You think I’m sleep? I ain’t sleep.

When I was younger, I could sleep hard. I slept all the time and it was hard to wake me up. I slept through the worst thunderstorms. Also, fun family events. Sometimes outdoors.

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B: (This one is from the Derby Festival’s Great Balloon Race one year and I obviously was real into it).

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Exhibit C: In the good old days when it was safe to sleep outside on your deck all night because the air conditioner in the house was broken. Ahh, the 90s.

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Then, as I got older, depression made itself more known, and sleep was damn near impossible. Yet it was all I wanted to do. Sleep and I have had a weird relationship, is what I’m saying.

A few months ago, when the doctor and I (mostly the doctor but a little bit I) decided to check all the boxes that made sure nothing else was causing or aiding the depression, a sleep study was brought up.

I’m a known snorer, mouth-breather, drooler (when I’m REAL sleep) and there was that period of a couple years during and after college when I took various items of clothing off in my sleep. So, a study where someone watched me sleep/potentially do all that? Oh yeah. Sign me up. That won’t be weird at all.

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I made the appointment and regretted it immediately.

They mentioned I could have sleep apnea if I had depression and one could be causing the other and also that’s dangerous so if I have it, better to know now so they can treat it and FINE.

I went in for a consultation a month before the actual overnight and Dr. I Forget His Name said “Well, you do have a very small airway.” So that seemed promising. Not.

(Pour a cup of coffee and settle in, friends, this’ll be a long one.)

Fast-forward to last night. The actual study. I was to go overnight at the hospital and be hooked up to machines and someone would watch me sleep and tell me all the crazy shit that happens while I’m out.

I immediately think about the time I sleepwalked at my parents’ house and was standing in front of the dresser in their bedroom with no pants on and SURELY THEY’LL LOCK ME IN THIS ROOM FOR EVERYONE’S SAFETY.

Spoiler alert – they didn’t.

I am told to get to the hospital at 8:30 p.m., which makes me anxious that I’ll be expected to fall asleep at 9 p.m. and that’s not going to happen because if anything, that’s when my pre-sleep ends and I start watching my shows.

I decide to wear what I’m going to sleep in (in the hospital. At home there’s no telling from one night to the next what I’ll wear or not wear to bed…. that sounds sexier than it really is..), which means leggings and a T-shirt, but a V-neck shirt so I don’t feel like I’m choking. This is important to remember later on in our story.

I walk in to the sleep study office and see two other patients getting set up in their rooms and realize I am the youngest here by AT LEAST 45 years. Yay.

Immediately I overhear two very important questions being asked.

1. “Do y’all have cable?”

2. “Are you going to check on me after I take my Ambien?”

It’s important to note here that this is when I’m heading into my “room” and am noticing there’s not a lock on any of the doors.

The TV is on in my room when I get in there and as luck wouldn’t have it, stuck on the channel showing The Bachelor, aka what I’m pretty sure they show on a loop in Hell. The girl who brings me in there tells me the administrator of the study will bring the remote when she comes in.

Aside: I do not get embarrassed easily, but I get secondhand embarrassment for people a lot, and for that reason, The Bachelor/Bachelorette is my nightmare.

Here’s my setup:

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Mmmm, comfy. And those wires? Yeah, they all go ON YOU.

Another kind of aside: I guess when you’re finally actually asleep, they can get a decent idea of what they’re looking for in these sleep studies, but they’re stacking the odds against you up until that point. You’re in a weird room, with weird noises, an uncomfortable bed, worried that the old lady across the hall on Ambien’s gonna wander in about 3 a.m. and they’re just gonna let it happen because it’s a study and you can’t get involved because that skews the results.

Oh and here’s the video camera they use to watch you the entire time. (This was when I was still in Bachelor Hell).

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I wait for the girl administering the study to come in and do whatever she’s gotta do, all the while having an inner conflict about whether or not I should take my bra off to sleep. On the one hand, it’s much more comfortable to sleep without the girls in Boob Jail and I know I’m not going to be getting much in the way of comfort during this thing. On the other hand, someone’s watching me sleep and has to wake me up in the morning and well, sometimes those things have a mind of their own.

I decide to keep it on. Better safe than sorry.

Before she hooks me up on all the machines, Lauren (my sleep study administrator) explains to me what they’ll be looking for while I sleep, which is mainly if I stop breathing or not. And if so, for how long. And also how many times that happens in an hour. Aka Sleep Apnea, which I do not want to have for a multitude of reasons I’ll get into in a minute.

