Posts Tagged ‘tired’

Fourteenth Night

14 February 2011

Dear J-

I’m in training this week all week. It coincides with shifting hours back to normal — well, as normal as it gets — from 0700 to 1530, so I have the unexpected double pleasure of sleeping in and keeping my brain in a low gear. Ambition and energy are both at low ebb and that’s okay after the weeks we’ve had and the weeks ahead. We plan the evening around dinner and where and how to get it, the day is spent marking time and after the rush rush rush of a typical weekend we’re ready to relax, strange choice for the work week but you take the victories where you can.

It is Valentine’s Day and I hope that yours was as enjoyable as ours. We stole an early jump and (knowing that we had no hope of arranging a sitter/dinner for tonight) ate out last night (steak). Tonight we made a snap decision to dine out at Costco and reap the dubious rewards of having a sick sleepy kid in tow (net result: two asleep in a cart together, my shirt laid down to provide a bed of sorts — we probably should have “borrowed” a dog bed for the shopping trip instead). Best date night ever.

Mike

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Three Thoughts

18 January 2011

Dear J-

One of the things I’m trying to implement is the mandatory cooliing-off period for planned purchases. You see something and think it’ll be not only a great deal but useful besides and you force yourself to wait at least overnight before deciding. This doesn’t work too well for places like Craigslist and eBay, where by the time you make up your mind that item may have disappeared but here’s the secret: it doesn’t matter. That particular widget will come back up for sale, and you’ll have proven to yourself that you actually need it as well (or not, as the case may be). I’ve managed to save myself from upscaling DVD players, voice recorders, and more cameras so far this year, which gives you a sense of how deep the sickness runs.

The librarian must be an F.Paul Wilson fan, as the Repairman Jack series keeps making a regular appearance on the local shelves. Having read most of them now with a few gaps here and there that could be filled in via interlibrary loan if I could only remember to set that up, I’m reminded of the X-Files, but on a level I might understand this time. If you remember that show there was the individual plot of the current episode — some strange phenomenon to explore — and an overarching grand Conspiracy with characters such as Cigarette Smoking Man and the Lone Gunmen. I didn’t care for the episodes focused on the Conspiracy, and that’s where the Jack series has gone — he’s become integrated into Wilson’s Secret History of the World which spans much of his works, and the individual novels are suffering for it.

I find myself sore in places I wasn’t yesterday, thanks to the bike, and I know it’s going to take maybe a week to get used to that again, so in the meantime I’m going to have to start leaving earlier to keep from being late. The triumph of the vanpool is also a social one: you don’t want to be the one keeping everyone in one place. Yesterday the refreshment of the ride wore off into the exhaustion of the evening and soon thereafter the crabbiness of the night. figgy and theVet were both getting chippy and Caclifer lent his voice to the fray several times and rather than stay detached I wandered in and threw verbal rocks around randomly, culminating in inexplicable anger at the crying two month old. He doesn’t know better — I do — and considering where we are now versus a year ago I know how lucky we are and yet I keep taking it all for granted. Let the past go and raindrops stay drops without building into a flood.

Mike

Fatigue Fighter

6 September 2010

Dear J-

One of the first things to go, at least for me, is verbal communication once I get really tired; the thoughts may be formed well in my head, but somewhere they get translated into nonsensical sounds.  I’ve noticed it when reading to figgy late at night (somehow bedtime keeps shifting later and later this summer — with any luck, the early darkness should put an end to it).  Yesterday, while writing up homework for my PE review class, I noticed that I’d started to write a story about sunglasses instead of figuring out the hydraulic grade line; I knew it was time for bed.

Tonight looks like a bust for homework too — you get only so far along and then you’re stuck on a problem set for what seems like days on end (and when you spend as little time as I do, and consequently gain as little knowledge, too) with no finish in sight; between no time and no motivation, it’s a wonder that I’m learning anything lately.  There are times that I worry there’s only so much room in my head; already some of the earlier chapters are starting to look a bit sketchy.

One thing that’s not in doubt:  it’s sadly easy to frustrate figgy lately, and that long memory of hers is easy to trigger.  Reason doesn’t seem to do us many favors (you can only say so much and promise stuff for later, but she always wants it now, now, now) and reasoning doesn’t make much sense, but even I have trouble distinguishing now from later at times:  I could be studying right now instead of waiting for fatigue to turn my voice and mind into mush, but that’s what I’ve chosen.

