Call me Rudolph.

It snowed overnight between Sunday and Monday. That first light of morning changes ever so slightly when there's snow on the ground, even if it's not quite enough to cover the tips of the blades of grass. Monday's was a special snow, too, the first snow of the impending Chicago winter. The impending winter that will be with us now until about June. Normally, I would have squealed with delight to sense the shift in the morning light, to peer through my blinds and see the dark green awnings in the courtyard dusted with white. Strapped on my Ugg impostors and carefully chosen a woolly scarf to match my outfit — any other day.

But when my alarm went off, I could barely move. I struggled to reach my BlackBerry across the room and called my boss at 6:30 a.m. to tell him I had the plague. I am sick. Sick, sick, sick. (And what a horrible joke, actually being ill on a sick day? Those should be reserved for playing hooky, frolicking in the sun when the last of the snow has melted and the ground finally thaws!) I went back to sleep until 11 and turned my bedroom into a dark, humid quarantine chamber for the rest of the day. Empty cups and pill bottles eclipsed the surface of the bedside table, and tissues littered the floor around my bed. I spent the day between my rumpled plaid flannel sheets with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, surviving only on orange juice, herbal tea, chicken soup and clementines. It's possible I've consumed more vitamin C in the past two days than I have in the rest of my life combined. My body aches. My lips are chapped. My nose is raw and red from blowing my nose, despite the lotion softness and heady menthol scent of the Puffs with Vicks tissues I've been using like they're going out of style.

I am a whiny baby. Wah.

The Knight has been nursing me back to health, making drugstore runs, stroking my hair and generally putting up with me. Last night, we shared a box of Spider-Man macaroni and cheese, ate peppermint ice cream with chocolate sauce and watched a Hitchcock movie, Notorious, starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. The white lights on my little Christmas tree twinkled and reflected in the window, glinting off the glass ornaments. The lingering scent of a candle blown out hours before flared up with each clank of the radiator, as it gently pressed heat into every hidden corner of the apartment's tiny rooms. It's hard to feel romantic when you're sick, all clammy and snotty, breathing exclusively through your mouth. But I can't think of a better way to recuperate than cuddling up on the sofa, watching black and white movies on a snowy, grey day.

The snow started up again this morning and hasn't let up. Neither has the plague, really. But I'm back at work all the same, and the [f]Uggs and woolly scarf were waiting for me in the foyer today. The Puffs came, too.