She says if I’ve stopped breathing enough times by 2 a.m. for them to be concerned (15 or more), she’ll come in then and put the mask on me. So right now, we need to test to see which one I would like to use, should I win this contest I do not even want to be participating in.

The first option is a no-go for me, as it seems like the equivalent of sticking the end of a vacuum against your face, if the vacuum had tiny nostril-sized pieces and you weren’t allowed to open your mouth.

The second option is a little better, because it covers your nose like the happy gas distributor at the dentist, but I still don’t want to have to wear it if I can help it.

Especially because with it all strapped to my head and the tube hanging off of it that hooks to the machine, I look and feel like this:

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I let Lauren know I’m hoping never to have to put one of those on again for the following reasons:

– I oddly feel like I can’t breathe when the air is being forced in and out of my nose and I can’t open my mouth.

– I don’t like sleeping with things on my face.

– I’m thinking of the possibility of a future sleepover with a gentleman caller and having to pull that bad boy out when it’s time to go to sleep. Read my blogs about my dating life. I need all the help I can get in this area, apparently, and this contraption will not do me any favors in that department.

I choose the second option, should I need it, and then the process begins.

Step 1: A strap around my abdomen and a strap that goes right where they have those backpack straps that nobody uses unless they’re hiking. Guess the bra isn’t coming off, even if I change my mind.

Step 2: Vigorous pumice-stoning of my scalp, neck and back. You know what’s really good for dry winter skin on someone that has eczema? Vigorous pumice-stoning, or as my new friend Lauren calls it “exfoliating.” I’m honestly surprised I didn’t a) bleed or b) start a fire.

Step 3: Vaseline/glue-like mix on all the electrodes or whatever that are then placed all over my head and neck and two spots on my back. Oh and two spots on my legs that have also been rubbed raw with the pumice stone just to see what those do in the night.

Step 4: Microphone on the neck to listen to you snore. Taped directly onto your vocal chord. Basically. Oh and then all the wires are tightened up around your neck so really my decision to wear a V-neck because I didn’t want to feel like I was choking all night is laughable now. While Lauren attaches all this crap to me, we talk about Scientology, because I managed to get the channel changed to A&E (which is showing the Leah Remini show), thanks to the remote being located. ((PLOT TWIST, THE REMOTE WAS IN THE NIGHTSTAND THE WHOLE TIME.))

Step 5: They attach a pulse-reader thing to your index finger that is also hooked to wires that are plugged into God knows what, and if you have to go to the bathroom at this point, well, tough shit, because you are now 85 percent robot.

When you’re ready to go to sleep or 11 p.m. (whichever comes first), the administrator comes back in and basically attaches you to the wall. The wires are all plugged into this thing mounted next to the bed and there’s this little speaker right by your head she’s gonna use to communicate until morning. Sweet dreams!

Yeah. OK. Um, there you are, laying in this strange bed in a strange room covered in literally all the wires in the world, knowing that someone’s watching you. You’re worried you won’t fall asleep at all, or it’ll take forever, or you’ll drool and short out a wire, or you’ll fart and she’ll see/hear it, or you’ll stop breathing a million times so she’ll have to come put the face mask on you and…

VERY RELAXING. MUCH SCIENCE. THIS SHOULD GO SWIMMINGLY.

I could feel all the things. And rolling over was hilarious. I felt like the love child of Darth Vader and Sleeping Beauty.

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No amount of Snapchat filters could help.

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One bonus to this process, however, was when I got cold, I could ask that she adjust the temperature and also bring me another blanket and/or pillow. So I did take advantage of that. You don’t get that at home. At least not at my house.

After what seemed like 10 hours, I guess I finally fell asleep. And I guess I slept OK for a while, but it felt like 3 minutes, and then she was asking me to try and sleep on my back.

Though it isn’t evident in any of the photos you’ve seen so far in this post, I’m a side sleeper. Doesn’t matter which side, but side.

Y’all I tried to fall asleep on my back for an hour. Didn’t work. And then I utilized the speaker next to my head and asked if I could please just lay on my side for God’s sake. This was at 4 a.m. They were coming to wake me up/the study was ending at 6.

I fell back asleep for what felt like 5 minutes and then I heard the omnipresent voice of Lauren telling me it was 6:24, she’d let me sleep in, and she was coming in to “set me free.” Literally.

