Why I sleep with otters.*

(*Because I don’t have enough weird fetishes represented in my search terms as it is.)

I fail at sleeping.

If there’s one thing I will forever be jealous of, it’s Nutty Hubby’s ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. He can nod off in almost any environment, no matter how public, loud or uncomfortable, in five minutes or less.

For me, trying to sleep means it’s time for every little solitary minute detail of the world to come flooding into my head for thorough dissection and analysis; a maze of intrigue created by my brain, to be solved before I am allowed the sweet respite of slumber.

For Nutty Hubby, trying to sleep is…wait, trying? People have to try to sleep? No no no no no. Do or do not, there is no try! LOL BRB ZZZZZzzZZzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzz…

If I didn’t love him so much, I’d hate him.

When Nutty Hubby was little, he didn’t need to be sitting or lying down to fall asleep, or even stationary. He could be running full tilt across a room, decide mid-stride that it was nap time, and just flop over unconscious with no warning, causing no end of small heart attacks for whoever was unfortunate enough to be watching him at the time.

I have watched the man doze off in planes, trains and automobiles, folded up into the most uncomfortable of positions and ignoring the most irritating of rackets.

There is only one Kryptonite to his Super Sleep: the sniffles.

When the sniffles hit Nutty Hubby, sleep becomes but a mere memory. And in the meantime, wonderfully but inexplicably, his Super Sleep abilities transfer over to me for safekeeping.

I try not to let these brief bouts of superior somnolence to go my head, since they come at the expense of my husband’s health and well-being. But lord, are they a nice change of pace.

Nutty Hubby has been sick for over a week, coughing and nose-blowing and generally germing up the apartment. Every morning he apologizes to me, assuming he’s kept me up with his sniffle-induced tossing and turning, and every morning I sheepishly admit that I somehow managed to sleep like a rock while he was lying awake in stuffy-nosed torment. I try to be sympathetic, but sometimes it’s really hard not to flip him the double bird and yell, “Welcome to my world, SUCKER!”

Sometimes I can’t help myself. Even when I can, I still think it, and he knows I’m thinking it because he’s goddamn psychic, and he goes, “I know I shouldn’t complain, you have to deal with this all the time,” and then I feel bad, and then I’m annoyed at him for making me feel bad, and then I feel bad about that. Stupid nice understanding husband…

I don’t know why I always sleep so well when he can’t. Does my brain take comfort in the suffering of others? Does it only pick on me for lack of alternative victims? Is my brain an inconsiderate douchecanoe?

I’ll be honest, I don’t really care if it is. Thanks to my woefully deficient thyroid I need all the rest I can get, asshole brain or no.

Unfortunately for me, Nutty Hubby has finally gotten over the worst of the sniffling and is firmly back in his Super Sleep groove, leaving me staring at the ceiling every night with only my twatwaffle brain for company.

Alone together, awake forever.

My brain is that annoying hyperactive kid at every sleepover who just won’t stop talking after everyone has decided it’s time to finally quiet down for the night.

My brain whines about how bored it is while I’m at work, but then doesn’t do anything about it until the time of night when I want boring, at which point it decides to find EVERYTHING interesting.

My brain is a serpent dangling an apple before me.

Each night, the battle of wills begins anew.


“Listen to the wind,” my brain coos.

“Yup, strong winds tonight,” I reply, and turn over on my side, hoping it will get the hint that the time for talking has passed.

“It’s so pretty.” Can’t argue with that. I’ve always loved the sound of the wind.

“Yes, it’s very pretty. But I need to sleep, okay?”

“But, but, pretty wind!”

“We’ve heard the wind plenty of times at more decent hours. Now is for sleeping.”

“NO!” My brain stamps an imaginary foot and my eyes fly open. “YOU LISTEN TO THE GODDAMN PRETTY WIND!” The wind picks up even more as if to match the urgency of my brain. Something outside makes a metallic scraping noise as it is blown along the pavement further down the block.

“Okay, okay. We’ll listen to the wind for a while. Geez.” A brief flash of light catches my eye and I look absentmindedly over at the window. The wind is playing havoc with the tree outside, and the streetlamp beyond casts strange shifting shapes on the curtains. They flicker and change like the surface of a pool. I watch them for a while, mesmerized.

The rushing air reminds me of the roaring of ocean waves. Quietly, unobtrusively, my body starts to relax. I breathe the cool night breeze in deeply. My eyelids begin to flutter closed again as I exhale and let the images of water wash over me, soothe me…

Those bamboo wind chimes sound neat,” my brain remarks cheerfully, deftly snapping me back to reality.

Sigh. “Yes, that’s why we bought them.”

“Think they’re too loud?”

“No.” I say the word firmly, but I feel a faint tinge of worry plucking at the edges of my thoughts.

“Some people don’t like wind chimes.”

“I know what you’re doing, brain. It’s not going to work.”

“You could go take them down in case they’re bothering the neighbors.”

Yeah, and I’d be completely awake by the time I got back to bed instead of just half-awake, and you know it. “No. There are plenty of things out there making a lot more noise than my little set of bamboo wind chimes.” The scraping sound resumes down the street. “Like whatever the fuck that is.”

“Yeah, what is that?” My brain brightens, hoping I will still consider getting out of bed to investigate.

“Don’t fucking care, just want to sleep.” I bury my head deeper in the pillow and pull the duvet closer around my face. “Sleepytime, got it?”

“Okay. Fine. You go ahead and try. But I’ll be here waiting when you give up.”

The wind begins to die down. The gentle bamboo tones ebb away. The distant metallic scraping ceases. My brain remains blissfully silent.

So why can’t I fucking sleep?

