January 23, 2003
3am or so

Can't sleep tonight, which is going to complicate my life immensely in the next 24+ hours.  Since I never get enough sleep anyway, I normally keep a low grade (spiking to high grade) at time headache and it's likely to be through the roof tomorrow.  I used to think I had a tumor or something because it never left, always hanging around to some degree or another.  Then, one weekend, Eric let me lounge the whole weekend, napping whenever I wanted, sleeping in, etc and for a couple of days, *kapow*, the headache was just *gone*.  It was amazing; a truly blessed feeling.  I think I stopped sleeping well in about 1992 to begin.  That was when Paul and I divorced and I was a single parent, going through a series of really tough lessons and things like mental meltdowns and a pregnancy and such and I found myself sleeping very, very lightly, wanting to hear if anything went on in the night with the kids.  I'm sure a lot of single parents go through this.  Prior to this, I was a sleeper of some great phenomenon.  I have slept standing up, I have slept at rock concerts (for the record, Michael Shenker Band really sucked on tour in 1983 IMHO), I have slept on the back of a motorcycle more times than I can count, I have slept through a bajillion movies.  Sleep has always adored me and I have always adored sleep.  While other people fantasize about sex, I fantasize about mink blankets, moderate spring days, curtains blowing as a gentle breeze boots them around...and total silence in the house.  Ahhh.  Sleep, my elusive and fickle lover.  

Now, in my current phase of life, it's more practical than mental.  I still have that "on guard" thing going on because Eric sleeps likes a frickin rock and wouldn't wake up if pipe bombs were being hurled through our front windows, much less for a phone or a fussy child or a psycho cat that keeps scratching and scratching and scratching at the bathroom window to be let in (think tall hedges).  Delena, Dylan and Nathan have all been erratic sleepers (possibly from my energy around sleep) and at least one a night will get up for something and have to either be walked back to bed and retucked or (if I'm too whipped to move) cuddled in beside me in my big bed. 

I love pills.  Love downers.  Haven't had any in years and years, but before I was pregnant with Delena and after Paul divorced us the first time, I came upon, quite by accident, a fresh package of phenergan suppositories.  I worked in an OB/GYN office that shall, for reasons of my nonprosecution, remain unnamed.  As anyone who works in the medical field knows, you deal with an incredible wealth of personalities, including a plethora of total whack jobs.   One pregnant lady was having some trouble with severe nausea and could not keep down the anti-nausea pills the doc was giving her.  Instead, he gave her the suppositories, explained in detail what all was involved with her using them and sent her on her way.  She returned after picking up the prescription, having gotten further instruction from the pharmacist, and threw the package in my face (I ran the front office) and said, "Tell Dr _____ to jam THESE up his OWN ASS!" and out the door she went. 

I took them back to Dr _____ and offered her set of instructions to him.  He rejected her suggestion and told me to just trash them, evidently not knowing, as Head of the OB/GYN department, about things like waste streams and controlled substances and such, much to my advantage (I twirl my lady mustache at this point).  Being a child of the 60's, there was NO WAY I could trash perfectly good drugs, butt administered or NOT, so I pocketed them, whistling a merry tune and high fiving a sonogram machine at my good fortune. 

That night, I set about my task.  Ahhhhhhh.  Joy echoed throughout the land.  I slept the sleep of the righteous.  It was sinking into puffy clouds, cottony fog, a blissful place that was prepared jusssst for me.  I awoke refreshed and revitalized, ready to face anything that came my way.  No hangover.  No sluggishness.  Just...joy.  I meeted those little buggers out over about a 2 month period.  There were only 10, so I had to be very careful.  I think that was the last time I slept well.  I used to beg the surgeons at our hospital to put me under general anesthesia and not do any surgery on me...just let me sleep.  None of them ever agreed.  Bastards.