I don’t normally wake up at that time, so I was still pretty groggy when she came in. You know what wakes you right the fuck up though? Tape being pulled off your skin that she rubbed a layer off of the night before. More effective than coffee, goddang.

I had to fill out a survey basically about how shitty I slept compared to normal nights at home and then I was free to go. I should have added at the bottom how I believe the least they can give us in the morning for this torture is a damn doughnut.

After they removed all of the electrodes from my head I had a real nice case of Sex Hair, and I was silently thanking myself for bringing a hoodie – which I used to hide said bird’s nest hair as I Walk of Shamed it out to my car.

Good news: No sleep apnea. Other results within a couple weeks.

Better news: My depression’s still just because of those run-of-the-mill wonky brain chemicals.

Best news: No future as a Batman villain.

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Hallelujah.

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The Tale of Laura and The Ghost Lizard

If you follow me on Twitter at all, you know that I tend to Tweet exponentially more when I can’t sleep, which unfortunately for me but fortunately for y’all has been happening a lot more often lately. Part of it’s some changes in my balance of chemicals but for a while, it was attributed to The Ghost Lizard.

Now. Many of you don’t know the origin of GL. But I’m 90 percent sure he found me in Jamaica and stowed away in my bags and came home with me.

You see, one night while we were there this past summer, we had a lock-in at the church with our friends in Jamaica. And for some strange reason and because Jason wanted sleep, TJ and I were left somewhat in charge for the night, meaning we sat in the room out by the sanctuary and watched a movie on his laptop while taking turns going back and telling the youth to be quiet and go to sleep because we had a bus ride to the beach leaving at 4:30 a.m.

Well. Maybe it’s because the movie was The Woman In Black and therefore made us more aware of ghosts, but we heard a noise at some point we were pretty sure was not a kid, because they’d finally quieted down and (hopefully) gone to sleep. We heard it a couple of times and TJ said it was a lizard, while I said it was a ghost. Ta-da! Ghost Lizard was born – or discovered or whatever.

I thought nothing of it for a few weeks after I came home, but then one night I couldn’t sleep and it sounded like, I kid you not, a small animal was moving through the boxes around my makeshift bedroom in my parents’ basement.

Now, maybe I was just super sleep deprived or crazy, but you all, I was standing on my bed at 3:15 a.m. that first night holding a book in one hand and a pen in the other hand (sufficient weapons, I think) ready to attack if needed. Or to push the boxes and see if the thing made any more noise.

I can’t handle rodents. I really can’t. There was a mouse in the garage once (actually probably several) and I have never gotten in to my car faster than I did that week. I also once screamed at it as I ran “You don’t own me, mouse!”

So that was my first thought as to what might have been crawling around in my room making noise. Ew.

But the next day I looked around and moved some boxes and dug through some stuff and there was no sign of a mouse or anything like it at all – no holes in boxes, no rodent poop, nothing dead.

Next night? Something started moving in the walls.

Few things are as unsettling as being woken up by something skittering within the walls along the pipes and I’m just laying there staring at the ceiling hoping it A.) Shuts up and B.) Doesn’t find it’s way out and attack/eat me.

I hoped it was just there for the night and would find it’s way back outside and I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

But then it came back, and all of the sudden I’m googling shit like, “Do squirrels sleep?” and imagining this Ghost Lizard asshole just moving around in there to mess with me. Because it was seriously right behind my head in the wall.

I didn’t even care that the thing was in the wall – I would have supported him moving to another room, where he wasn’t DIRECTLY BY MY FACE when I needed at least 3 hours of consecutive sleep. But nooooooooo, that would be silly.

All of this time, also, I’ll have you know, I’m picturing the damn thing looking like the cockamouse from How I Met Your Mother and OMG I wish I could find a clip from that episode because its one of my favorites and solidified my love for Jason Segel.

So after a few sleepless nights and when attempts to scare the thing to death or at least back out of the house didn’t work (I hit the wall a lot and bruised a couple knuckles. It was like a bar fight only lamer) – I told the Killer of all the Gross Stuff, Dad, to take care of it. So he threw poison in the wall that would make the thing get thirsty and go outside and die, he said.

Fine by me.

Except the POISON DIDN’T WORK. The Ghost Lizard was immune to poison, because, he was already dead. Ghosts can’t be killed. They can only “move on,” which I learned from Casper.

