It’s four-thirty in the morning. I’ve been lying awake since three. Guess I might as well get out of bed and make some coffee.

We went to bed last night after running the air conditioning in the evening to cool off the house. The mid-day temperature hit eighty-eight and humidity was sauna-like, making it impossible to feel comfortable indoors unless we were in the basement, lying flat against the concrete floor, so B switched on the central air about an hour before dinner and left it on until bed time. When I hit the hay at around eleven last night, the house was still cool.

I couldn’t figure out at first why I woke up at three. The cats weren’t fighting. I didn’t have to take a leak. But as I slowly came fully awake, I realized I was hot as a tinfoil-wrapped potato on a Weber grill. I clawed my way out from under the covers, but it didn’t help. The air in the room was absolutely stifling. Laying on top of the sheets in nothing but my skivvies, I was still burning up.

I rolled out of bed and checked the window: closed. Tried to jerk it open, had to unlock it first. Most nights, we sleep with the windows open, but when B closes a window she locks it to keep the axe murderers out. I had to unlock every window as I went around the house, trying to get some fresh air. Then, before I climbed back into bed, I switched on the ceiling fan.

Didn’t help. I was nice and cool, but I was wide-awake after all that roaming around, and I never did get back to sleep. I must have dozed off once or twice, because I never heard the clock in the living room chime four bells, although I did hear the half-hour bell at three-thirty and four-thirty. And a couple times I slipped far enough into sleep to swallow my tongue and snort myself awake.

But as the night dragged on to morning and I could hear the birds begin their morning songs through the now-open window, the idea of getting up to make coffee sounded better and better. And here I am. Hiya.

ADDED LATER: B correctly points out that, when closing the windows, the top sash often drops open. When that happens, the locks on the windows don’t work, so when she closes the windows she also locks them to make sure both the top and bottom sashes are closed tightly. She’s just making sure we’re not sending our air conditioning out the window, not trying to lock out the axe murderers. So noted.

happy happy

I was so beat yesterday that I went to bed at 9:20 and I believe I was asleep at 9:23, maybe 9:22. That’s my best guess, anyway. I was asleep and couldn’t look at the clock.

When I did look at the clock again, it was 3:28, and that was after I laid awake for several minutes asking myself lots of dumb questions, then answering them. Why am I awake? I don’t know. Are the cats prowling the house? No. Do I have to go to the bathroom? No. Is there an axe murderer in the room, hovering over me? No. What time is it? 3:28. WTF? Why am I awake at 3:28? I don’t know. And so on. Eventually I bored myself to sleep and didn’t wake up again until the alarm bleeped at five. By then, the cats were on the prowl.



I made it through the whole day and managed to stay upright somehow, even though I woke up at two in the morning when the cat started horking and couldn’t get back to sleep while he cleaned himself. Noisiest damned cat ever. How loud do you have to be to clean yourself, anyway? Pretty damned loud, it turns out. Loud enough to wake everybody in the neighborhood, anyway. Then, at about three o’clock, the water softener started doing its very loud thing and that killed about another hour of sleep. Also, My Darling B kept snuggling up to me. Kept me awake, but I didn’t mind that so much.


The most frustrating thing about lying awake is having to listen to everybody else sleep. The cats snore, My Darling B purrs, even the house seems to be relaxing as it settles on its foundations, creaking and popping. I’m the only one lying still and quiet.

If insomnia’s good for anything, though, I get plenty of reading done. I knocked off a couple chapters of Promised The Moon, the book about the Mercury 13 I found at St. Vinnie’s last week. Really good stuff, so I didn’t mind so much having all that time to read it.


I had a little trouble sleeping when, around three o’clock this morning, various thumps and bumps around the house woke me up and I couldn’t find my way back to The Land of Nod. It happens. I thought briefly about retreating to my basement lair to search the interwebs for some noteworthy drivel to read, but returned to bed after promising myself that, if I didn’t fall asleep in a half-hour, I would retreat as aforementioned and surf.

When I wake in the middle of the night I know precisely how long I lie there not sleeping because the house is filled with clocks that chime every half-hour, and at the top of each hour they tell me exactly what time it is. Well, all except for the one in the living room, which goes a little insane every couple of days and clangs out twelve bells every hour. I think it might need a spot of oil.

After curling up under the covers and waiting for that half-hour chime, my alarm clock took me completely by surprise by bleeping me awake. So going back to bed had been the correct choice. I make them every once in a while.

All this by way of explaining why I took a nap today, although now I see that it doesn’t really make as much sense as I thought it did when I started telling this story. I thought I needed a nap because I woke up in the middle of the night. And maybe I did. Or, maybe, it was because I was wrestling armor-plated filing cabinets in the basement all morning. Nahhh.

