Carol woke me from a sound sleep last night, shaking my shoulder and saying in an urgent whisper, “There’s someone in the house.”
I leapt out of bed and headed for the closet. “Where are you going?” Carol shouted. “To hide,” I responded. “The baseball bat is under your side of the mattress.”
“Do you still have your earplugs in?” she asked. She then informed me she had not said, “There’s someone in the house” but instead “Your snoring is so loud.” “Jee-zus…” I muttered under my breath. Well, it sounded like a mutter to me because I still had my earplugs in but she claimed I was shouting, which she did not take kindly to.
I returned to bed, where I now inferred a delineation between “her side” and “my side”. I presumed Carol was upset about the shouting and that I hadn’t been more aggressive in my defense of her and our home, but please keep in mind:
- I was sound asleep and wasn’t permitted any time to process her comment, preferably while being offered coffee and a sweet roll.
- There was no actual threat underway.
- I believe men and women to be equals; therefore she could have taken the initiative to chase off the interloper. And did I mention the bat was on her side of the bed?
Adrenaline was coursing through my system as a result of the incident; that, combined with the fact Carol had quickly gone back to sleep — and, in a cruel irony, immediately started snoring — unsettled me to the point where I got up again and headed downstairs to watch TV until I felt calm enough to return to bed.
On my way through the kitchen in the dark I stepped in a puddle of something lukewarm and sticky, which I knew from experience was the gift of cat regurgitation. I cleaned up the mess from the floor and my bare foot and headed for the couch. I wanted to avoid bright lights at that wee hour and so was navigating around with only the glow of my cellphone to guide me. Now I needed to find the remote for the television. This is often a challenge when Carol has stayed up later than me since she has a tendency to leave it “wherever” on her way to bed. Sometimes it’s on the coffee table, sometimes the ottoman, occasionally the bathroom sink, and once I found it in the refrigerator next to the water pitcher. This time I was fortunate to spy it on one of the end tables and turned on the set.
Once the cable box and television had come to life, I heard sound but saw no picture. I flipped up and down a few channels and all were sound-only. I hit the “guide” button to bring up the program display and saw a string of detail-free “Not Available”s in place of the listings. “Cable’s on the fritz again,” I thought to myself. “Great…” I then recalled I could perhaps watch via the cable company’s app on my tablet. I stumbled back up to the bedroom to retrieve it from my bedside table. Carol was still asleep/snoring and I don’t believe heard me cry out another “JEE-ZUS!” when I banged my shin on the corner of the bedframe. Tablet in hand, I banged my other shin when leaving, adding His middle and last names to my excited utterance, and gingerly hobbled back downstairs.
I booted up and was pleased to find the app permitted me to view the entire channel array, with picture and sound intact. Since the tablet’s speakers are small and tinny, I broke out my noise-cancelling headphones and plugged them in to listen with richer timbre to the snappy dialogue of a Law & Order rerun. I flicked on the headphones and heard nothing — dead battery, urrgh. I went back into the kitchen to grab a replacement, stepping in another cat puddle on the way. After completing that clean-up I returned to the couch, swapped out the battery, placed on the headphones and returned to L&O. Except by now the episode had ended and some reality show was already in progress. In this program, a couple who may or may not be legally married, each with children from multiple prior relationships, runs an upscale boutique employing an alarming number of heavily-tattooed and oddly-coiffed men and women, some of whom appear to be “transitioning” (to and from what was not clear to me). Rather than actually working, this crew appears to stand around the shop ridiculing their co-workers and bitching about any customers who are foolish enough to wander in during the day. Not surprisingly, the business is losing money ass-over-teakettle, so some titan of industry who apparently has enough spare time on his hands to step away from his Fortune 500 company to appear on this show serves as a “consultant” to the business in an effort to stem the flow of cash going down the drain as he collects a hefty fee for his alleged services. All this while everyone quaffs from a seemingly endless supply of champagne.
I scrolled through the other channels but could only find infomercials for products I had no interest in buying or other “reality-based” programs I had no interest in watching. At this point, I decided to give up the ghost and turn everything off, thoughtfully leaving the remote behind one of the couch cushions so Carol could find it. I tip-toed upstairs once again, stepping on a suspiciously warm spot of carpeting but lacking the initiative to investigate further, and stealthily slid under the covers while putting my earplugs back in. Carol was still snoring, so I added an additional layer of soundproofing by placing a pillow sham over my head. Just as I started to doze off, our cat Miles decided to take up residence on the sham, curling his eleven pounds into a ball pressing down on the side of my face. I tossed both sham and cat toward some undefined location on the other side of the bedroom and attempted to settle back in for some much-needed sleep.
With my return to a restful state now mere breaths away, Carol’s alarm went off. She rolled over, hit the snooze and, by the sound of things, immediately went back to sleep. I sighed deeply and attempted to relax again, at which point the alarm rang for the second time. After three more snooze cycles I gave up, getting out of bed for good and heading downstairs to prepare the morning pot of coffee. I skidded on a puddle of you-know-what while grabbing filters from the cabinet.
While waiting for the coffee to brew, I went to watch the morning news. Where was the remote? In my fuzzy state it took a few minutes before I recalled its placement behind the cushion. I turned on the set and went back to the kitchen to pour myself a cup of java — of which there was none because I’d forgotten to turn on the machine. After correcting that oversight, I realized Carol was still sleeping and went upstairs to make sure she got up in time for work. I shook her shoulder and said, “There’s a burglar downstairs.” She didn’t stir, so I leapt up on the mattress and began bouncing around, landing on the floor on her side of the bed with a thud. Startled awake, she asked what the hell was happening. I said I’d just come up to check on her and let her know the coffee was almost ready. She eyed me suspiciously, saying she’d be right down. I returned to the kitchen, smirking all the way back since I’d now exacted my revenge for a poor night’s sleep.
I was pleased with myself right up until the moment I found hot coffee flowing all over the counter since in my exhausted haze I’d also neglected to place the pot under the drip basket. You know what they say: “You snooze, you lose.” In my case, I’d lost a night’s sleep, a full pot of coffee and what
little remained of my wife’s and one cat’s affection for me.