(Speaking of – Devon Sawa is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. And he’s still real hot.)

I think it took about a month on and off for whatever it was to finally go away. I don’t know what worked or how, but I like to think that really threatening last punch to the wall I gave (when Dad said, “Stop hitting the wall before you put a hole through it and whatever it is comes out and gets you”) that sealed the deal.

The Ghost Lizard was vanquished (I think) and all is right with the world.

One Month Checkup

Today marks a few important things. First of all, it’s March now. WOOT.

Second of all, today is the day I would be jumping in cold water for Special Olympics but I did that last year and it was terrifying. I’ll stick to dry land from now on, but I still want to be a part of the event every year, so today I’ll be there helping some braver souls out of the water.

Thirdly, it’s the start of Blog Birthday Month – but more on that later.

And last, but certainly not least, today marks one month since I’ve cut down my dosage on antidepressants. I am now on half the dosage of a medicine I’ve been kinda sorta depending on for the past few years.

How’s it going, you ask? Well, I mean, it’s going.

The main thing I’ve really noticed is my sleep. I’m waking up in the night more now than I was – and not because of the Ghost Lizard (more about him soon…). It’s not back to the significantly disruptive insomnia it was before, but it’s kind of annoying.

But honestly, it’s better than I expected. I was apprehensive as hell about cutting back because I forgot life before that dosage. Not in a bad way, but I guess it was more of a security blanket. Like I knew I’d never get really bad because I had that medicine – Prozac, if you’re feelin’ extra nosy.

So when I made the decision to cut back, I was afraid I’d lose that little cushion. I was afraid that cutting the dosage in half would do the opposite to my emotions, that things would come back doubly strong. I say afraid but I mean anxious, and that, my friends, is why I’m on something in the first place.

Seriously, though, I was unsure what to expect and as a true anxious person, I expected the worst. But it’s not been bad. I think I’ve learned enough from therapy -and life in general – that I can handle what comes at me in a way that doesn’t involve crawling into bed and not wanting to get out for three days. I am learning, without as much medical assistance, what to get bent out of shape about and what to not give a shit about.

I still have bad days, but who doesn’t? I’m human. But my bad days aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be, or as bad as they once were. And silly me thought that wasn’t going to be possible – or was going to take a long, long time – without the help of those extra chemicals to even me out.

We’re (the doctor, the shrink and I) looking at this summer as the time I’ll likely go all the way off. And I’ll probably get scared and anxious and stuff again before that happens because it’s been four years since I’ve been medication-free. But I was different then, I was in a different place in life, in all senses of the word.

But now, I’m older and wiser (ha) and learning to cope on my own. And I think I’ll be OK.

Breathe in, breathe out

Three hours after I was supposed to be sound asleep last night, I wasn’t. I hadn’t even come close yet.

Instead, I laid there (lie there? I never know the right tense) and stared. I stared at the closet door and then I rolled over and stared at my bookcase. I stared at the light blinking on my closed – and sleeping, ironically – computer.

It slowly lit up and dimmed. In rhythm with my breath, actually. For a second, the million thoughts running through my brain stopped and I just concentrated on that light, getting brighter, then dimmer. Breathing in, breathing out.

Then the thoughts came back. The text came back. The word that a friend had passed away. That he had taken his own life. That he needed to find peace so badly there was no other way, in his mind, to make it all stop, to make it all go away.

My heart broke again. For him. For his brothers, who are also my friends. For his mom. For his dad. For his other friends, his closer friends, who wished they’d seen it coming, wished there had been some clear sign before it was too late, some way they could help.

I stared. So tired, but so awake. I tried to think about other things, and was successful a couple times. And then it came again, like a wave crashing. It still does. I feel sad again. I think about my friend. I think about the last time I saw him, the last time I hugged him, the people who are doing the same thing I am right now, rolling it over and over in their minds and wondering why.

Why him? Why was that the answer? Why do people feel like that is the only way to quiet the noise that you want to turn off so badly and how do we protect the people we love from feeling that way? Can we?

I don’t want to believe it. Not him, couldn’t be him. We used to work together. And since then, the times I’ve seen him have unfortunately been few and far between. But I remember the times when I saw him every day. When I gave him a hug every day. He was my friend. My sweet friend, who when I saw him a year ago at a wedding had that same smile I always remembered, that same hug I got every day we worked together. Those memories, mixed with the memory that randomly popped in my head – when he convinced me to get onstage at the bar where he worked because my Halloween costume was so good it had to win the contest. And it did. It was the year I was Juno, by the way.