I nap like this: Lie down with a book and read until I get drowsy. Put the book aside and “rest my eyes.” Swallow my tongue. The nap is over at that point, but it’s apparently all I need because I feel pretty good when I get up. I could do without the dream about giant garden slugs climbing down my throat, though.


Woke up at three thirty this morning. My alarm clock is set for five. When I wake up that close to the time when my alarm clock is going to start bleeping anyway, I just lay in bed and wait to see what happens. I waited for an hour before I gave up. Sort of dozed once or twice, but it wasn’t worth staying in bed for.

Bonkers followed me into my basement lair, where I surfed the internet for a while. I could have written some drivel, which would have at least been sort of productive, but I read web comics and news about the planet Mercury instead. News about planet Earth was too depressing today.

Even Bonkers was restless this morning. He sat at my feet and cried for five or ten minutes before jumping up into my lap, where he couldn’t find a way to sit down that satisfied him. Kept getting up and turning around, first facing right, then facing left, then facing forward, then right again, then left again. He gave up after ten or fifteen minutes and went back upstairs, probably to hack a hairball on the recliner seat.

Now the coffee’s drunk and the hour’s getting late. Off to the shower. You don’t have to wait.


Started off as such a good night …

After work, we stopped by Star Liquor to pick up some cool, refreshing libations for the weekend, then swung over a couple blocks to visit the Old Sugar Distillery for a snort before heading home. My Darling B was delighted to learn they were now distilling a whiskey made from sorghum. I thought it was waayyyy too potent for my delicate sensibilities, but B seemed to like it. I could see her trying to figure out what it would mix best with.

Back at Our Humble O’Bode, B made a salad for dinner, a little toasted bread on the side with two kinds of pesto and a little diced tomato for toppings, and – make a note of this, it’s important for later – fresh mozzarella balls. I love mozzarella and can normally tolerate it as a topping if I down an anti-lactase pill or two, but the last time I had fresh mozzarella balls the results were not pleasant, so this time I only had two and took two anti-lactase pills, one before we ate and one after.

When I finished cleaning up after dinner, B mixed a nightcap for each of us – mango mojitos, yum! – and we settled down together on the sofa to catch up on the episodes of The Daily Show that we missed this week. Then, sufficiently serensified, pleasantly buzzed, comically relieved and end-of-the-week tired, I turned in just before the clock struck ten and fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Midnight. Woke up. Stomach bloated like there’s a midget in there. A big one, but a midget none-the-less. He’s pounding on the walls of my stomach like he’s throwing a tantrum. I rolled out of bed to dig up a couple of Gas-X caplets from the storehouse of OTC drugs in the bathroom, tottered off to the kitchen to down them with a glass of ice water. When the pounding felt like it was fading about ten minutes later I went back to bed, but as soon as I laid down I knew I was still too bloated to go back to sleep, so I crawled back out of bed and sat up in the living room for a while, reading stupid crap on the internet.

By one-thirty I was feeling almost normal enough to take a stab at going back to bed. When I got there, though, I found B right smack dab in the middle of it and Bonkers taking up most of the rest of what is normally my side of the bed. I was left with just enough to lay on if I curled myself into a tight little fetal ball with my butt on the very edge of the mattress. If I had managed to fall asleep that way, I would have probably found myself snapping awake on the way to hitting the floor just after the first time I twitched. Cuddling up as close to B as I could, I found room to stretch out a bit by shoving the cat aside. Shortly after that, B rolled over toward her side of the bed and I finally had enough room.

I also had something in my eye. I tried to ignore it, but it was like laughing in church. Whatever it was felt like it got bigger and bigger until I was sure I had a tree in my eye so, bowing to the inevitable, I trudged to the bathroom to get it out. No matter how long I looked I couldn’t find anything stuck in my lower lid, where I thought I felt it, or in my upper lid, where I was sure it had to be after failing to find it under my lower lid. Banged into the wall on my way back to the bedroom because my night vision was completely gone after staring into the bathroom lights. Stubbed my toe on a laundry basket in the bedroom, too.

Almost drifted off to sleep when one of the cats – Bonkers, I think – rolled over and the tip of one of his ears just barely touched my ankle, went twitch twitch twitch until I rearranged myself so his ear wasn’t touching me any more. I must have roused Boo from her slumber, because she yawned and stretched and caught one of her claws in my shin.

And on and on the night went, with me getting lest restful the longer I laid in bed. Some time shortly after I heard the clock chime three I said fuck it and got out of bed again. B didn’t seem to be having too much trouble snoozing while I tossed and turned, but I was starting to feel the ultimate frustration of sleeplessness after lying in the dark wide awake for hours.

