More of the stress stuff

There are a few highlights of Stress Week that should not be grating as much as they are, because I know that I do not have control over things like mother nature (the air has grown sharp and chilly and I wasn’t finished with warmth and sunlight) or other people’s driving inability (although chanting “why don’t you all fuuuuuck oooofffff” in a high-pitched sing-song whisper this morning is a sure sign that I need to chill); I swear I am working on reclaiming the zen attitude. Really. I’m working on it (must. unclench. teeth).

But something I CANNOT deal with is lack of sleep, which has been the theme of the last 7 days. Once, when I was little and unable to sleep (hopped up on sugar from my once-a-year candy allowance, no doubt), I burst into my parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night (okay, so it was probably more like 10 p.m.) wailing “I just want to sleeeeep!!!!! Why can't I sleeeeep??!!!!” Superman had kryptonite, I have sleep deprivation. And if someone else is the cause of me losing sleep, make way for the rage and the shouting.

(I could never be Sleeping Beauty, because when the prince comes and kisses me awake, instead of living happily ever after, I’d be all “What the FUCK are you doing? Can’t you see I’m SLEEPING, you horndog?” and then he’d get a Quinn-patented crotchpunch.)

I’m honestly not sure if I had such problems with insomnia and light-sleeping in my early twenties, or if it crept up on me after I became older/busier/monogamous and cohabiting (cohabitative? cohabitish?). Looking back, those years seem like a much easier time in my life (only dealing with the depression and suicidal tendencies really streamlines the psyche). I had a bed to myself, a little puppy whose bed was next to mine, not in mine, who let me sleep (most of the time, and if she woke me up it was just “awwwww” because who could stand how cute she was? Not me!), and the only person making noise in the morning was me, so no one woke me up Before It Was Time. Well, there were the mornings I came fully awake halfway through my shower, or while fashioning a coffee maker out of a saucepan and some toilet paper, but I understood that while that may be a clue I was up Before It Was Time, I had no one to blame but myself. You see? Me neither. But did I mention I used to have the bed to myself?

Now I share the bed every night. Not only with another person, but with two dogs (the second addition made herself known as Pushy right from the start, the original decided she was Not To Be Left Out), a bad back and the mental list of maybe a gazillion items to keep track of, whether finance related or just the usual headache that comes with owning a house and maintaining it enough so it doesn’t look like it is inhabited by a) broke-ass college students or b) crack whores. And the other person wakes up too early (or returns late at night from practice) and makes enough noise with the dogs to wake me up and keep me up (but again I must point out the light-sleeper development, so he’s not entirely to blame), oh and also takes up too much of the bed and blankets and even snores sometimes! I know! Of all the nerve! I’ve never enjoyed sharing a bed with someone (just ask those in my past who have been neatly kicked out after the party hour). Perhaps I thought I’d get used to it eventually, I don’t know. And when, may I ask, did I get so lax in doggy obedience that having two (TWO!) on my side of the bed all night became acceptable? Both of them get comfortable before I get there (somehow affixing themselves to the mattress in such a way that makes moving them an impossible dream), so I can either try to fall asleep spread-eagled around them (and girls, we all know this stance ain’t quite in the comfort zone), or I can take advantage of the 3 feet of open space between the beasts and my pillow and make nice with the fetal position. Mmmm, domestic bliss, sign me right up.

For seven years now, any night I fall asleep relatively easily, wake once and return to sleep within ninety minutes is considered decent. For various reasons, interruptions and worries, I have not had a decent night’s sleep since last Wednesday. Yesterday morning I tearfully came to the conclusion that in my weakened state I was no match for things like Daily Annoyances, Financial Hardship, etc., etc., and if I didn’t get one decent night’s sleep this week I was going to lose my already unstable mind. But not before the dogs and Monk lost their lives. So last night Monk and I said a goodnight tinged with melancholy, and I tucked myself into the guest bedroom for the next eight hours. As the door closed, it felt like the end of something, the admission of some as yet unrecognized failure. But when I woke this morning after 7 solid hours of slumber, legs fully extended, back free of pain and nose free of dog hair, it also felt like the beginning of something, a rejuvenating glimpse of sanity.

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