I don’t know why that memory specifically sticks out. But it does. That one and one from the same bar, when he sang karaoke. I didn’t know he could sing, but he could. Well.

I’m finishing this up at midnight… 24 hours from when I tried to go to sleep last night. Tonight doesn’t feel much different. The pang in my stomach is fading whenever that wave comes. But the wave still comes. The sadness still comes. The fear of not knowing if someone’s feeling like this, when someone’s feeling like this. Before it’s too late.

I’ve been low. You know that. But to think that there’s lower? There’s a point where it stops being “I just don’t want to get out of bed today” to “I just don’t want to get out of bed ever again.” Hurts my heart.

There’s a quote about being kind to everyone you meet, “for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” And unfortunately, and what’s scary is, a lot of the time it’s not a battle you can see. And the only thing that can bring an end to battle is peace.

I hope… no, I know, that he has found the peace he was so badly wanting, needing, craving. I just wish, selfishly, for his family, for his friends, that’d he’d have been able to find it another way.

Rest well, sweet friend. And watch over the ones you love and you left behind. Help them feel the peace you have now. You will be missed.

Just watching you while you sleep…

I need more public transportation in my life.

Most of my experiences with buses or trains or subways or monorails or boats or whatever, have all been while I’m out of town on vacation.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve fallen asleep on all of the aforementioned modes of transportation, especially that one time when Ash and I went to London and had such bad jet lag we slept for 13 hours.

Speaking of, I took a picture of Ashley asleep on the subway while we were there. Because it’s funny to take pictures of people while they sleep. Because usually they look crazy/weird. And by they, I mean me.

And the people at poopt.tumblr.com.. Because apparently, someone got the idea to start a blog where it’s all just submitted photos of people asleep on public transportation. (Be real, you thought for a second because of the url it was gonna be about poop, didn’t you. Sorry to disappoint.)

I wish I’d thought of that.

And also may have found a new goal – get my picture on that website. But it has to be taken by someone I don’t know. Which means my friends can’t submit a picture of me sleeping on a bus and send it in. Also, I guess that means I need to start taking the bus.

Not sleeping is not a good thing

For a good portion of my adult life – I’m counting mainly after college – I’ve had trouble, off and on, with insomnia.

A little over a year ago, when my anxiety was at an all-time high, it was probably the worst it’s been. Lots of late-night TV and Internet roaming for this lady.

During that time, I got on Facebook every so often, wondering if there was anyone else up having the same problems as me that I could talk to. And one name kept showing up on my online friends.

He and I started talking after I told him I noticed we had the same hours. He joked that he was nocturnal and sometimes, a vampire, but it never went beyond that, just the Internet equivalent of a nod of the head every so often when we “saw” each other at the same place at the same time.

I knew him from high school. We weren’t close by any means, it was more of a friend of a friend situation, but we knew who the other was. A while back, we were no longer Facebook friends anymore..though I can’t remember if it was he or I that hit the remove button. We hadn’t talked in a long time and if it was me, that was probably my criteria for a friends-list reduction.

Last night, while looking at my news feed, his name popped up, because another friend was praying for his family. That could mean one of two things, so after a couple messages and reading through his Facebook wall, I found that he’d passed away.

Apparently, from what I heard, his father had passed away earlier this week. He died Thursday or Friday and my fellow vampire wasn’t taking it very well. From what it sounds like, the need for sleep was even stronger now, as I’m imagining he wanted to just check out for a little while and not have to think about what had just happened.

Friday night he took some sleeping pills and on Saturday, he didn’t wake up.

Hearing about this last night broke my heart. And kept me from sleeping until about 3 a.m.

It’s a scary thing, especially as it’s just that easy to no longer be in this world.

Insomnia’s no joke. If it was that easy to just go to sleep, it would happen. People wouldn’t lie awake worrying and thinking and letting their mind take control. They would be able to put all that’s on their hearts and minds away for a while. But a lot of people can’t. And they take medicine for it or do other things to try and make the thoughts just STOP.

But very easily, accidents can happen.

I’m not pretending to know everything involved in this guy’s life and his death this past weekend. But I do know that a year ago, when I couldn’t sleep either, he was the only other person I knew who always seemed to be up.