I flop over on my stomach. Then back onto my side. Then I try the other side. I curl up into the fetal position, stretch back out, rearrange my arms. Rinse and repeat. But sleep will not come. I find myself once again flat on my back, staring at the ceiling, all too awake.

“Shouldn’t you be in dreamland by now, Sleeping Beauty?” The voice is smug.

“Go fuck yourself.”

“My, my, aren’t we catty.”

“Maybe I wouldn’t be so catty if you would just fucking let me sleep.”

“Oh but it’s such fun to watch you try to resist and then inevitably fail, over and over again.”

“Thanks. Really. So much.” But I won’t get anywhere with vinegar. I drop the sarcasm and change tactics. “You know, you suffer just as much as I do when we don’t get enough rest. I would think you’d find it in your best interests to help rather than hinder in that regard.”

My brain laughs condescendingly. “Oh, but these wee hours of the morning are the only time I have you to myself! You work in your little drab office through the daylight hours (what a dreadful bore), then you go home and spend all that time with that husband of yours, and I simply can’t get any good thinking done with you two being so disgustingly lovey-dovey. And let’s not forget your little jaunts to the gym where you’re too focused on turning yourself into a sweat monster to pay attention to anything of substance! No, my dear, you have done an admirable job of keeping me subservient for the bulk of the day, but once you get all tucked into those sheets and turn out the light, it’s my party, and I will not be ignored!

My fingers and toes begin to curl, strangling the aforementioned sheets in their grasp.

“So, now that that’s understood, which trivial event in your past shall I dissect tonight? Would you like to go over all the ways your maid of honor speech at your friend’s wedding could have been improved, or would you rather I rehash that spectacular failure of an audition you went to five years ago for the umpteenth time?”

But I am no longer listening.

“My feet are cold,” I whisper.

There is a pause. “What?” My brain’s reply is satisfyingly curt.

“In fact they’re not just cold, they’re freezing. I forgot to wear socks to bed tonight. You knew it, and you said nothing. And you’ve been distracting me as my feet sit here getting icier by the second, knowing I can never sleep if my feet are too cold. I’M ON TO YOU NOW, BITCH.”

I can feel my brain floundering for a response as I jump out of bed and pull on my thickest socks. The ones that give me shapeless little doll feet, like Gilderoy Lockhart stopped by and removed all the bones.

2am logic: Take picture of feet for blog.

I get back into bed, feeling smug. And I wait. And I wait. But after a few minutes, I can tell my feet aren’t warming up quickly enough. I hear a low chuckle from my brain.

“You’re going to have to do better than that.”

Challenge accepted, you cheap saboteur.

I sit back up and swing my legs over the side of the bed. And I slide my feet into my secret weapon: the irresistibly adorable fuzzy otter slippers my husband bought me several Christmases ago. They fit snugly over my shapeless doll feet, and within seconds I can feel the warmth spreading back into my chilly toes.

My brain abruptly stops laughing. I tuck my otterized feet back under the covers, They are growing toastier by the minute.

“How juvenile,” scoffs my brain.

“That’s your opinion.”

“Who wears slippers to bed? Have you any idea how ridiculous you look right now?”

I snort. “One, you seem to be under the misconception that I care about appearing ridiculous. Two, who exactly am supposed to be impressing right now? My unconscious, mucus-filled husband? Besides, have you been on the internet lately? Hannah Hart is out there parading around on YouTube in a carrot onesie and she has well over a million and a half subscribers. I doubt my grabbing one night of shut-eye in my otter slippers is going to set me up for lifelong ridicule.”

“But-”

I believe,” the otters interject in perfect unison, “the lady asked you to leave her alone.”

My heroes.

God bless you, you fluffy little angels.

My brain splutters in indignation, but it knows when it’s outnumbered. “This isn’t over,” it mutters petulantly, backing away.

“Don’t you mean, ‘Why, I otter…’?” I ask innocently.

Can brains glare? I’m pretty sure mine glares at me before turning and stomping away into its own deepest recesses to sulk. It will not forget this indignity quickly, I’m sure.

The otters laugh. “Nice one.”

“Thanks, guys,” I reply, stifling a yawn.

“You go on and sleep, now. We’ve got you covered.”

“Thanks,” I echo thickly, already half a universe away.


“Did you wear your otter slippers to bed?” Nutty Hubby asks me in the morning, amused.

“My feet were cold.”

“Cool.”

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10 thoughts on “Why I sleep with otters.*

  1. Oh man I can so relate…When I’m at work my brain just whinges about how it wants to play outside (even though the weather is really shitty) or that it really wants chocolate milk or that it wants to have a tiff about something unimportant. It only wants to discuss serious shit at 2am! Grumble.

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  2. Thanks for giving me a great laugh today!
    I can totally relate to this.
    Maybe consider not letting Hubby’s clothes dry properly before making him wear them? Maybe encourage him to leave the house with wet hair etc… That way more hubby-colds=more sleep.
    Also, I agree with Kristine, douchecanoe is an amazing word. I apologize profusely if I forget within minutes where I heard it and then use it in something I write on my blog. At which point you will be entirely within your rights to troll my comments.

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    • Haha, oh yes. I read a lot when I can’t sleep, and I have something similar where I’ll realize I’ve read the same line in my book about twelve times and still haven’t registered what it says. That’s when I know I can safely close my eyes and drop off before my brain manages to sidetrack me again.

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  3. I empathize with you – sleep and I are longtime adversaries. Waking up at 5:30am on a Saturday sours my mood for the whole day – but I can’t go back to sleep to save my life.

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    • I used to have that problem before my thyroid crapped out on me. Now my body’s just too grateful for the fact I’ve finally fallen asleep at all that no matter what time I wake up it’s already trying to convince me to just turn over and close my eyes again. I wish we could find a happy medium.

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