So now, sleeping isn't happening much.  Eric normally goes to bed after me and that can be anywhere from 10-11-12-1-2, no matter when in the week it hits.  It's not him coming into the room that wakes me.  I can stir and get back down to sleep if that's the case.  It's him coming in, throwing on the bathroom room light (our bathroom doesn't have a door as some architectural demon decided it would be interesting to have a mini labyrinth design into the sink area, then into the potty and shower area, so not only does aroma waft out freely - as well as children - but the light shines right into the bedroom if you're at the sink), then washing his hands, taking out his contacts, usually cursing under his breath if they are not cooperating, brushing his teeth, flossing his teeth, swiping the bed exactly 3 times to remove invisible crumbs, etc, that might be there, getting into the bed, putting the semi-folded flat sheet (he uses one, I don't and we sleep with separate covers - sort of like the "bed numbers" game, but with varying degrees of coverage needed) on his body and opening it by kicking and kicking and kicking it.  He'll then put his quilt on over it (he's a light cover sleeper, I'm a heavy blanket sleeper) and kicking that into place and finally nestle down into sleep.  By this time, I'm pretty much fully awake.  In contrast, if I'm up late writing and he's already asleep, he lights a small candle, puts on the dresser in our room and goes to sleep.  I finish, come to our room, ease open the door, pick up the candle, carry it to my nightstand, blow it out, get into bed, ease the covers over me and go to sleep.  When I get up with the kids on the weekends or holidays (5-6am), when they come in to our bed, I shoo them out, grab a robe and leave.  He gets up around 10-12.  When I sleep in, the kids come in, I nudge him awake, give the kids a cuddle and tell them to go play and Dad will be right there.  I nudge him again and drift.  I'm awakened by a crash in the other room or a soft "I'm gonna tell mom" or some hysterics or another and I nudge him a little harder.  He grabs his glasses, his pillow, his blanket (cursing under his breath again) and leaves.  He'll come in around 8-9am to "cuddle" me because he misses me so much or other times will cut right past the bullshit facade and tell me he can't stay awake any more and wants me to get up so he can sleep.  As he asks if I mind, he is crawling into bed. 

I have told him that there have been many countries who have tortured prisoners of war with sleep deprivation.  I have told him that this is some kind of bizarre passive-aggressive acting out, that it has to stop and that he has to give me equal time.  I have told him that if I die from sleep deprivation, he will be left to care for three kids alone or find some other woman willing to do it.  I have told him I can be so much a better wife and mother if I'm not tired and headachey all the time.  He admits to being a "sleep whore," but *shrug* doesn't know what to do about it (zzzzz).  Not hard to find THAT payoff, is it Dr Phil?  It's an ongoing battle between us and I've tried about every angle I can think of to resolve it. 

I know I am backed up tired.  It's not going to be remedied by sleeping in for one morning.  I need a few weeks of good, solid sleep to get to whatever my best self actually is.  That will be glorious WHEN it happens.  I refuse to entertain "if."

I have to apologize for TWO columns of fussing about Eric, who is still a fabulous husband.  I'm feeling a little persecuted lately, something else I'm looking into, and he's a major player right now.  Allow me to say  >:<.

He's trying to do well.  He took me out to dinner tonight, knowing I was bummed about what's going on with my mom.  He was willing to take care of kids when we got back, but the little ones were already asleep (he has the most incredible luck with that).  He helped me over a hurdle that was causing me to stumble about not being able to go back to see my mom.  We went over our budget and there is just no way we could do it without putting the family (ours) in serious jeopardy.  He talked me through all the reasons why I want to go back.  I haven't seen mom since 1995.  Haven't seen my brother since 1986 (he was 17).  My other brother is crazy as a shithouse rat and would be utterly incompetent at making any kind of funeral arrangements.  I don't even KNOW the brother who was 17 when I last saw him, not as a man anyway, so I have no clue how well he could handle it.  He was crying and very emotional when I spoke to him on the phone today.  When my father died in 1986, I was the one who dealt with the predatorial nest of pit vipers that is the funeral business.  They presented my mother with a list of necessities, bare minimum, that was in the neighborhood of about $10,000, told her about their easy payment plan (pay at your leisure as long as it was paid in full within 90 days) and handed her a pen.  I took the pen from her, considered jabbing it into the eye of the person handing it to her and went to town scratching stuff off the list.  Why would we need flowers when the whole world sends flowers?  Why did we need limos?  We all have cars!  Why did we have to pay $300 to use the funeral home chapel for the service?  Could we not do it in the viewing area?  Anyway, I whittled the bill down to less than half of what they were telling her and since this time, it seems likely my sane brother and I would have to foot the bill (LORD knows she has no life insurance or benefits), I hope he's frugal!  So yeah, part of the reason I wanted to go back was to micromanage the funeral process.  There's the element of how the whole family will talk about me like I'm a mongrel dog if I ditch out on my own mother's funeral, but I'll just have to get past that.  I can't tell her good-bye, as far as I know, because the last I heard, they have her heavily sedated and in drug-induced paralysis because she's fighting the respirator so much.  I hate to have to leave everything to my brother and his wife because that is quite a load to carry.  Regardless, it has evolved past the point of determining if I can or can't go and is fully into the realm of coming to peace with the fact that I can't. 

