It's not about the house.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm Sure You Must Be Weary, Dear

I haven’t been sleeping at all well these past few weeks. For reasons that I won’t get into here, but of which the AssVac and our increasingly tenuous relationship with her are but a nearly-negligible part. I go to bed relatively early and exhausted, fall fairly easily to sleep, and then wake up fifteen minutes later feeling like it’s morning. I have a pee, watch TV, or just lie there playing the alphabet game inside my head, and then ten or sixty minutes later I’m drifting off again. This time lasts an hour and a half or so, and then I wake up sweating. I watch Chelsea Lately (twice), and try to squeeze in 45 more minutes of shuteye before the alarm gives me my regular a.m. infarction.

(I never noticed it before, but “infarction” is a pretty funny word when taken out of context. I mean, I imagine it’s not quite so hysterical when preceded by “myocardial,” followed by “stat!” and shouted by any ER doctor but Wayne Fiscus. On its own, though, I bet a good infarction could provide any twelve-year-old boy with hours of entertainment.)

I’ve been trying all sorts of things in my quest for a good night’s sleep. Windows open; windows closed. Earplugs in; radio on. Midnight snack; starvation diet (well, after 7:00 p.m., anyway). Guest room; day bed; La-Z-Boy. And as far as external assistance goes, I’ve tried everything from alcoholic torpor to meditating on a shot of Carrie Nation.

No dice. Although in retrospect that’s really not surprising. I mean, have you seen a shot of Carrie Nation lately?

Anyway, so nothing’s working. Ten minutes, ninety minutes, night sweats. That’s all I get, and I’d begun to think that might be all there is.

Two nights ago, though, I got my first glimmer of hope. I was snuggled up with an extra feather pillow watching reruns of Family Guy, when I felt The Perfect Sleep arriving. The bedside lamp was still switched on, but – polar bears be damned – I couldn’t bring myself to rouse and douse it when I felt beauty sleep calling me at long last (although at this point, real “beauty sleep” is probably beyond my ken; at this point, I’d settle for a catnap and a smaller ugly stick). But just as I was drifting off – just as I was imagining myself a scoop of World’s Best Vanilla on a big marshmallow cloud, and the pink behind my eyelids as, I don’t know, strawberry syrup (work with me here; I don’t really dream in ice cream, for heaven’s sake; the point is I was just nodding off when) -- Johnny’s stupid cell phone sprang to life.

Now, I’m not going to name the stupid friend who called him at the god-awful hour of – I don’t know, 9:30 probably, if Family Guy was still on – but I will say that Johnny’s been calling this S.F. on and off all winter, and S.Fdidn’t see fit to return the favor until now. Well, not now. Two nights ago. When Johnny, tired of my thrashing, accidentally left his cell phone on my bedside table and crept off to the pub.

Could we start again, please?

So last night, same thing. I wasn’t exactly embracing Mr. Sandman yet, but we were well on our way to second base – this time to the accompaniment of The Duel II: The Sh*t They Should’ve Shown (about which I have to say: for watching it, I fully deserve the image I now have in my head of Big Easy’s balls) – when I heard what sounded like a slow-motion (or slow-audition, I suppose) version of the igniter clicking to light the burner on the kitchen stove.

“Ah,” I thought. “Johnny’s making himself a cup of tea.”

Until I remembered that a.) Johnny was asleep (the bastard), b.) the ignition clicks way more than once a minute, and c.) the kitchen stove ain't out in the back hall.


So I tiptoed out of bed and listened, creeping around and zeroing in, until I figured out that whatever it was was behind the hallway door. Which is held open by a pair of leftover cedar shakes from when we put the finishing touches on the AssVac’s ass four years ago, and it's probably been open ever since. I stood there listening for another little while to be sure, then steeled myself, kicked the shakes out of their spot, and swung the door.

There, swinging two inches from the floor and looking like a piece of dirt caught in a breeze, was a smallish beetle of a type I didn’t recognize. Now, it so happened I’d just spent the best part of an hour running boiling-hot water over my sister’s Coleman cooler to rid it of a thousand earwigs accumulated over three days left out in a rainy yard (sorry, Khurston!), so it’s fair to say I already had a decent willy on (you know what I mean, jeez). But I shook my willy off, grabbed hold of my Big Easys, and crouched down to have myself a look.

This one-inch dude was long and brown, with a comparatively largish head. He was caught in a rudimentary spider web, and was clacking his little beetle heart out in alarm. For all his fuss I barely saw the spider. She was just a moving bit of fuzz around the belly of the beast. Spinning and wrapping and deftly dodging whatever powerful parts he had for making such a sound, she worked away. After all, who knows how long she’d had her web behind that doorway? Who knows how long she’d waited for a meal?

I stood there with the doorknob in my hand for half a minute, contemplating this appropriately microcosmic scene. Here I was, failing to sleep for who-knows-how-many reasons, wrestling with my pillows and watching reruns of Roseanne, while little teeny battles to the death were going on around me. And such poetic ones, at that. Don’t we all wait years for opportunities? Don’t we all take wrong steps and get caught? Don’t we rail and writhe and wrap and spin, twist and dodge and clack our little beetle hearts out at the natural injustice of it all?

I thought of all this, like I said, for about a half a minute. And then I swung the cedar shake and squashed them both.

Well, hell. A girl’s gotta get her smaller ugly stick where she can find it, or else she might wind up like Carrie Nation.


P.S. When I told this story to My Lady this afternoon, I told her I went back to sleep with earplugs in and let the two of them fight it out. That was never an option. If the beetle won, see, then I’d have a small beetle in my house somewhere near my bedroom with some unidentified body part capable of making clacking noises loud enough to hear two rooms away. Obviously unacceptable. And if the spider won, well, then I would have a spider. I may, however, tell the same white lie to Johnny, and if I do, I’m trusting all of you folks to keep hush.

I’ve still got that cedar shake, remember, and I think I've proven I know how it's done...


Anonymous said...

Both spider and beetle would have been toast in my place, too.
Have you tried any herbal remedies like Valerian? They might help.

Jenni said...

We had one of those clicking beatles in our extra bedroom yesterday. And they are actually kinda difficult to squish.

Benedryl is my BFF when I cannot sleep.

There are always lines that stand out in your posts and the "shot of Carrie Nation" is THE line from this post. GIGGLE. I'll drink to that.

DonnaStaf said...

I have been battling a being in my bed at night who bites! I wish that the little bastards would make noise so I could kill them! I'd bring a 2X4 to bed if it would help! Guessing it is spiders since I have found a few silent ones around. So much for exterminators, they are still here! Try Unisom (or generic from Costco), it has worked for me for years of nights shift without the Benedyl hangover!

ege said...

12 -- Mmmm... toasted beetle... BLEAH! No, I haven't tried herbal remedies -- unless you count hops.

Jenni -- It was awfully hard to squich! I wound up cutting its wee head off with the pointy edge of the cedar shake. (Oh, and I edited the Carrie Nation line because of your comment. I'd love to take credit for it, but I hadn't even thought of the double-meaning. Thanks!)

Donna -- GAH! Spiders in the BED!? Unisom or no, I'm NEVER getting any more sleep now!