Ode to an Ear Infection: The Anchor Performance

Hubs and I stayed up until 11:00 last night, catching up on some missed episodes of Lost, via the laptop in bed.

I have been married to Hubs for almost fifteen years. (Clearly, I was a child bride. Our parents arranged the marriage when I was a mere babe in cloth diapers. I’m rather certain of it.) Throughout our entire marriage, Hubs has gently pushed for a TV in the bedroom. I have counteracted his gentle pushes with some outright, oh-so-very-firm-and-loudly-spoken, “No ways.” Hubs is a dedicated sports enthusiast, who watches everything. He curses the Denver Broncos all fall and winter. He cheers on the Colorado Avalanche with words of love for what seems like the entire year. People, hockey runs from October to June, depending on how the Avs do in the play-offs. And, if I want my house to be a happy home, we keep our fingers crossed that the little boys on the Avalanche skate well, score often, and keep winning. In the summer months — that small stretch of time where there is no football or hockey for Hubs to glue himself to the TV with — the guy’ll watch baseball. The Rockies, of course. Games wouldn’t be so bad, but whenever a friendly, televised sporting event wraps itself up, Hubs must watch the post-game reports from the locker rooms. And then he must watch the recaps on Sports Center, because Sports Center is almost Television Holiness at our house. It’s right next to Uncle Ted and Glenn Beck.

I think it goes without saying that Hubs’ sports and the post-game highlights will go on, well into the night.

Well into the night, which is long past my bedtime. And even though I can sleep with the lights on (which came from years of practice, because we all know that the Boogey Man doesn’t attack small children who have the lights in their bedrooms fully lit up, which is something I learned at an early age), I cannot sleep with background noise.

Not at all.

And all the cheering and cursing that goes on with a televised game simply doesn’t make for good sleeping accommodations for Mama.

Hence, the firm “No” on a TV in our bedroom.

But people, we have discovered the concept of bringing the laptop to bed with us, where we can watch episodes of The Office and Lost, and I rather like it. And I’ll admit, I feel a bit hypocritical about it, but the most beautiful feature on Hubs’ ultra-fancy, state-of-the-art laptop is his set of headphones.

He can pop those things in his ears, and he can watch sports clips in bed all night, while I fall sound asleep.

But I digress.

Which is, you know, not at all unusual.

Yes, we watched Lost until just after 11 PM last night, which wasn’t a wise move on my part. I’m the early-to-bed, somewhat-early-to-rise individual, but it was a Wednesday night, which is closer to the weekend than Monday night is, so I figured that I could pull off a late night, and I let John Locke and Hurley confuse me all to pieces.

The reason the show is called Lost? Well, it isn’t just because they’re stranded on the island. It’s because the writers have confused their watching audience completely.

At exactly 1:34 this morning, I jerked awake from a soft little tap on my shoulder. I was disoriented and confused, and there, right before me, stood my boy, and he cried out, “Mom? I have an ear infection. I know I do. My ear is going to explode, and I can’t sleep because it hurts so bad!”

Deja vu, you are not my friend.

The boy and I just went through this in early March. We were awake all night in early March, trying to find a position that the boy could rest in, because the pain in his ear was throbbing so badly back then. I think that I actually sort of moaned at 1:34 this morning, from sheer self pity, as I realized what I was up against one more time.

The Ear Ache From Down South. That’s what I was up against! I crawled out of bed, and we ran through our routine. Homeopathic ear drops. Enormous doses of Tylenol. Heating the rice bag up in the microwave eighty-seven times, so that the boy could hold it to the side of his head. Rubbing his back. Propping him up on pillows. Snuggling him.

There was much, much sobbing last night.

But eventually I managed to get myself together, and I quit crying.

The boy and I were both awake from 1:34 until about 5:15 this morning, when the boy finally managed to pass out cold from sheer exhaustion. At that point, I was left wondering whether or not I should just get into the shower and start my day, but I could not bring myself to move off of the sofa, where the boy and I had set up camp. I think I heard the clock bong the 6th hour this morning, and then it was lights out for me until 7:00.

And waking up at 7 AM on a work morning is a good excuse to run around in a crazy-mad frenzy, because clearly it means that getting to Starbucks before work will be a bit of a challenge.

