Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sleep Disturbances

When the days start to shorten, I usually find myself sliding into hibernation and depression. I'd cower under the covers for as long as possible before submitting to the inevitable. This year, I decided that things were going to be different. Oh yes. There's a new sherrif in town and new sherrif is all about tackling things with a positive attitude.

You may, on a good day, be able to fight City Hall, but Mother Nature is made of much tougher stuff. I can't make the days longer or drier or warmer. All I can do is figure out a strategy that keeps me happy. Like getting up early and exercising instead of moping around.

Deciding to train for the marathon was probably the best decision I could have made in my War Against Terrible Attitude. It's given me a greater purpose and a non-negotiable reason for dragging my sorry ass out of bed and facing each progressively darker morning. At least 30 minutes of running is a fabulous salve, as it pumps happy endorphins into my brain, blasting out whatever nasties might have been hanging out on the street corners.

I've gotten into a good routine the last few weeks - getting up at 5 (often waking minutes before the alarm), indulging in a cup of coffee and a little computer time, and then doing my run. It was working great - not only was I feeling good during the day, I was sleeping better at night. I'm prone to restless sleep, night terrors, and insomnia.

But then my favourite baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, beat the dreaded New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. I love baseball (although, to be fair, I've grown to love hurling even more) and I do get some tiny pangs of regret when I realise I haven't seen a game in nearly 3 years. Now it's on to the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox. (And so help me, if Manny Rameriz turns out to be some sort of series hero for Boston, I will have a melt-down.)

I discovered that through the wonders of the Internet, international subscribers can watch games over the computer, in real-time. (US people are stuck with only listening in real-time and then being able to watch the whole game after the fact.) Little Kid Me started jumping up and down. "Can we, can we, please please please?" How could I resist, she did say 'please' three times, after all.

It was only after looking at the schedules for the games that I saw this was going to be challenging. Most of the games start at 8 pm EST, which is 1 am here. I wouldn't even be watching the game on the same day as most people. A couple of games start at 4 pm EST, which is the perfectly respectable and agreeable hour of 9 pm here. I'm a planner and a problem solver, so I immediately began calculating to try to determine the best way to watch the games without having my eyeballs fall out from sleep deprivation.

It seems like the best solution for the 1 am starts is to go to bed ridiculously early, like 5 or 6, and then wake up at 12.30 or 1 and call it the start to my day. The games will probably finish up around 4 am, at which point I can do my run and maybe even go into work early. (My work place is blessedly flexible and, as my manager is a huge rugby fan and plans her vacations around matches, she will probably understand the mania.) I discussed this plan with Peter and he just chuckled. He knows I'm crazy enough to do it, is smart enough to know there will probably be fallout, and is laid-back enough to not worry about it until it happens.

The plan goes into effect Friday night/Saturday morning. Only, probably since my little mind was churning over this schedule change, I woke up at 1 am this morning. And was Awake. Well and truly Awake. "But no," I whispered to my confused little brain, "we don't want to start this schedule today. We want to start it on Friday. We'll have nothing to do for 5 or 6 hours if we get up now." My brain wasn't having it though and it took me 2 hours to fall back to sleep. I told myself that if I was still up at 3.30, then I would cut my losses. Sometimes, I'll get out of bed and do Something Productive, but I didn't want to confuse the schedule even further today.

I guess my brain decided to play a trick on me, since I didn't warmly congratulate it on its initiative with the new schedule. I had the most messed up dreams. Vivid Technicolour dreams that involve unlikely characters. Peter and I were living in an apartment and some of his friends- the sort of friends he doesn't have because they were mostly old ladies - came over so they could sew me an outfit. Yeah. I don't know why, but they wanted to sew something from Snow White. I figured they meant her dress, but it turns out, they were going to sew me a bluebird costume.

They were such sweet auld dears, I couldn't turn down a bluebird costume but I didn't think I wanted it, no matter how much they protested that it would look simply darling. I dragged Peter out of the apartment to talk to him about how to manage this delicate situation and we got lost in a weird Asian city. When we got back to the apartment, the door was wide open and the auld dears were all asleep, except for one who was watching the Home Shopping Channel.