My heart hurts for his family and his friends and his fiancee, who must be feeling things right now that I can’t imagine.

Last night, when my eyes finally started to close and I was saying my prayers, I made sure to say one for him and for his family. Somehow, I finally got my thoughts to quiet down enough for me to sleep. And for that I am grateful, because for others, it’s not that easy.

‘I dunno, something about baby prostitutes’ or that day we were zombies

Once upon a time, I thought I could sleep during a plane ride. I had really nothing to go on, because it’s not like I’ve ever slept on one before, not to mention I’ve never been on one long enough to really get any decent sleep.

But, none of this stopped me – or Ashley – from attempting to NOT sleep the night before we left. We’d power nap here and there but for the most part, we’d stay up all night. Why not? It’d make us sleep that much better on the ridiculously long overnight flight to Paris then London.

Sounds good in theory, no?

Then we fell asleep. And then Ashley set alarms to go off every hour so we wouldn’t sleep too long.

Then we get on the plane from Atlanta and here we are wide awake. Partially to blame? The Rabbi sitting next to us.

Now, he probably wasn’t a Rabbi, but he looked like one. He also didn’t speak English, may have made out with a Coke can and put his butt on my shoulder when he was getting stuff out of the overhead bin entirely too many times. Oh, and he sang. At 5 a.m.

Good morning.

They played Jane Eyre as the first of our three movies on the flight over – it wasn’t one of those cool ones where you get to pick your own movies.

I should’ve fallen asleep then, because that movie was boring. Play that one at 2 a.m. when people need to sleep. Not at 10.

I’m fairly certain Ashley and I slept a combined, cumulative total of about 2.5 hours on that plane. Because it’s hard to get comfortable with about a foot of leg room because the old man in front of you is leaning all the way back the entire flight and his wife keeps giving you and your friend the stankeye for some unknown reason every 30 minutes or so.

So we were up at sunrise, which also happened to be as we were beginning our descent into France.

We got to the Paris airport around 6:15 a.m. Around the same time as approximately no one else in the world.

Ashley opted for some caffeine – a Coke – which led us to our first encounter with a Brit that day.

And he was a doozy.

Picture…I don’t even know. Zigler (sp?) from Moulin Rouge only with gray hair. Zigler, if you’ve never seen the movie with one of the best soundtracks ever, is the club owner of the Moulin Rouge in the movie.

So Zigler sits down next to us and tells Ashley she shouldn’t be drinking Coke in the morning, or at all, really, because it’ll “hurt your tum tum.” His words, not ours.

Nevermind the fact that he’s been drinking an equally healthy breakfast of champagne.

Champagne. Breakfast of champions. I’m all for a mimosa but I’m pretty sure this guy was just drinking the stuff straight. Because he tells us:

“Champagne in the morning is like hot, sweaty sex in the afternoon. You have it one time and afterwards, you’re like, ‘Hmm. That was quite nice. I think I’ll do that again.”

Good morning.

He then starts to tell us about his experiences with “The Other Coke.” Yeah. The drug one. The one that, according to him, the should advertise with the disclaimer that it “makes your willy stop working.” Because if they just put that information out there, no men would ever do the stuff.

All this before we’ve even set foot in England.

We get to England and after navigating Heathrow and the seemingly daunting tube system, we’re there.

And all we feel like doing is falling asleep.

But we didn’t! We were advised against it, because though it was 3 a.m. our time and we’d had next to no sleep, if we napped now, we’d be messed up all week. But that couch looked so comfy…

You’ll be happy to know we resisted temptation and after a couple cups of coffee, we headed out for our first day in a completely different country.

On our first day’s itinerary? A bus tour of the city. We’d snap some pictures, see what – if anything – we wanted to go back to.

And nothing wakes you up from a zombie-like state more than 40 mph winds hitting you in the face while you’re on the top, open level of a double decker bus.

We got lots of great shots, only a few of which I’ll share here:

But suffice it to say, we had renewed energy.

Until we got on the tube, which we both fell asleep on but still managed to get off at the right stop.

After some catching up with our hosts and a yummy dinner, we did the best we could to try and stay up until at least 9 p.m. That, they said, would be a good time to go to bed ’cause we’d be able to sleep all night.

I think I made it to 9:01.

And, wouldn’t you know it, 13 HOURS LATER, we were rested and refreshed and ready to go.

