Remember that fracking bird that was waking me up every morning? Yeah, Satan’s winged minion is still at it, and the whole situation has lost its charm, much like how I’ve lost seeming days of precious sleep. Or how I’m losing my already tenuous grip on sanity.
Every morning, from about 4:30 to 5:30, this shrill feathered beastie is outside my window, singing/shrieking its idiotic lungs out. Despite living in the house with a parakeet, I’m no ornithological expert, but after employing some Google-fu, I think it may be some sort of wood thrush.
I would hope so—it would give me an excuse to get that pet owl I’ve always wanted as they are wood thrush predators. A hawk would do, too, although I now have a third option: My neighbor Sully, who has also been awakened by this winged nightmare and as an active police officer, is not only licensed to carry a firearm, but I’m pretty sure also allowed to discharge it as he sees fit to rid law-abiding mammals like myself of such environmental nuisances. I think he’s also got access to a shotgun and a bazooka, either of which he would be welcome to use in my yard to kill the fracking …. thing …
I have this vision of me torching the entire neighborhood with a flame-thrower—burning every house, tree, bush, phone pole, church, nursery school and Wiffle Ball factory to the ground—only to have that damned critter flutter gently down just out of my reach to serenade me with its hell song.
Seriously, its shrilling at 4:30 a.m. would make any red-blooded PETA member want to kill it dead, deep fry and then take sweet joy tearing it limb from limb and gnashing its flesh between their teeth—
Okay, I know I may be overreacting just *a tad* but I’m getting punchy from a lack of proper rest here, people. In terms of sleep debt, I’m underwater and drowning.
I guess the problem is that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more and more problems staying in the embrace of the sandman. Actually, I used to struggle big time with falling asleep, but as I’ve cut down on the caffeine I consume during the day (sorry beloved Coca-Cola Company—I still have stock in you, though) and learned to cut back on the sugar before bedtime, it’s helped tremendously.
Funny thing about sugar—for years, it used to take hours for me to nod off, and I never really thought about why that was. When I was 25 and had moved out on my own (and away from my parents’ well-stocked kitchen), I started sleeping better, but I never made the connection until one day after a bad night. I started replaying what I had done the evening before that I hadn’t been doing other evenings the week prior (during which I had slept well). I had come home from work, ate dinner, watched TV, done some writing and made sugar cookies for Sue (it was near Valentine’s Day, and yes, I was corny like that back in the day). I had also sampled about a half dozen of cookies, but what did an enormous amount of sugar have to do with trying to fall asleep—
Yeahhhh. As I like to tell my kids, I am “s-m-r-t smrt.”
As I said, once I figured that out, falling asleep became much easier. But staying asleep continues to be a challenge. As my #1 fan Senior Smoke likes to remind me, I have “issues.”
1. I’m a bit of a “slumberjack”—I’ve been told that I saw them logs. As such, my wife will wake me up to roll over, and where she falls back asleep in about 7 seconds, I’m not so lucky.
Side note: Sue has zero problem falling asleep—she can down 5 cups of coffee after dinner and doze off by 9:13 p.m. When we get in the car to go somewhere, she can be unconscious by the time we get to the end of the street. As “they” (the chicken people?) say: She can fall asleep on a picket fence during a hurricane, which I don’t think the Surgeon General recommends. (But I may be wrong on that.) I am totally jealous of this ability, if you can’t tell. Selfish, well-rested bitch!
Speaking of my wife—
2. I sleep next to someone who has a little bit of the jimmy legs. Not that there’s anything wrong with it … you know, unless you’re a light sleeper who can’t fall back asleep easily.
3. I’m more finicky than Morris when it comes to sleeping. Need my pillow (not too soft, too tall or too mush), the right sheets (not too crunchy) and general quiet—see the whole bird story that started this post. No peas under the mattress. I prefer to sleep on my back, but that causes snoring, so I start off on my left side, and my legs need to be on top of each other so I don’t accidentally cut off the circulation in one of them and get leg cramps, which make me jump out of bed in the middle of the night so I can stretch out my knotted calf. Oh, and I have to drink a lot of water to prevent cramps (and diverticulitis), which means getting up regularly “to empty the tank.” I also like a pillow to drape my right arm over; if I switch to my right side, then I put my left arm over my wife’s hip. But generally I avoid sleeping on my right side because that’s the “nightmare” side.
4. Yes, nightmares. You would think that since it’s my brain, it’d be on my side and I’d dream about good stuff all the time, but that’s not the case. I’ve never actually had a “fun” unconscious dream about Salma Hayek, Elizabeth Banks or Debbie Gibson, and now that I think about it, I probably only have a “fun” dream about once a year, if I’m lucky. Bad dreams and nightmares that I wake up screaming from, however, come along a lot more often—like once a week. And for some reason that should be the basis of a paying sleep study, I seem to have many more nightmares when sleeping on my right side than on my left.
(Wow, I guess I do have *a lot* of issues. Senior Smoke is actually right about this, damn him. He probably also would like me to mention how I usually sleep in black socks, black sweatpants and a black t-shirt—when we went to Atlantic City a few years back and we shared a room, he just kept calling me “a f’n ninja.”)
5. Pain. Some of you are probably saying, “Well, what’s the big whoop about the bird? If you’re up in the middle of the night, just sleep in.” For the record, I have no qualms with that sentiment, but my body does—my back, in particular. For reasons I have yet to figure out (despite actual serious research), after about 7 or 8 hours of laying prone in bed, by lower back begins to ache. It’s been happening for years no matter if i sleep on my side or back, so it’s not necessarily my old age getting older; it also occurs pretty much everywhere I lay my head, so it’s not a mattress issue, either. All I know is that after a third of a day in bed, I’m in pain and very uncomfortable. Ugh.
So what to do, you ask? A few possibilities:
1. Separate beds. Although I love Sue dearly, it might make sense for each of us to have or own beds—or heck, even our own rooms—for actual sleeping. We can determine a place for conjugal visits, but for normal night-to-night sleeping, this isn’t a crazy idea. This also eliminates someone putting her ice cold feet on me during the middle of the night. The only problem is … well, I love Sue dearly, and like having her there each night, jimmy legs and all. Stupid love, messing me up again!
2. Sensory deprivation tank. I’m not saying no, I’m just saying the designated piggy bank isn’t full enough yet. Eye blinders and earplugs are more in my budget range right now.
3. Drugs. Hell, no. My momma didn’t raise no pill-poppin’ Elvis wannabe!
4. Kill that fracking bird. Ding ding ding—winner, winner thrushpie dinner! Sully, get your gun. Sue’s a-makin’ lasagne …