Night Chills

illustration by Mark Weber


“Get that thing off of me.”

I hear that from my wife once a week (if not more).

I bet a lot of you hear it from your wives (or husbands), too.

Here’s how it happens: No matter where I do it – on the couch or in bed or at the breakfast table – she shivers, jerks away, and says, “Get that thing off me.”

Maybe I crawl into bed and snug up behind her, snaking my arm around her and kissing her shoulder, then touching her with an unwanted piece of flesh: my foot.

More specifically: my ice-cold foot.

I have cold feet. Real cold.

And when my wife is wrapped up in her blanket cocoon on the couch, and I get my feet in there to warm them up for a minute, inevitably I touch the sliver of calf between her pajama pants and Smartwool socks, and she freaks.

“WHAT are you doing?” she says and jerks away like something electric or slithery touched her leg.

“Warming my feet up,” I tell her.

“Fine, but don’t touch me with those things.”

So I do what any good spouse does – retreat to the other couch with the small blanket and take the cat with me.

Accidental foot touching is one thing on the couch, but in bed, now you’re talking about a completely different animal.

There we are, both asleep, the cat’s been laying on me and making me hot, so I stick a foot out from under the covers. Now that foot’s cold, and the cat has moved and I’m free to roll over (and I roll over a lot, my wife sometimes compares my sleep habits to a wrestling match), so I do.

I roll, stretch a little, and stretch out an arm. My wife makes a soft sound and scoots a little closer, so I scoot closer, press myself to her. It’s nice. Warm. This nighttime cuddle is everything love and marriage should be.

Then my foot finds hers. She’s kicked her socks off in the night, and five of my frostbitten piggies touch her.

And the moment of snugging, sleeping bliss is gone, shattered like a block of ice in a Karate Kid movie.

“Get that thing off me,” she mutters, not fully awake.

She rolls a little, pulls some more of the covers to her, leaving me short on my side of the bed. So I do the only thing I can – grab a pillow, call the cat to me, and sleep, half covered, cat on my chest, leg hanging out, my one foot freezing in the night.


To view more of illustrator Mark Weber’s work, go to