Tales of an Insomniac

Bedtime is a magical time. It’s when the day comes to a peaceful pause as you snuggle into your warm, cozy bed and drift away to sleep while dreaming of fluffy clouds and white sand beaches all while your brain and body get re-energized for another day of productive bliss.

I read this on the back of a box of tea once and I thought, “What a load of crap.”

For me, sleep is a lot like geometry—it just isn’t easy. My husband and daughter, on the other hand, have both been blessed with the gift of sleep. When I tuck my daughter in, she’s asleep before I can say good night. My husband seems to have some kind of sleep switch that is activated by his head merely touching the pillow. I’ll be mid-sentence with an uproarious account of my day of doing laundry but as soon as his head completes the circuit with the pillow, he’s out.

Then I’m left all alone with my inability to sleep. Of course I’ve tried to imitate my husband and daughter, hoping that their talent for falling asleep might somehow get passed to me, but I never have any luck. I try to relax and rest my head on my pillow but that’s when it all starts…

10:30pm: I sprawl out in bed in an attempt to mimc my daughter but when I look up at the ceiling all I can focus on is a cobweb. I should get up and and clean that. No, I need to sleep. I flop onto my left side and try to get comfortable but I get the strange feeling that I am being watched. That damn cobweb is like two glowing eyes boring through my soul. I should clean it. No, I’m sleeping.

10:33pm: I get out of bed and grab the duster and clean the cobweb. Since I’m at it, I finish dusting the rest of the room. I glance in the hamper and realize I have enough clothes in there to warrant a load of laundry, so I head for the washing machine.

11:02pm: I get back into bed and curl up on my right side. I end up playing a little game I like to call “fighting my husband for knee dominance in the middle of the bed.” It’s basically a battle of strength and skill we have when both of us have turned to the middle of the bed and both of want one knee bent toward the center. It involves a fair amount of kicking and a few subliminal taunts like, “Don’t you love how much the government taxes your paycheck?” meant to give him nightmares and relinquish the center of the bed. The great irony of this game: I don’t even think my husband knows we play because he never wakes up.

11:14pm: After losing yet another battle for the center of the bed, I turn onto my left side and close my eyes. I open them back up and see the book I’m currently reading on the nightstand.
“I’ll just read one chapter,” I think.

3:29am: I’m sitting in bed with my laptop ordering the second book in the series because the first book was so good I couldn’t put it down—literally.

3:37am: I do a quick calculation of how much time I have left to actually get some sleep. I’ll get three hours of sleep if I fall asleep right now. The thought sends a shiver down my spine. A shiver?! Am I cold? When I was in the hospital after having my daughter, a very kind nurse told me, “When you’re cold, your baby is probably cold; when you’re hot, your baby is probably hot.” Since then every time I wake up cold or hot, my first instinct is to go check on my daughter.

3:45am: My daughter was perfectly fine but since I was up and about, I put the laundry into the dryer. I also made a grocery list. Over ninety percent of the list was caffeine-loaded beverages because I know tomorrow is going to be painful and hourly caffeine jolts will have to be administered just to keep me semi-functional. I also make a note to steer clear of operating heavy machinery, like forklifts, just to be on the safe side.

4:03am: My eyes keep closing but the dog has decided that she needs out right this minute. Maybe my husband will wake up and let the dog out. I laugh almost manically at the thought (or maybe I was crying). I decide that if I ignore the dog she will just go away.

4:10am: The dog wouldn’t stop breathing in my face so I had to get up and let her out. On the way back to bed I add minty dog bones to my grocery list because the dog’s breath is something straight out of a horror movie. Wait, that doesn’t make sense because the technology for smellable movies has not yet been invented. Has it? No, if it had I’m sure I would have seen that story comes across my Facebook newsfeed or I would have read about it on Yahoo News. Regardless, if you could smell horror, I’m pretty sure it would smell like my dog’s breath.

4:17am: I’m pretty troubled because I’m almost certain that I just had a conversation with myself about smellable movies.

4:38am: I am finally comfortable and sleep, glorious, life-renewing sleep is just moments away. I can feel it…

4:40am: I have to pee.

4:42am: But I’m so comfortable. I don’t want to get up.

4:43am: I really have to pee.

4:44am: Maybe if I just flip to the other side, I will take the pressure off my bladder long enough to fall asleep.

4:45am: Nope, I have to pee. I stumble to the bathroom then back to bed in record time.

4:48am: ZZZZzzzzz.

6:09am: My husband’s alarm goes off. I grunt something profane as the dog jumps on the bed and drops her squeaky squirrel toy on my head.

6:35am: My husband kisses me good bye and says, in the overly chipper tone of a man who just got a restful night’s sleep, “How’d you sleep, honey?”

Oh, I’m definitely going to kick him again tonight when he’s sleeping.


“Honey, the basement is flooded…again.”

Fewer phrases can quicken a homeowner’s pulse than the dreaded flooded basement. There’s the mopping, the tearing up of carpet, the obligatory swearing, and worst of all, the call to the plumber.

After administering what can only be described as a colonoscopy of our main sewer line, the plumber’s diagnosis was grim. “There’s a tree root in the pipes. We are going to have to dig up your driveway to get to it and repair it.” I asked the inevitable question, “How much?” The plumber took the next 20 minutes to measure, pace, smoke a cigarette, consult an magic eight ball and then checked his calculations on an abacus.

“It comes to $4975,” he said while avoiding making eye contact with me (which makes sense, since my eye was doing that twitching thing it tends to do under duress). Now, the way I see it, when the plumber tells you the broken pipe is in fact under the driveway, necessitating the digging up of said driveway to the tune of $5000, you have two choices: kill the plumber and bury him in a shallow grave, or, laugh hysterically. I chose the latter (which ironically still seemed to scare him).

Between fits of laughter, a near-piddling, and the start of my Grey Goose and cranberry IV drip, I called my husband to break the news to him. “Well, if it has to be done, it has to be done.” My husband’s coolness under pressure is, surprisingly, one of his most annoying qualities.

“They are going to dig up the driveway!” I bellowed.

“Are you worried about the landscaping? It can all be fixed,” he tried to pacify me.

“Landscaping?! That’s the least of my worries. What if they dig up an old Indian burial ground? Which, of course, will most decidedly end with a poltergeist issue. Or worse, what if they find a pet ‘semetary’?! Do you know how many fish I have flushed in four years? That’s probably what’s causing all the plumbing issues. That’s all I need: a dozen zombie goldfish sloshing up the stairs to seek revenge on my lackluster fishbowl cleanings!”

“Zombie goldfish?” he asked.

“Yes! And remember that shaggy-looking beta that always stared at me with his one good eye?”

“You mean Daisy?” he said.

“Yeah, that’s him! You know he’s going to lead the zombie goldfish attack or become a poltergeist.”

“I don’t even know what a ‘poltergeist’ is,” my husband’s patience was wearing thin.

“Do you know that 18% of marriages fail because one spouse lacks a working knowledge of horror movies of the 1980s?” My husband is a numbers guy so I think my clever use of statistics will sway him.

“I have to go now, honey. Do not annoy the plumbers while they are working.”

Ten minutes later I’m down by the driveway asking the plumbers what I feel to be very valid questions. “Can’t this procedure be done laparoscopically? You know, a small incision, robotic arms, ultrasound? Come on, I have cable and high-speed internet! We are living in a rapidly advancing world!” Needless to say, that guy did not appreciate my vision of the future of plumbing.

Frankendriveway is healing well, no worse for wear other than a giant, concrete scar. And happily, no ancient burial grounds were uncovered.