Mike

Sleep Strike

14 June 2010

Dear J-

It’s only Monday and I’m exhausted — I caught myself, while reading books to figgy tonight, saying all kinds of crazy things that weren’t in the text (for instance, at no point do they state “Ronald Vandiver, put down the book” in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). theVet has told me at times that I’ve been able to hold semi-intelligible conversations while asleep so I’m not completely surprised, but mildly astonished by this disconnected feeling — I can hear myself forming the crazy words, but my brain is nowhere near them.

It’s been a particularly unrestful weekend even though she’s been pretty restful (naps and exhaustion are on the menu) herself; I suppose that there’s nothing in the way of down time, either at work or home lately, and I’ve been driving to work a good deal more than I’d normally like (this is what being thirty-five buys you: not just the ability to, but the need to take an afternoon nap). And at least I haven’t started spouting off crazy phrases at work — not that I know of, at any rate.

I don’t remember operating under such a sleep deficit and the strangest thing is it’s all self-imposed — there’s nothing stopping me from falling asleep now (as a particular point, my seating evolution now has me off the floor in a real chair after ten years of stamping my imprint on carpeted floors from Boston to Davis to San Diego) but the desire to keep up with reruns and summer shows. Consciousness bids a quick farewell and tomorrow’s here before I’m ready. More than anything, it’s being able to control my own schedule that I miss.

Mike

Rooftop Set

5 June 2010

Dear J-

If today’s any indication, we have a fair amount of naps in our future in order to ensure continued harmony; she crashed for two hours after lunch, where not even the prospect of ice cream could keep her awake for long. But prior to that figgy was already displaying all the signs: unreasoning crabbiness, irrational thinking. At some point she inevitably comes back down to earth — between the early morninig and all day runninig around, she’s bound to run out of energy.

I still maintain that the secret to energy independence will revolve around millions of toddlers on treadmills, though. I’m always surprised by how quickly Saturday mornings can pass, though there’s tricks for that too. I’ll turn around and the room will be thrashed just like that — if the natural state tends towards increasing entropy, then children are the change agents driving that.

The truth is that you need to put in just as much energy to make it work, and I know how exhausted I am at the end of each day is testament — measure — of how I’m doing. And yet you know that there’s always more that you should have done. It’s days like these (tired, ashamed of some things, reflectively listening to her bellow for more attention) that I know there’s more in a Saturday than today, but sometimes the lessons are hard to digest.

Mike

Minor League

24 May 2010

Dear J-

I had a nice nap this afternoon after coming back: days that I drive the van, I’m pretty well done by the time I’ve dropped off the van and biked back home, but then it’s time to help out; if I’m lucky, it’s eight o’clock before we have any down time, and even then we’re subject to how tired the rest of the day hasn’t made her. It’s not so much that we begrudge the time, the only time we have is better spent asleep. There’s something to be said for sleep knitting the raveled sleeve; life’s balance is restored and the bank of patience is safe from further runs. After all, what we spend the rest of our time on is pretty worthless stuff (why is Celebrity Apprentice still two hours an episode? Does NBC really have such little content — never mind).

Today, tonight; the decisions we make where we spend time make perfect sense at the time and then, at the end, was it really worth it? There’s memories to be made and I find myself mouthing the familiar words from school: “Sleep is for the weak!” believing it again — we need to get back to

Minor League

24 May 2010

Dear J-

I had a nice nap this afternoon after coming back: days that I drive the van, I’m pretty well done by the time I’ve dropped off the van and biked back home, but then it’s time to help out; if I’m lucky, it’s eight o’clock before we have any down time, and even then we’re subject to how tired the rest of the day hasn’t made her. It’s not so much that we begrudge the time, the only time we have is better spent asleep. There’s something to be said for sleep knitting the raveled sleeve; life’s balance is restored and the bank of patience is safe from further runs. After all, what we spend the rest of our time on is pretty worthless stuff (why is Celebrity Apprentice still two hours an episode? Does NBC really have such little content — never mind).

Today, tonight; the decisions we make where we spend time make perfect sense at the time and then, at the end, was it really worth it? There’s memories to be made and I find myself mouthing the familiar words from school: “Sleep is for the weak!” believing it again — we need to get back to finding ways to spend it smartly.

Mike

The Gap

6 January 2010

Dear J-

I got up late this morning, rushed around putting things together for the day, and flew out the door on the way to drive the vanpool. Since then I’ve been trying to catch my breath all day, pulled in a million directions at home and work. I’ve been easily distracted (and even now am trying to multitask between television and writing — forty false starts later, I go back to the advice Professor Ogden gave me: write what you know) trying to justify spending money on junk I don’t really need while putting up a semblance of productivity. Keep pushing on; all the good deals in the world won’t make up for being stuck indoors during daylight.

