Hey, you know what's annoying? People who have terrific lives and wonderful luck and great friends and family who love them and lots of everything they need who still manage to find stuff to complain about.
The only thing more annoying than those people is that moment when I realize I'm turning into one of them. Which, fair warning, I'm about to do.
I'll start by pointing out that this is my absolute favorite time of year. I generally spend the last week of October and the first week of November completely blissed out of my mind.
I love everything about those two weeks -- the perfect weather, the vast, vividly blue ceiling of the autumn sky, the crackle of leaves underfoot, the excuse to make big pots of soup and chili and light fires and throw an elaborate, raucous Halloween party.
This time of year brings the best weather for running, the best weather for yard work, the best weather for playing with my family and my friends and my dog. And all that autumnal perfection comes with very few obligations. The roar of the holiday train is faintly audible down the track somewhere, but I can't see it yet.
So I am pretty much waiting all year for those two weeks. Waiting and planning to be blissed out of my mind. Which I was, for about two days.
It all began perfectly. Accompanied by a pack of truly delightful friends, I ran a half marathon on Oct. 21, and then attended a huge, hilarious brunch with said runners and all their favorite people. OK, yeah, I took a bad step on a banked section of road during that race, but whatever. It will be fine. Besides, mimosas! Who has time to think about a sore foot?
But when I tried to run a few days later, I just ... couldn't. Could. Not. Run. So weird. I waited another week. And still just couldn't. Hmm.
Meanwhile, during this period when the best running weather of the year was slipping away and I was not running, I distracted myself by planning our annual ridiculous Halloween party. It was shaping up to be the biggest, bestest party ever. We were revising our shopping lists to make more food for more people than usual, and encouraging folks to bring folding chairs because, wow, it was looking nuts.
But we were ready. More than ready. And then, late on the night of Oct. 30, my 7-year-old said those words. Those, terrible, terrible words.
"I don't feel good."
And then we spent one of those nights, one of those terrible nights when all you do is wait for this gastrointestinal nightmare to spread to everyone in the house while you do piles of laundry and wipe every surface with Lysol.
"I think we have to cancel the party," I told my 12-year-old on Halloween morning. His face folded. I knew exactly how he felt.
Meanwhile, I still could not run. So I finally visited my doctor, who said those terrible, terrible words that no runner wants to hear: Stress fracture. Then, even worse: Boot.
Boot, you guys. I am in a BOOT and prohibited from doing any and all impact activity for two weeks, until I can come back and see him and he can, presumably, tell me to continue wearing the boot and doing none of my favorite things for even more weeks. During the best time of year for doing all those things. BOOT.
So I am moping and moaning and not running and not having a Halloween party and really, just being a moody brat in general, but our very dearest friends invited us out to celebrate their wedding anniversary with them -- a grown-ups only brunch that just sounded like so much fun. We so rarely get to hang out with our very dearest friends without all our kids around. I was really excited.
And then. AND THEN.
"I don't feel good." From my husband this time. Who turned out to have a fever of 101. So no grown-ups only brunch for us.
As I write this, it is 60 degrees and gorgeously sunny outside, and I am going to sit on the screened porch and enjoy it. While my poor husband lies on the couch with his miserable fever, and I do not run at all.
But hey, only 48 more weeks to go until my favorite time of year!