More on day 2 another day. I can’t give it to you all at once. If I did you’d have nothing to come back for!

Oh and the name of this post? Apparently that was the subject of a before bed conversation but I couldn’t tell you what was said if I tried.

Bring in da noise

I used to sleep in a cave.

Well, not really. Just felt like one. It had to be completely dark and cold and quiet. I don’t really know when it stopped working for me. Maybe college?

Senior year of college, I had an in-window air conditioning unit that made a lot of noise. I had to sleep with it on or I’d roast. So I got used to the sound.

In the apartment I’m in now, I did run the overhead fan on high but then it started making weird noises and shaking and I got worried it’d fall in the middle of the night and cut part of my feet off. So I brought in reinforcements.

By reinforcements I mean The Roommate had a fan he wasn’t using and I put it on the floor next to my bed, not to keep me from sweating in my sleep, but for the noise. ‘Cause I’m weird like that. But really, don’t act like you didn’t know that already.

All was fine and good until the allergies kicked in. And a fan full of dust – I clean it, I promise, but that thing collects dust like a mofo – running on high all night isn’t very good for the ol’ sinuses.

At least that’s what I’m thinking, since any night I run the fan I wake up unable to breathe out of my nose. And needing about 8 tubes of chapstick to reverse the damage that’s been done to my lips.

The most recent time it happened – Monday – I started thinking about ways to solve the problem. I need the sound but not the air.

SOUND MACHINE.

Well, not really. ‘Cause THEY HAVE AN APP FOR THAT. No shit. What don’t they have an app for?

So yeah, last night I download this White Noise app, which has several different sound options for lulling you to sleep.

Monkeys and birds calm you down? Listen to the jungle noises.

Do you not have a bladder? Because any one of the nine water-related options will wash you away to dreamland without making you pee the bed.

And wouldn’t you know it, they have both an oscillating fan and an air conditioner as noise options. BOTH. HOWEVER WOULD I CHOOSE?

I tried the fan one first but after about 5 minutes I was convinced there was a noise in the background, something high-pitched that would keep me awake all night. Like a dog whistle.

Next option? Air conditioner. And because iPhones are all crafty and such, I could set the thing to a timer. Perfect, right? Set it for a few hours so I could safely fall asleep and the thing wouldn’t run all night and drain my battery.

I went to bed at midnight, set the thing for three hours and went to bed feeling like I’d made the best $1.99 purchase of my life. AND, I’d save money on Kleenex.

Wouldn’t you know it, I woke up as the damn thing was turning off.

Apparently, I am as conditioned as Pavlov’s dogs (two dog references in one post, WHAT IS THIS) to not being able to sleep unless there’s some sort of white noise.

Waking up when it’s going off? That seems counterproductive. I should have been all peaceful and dreaming about Bradley Cooper.

So after some middle-of-the-night reading and “SERIOUSLY, I am wide awake at 3 a.m.???” I decided to take my chances and not set a timer for the thing to stop, hoping it’d work this time and instead of waking up when there was no sound, I’d just wake up to a different sound – my alarm.

And wouldn’t you know it, this time it worked.

I say it’s that, but it very well could be the meds my at-work drug dealer gave me. Just joking, she’s not my drug dealer, but she did give me some medicine to help.

And who am I kidding, the closest I’ve come to a drug dealer is when the girl sitting next to me at the lunch table in high school sophomore year unwrapped the ecstasy pill she was keeping in aluminum foil in her lunch bag. YAY public schools!

Tonight marks Night Two of the use of my White Knight to help me sleep. So we’ll see what happens.

day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep

I’ve gone through a couple different phases when it comes to what happens when I sleep – and no I’m not talking about the weird ways I sleep or that time I sleepwalked at my parents’ house when I wasn’t wearing any pants.

I used to listen to music to help me sleep. And then I had to have silence. And now, I have to have white noise, like a fan in the corner of the room that is doing nothing to help my allergies but boy do I sleep like a baby – most of the time.

When I try to listen to music now at bedtime, I want to sing along. Or it starts making me think about something or someone and wouldn’t you know it, that’s how insomnia starts.

But if I had to choose one song in particular that – should I need to listen to music on my way to Dreamland – would do the trick? It’d be this one.

Day 10 – Song that makes you fall asleep.

“My Immortal,” by Evanescence. Maybe it’s the piano, maybe it’s her voice…it’s peaceful.

