If it's not one thing, it's another: sneezing, snoring and muscle spasms

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house (still), work in the same office (again) and somehow manage to cling to their sanity (barely). Older and wiser (she's wiser, he's just older), the Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on everyday issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: Maybe you remember Wilson.

I bet that one reader in Marble Hill, who wrote a letter last year complaining that Wilson made her lose her appetite for breakfast, remembers him. (She also said she was a former English teacher and would have given both Bob and me F's if we'd been in her class, but that's neither here nor there.)

Wilson, for those of you who have not been properly introduced, is what we lovingly call the roll of toilet paper that Bob sometimes sleeps with because of chronic allergies. But Wilson (ala the soccer ball in "Castaway") hasn't made an appearance in our bed in quite some time. Thanks to some new nasal spray, Bob has been able to sleep through the night without blowing Atlantic Ocean-volumes of snot out his nose. And thus, I have been able to sleep through the night and also avoid stepping in snotty tissue on the floor in the morning.

It's made for a happier marriage, I assure you. Recently, however, I have discovered that snotty noses aren't the only thing that can keep one awake at night. Oh, no.

The first time I heard the noise, I honestly though Bob's body had been replaced with one of those aliens from "Signs." From next to me in the blackness of night came a strange sort of clicking combined with a high-pitched whistling. Then a gasp. Then more clicking.

I've been trying to capture this phenomenon on recorder ever since, because Bob doesn't believe me when I describe the noise coming out of his mouth. If I ever do get it, we'll definitely post it on semissourian.com for all to hear. Truly, it's a sound effect off a sci-fi flick.

The strange noise is becoming more frequent, and so is Bob's snoring (something he waited to debut until well after we were married; wasn't that convenient?). Finally, this week, I made him buy some of those breathe-easy strips to wear fashionably over his nose at night (also worth posting to the Web, if I ever get a photo of him like that).

The strips actually work ... if he doesn't sleep on his right side. Flat on his back or on his left side, no noise escapes. But the minute he rolls to the right I might as well pack up my pillow for the couch.

Or, perhaps I've found another use for Wilson -- I could stuff my ears with toilet paper!

HE SAID: Now that the Southeast Missourian coverage area knows that I have developed a snoring habit, it should also know that I am, indeed, an alien. The clicking and snorting noises are my secret code by which I confer with my friends on other planets, none of which have been discovered by humans. My plan is to take over the world.

You should also be aware that I have contaminated my cute and pregnant wife as well. My plan of infecting her with my alien DNA through the guise of toilet paper in the bed has finally succeeded. I have proof.

Take last night. Callie woke with a pain in her back. She screamed out for me, started whining, scaring the snore out of me. She told me to help her, although I didn't know what I was supposed to do. She seemed to be in extreme pain, but then something weird happened. She lay back down, her voice got really low and she started grunting and writhing. That, by the way, would get way more page views than anything I do while sleeping. I'm convinced now she wasn't awake, and that she was in some sort of dream state (And no, my cute and talented wife is not on drugs). I woke her up, sort of, and she asked me to escort her to the bathroom. When she came out, she asked for a cold, wet rag and I placed it on her forehead. Her pain subsided and she drifted off again. And I went back to snoring. It's only a matter of time before we build an alien army and claim world domination. Now if we can only get some sleep first.

Bob Miller is the Southeast Missourian managing editor. Callie Clark Miller is managing editor of online/special publications. They are both eternally grateful to their own high school English teachers, who allowed creativity in the classroom. You can reach them at bmiller@semissourian.com or cmiller@semissourian.com.

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