If you drove by my house this week you may have noticed it has been encased in a hermetically-sealed quarantine tent and is guarded by people wearing hazmat suits.

Not to worry.

I was just sick. Really sick. Sicker than I've been in years. The symptoms? You name it! I'll spare you the gory details, only to say that if I could have ripped my chest out this week, I would have.

I tried coming to work several times, but it was no use andndash; my co-workers, armed with AK-47 rifles, fired warning shots across the hood of my truck each time I pulled into the parking lot.

It's all my fault. Only a week earlier I remarked to a fellow co-worker about how everyone in the Graves family had managed to escape most of the illnesses floating around this year. I credited the fruit smoothies we eat nearly every school morning; my wife credits our religious hand-washing rituals.

Alas, it didn't work for me. And I'm still dealing with symptoms seven days into it. My colds usually don't last more than three days, but when my lovely wife and daughter started eating meals and watching TV in the backyard, in the rain, wearing hazmat suits, I knew this was different.

Instead of belaboring the aches and pains, not to mention the coughing up a lung part, of being sick, I decided to look at the benefits of being sick:

andbull;People don't expect much andndash; in fact they'd rather I stay as far away from them as possible.

andbull;I get to catch up on some the Netflix TV shows. (Who knew there were more than 80 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!)

andbull;I get to drink cherry-flavored cough medicine every four hours.

andbull;I don't feel guilty about not mowing the lawn.

andbull;I can look out the window and enjoy an up-close view of the jungle growing in the front yard (I supply the dogs with 72-hour backpacks before letting them out.)

andbull;I get to try out new, different voices for a week. The weak, froggy, on-the-edge-of-death voice freaked out my daughter, but my impression of Darth Vader is awesome!

andbull;If people ask me questions I don't want to answer, I just shake my head, point to my throat and grimace.

andbull;I get to watch people in hazmat suits fumble around, trying to do everyday things.

andbull;I get to follow the "doctor's orders" to rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat my favorite junk food treats! Well, that last part may not be supported 100 percent by the American Medical Association, but it sure makes me feel better. (Sorry, about the whole dish of brownies you made, dear.)

andbull;I get meals hand-delivered by the most beautiful, caring woman in the world (my wife).

andbull;I don't have to worry about doing the dishes.

andbull;I get to wear PJs all day long!

andbull;Total control of the remote.

andbull;Nyquil-based hullicinations: The hazmat suit-wearing gnomes being chased by giant bunny slippers belching flaming cough drops was hilarious!

They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well, if I could, I'd shoot that lemonade up my nose if it would make breathing easier.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a hot date with some sweet, cherry-flavored cough syrup.