I like some of the things about Cliff's four-day, ten-hours-a-day work-weeks. I like the fact that we have three-day weekends to go on motorcycle trips to St. Louis or Arkansas.
But I hate it that Cliff gets home at 3 A.M., because at least half the time I wake up when he comes in. He's quiet as a mouse, doesn't turn the lights on; he does all he can do to keep from waking me. It just doesn't work.
When I entered middle age I began having trouble sleeping through the night. Oh, I have no problem initially going to sleep when I hit the sack (usually before 10 P.M.); I'm out almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. But I wake up two or three times during the night; sometimes I go back to sleep, sometimes not. With Cliff coming in at 3 o'clock in the morning, I guess it's so close to my internal clock's wakeup time that I just can't go back to sleep.
I never allow myself to get out of bed until four, and once in awhile I do go back to sleep. More often, though, thoughts will come into my head that only make me more wakeful.
This morning, for instance, I started thinking about my scheduled appointment with the orthopedist Friday. After walking around that tractor show last Saturday, looking constantly for a place to sit down, I came home and made the appointment. I was pretty darn sure I was ready for a new knee.
But lying in bed wide awake at three o'clock, it suddenly occurred to me that the six to eight weeks I'd be recuperating would take place at one of my busiest and favorite times of the year: Springtime. Even if I were to get into the operating room next week, I'd be out of luck during March and April when it comes to gardening and motorcycle riding. And believe me, with the winter we're going through, I need those activities badly.
Of course, while I'm in bed wide awake pondering such problems, at some point I start thinking of coffee. I try shoving the thought away, but it won't leave, and I almost salivate thinking how good my Eight-O'clock Coffee is going to taste. I peek at the clock and see I still have a half-hour until I'm allowed to get out of bed, and I start pondering my grandchildren's affairs, wondering how any of them are going to survive in this messed-up world. I shove that out of my head and start thinking of stupid things I've said and done in the past that I wish I could take back, even things from my childhood.
I've talked to a lot of folks who have trouble sleeping through the night; it seems to be a common problem with women middle-aged and beyond. At least I don't have to go to work all blurry-eyed any more. I suppose that's the bright side.
If I have several problem nights in a row, I will take an over-the-counter sleep aid, and that often gives me a decent night's sleep. I don't take Tylenol P.M. like many folks do because I don't have pain... only sleeplessness, And I don't take sleep aids often because I don't want to develop a dependence on them. Besides, they leave me feeling rather groggy for a couple of hours the next day.
So here I sit blathering away on the keyboard, trying to decide if I should cancel my appointment with the orthopedist, or if I should go ahead and consult her, perhaps telling her I want to wait until November to do anything major.
I'm going to go get another cup of coffee while I'm figuring that out.