Catch up on what you’ve missed since I started doing the 30 Day Song Challenge.
There was one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine of them so far.

fears, Irrational

The other day, while in the shower, I got shampoo in my eye. Wasn’t paying attention and apparently could not feel the shampoo sliding down my forehead and all of the sudden I was blind in one eye.

Side note – when I was typing the previous sentence, I originally spelled forehead “fourhead” perhaps subconsciously because my forehead is four fingers tall. This past Christmas at my family’s annual Christmas party, several of us sat around my aunt and uncle’s living room and compared forehead sizes. Some members of my family apparently have a fivehead. My uncle Chuck has a onehead – one middle finger tall. Love my family…

Anyways, so I was blind in one eye and squeezing both eyes shut, because it’s easier to do that then just squeeze one eye shut. And for about a milli-second, maybe longer, I thought, “This could be bad. It’s gonna be worse than that time I had the crazy eye. I’m going to have to wear an eye patch.”

Because one time I did have the crazy eye. It wasn’t pinkeye, it was an allergic reaction to my cheap-o contact solution that apparently only infected one eye. It was all swollen and runny and disgusting and I had to wear my glasses for a couple weeks and change out the contact I’d had in when I apparently contracted said crazy eye.

My main concern though was my contact. I’d put my contacts in before the shower and as I was alternating between holding my hand over my eye and putting it directly under the flow of water , I was worrying that whatever was in the shampoo could have some crazy reaction with my contact solution and this would not end well.

I must have stood there for at least five minutes just letting the water hit my eye and trying to stay calm. Because every time I opened my eye it stung.

I wish I had a better ending to this story, maybe one that involved an eye patch and me fighting the urge to talk like a pirate to friends and family, but really all that happened is I had to change my contact and throw away the one with shampoo on it.

I share this story to tell you another one – I have a few irrational fears.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. While they may not share my specific fears, I know there are some things my friends and family are afraid of that are a smidge on the irrational side.

Now, I realize I wouldn’t have really gone blind from getting shampoo in my eye, but for a second, it was scary. Sight is a pretty valuable sense to have and when I couldn’t open my eye without burning pain, I got a little nervous. And I also wondered if anybody had ever gone blind from getting shampoo in their eye. It’s not like I stood there with the bottle of Herbal Essences Hello Hydration aimed at my cornea, but it was enough to really hurt. And it hurt for the rest of the day.

But enough about the eye. We were talking about my other irrational fears.

I am afraid that the fan will fall on me while I sleep if I have it on at top speed. I think it’s loose and it’s been making rattling noises lately – yes, I sleep with my fan on in the winter, the noise helps me sleep – and that doesn’t sound promising. The fan in my bedroom is over the end of my bed, so the worst that could happen is it falls onto my legs and I get some pretty massive bruises. For a while I over-exaggerated and thought it could cut my feet and/or toes off but realized the way I sleep that’s impossible. I sleep on my side so there are no vertical appendages at that end of the bed. I’m a light sleeper and the sound of it breaking from the wall would probably wake me up before it actually hit me, but still, I don’t sleep with the fan on high.

I have a fear of my apartment catching on fire because I didn’t turn something off – don’t freak out, I always turn stuff off, or unplug it, plus check it seven times – most often its my toaster oven, the appliance I use most in the kitchen. I don’t know what it is, I just worry about that one more than anything else and when my OCD was really bad, it was one of the things I checked before I left the house to make sure it was off. Don’t judge. I said was.

Bordering a little more on rational is the fear that if I forget to put my parking brake up – or think I forgot to, again with the OCD – my car’s gonna roll down the steep hill that is my church’s parking lot and either hit other cars in the process or go over the bottom of the lot. I always put my brake on when I park at church, but I still sometimes question once I’ve gotten out – “Did I put the parking brake on?”

Last, but not least, I worry that I didn’t sign my check when I mail a bill. I have a fear that I’ll forget to fill some part of it out and then it’s sealed and mailed and someone can fill out the spot I missed and get some of my money. Ridiculous, I know. Guess who saw “Blank Check” too many times as a kid. Tone Loc is in that one…

I’m not adding my fear of clowns to this list. That fear is completely rational. Clowns are evil. Want proof? READ STEPHEN KING’S “IT.” Oh, and watch that E-trade commercial where the clown’s just hanging out in that baby’s room…nothing normal about that.