And how was your Friday?

Wakey Wakey

God damn, I hate going to bed but not going to sleep.

The weirdest thing about sleeplessness is that it’s so goddamn boring, and yet somehow not quite boring enough to make me nod off. I’ve been in staff meetings so boring that I can’t keep myself awake no matter how long I hold my breath (a remarkably effective method for staying awake, even if you’re being PowerPointed to death; you should try it). But apparently lying motionless in bed while trying to breathe deeply and evenly isn’t quite as boring as an hour-long lecture on cost-benefit analysis.

The first hint that I’m going to be spending more time awake than asleep is when I realize I’m breathing backwards. When I’m ready to fall asleep, I take long, deep breaths with a pause after exhaling, but when I’m lying awake trying to get to sleep I take quicker, shallow breaths with a short pause after I inhale, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t switch it around. It just happens.

What the hell’s up with that, anyway? Shouldn’t there be a manual override for the switch that changes how I breathe, so I can flip it when I need to get to sleep on a school night? I’ve got a long laundry list of poor engineering features built into my body, like why can’t I stop myself from dozing off during boring meetings? Okay, it’s boring, but why do I have to nod off? Why can’t I give myself a jolt of adrenaline to stay awake? No, for some reason that couldn’t be a good thing, so I’m stuck with trying to remind myself how embarrassing it is to wake up with the boss glaring at me because I interrupted his PowerPoint presentation by snoring.

As if the backwards breathing wasn’t bad enough, I also fall asleep backwards when I’m having a sleepless night. Every so often, just as I begin to doze off, the little man in my head realizes that I’m dozing off and shouts, Hey! I’m dozing off! Finally! And then I wake up because I realized I was dozing off. I’ve tried to strangle that little man every way I can think of, but no matter how tightly I clench my fingers around his windpipe, he just. Won’t. Die!

The final straw fell on the camel’s back when my stomach started growling just as the clock struck four this morning. I finally gave up, climbed out of bed and feasted on a big bowl of granola while simultaneously brewing a big pot o’ coffee. I’m gonna need lots of that today.

Barely here

Well, here we are again so soon. Feels as though it’s been only two or three hours since I sat here banging on the keyboard, and Hey! It has! I have no idea how much sleep I ended up getting last night – judging from the way I feel right now, ten, maybe fifteen minutes would be my guess – but I do know how much I’m going to get between now and four-thirty this afternoon, and that would be none. As soon as the quittin’ bird squawks, though, there’s no telling how hard my eyelids will slam shut, but – and I’m guessing here again – it ought to register on the Richter scale, so when you look up from your desk this afternoon and ask the guy in the cubicle next to you, “Did you just feel that?” check the clock. I’m pretty sure it’ll be my conscious self shutting down.


When I slide into a bed heavy with quilts on a cold winter night and curl up for my voyage to the land of nod, the thought that runs through my head should not be: Oh crap, am I going to have a sleepless night? Because when it is, chances are pretty good that it will be one of those nights, and as much as I enjoy finding extra time to catch up on my reading, or writing more drivel, the middle of the night is not where I want to find it. I want to find sweet slumber. I want to enjoy the sonorous rhythm of My Darling B’s respiration, or even her snoring. Mostly, I’d like to be sawing some lumber myself. But no.

The trouble began the moment I laid down and my stomach went Urp! I’d half-expected that because, between you, me and the lamp post, I ate a little too much at dinner, but it was such a delectable meal and I was enjoying such delightful company that I didn’t want it to end so I kept packing it away, even though a nagging voice in the back of my mind warned me that I’d probably end up on the sofa at one in the morning, telling you about it. And here we are, just as predicted. I wish I could do that with the winning lottery numbers.

I dozed for about an hour, waking every five minutes or so to the thud of my pulse playing my gut like a timpani drum. The pounding grew stronger each time I woke until I finally gave up trying to sleep and rolled out of bed, just as the clock struck midnight.

Every time I do this, I promise myself I’ll cut the portion in half next time. The thing was, it was a surprisingly reasonable portion, very much unlike the heaping helping most restaurants routinely dump in front of me. One look at it and I thought, That is exactly as big as I am hungry! and I tucked into it like a dog at his dish. A big dog, with a dish of Alpo. Nom.

I didn’t realize I’d overdone it until we were home again and enough time had passed that I realized my innards were never going to digest all that food before lights out. Too late to do anything about it by then but dose myself with Pepto and wait for the growling to stop. Too bad I didn’t think of that before I went to bed, but I really hated to sully such a fine meal by topping it off with a shot of Pepto-Bismol. This is one of those cases where “Better late than never” just doesn’t apply, though.

Note to self: Halve the portion next time. No, really. Do it.