His & Hers: The marital year in review

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller use this space to offer their views on everyday issues.


I suppose the Miller household will look back upon 2008 and laugh. What else could we do?

Callie and I, until this year, considered ourselves boring people, a couple of up-and-comer wannabes trying to make our way in the world. We tried to make the most of our talents at work and be as lazy as possible at home. Just a couple of homebodies without a lot of worries. Except one.

Callie and I for a few years had been trying to conceive a child. Those of you who read our column regularly know some of the difficulties we had with miscarriages. Then along came Dawson. Older brother Drew was excited. Callie was thrilled. Dad was worried.

If you recall, I had to finish up an upstairs remodeling project before the little tyke was born.

Somewhere in there I tried joining the gym again. What a joke. The gym? Ha.

It wasn't an easy pregnancy for Callie. First there was the ice storm. I remember her birthday. She ordered her favorite burger from a local restaurant -- the highlight of an otherwise miserable day -- and they got the order wrong. Seven months pregnant, freezing in a house with no electricity, and the burger was bleeding.

She was on bed rest for four weeks, thanks to preterm labor and a smaller-than-normal baby.

During one two-day stretch during her bed rest, our basement flooded, and I had to spend hours upon hours trying to pump several feet of water out of the basement. Callie tried to help, God bless her. Somehow, some way, I managed to get the upstairs remodeling project done in time for Dawson's birth. Dawson was born on opening day of baseball season -- four weeks early at five pounds, 13 ounces.

Callie and I had no idea what we were in for. Drew was a quiet baby, easy to please with a swing or a rocker. Dawson, not so much. He's been a cranky baby thus far, but I think there are two reasons. No. 1: He's been sick a lot. As of this writing he's working on his fifth or sixth ear infection, I can't remember which. He is due for an ear tube procedure in January. And No. 2: I think he's unsatisfied with complacency. I think he will be an intelligent child. He wants to be on the move and see new things.

Let's see -- what else was there? Callie lost both her grandparents within two weeks of each other in early 2008, I lost my aunt to breast cancer not long after. Then Callie's great-aunt passed away. Then her great-uncle. I got sick with bronchitis while Callie was pregnant. I passed out when the nurse gave me a shot in the posterior, woke up with my pants halfway off.

Shortly after Dawson was born, I had to take Callie to the emergency room. Kidney stones. She said it hurt worse than childbirth. A few weeks later, I found out exactly what she meant. I, too, developed a kidney stone. What a miserable experience that was. An overnight stay in the hospital. It was almost a week before I passed the darned thing.

A few weeks after that, Callie had shoulder surgery; that was a nightmare. It was way more painful than she expected, and the therapy was rough. Plus, there was another trip to the emergency room when she suffered a severe allergic reaction to the medical tape around her incisions.

In August, I received a promotion at work and became editor of the Southeast Missourian. My co-workers carried me through some of those tough times, grinding out wonderful stories with an editor who often had his mind elsewhere. Callie and I had our professional ups and downs. We somehow made time to start a "knee deep" series where we tried unusual or dirty jobs for a day. Fun for us, not so much for those readers trying to enjoy their cornflakes over the morning newspaper.

As if all this weren't enough, we found out just a few weeks ago that we're expecting another child next June. Another one. Can you believe it?

Last weekend, all of the year's turmoil had finally caught up with us. Our house reached a point where it was disgustingly dirty and disorganized. We had planned to visit extended family in Ellington, Mo. Callie, along with her brother, took Dawson while I stayed home to clean house. It took some 20 hours to get the house clean, and it's not done yet. But it was surprisingly pleasurable to finally take control of the situation, to get things in order. To not have to entertain the baby. To not have to take care of Callie. Just me, the messy house and some Christmas music. I never knew housework could be so much fun. (Certainly better than watching the Rams play).

I expect 2009 will have many more surprises for the Miller household. But if it does, 2008 prepared us. Happy new year, everybody. I hope 2008 made you laugh, too.

Callie Clark Miller is the special publications managing editor for the Southeast Missourian. Bob Miller is Southeast Missourian managing editor. Rest assured next year will be just as interesting as this one. Reach them at cmiller@semissourian.com and bmiller@semissourian.com.

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