The longer you spend ignoring the obvious, the more painful it becomes when the veil is ripped from your eyes. It’s been a hundred days of expanded schedules — at least fifty hours a week — and none of us is particularly amazed or surprised to find out we’ve still got a month of long hours stretching out before us, spinning away past the horizon. Fight your way past the malaise; let the crisp words drop like snowflakes and cover your tracks as your actions flow without thought. It’s been a long time since I could catch my breath, I was just saying.

Where do you dig up enough ambition to make it through the day? The week? The project? Motivation comes from within, I suppose, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have the universal threat of disapproval and censure. When the icons of your life fail to intrigue and beguile, when six easy pieces become six feet underwater, I know that the cycle starts again. That wheel turns with surprising speed; mind the spokes, mind the gap.

Mike

Amok Time

26 December 2009

Dear J-

Someone out there must know the best way to put an unsleepy toddler to bed; in retrospect it used to be so easy: a little rocking, a little singing and she’d go down easy and stay down for the night. Now we’re stuck with trying to trade off turns pushing her back into the room and it’s putting us all out of sorts; figgy doesn’t want anyone but mom to put her down, mom thinks I’m shirking every time I go in and she has to rescue me, and I resent having to explain myself, whether though demonstration (see what screams erupt when I try to start singing? I don’t believe that it’s just my poor sense of pitch, by the way) or words. Our evenings this week have evaporated into a morass of stress and anger; advice falls on deaf ears or unwilling minds.

It’s funny how the one smallest thing can cause such a huge disruption in our lives, and it’s testament to how delicately balanced our usual routines and schedules are: only so much time to be counted for any one activity, and losing one spills into the next. The sleep deprivation of a newborn you understand; this new world is a scary place after nine months in a warm cave, and there’s all kinds of weird things out there, from your own limbs to the first sharp pangs of hunger that you’ve ever experienced. We’ve got things we got to do, of course, but there’s no reason that we can’t spend as much time as we need to with our kids — isn’t that the point, aren’t those the implicit choices we’ve already made?

We do our best to wear her out during the day and in fact it feels like we could all use a good long nap around the same time, all three of us, most weekends. Extending our bedtime past hers isn’t much of a realistic option any more, and a good number of us (okay, all of us) have to be up early and rested enough to not litter our whole day with mistakes. The longer it goes on the longer it seems like nothing will ever change, and the wilder our accusations get — sleep deprivation affects the higher reasoning first, and it would be a mistake to take the barbs traded seriously. Though words hurt, though memories are long it’s sometimes a blessing to let go before letting seeds of anger take root.

Mike

Poor Technique

22 December 2009

Dear J-

We continue to fight the battles of the ideal versus reality; though everything we do has the noblest of intentions (let’s let figgy nap for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, say) it has all kinds of unintended consequences when you’re stuck with a sleepy yet not sleepy enough kid at the same time that you’re already dragging and ready for some shuteye yourself. This whole week has been an exercise in the last running bounds towards actually closing out the year on (with any luck) a high note; I hesitate to keep pointing at work, but work has been life, and that’s no life for anyone.

There’s a couple of emails that I keep meaning to reply to at work; one of them is from a friend who asked how things were going; it’s the sort of thing that would take all of thirty seconds to reply to — and should have, by now — but I keep turning different replies over in my head, instead of just sticking with one answer that makes sense. The other one is not precisely an offer but let’s say an opportunity in another division. I think I can say without a notable sense of arrogance (aside from the movie playing in my head, starring Mike, written by Mike, directed by … you get the picture) that I have risen to the challenge of this outage, that there’s nothing left to demonstrate for this particular job.

We have too much as it is to be spending so much time on what’s quickly becoming the chore of putting her to bed. And yet there’s no small amount of guilt that what feels like the small amount of time we have with her waking hours is filled with such acrimony and recriminations: simple defiances become hour-long dramas. Perhaps it signals the start of a new phase in our lives as the days are no longer as neatly divided up into chunks: our time with her, our time with us, my time and your time; those artificial divisions become entangled and inseparable given enough churn and change. We shouldn’t enter this compact thinking that all we get in return is cuteness and delight but some days the balance tilts too far in one direction or another as techniques and bribes keep escalating beyond sustainability.

Mike