After we came home from dinner, I went to bed, tried to watch some mindless TV and ended up turning it off.   I prayed for a couple of hours and ended up falling asleep while praying.  Eric had tucked me in and promised he wouldn't be late, so I looked forward to cuddling and being close to him soon.  I prayed that Goddess wouldn't take her just yet.  I prayed for just a few more months, just a year or two, whatever She could give me to get my life sorted out from that recent time of unemployment so I could get to see her.  I prayed that if she has to go that everything will work out well.  I think I exhausted every upcoming lily in the patch.  Drifted off to sleep much earlier than I usually do.  No dreams I remember.  I woke up at midnight and...no Eric.  Found him sitting on the porch in his chair, his usual spot.  Evidently, "not late" to him meant 1-2am.  I'm really going to have to get better at this thing of being specific.  After that, I couldn't sleep, though I tried.  Mom-thoughts kept creeping in and I'd cry  and little and pray a little more and try to relax, try to find the peace, try to make some sense of all of it. 

Mom has always told me she knows when she's dying and that it's far off.  She told my uncle before they put her under that it wasn't time yet.  She's pulled out of some bad places before.  I don't have a phone call yet, but somewhere in me, I expect it at any moment, telling me she's gone.  Her mother lived into her 90's.  Her father's mother into her 100's.  She has two siblings who are dead and five who are alive.  My father died at 51 and she's only turns 61 this September.   Sixty-one and dying of congestive heart failure.  Lord, I can't even think of there only being 10-20 years left. 

It's not that I don't court my own mortality on a regular basis.  I'm well aware of the school of thought that *gasp!* I could be hit by a bus tomorrow!!!  (da da dummmmm)  I'm talking about dying because my body isn't working right any more.  My dad's heart exploded right into his chest cavity, finally and most murderously rebelling against years of really poor eating habits.  Mom has been severely overweight for as long as I can remember.  My whole family, besides me, typically weighs over 300 pound each.  I remind myself that I eat much better than they do, ward off stress much better and all around live a healthier life.  I'm focusing on the long-living relatives instead of the ones who are dying off like flies on a cold winter day.  Still, it's scary to come from not only dead and dying stock, but dead and dying before they are old stock.  Grrrr.

Josh is still planning to leave home (his, what, 9-10th attempt in the past 3 years) on Sunday night.  I told him I was going to lock him in a box, poke food and water through holes and then put the box onto the bus on Sunday.  EVERY time that kid is going to go, some drama occurs that keeps him home.  I seriously hope this one takes, not just for him, but for all of us.  I've been in a chronic state of empty-nest pending syndrome for 3 years now.  I'll miss him very much and won't likely see him for a year or so, but I'll get to talk to him often on the phone.  He's going into the California Conservation Corp to be a forest firefighter.

I suppose I should try (again) to get some sleep and hope the kiddies are merciful.  They will probably be up in about 2-3 hours or so.  Delena is supposed to go out the door at 7:30 and Dylan at 10:30.  I'm working hard to channel the strength to do more than just stay in the bed with my door locked, listening to the wails and crashes going on in the rest of the house.   Wow.  I must already be sleeping, because that was definitely a dream.  :)

Needless to say, all of the stuff I was going to fuss about when I started yesterday's journal seems fairly insignificant now.  I guess it's appropriate that "the call" came when I was in the middle of writing it. 

Heart, don't fail me now!


Jan 22, 2003

Jan 17, 2003

Jan 13, 2003

Jan 9, 2002

Jan 3, 2002

Dec 19-20, 2002

Dec 12, 2002

Dec 11, 2002 Dec 10, 2002 Dec 5, 2002 Dec 1, 2002
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Oct 23, 2002 Oct 9, 2002 Oct 4-8. 2002 Oct 2, 2002
Last of Sept 2002 More Sept 2002 Aug - Sept 2002 August 2002
July 2002 June 2002 April - May 2002 Mar 2002
Feb 2002 Jan 2002 Dec 2001 Nov 2001
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