it all the more special!


  5. “I peeked through the blinds, and was greeted with the unexpected sight of snow. Quite a bit of snow, actually. Gleaming and white and covering the neighborhood in glorious wonder.”

    Okay now, you know I’m insanely jealous don’t you????

    Damn….you got SNOW!!!! And hey, by the looks of that photo you got a lot. And much more than we here in the north east have gotten all winter.

    Good for you for taking a day to just snuggle in bed with a book. I have yet to do that, so I may just try it next week on one of my days off.

    And I bet those flannel sheets felt faaaaaaaaaaaaabulous, Mark! I adore the feel of flannel. I don’t have flannel sheets, but I do have a wonderfully soft and fluffy flannel blanket I use to sleep with during the cold winter months. It’s so comfy!

    Glad you had a great Leap Day, buddy!



  6. P.S. “I’d rather enjoy a brief, fleeting glimpse of beauty than to never experience it at all.”

    You are soooooooooooo right!


    1. If it’s any consolation, Ron, I thought of you when I saw all the snow this morning. That helps, right?!

      And remember…you can get a good cheesesteak any time you want. If anybody deserves to be jealous, it’s me!…


  7. G-R-O-O-V-Y!!

    I loved this post more than you can imagine and that “I’d rather enjoy a brief, fleeting glimpse of beauty than to never experience it at all.” Holy smokes!! That got me (pointing at my heart) right here.

    I’m so glad that I ‘hid’ those sheets in your suitcase, otherwise I would have been stuck with them…at least until your and Tara’s next visit.

    The comments between you and my daughter really made me laugh!! LOL


    1. Even after dating for more than five months, some of the things she says still floor me. They make me love her that much more. 🙂

      And, thanks again for insisting I take the sheets off your hands. It should be clear how much I’m enjoying them. I mean, I’m even blogging about them, for crying out loud!


    1. Only a Canadian would consider mucklucks sexy, lol. But I will agree that a grilled cheese and tomato soup are pretty stinkin’ cozy, indeed!

      I’m going to slowly work my way up to the fleece.


  8. I’m so glad you’re reading The Hunger Games. I loved this series and am poking Joe who’s sitting next to me to show him “look, Mark’s reading them and can’t stop!” My best friend, her boyfriend, and his sister and her husband have all read them. I know once he starts he’ll be hooked.

    Hope you and Tara get to have a date night to the premiere of the movie!


  9. Love the crap out of Hunger Games! Glad I’m not the only adult into the series. In fact, they are pretty gory in my mind, makes me wonder if the should fall in the YA category after all?

    I want to see the movie – bad – do you?

    And snow delay on a leap day? That’s PERFECTION!


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