How (Not) To Sleep Through The Night.

Does anyone actually put their head down on the pillow in the evening and wake, rested and ready to face the day, the next morning at an appropriate time?  Because I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened to me – save the occasional anomaly and the slightly more frequent “whiskey makes everything better!” nights – in approximately 20 years.  I have a nice bed, I have a nice pillow.  I’m lucky that I live comfortably enough to have heat in winter, and while central air would be far preferable to my (free) wheezy window units, a cold shower and a fan will keep me cool enough in the summer.

So why can’t I sleep through the night, you ask?  After the past several nights found me lying wide awake staring at the moon and pondering such important topics as “I wonder if I have all of the ingredients to make mashed potatoes tomorrow?” and “Tomorrow if elevator 12 is the only one open, I’m totally not getting on.  It’s way too slow and makes a funny noise.  I’m just waiting for the next one,” I put together a few things that may be interrupting my REM cycle.


If you want to sleep through the night – don’t have pets.  Or, more specifically, don’t have my cats.  No one likes my cats.  One of them bites, one of them pees, both of them are kind of horrible but for some reason I love them anyway.  Well, I love them most of the time.  Excluded times would be pulling a sweatshirt off the shelf only to discover it’s been used as a litterbox, apologizing to family members whilst offering to pay their hospital bills for penicillin, and trying to sleep.  The first night we brought our older cat, Ramon, home, she was an adorable little kitten bouncing all over the down comforter through the night.  Ten years later, she’s not happy unless she’s sitting on your face with her extended claws resting on that sensitive skin under your arm.  Try and move her and she squeaks and hisses and meows like you’re trying to pull her teeth out.  Try to push her off the bed and she becomes a stubborn, horrible being much like one of those inflatable punching bags that just keeps popping back at your face despite your strongest pleas and efforts.  (Side note.  When you find yourself trying to bargain with the cat to get off the bed, you’ve already lost.)  As for Potato?  My sweet, terrified    insane cat?  Let’s put it this way.  A few nights ago, he found a golf ball which we had (because we’re assholes) stolen from mini-golf at Navy Pier.  Somehow, he managed to transport it from a table in the kitchen to a chair in the dining room and was having a cat PARTY playing with it.  If you’ve never heard the sound of a joyful cat playing with a golf ball, let me just say that the only thing you’re missing is a “What the FUCK is that?” in the middle of the night.

Crippling, Childish Fear of Monsters and Murderers in the Dark.

Okay, I’ll put it out there.  I am a big, giant, ridiculous baby when it comes to getting up in the middle of the night.  I am the first to admit that I cannot watch a scary movie – to the point that the mere thought of seeing Paranormal Activity last year gave me palpitations every time I went in my basement – and have been known to walk out of a room when Criminal Minds is on because I know it WILL keep me up.  During the day, I am a (mostly) fully functioning adult, with a job and a college degree and a full set of pots and pans.  In the wee hours of the night?  I turn into a toddler who has, on more than one occasion, considered waking up my husband just to sit up and make sure there were no scary men with hatchets waiting for me in the bathroom.  (I haven’t done it because the chances of him cracking me with the baseball bat under the bed is far more likely than hatchet man lurking behind the door.)

Pea-Sized Bladder

I’ll never forget, when my sister first started working and was a floor nurse, talking to her one evening when she mentioned, “You know, I don’t think I’ve gone to the bathroom since I left the house this morning!”  It was six o’clock in the evening.  I had peed twice since we’d been on the phone.  I cannot make it through a movie, a car drive further than 30 miles, or a long commercial without having to pee.  Incidentally, everyone HATES going places with me and any time we go anywhere, I am asked no less than three times by no less than two people, “Did you go to the bathroom?”   I’ve been tested and there’s nothing wrong with me, I just simply cannot retain liquid for more than four minutes.  So unfortunately, I rarely make it through a night without having to get up at least twice to use the bathroom.   Combine that with my paralyzing terror of leaving my bed in the middle of the night, and  I spend a lot of time with a racing heart clumsily running from the bedroom to the bathroom, turning on all of the lights in my path.  Which, incidentally, wakes up the cats on the off chance they were asleep.

