There’s an ironic and poignant line in the Bare Naked Ladies song Hello City that says “…I hope tomorrow that I wake up in my own bed.” Ironic because there was a time in my life when I aspired to wake up in the bed of bare naked ladies (once I even woke up in the bed of a future Bare Naked First Lady. I still have your SMU sweatshirt Laura xxoo) and poignant because even though my wanton days of promiscuous rakery are long over I still don’t know which bed, which couch or which section of the floor I’ll be waking up in or on come morning.
Now the last thing anyone wants to read is yet another weary parent lamenting the loss of their precious sleep, but great Caesar’s ghost Adam’s nearly 16 months old and I was certain that by now he’d be sleeping through the night meaning that by now I WOULD BE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. Yet he does not, and more importantly I do not and in direct monastic violation of my forced vow of insomnia I throughout the day steadily chant the sacred mantra “…I hope tomorrow that I wake up in my own bed.” like a Gregorian monk in front of a frozen karaoke screen.
The place I fall asleep is inevitably never the place I wake up as during the night I spin through the house bouncing around the rooms. That’s me on the mattress, the couch cushion, the rug, the oversized pillow, that’s me in the corner of the foyer losing my religion; round and round I go and where I stop nobody knows; think of it as R.E.M. Roulette only without the sketchy croupier. (Note: not the same as R.E.M. Craps. Automatic for the People? More like Automatic for the $.99 Bin) Earlier this week though I had a legendary run at the tables.
It started out as a typical evening, Adam was in his crib by 8:00 and by 9:00 Jack’s eyes we’re rolling back in his head. (We know we shouldn’t let him roll his eyes back like that but it keeps his mileage down and increases his Blue Book value in case we ever want to trade him in for a new model). After letting him sleep on the couch next to me for a while I carried him upstairs, asked him 17 times if he had to go potty, finally determined that Yes he did have to go potty, brought him to the potty, balanced and aimed him at the potty, then brought him back to his bed and tucked him in. Kathleen crawled into our bed around that time, so by 10:00 I was downstairs on the couch with my computer and the best laid plans of writing for a couple hours.
A cup of tea on the end table, Comedy Central muted on the TV, a blank Microsoft word document on the screen and a strong unsecured wireless network signal from my neighbor’s house… the conditions were perfect. Conditions that lasted until around 10:30 when I dozed off and only woke up at midnight because our cat was yowling and pressed up against the porch window like a visiting prison wife the day before a conjugal visit. After shutting off the computer I let the cat in, checked him for contraband, turned off the lights then walked upstairs in complete darkness.
Besides emitting a Silence of the Lambs night goggle glow, my cell phone makes an effective flashlight and allows me the stumbling luxury of getting ready for bed without turning on the 100 year old wall sconces with switches that snap like a nun’s ruler on impudent knuckles. After doing an Edwin Moses hurdle over the baby gate in the doorway of our office/walk-in closet to put the laptop away (some nights I’ll just Moses the gate by raising my staff until it parts) I checked on the boys, rubbed the lotion on my skin, climbed under the covers of my BFF then increased my own resale value as my eyes rolled back in my head.
An hour later around 1:00am Jack was either singing The Isley Brothers “Nobody But Me” or having a nightmare (No-no, no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no) so I leapt from the bed to see what was the matter. He was sitting up in bed crying so I whispered that everything was OK and lay in bed with him until he fell back asleep.
Sometime around 2:00am I was jolted awake when tectonic plates of the Earth’s upper mantle shifted and began grinding against each other directly beneath our upstate New York home and I thought, “That’s great it starts with an earthquake…” until I realized Jack was just grinding his teeth. When saying, “Jack stop grinding your teeth.” didn’t work I rolled out of his bed and back into my own and was back asleep before the tremors worsened.
According to the digital clock next to our bed it was 2:27 when the Emergency Air Raid siren in Adam’s room went off. Adam will occasionally make this sound in public places and people who grew up during the cold war and the Cuban Missile Crisis instinctively duck and hide under anything they can find that looks like an elementary school desk. At 2:30 in the morning, as much as we would like to duck and hide our only recourse is to bring him into bed with us.
Since I was balanced on the edge of the mattress with my face just inches from the alarm clock I knew it was exactly 3:36 when the pit boss starting kicking me in the back and telling me it was time to move to another table on the floor. Reluctantly I got out of bed, retrieved my night vision goggles from the dresser, put the lotion in the basket then limped back downstairs to the couch.
Why would a cat suddenly decide to clean himself a 5:03 in the morning? When saying, “Fitz, stop licking yourself.” didn’t work I staggered back upstairs and stood in the hallway deciding which numbered pocket on the wheel I was going to fall into for my final hour of sleep. With no intention of trying my luck with the human Richter Scale I opted for the Outdoor Civil Defense System. After I shimmied my way into the 3 inches of available mattress space I slept until 6:00am when the alarm on my flashlight went off signaling that as far as sleep went I was out of time.
Didn’t Rick’s Café in Casablanca have a trick roulette wheel that could land on 22 at will? I remember a scene in which Bogart’s character takes pity on a man who’s down to his last three chips by telling him to place it all on 22 then letting him win. After the man wins Bogart again tells him to let it ride on 22 and again lets him win.
Hey Bogie, I’m honestly down to my last 3 chips and all I want to do is sleep tonight and wake up in my own bed. I’m letting them ride on 22. No more bets. Spin the wheel.