I realised right away that all of our laptops were missing. Ipods and mobiles were still in place, everything else of value was still in place, but the laptops were gone. I had a freak out, tearing through the apartment looking for the laptops. Until the thought hit me that this was not real, could not be real and I woke up to find I still had an hour until the alarm.

Back into the breach once more, and I dreamt of some other weird house where I was living with Peter and my Uncle Greg was visiting. I found a weird spider, a giant white thing with a bulbous back end. I went to find something appropriate to kill it (I favour a shoe and a paper towel) but when I came back, it morphed into a lizard right in front of me. Then I realised that the whole house was full of lizards. Big iguana like-lizards, smaller gecko-like lizards, there was a world of lizards occupying my premises.

Funny enough, that's not what I considered weird while I was dreaming. The giant crabs with hand-painted shells - those were what freaked me out. Probably because they kept motoring out from under the couch and biting me when I walked past, much like our cat Patches used to do.

The alarm saved me from this dream, which was probably the close to an LSD experience as I am ever going to have. I'm not too groggy, especially now that I've had my coffee, but I am second-guessing the wisdom of messing with my schedule. Apparently. I don't handle change very well, not even subconciously.


At 11 October 2007 at 14:13, Blogger laurie said...

ann, for the sake of your health and your sleep, i almost wish for a quick red sox sweep.

but i am rooting for cleveland, too. they've been powerful this year. and fun to watch--except when they were beating up on my Twins.

At 11 October 2007 at 17:37, Blogger Kaycie said...

I am amazed at your devotion to the game. The only thing that could get me to change my schedule like that would be oh, about a million dollars.

At 11 October 2007 at 21:37, Blogger Col said...

Three words:

Go Red Sox!!!

(Though I have to say, I was please to see Cleveland beat the Evil Empire, and were it any other team but the Red Sox in the pennant race, I would be rooting for Cleveland.)

At 12 October 2007 at 03:20, Blogger Amy said...

I congratulate you on your dedication and diligence to running. And baseball.

My 3 favorite teams, in order (you're going to hate me)

New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Montreal Expos (Yes, I know they're gone.)

If the Brewers are doing well, I'm happy since they're nearby.

I'm still in amazement how easy you make it seem to just get off your rear and do something good for yourself. My hat is off to you.

At 13 October 2007 at 07:39, Blogger -Ann said...

Laurie - That is either the nicest or the meanest thing I've ever heard. :)

Kaycie - It was difficult and I don't know how long I can keep it up. I've already decided to skip Game 2 since I have to go into work on Sunday and I really need to get things done. We shall see. I might be a fair-time fan after all.

Col - Traitor! Out of curiosity, who did you root for in the ALCS last year?

Amy - One of the most fun games I ever went to was seeing the Brewers play the Cardinals in the Brewers' old stadium. And the reason I make running sound easy is that I truly do enjoy it. If the only way to get fit were cycling, I'd be a big, wide couch potato.

At 14 October 2007 at 00:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the symbolism with the bluebird costume has to do with happiness, the spider has to with the stories you weave, and the crabs are either that we are all actually coming to see in 08 or that we'll all get the crabs in 08. The Uncle Greg part just goes to reinforce that he is always lurking in our subconscious or he is the dreamweaver.

At 14 October 2007 at 01:46, Blogger Career Guy said...

The requested summer reading list will be emailed to you. Woo--Manny just chased a terrible pitch! Good for Fausto. We'll see if they can pull this one out. Too bad you won't call me tonight so we can "watch" together. That was fun. Just like the old Chicago days. Woo-hoo! Manny just hit into a double play!

At 14 October 2007 at 23:49, Blogger amy said...

Ann, Congrats on finding a way to keep up with the Indians and your training at the same time. It's mildly insane but I completely understand it. We're cheering the Indians on in Akron and I'll be thinking of you on my early morning runs as well. Thanks too for the recommended reads! Amy P

At 18 October 2007 at 06:06, Blogger -Ann said...

Aunt Lois - Thanks for the expert interpretation. My dad sent me your travel itinerary - can't wait for you all to visit. May seems like forever to wait though.

Dad - I've been too chicken to watch. Instead, I just check the scores first thing in the morning. Here's hoping!

Amy - Hey, thanks for stopping by. I'm jealous you can watch the games so easily, but are you really getting Dave to watch the baseball? :)


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