The culmination of the above three things, plus the addition of a husband who apparently enjoys making my heart stop, is what makes up the situation in my apartment at 3:45AM yesterday morning.  I woke up and had my usual immediate thoughts, which generally consist of, “What in the actual fuck was that dream about?” “I wonder which cat this is that is currently paralyzing my foot?” and “DAMMIT I have to pee.”  I tried to hold myself off a little longer, which did nothing other than to feed my fear that the vague shadow in the kitchen was a vicious intruder, and then finally gave in to my stupid bladder to get up.  As quick as I could, I tiptoed through the hallway to the bathroom, did my business, then took a deep breath for the scary, shadowy journey back across the hall.  Upon entering my bedroom, I saw that my husband was sitting straight up in bed.  (Which. Is. Fucking.  Creepy.  I don’t care who you are.)  My heart in my throat, I croaked, “What are you doing???”  No answer.  Making the miraculously brave move of walking toward the bed, I ask, a little louder, (and likely MUCH more panicky,) “Why are you sitting up?”  Because he hates me, (or according to him, “Didn’t hear you, you f*ing psycho,”) he didn’t answer again.  So, again being brave, I decided to crawl into bed, because even though in my terrified little heart I knew he was obviously murdered, I couldn’t just leave him there.

And then I landed on the cat and completely lost my shit.

The cat yowled and tried to escape, but was momentarily stunned and halted as I fell face first onto the bed, letting out a bloodcurdling scream that would rival that of any horror movie actress.  Which set about a chain of events that went something like, “What in the FUCK is wrong with you???”  “WHY ARE YOU SITTING STRAIGHT UP??”  Followed by some relative nonsense (because really, after that, there’s no intelligent conversation to be had,) and then some more hissing and repositioning of the cats, who were extremely distressed about the whole thing, which was then followed by another half hour of no sleep because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

And that’s why I don’t sleep.  Whiskey, anyone??

Posted on 11/06/2012, in Chicago, family and friends, general stupidity, life in general, rotten cats. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Amen to the “wheezy window units!!”. What’s up with those! When I was going to try to find a new apartment up there… my “must-have” was central heat and air!! 🙂
    Wow!! As far as scary’re worse than me! Glad to know someone is! I watched Paranormal Activity 1 and 2 at my house WITH friends and we all stayed in the living room that night… I woke up and SWEAR I saw someone standing over all of us. Oh, did I mention I have a STAIRCASE in my house.. yes.. yes, I do.
    Ok, the sitting straight up in bed IS a bit creepy. I couldn’t handle that. I do like the whiskey part… maybe I should try that too.

  2. Sheila Romano

    You are so funny. But I too have always heard unidentified noises in the night – well that is not quite true IWAS CONVINCED THATSOMEONE WAS IN THE HOUSE.I would wake up Dick and tell him that I heard a noise; and he would tell me toget up and go check. Yep, that was a lot of help. Afterhe died, one night I woke upandhearda noisethat sounded like someone was walking down the stairs where our bedroom was. It was rythmnic – slowly, one step at a time. Iwas so scaredthat I thought I was going to have a heard attack,until I realized that I was hearing myHEART beating in my head. Yes, I’m crazy too!That is when I knew I could not live in that house anymore – I did not feel safe.So, the following plan began: 1 – I got a gun 2 -I learned how to use it, 3 –I began locking my bedroom door every night andadded a security bar, 4I left lights on with automaticon/off times, soI never would come into a dark house and the neighbors never could tell if I was home or out. and 5 -I started looking for a smaller house. I still havesome lights on all night – over the staircase and at the kitchen window and I have a light on my patio and the front door and garage. I still lock my bedroom door and use the security bar. SO if I ever have an intruderhopefully I can call 911 before they get to mybedroom door. This worked for me, FOR YOU – just try leaving anight light on in the hallway and the bathroom – or any space you see through your bedroom door. The crazy cats can leave your room whenever; and you canlook out of the door and seethat everythingnobody is there. Love you

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