Cough, gag, wheeze… As some houseboating regions suffered through stretches of record-breaking low temps, it’s safe to say it’s been a long winter for a lot of us. It seems like this time of year is always tough on boaters, but this year it’s been worse than normal. I’ve spent the last few months staring at my office walls wondering if the spring and boating weather would ever find me. Those of you fortunate enough to live in warmer climates are probably not familiar with the term “cabin fever,” but I’m here to let you know that it is real.
Simply put, cabin fever means you can’t wait for the houseboating season because the winter months drive you crazy. Those living in Minnesota, Pennsylvania or some other sun-starved state know what I’m talking about.
How can you tell if you have cabin fever? I feel the symptoms are obvious, but maybe it’s because I’ve never lived in a place that has desirable winter weather. For example, if you find yourself sitting on your dry-docked houseboat in February…with your fishing gear, you may be suffering from cabin fever.
Still not clear on what the symptoms are? Follow my simple proposed guide to help diagnose your situation.
When your wife runs a bath and you begin to inflate the pull tubes, you may have cabin fever. Of course you cross the line when you start using your life jacket instead of a pillow—on your waterbed, of course.
When filing your taxes you claim “seasonal depression” as an itemized deduction; you might have cabin fever.
Tropical music may be a warning sign. Humming the Jimmy Buffett tune “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude” isn’t enough, but it’s a good start. If you tried to make January the official Parrot Head month in your office, you may have cabin fever.
Your TV can help you get through these long winter months, but you should be concerned if “Gilligan’s Island,” “Miami Vice” and “Flipper” are the only family-sanctioned television programs allowed in your home between November and March.
If you’re unable to fight the temptation to shovel snow off your dock, you’re probably not alone. However, no one wants to be caught by the marina owners while attempting to break up the ice on your lake so you can, “just go out for a quick cruise.” This is a clear sign of cabin fever.
If instead of wearing cologne or perfume, you prefer the enchanting aroma of boat fuel with just the perfect hint of motor oil, you may have the fever.
Safety is a good habit to be in, but cabin fever can affect you in many different ways. Be concerned if every time your toddler falls down you hold up an orange caution flag. Remember, these are your children and grandchildren and they deserve better than, “We’ll circle back and pick you up in a minute.”
When you’re caring for someone in your family who is sick and you insist on serving their cough medicine with a slice of lime and a tiny umbrella, you really should consider a winter trip somewhere warmer. This is an obvious sign that you’ve got cabin fever and you’re having problems letting go of your summer vacation memories.
I hope this guide has helped you recognize the symptoms of cabin fever. If you or a loved one suffers from any of these signs, please consult a travel agent immediately.