I had the worst morning, post 7:00.

My hair, for one thing, decided to do nothing. I had it up, I had it down, and then I gave up, in the name of Starbucks. If I was going to make it for a cup filled with caffeine to get me through the day while I was running on three-and-a-half hours’ worth of sleep, then I had to just quit playing with my mop of hair and call it good. At one point, I sighed heavily and said, “I hate my hair today. I’m going to shave it all off and dye the stubble bright blue.”

Hubs, bless his heart, heard me make this proclamation, and he replied, “If you do that, you’ll lose me for sure.”

Remember the old movie, Wayne’s World? (And when I say old, I mean flashback to Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Two.) Remember the conversation between Wayne and his ex-girlfriend, Stacy?

“Happy anniversary, Wayne.”
“Stacy, we broke up two months ago.”
“Well, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still go out, does it?”
“Well, it does, actually. That’s what breaking up is.”
“You know, Wayne, if you’re not careful, you’re going to lose me.”
“Stacy, I lost you two months ago. We broke up! Are you mental? Get the net!”

Yeah. Now you remember, huh? And you’re giggling, aren’t you? It’s okay. Hubs and I laughed our heads off at this old quote, and we have always told one another, “If you’re not careful, you’re going to lose me.”

And still, we stick to each other like chewed bubblegum in hair. That’s what love will do for you.

This morning, I looked at Hubs and said, “I’d lose you over a bright blue crew cut?”

Hubs replied, “Yes, actually. I think I’ve finally reached a point in my life where a blue crew cut on a girl doesn’t actually work for me. I like to call it maturity.”

Well, welcome to our home, Maturity. It’s nice to actually meet you.

Later this morning, as I was finishing up and trying to get myself to Starbucks, I asked Hubs, “Hey, have you called Jeffrey? To see if he’s still going to bring the backhoe to our backyard on Saturday?”

Our backyard, suffice it to say, is a bit of an eyesore. We haven’t gotten to that part yet, after the whole long home construction stage. The front yard is good to go. The backyard looks like a city landfill, just without all the garbage bags. Our friend, Jeff, is supposed to bring his backhoe over this Saturday and begin the leveling phase of things. And after that phase, comes the sprinkler phase, followed by the sod phase, and that’s the part I’m really looking forward to. I’m a bit excited about the prospect of a genuine backhoe in my yard, believe me, because it’s just a few short steps and forty squillion dollars until I have lush, green grass back there.

Hubs replied, “No, I haven’t called Jeffrey. There’s no need to. He and I made plans last Saturday; if the plans change on his part, he’ll call me.”

I stared at Hubs. “I thought Jeffrey said the backhoe might be in the shop. Haven’t you called him to check?”

“I don’t need to talk to Jeff about that. If the backhoe is in the shop, Jeff won’t bring it over. And if it’s not in the shop, he will bring it over. And those are the plans, which we made a week ago. Guys don’t need to call and confirm. And you know what? Jeff and I will still be friends, either way the backhoe story goes, without any extra and unnecessary phone calls.”

“I would have called him by now.”

“Yes, you would have. Because girls see the need to call one another and confirm plans eighteen times before the plans come about. I don’t know why you can’t just make plans and call it good. But, no! You make plans with one of your friends, and then you call your friend to see if the plans are still on, and then you call again, just to double-check the plans. It’s all a big waste of time, and guys are absolutely notorious for not wasting time.”

Unless it’s in front of the locker room reports. And the Sports Center highlights. And the online newspaper article the following day, talking about the game from the night before. No, guys never waste their time.

They also never waste their time in the middle of the night. When they could be sleeping.

Hubs, you see, opened his eyes around 2:00 this morning and croaked out, “Is everything okay?” I think it might have been the fact that half the lights in the house were on, and the boy and I were up, crying, that gave him a slight indication that something might not be completely right.

I told him, “The boy has a raging ear infection, and he’s hurting really badly.”

Hubs said, “Oh. Okay.”

And that was the last we heard from Hubs, until 7:00 this morning, when he stretched and awoke, well-rested.

No, people. Guys absolutely do not waste their time.

And if he’s not careful, he’s going to lose me. Short, spiky blue hair and all.

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