As You Like It: All Through the NightBy Joan Florek Schottenfeld
I get up at 5 a.m. every day to catch the 6:39 commuter train into Boston. That insane wake-up hour gives me time to shower, dress, eat, and make it to the train with seconds to spare. Since I’m barely conscious at that hour, I prepare everything I need for the morning the night before. Coffee is in the espresso maker, oatmeal waits in the bowl — even the milk glass sits waiting. If I could figure out a way to eat in the shower, I would do it. If I wasn’t so prepared I would have time to dress or eat, but not both, and would probably walk out the door wearing two different shoes.
Knowing that I have to get up so early in the morning makes me a nervous sleeper. Each night I wake up five or six times to check the clock to see how many more hours of sleep I have left. It goes something like this:
6:30 p.m.: I prepare the next day’s lunch and breakfast. Lunch is always a celebration of the gustatory senses — a tuna, bologna or turkey sandwich. Of course, the fact that I eat my lunch running from one thing to another means that I usually have no idea what I’ve just eaten anyway. There have been times when I have asked my secretary if she’s seen me eat my lunch because I have no recollection of doing so. She just sighs and points to the saran wrap filled with crumbs on my desk.
7 p.m.: Having completed all my preparations, I head for the bedroom followed by my faithful companion, Snoopy. I grab our special blanket and a cup of tea, and we settle in for a couple of hours of togetherness — if that’s what you can call me at one end of the bed and him at the other. He doesn’t want to actually snuggle or be near me; he just likes to know I’m there. I watch some TV and read for two hours until …
9 p.m.: When it’s time for the Snoopster to go for his final outing and me to go to sleep. Yes folks, I go to sleep weeknights at 9, depressingly early. But if I stay up any later I go around the next day searching for my brain.
9:15 p.m.: I fall into a wonderfully deep sleep guaranteed to rejuvenate me for the entire week.
9:30 p.m.: I wake up feeling like I’ve slept for hours, only to glance at the clock to see that I’ve been asleep for exactly 15 minutes. It will take me forever to fall asleep again.
9:30-10:30 p.m.: Toss and turn trying desperately to find a position that doesn’t feel like every part of my body is lying on nails. I look at the clock hoping that maybe I’ve been asleep for hours without knowing it, but no dice.
10:35 p.m.: I finally fall asleep and manage to stay that way until …
10:55 p.m.: When Steve lands in bed like a cluster bomb, throwing the covers and tossing himself around as if he were a crepe in a frying pan. He adds a few sneezes and grunts and voila! I am completely and utterly awake and ready to kill my bed mate.
10:55-11:30 p.m.: Lie in bed dreaming up ways to torture my husband or at least wake him up. How can he sleep so deeply while I’m over here planning his untimely demise? I tell myself to relax and start counting something, anything — sheep, enchiladas, kittens — to find some sleep.
12:38 a.m.: I finally fall asleep again after having checked the clock at least a dozen times to see if I had just dreamt being awake.
2 a.m.: The snoring concerto kicks in, bass section and all. I look over at mi amore and see that he is lying on his back, so I give him a gentle tap on his arm (okay, maybe I whack him a good one, but at this point can you blame me?) which is his signal to turn on his left side so that his snores will calm down to snorts and we can all get some sleep. I check the clock once again and utter some words that cannot be printed in a family newspaper.
2:30 a.m.: The dog decides to meander in and begins to shake, stretch, and then lick every single part of his body. The slobbery licks make me so nauseated that I threaten to dismember said animal unless he goes to sleep. He looks at me as if I have lost my mind.
3:38 a.m.: I look at the clock and see that I have exactly one hour and 22 minutes left before I have to get up. I try to count my blessings (enchiladas sure didn’t work), and all I can come up with is that I may be exhausted, but at least the snoring and licking have stopped.
4:45 a.m.: I finally fall into a deep, deep, rejuvenating sleep.
5 a.m.: My alarm goes off, and when I realize that I have to get up, I decide to ignore it and go back to sleep. At that point a cold nose pokes itself into my side demanding to be fed. It’s been a long day’s night.
Thank you everyone for asking about my mom. She’s home and back to her old routine. Thanks to Jim at the rehab facility for springing her! The Unsinkable Molly Brown rides again!
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