Why I hate it when my husband goes on Business Trips

Okay, so my amazing husband is currently in Boston on business. He is gone for literally LESS than 72 hours. As of right now, he has been gone for 19 hours. I’ll be honest. I hate it when he goes on business trips. I always picture that I’ll have this fun-filled bachelorette-type time to get a manicure, drink long islands with my girlfriends and catch up on my favorite Gilmore Girl Episodes. Only one of those things ever comes true and it’s because I don’t have to move off my couch.
When in truth, the horror begins a few days before I know he has to go. I insist on spending every waking moment hanging out, trying to get in all the fun couple time we can before he goes. I have no idea why I do this. We literally hang out ALL the time anyway.

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So then I have to drive him to the airport (this time was at 5:00 AM! YES IN THE MORNING) and I always imagine it’s going to be this beautiful, teary goodbye.

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But usually its him hurriedly kissing me because he’s worried he’ll miss his flight because he loves sleeping as long as he can.
Then usually about 20 minutes after I have driven away from the airport, I feel the first pangs of sadness settle over me. My best buddy is not here. I find myself overwhelmed with sorrow and I have to pull my car over so I can make a rambling, incoherent message on his answering machine that he probably won’t check until he gets back home. It’s usually interspersed with moments of me gulping and trying to hold back tears. Please note: Elapsed time since his departure? 20 minutes.

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Then I get sick to my stomach as I wait for a message from him to confirm that he’s reached his destination safely. This can take several hours. Several excruciating hours. In these hours, I often find myself eating bad food and watching Netflix.In fact, the last time he was gone and I went through the drive through, the kind man asked me how I was doing and I burst out with how sad I was that my husband was away on business. I would like to note that McDonalds employees are surprisingly kind and patient in listening to rambling stories.

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Then suddenly, like a ray of sunshine I get an e-mail on my phone to say he has landed A-OK! I feel momentary joy! Yay! He’s safe! I can stop being worried!

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It takes about an hour before the despair overtakes me. But I usually have to work so for a couple hours I am distracted from this. But when I get home to my empty condo (aside from our cat) all I can think is, “he’s not here.” and drag myself dejectedly from room to room. I promise myself I won’t check the e-mail for more messages because hello, he is on business and cannot write to me all day. Even though I logically know this, I am still sad when I see 0 new messages from him.

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This is about the time I notice the cat’s baleful glances at me. I know exactly what he is thinking.

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The worst is yet to come. After staving off sleep as much as I can, I finally collapse into our King Sized Bed which feels like an icy tundra when I’m lying there by myself.

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And when I feel like I may just be drifting off to sleep, I hear a strange CREAK noise from somewhere within my home.

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My sleep does not go well the entire time he is gone. I usually end up spending the night in my mom’s guestroom, because I’m almost 30 and apparently ghosts are a genuine concern for me.

Undoubtedly my dear husband will Skype me as soon as he is able to and the time difference allows. And after the initial, “What is the hotel like?” inquiry, the conversation undoubtedly goes like this.

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Yes. So husband, I hope Boston is really awesome but I REALLY MISS YOU DESPITE MY CAVALIER SKYPE ATTITUDE.

PSA: I’m not always this pathetic and needy, I SWEAR. Just when he goes on business trips.

Why I hate public Transit

This short little tale was inspired when talking to someone at a party about bad experiences on public transit. For the most part, my experiences have been fairly fine. Commuting to graduate school (for a whole month) was fairly seamless. My really bad experiences seem to stem from when I was a teenager and a.) Completely unaware of how the real world worked and b.) Way too scared to stick up for myself.

One time my friend and I were coming home from some get together and took the Sky Train. A young man suddenly hurtled himself and his bike into the sky train as several other men ran behind him screaming and uttering threats. He narrowly managed to get in the sky train, the doors closed behind him and the men were trapped, screaming on the other side: “WE’RE COMING FOR YOU AT THE NEXT STOP!” and banging on the glass. This was one of my first forays into public transit.

The story that I will share with you today however takes place on a bus, which somehow is worse to me than the Sky Train because people are just about ten times more miserable. My friend (who was very transit savvy) had suggested shopping downtown. Being the naive teen that I was, this was a unique experience – I never shopped outside my small town. This was County Mouse heading to the Big City as far as I was concerned.

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A few stops in however, there was a bang at the side of the bus. A short, fat, middle aged man was banging on the doors demanding to be let in. He boarded and I do not remember him paying a fare.

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He stank to high heaven of two smells that make me gag 1.) old alcohol and 2.) Putrid B.O. He was sweaty, greasy and wobbling back and forth on his feet. His rambunctious actions already had me uncomfortable around him. As a teenager I was mortified by anything that drew unnecessary attention that I wasn’t prepared for.

Suddenly I felt his bleary eyes on us. If he’d been quiet or steadier on his feet, I never would have noticed or glanced at him. As it was, I had and like a stinky moth to an unwilling flame, I had been caught in the crosshairs and I was suddenly a target.

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I remember my stomach dropping. I think we were fourteen at the time, so the creep factor on this whole exchange was pretty high. Like, off the charts. We didn’t say anything back to him. My friend and I continued our conversation as normal trying not to engage this bizarre man.

The bus lurched on its route and every time it gave a sputtering stop, the Drunk Man would stumble closer and closer to us. I tried to use the hand bar as some sort of makeshift shield which would have worked if I were the width of a pole. Spoiler: I am not.

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Closer and closer this stinky guy got.

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Suddenly and without warning the bus lurched and the man, seizing this opportunity suddenly leaned forward and with dramatic flair LICKED MY HAND.

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Yes, the hand that was wrapped around the disgusting dirty pole. HE LICKED IT. Like, not a quick lap. He fully got his ENTIRE TONGUE around my hand. WTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!

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I remember the moment of horror. The shrill realization that my rights had been violated. But I was so afraid to talk to people. I was afraid of causing trouble. I remember my eyes welled up with tears and I rushed off the bus to the nearest bathroom, scrubbing my hand over and over while my friend acted like it was no big deal. She’d seen worse.

I hadn’t.

I like to think that these horrible experiences over the years have truly shaped me into the person that I am today. Now when someone steps out, I am first to tell them (Firmly but politely). I have more self confidence, I know that I am valuable and I KNOW that no one has to right to touch me without my permission.

So to all you shy girls (and guys) out there that think they can’t say anything because they don’t want to cause trouble or rock the boat- YOUR BODY, YOUR RULES. That’s just that way it is. If someone is creeping you out, if someone is touching you or talking to you and you don’t like it, say something. Be safe, but stand true to yourself. You are a valuable, amazing person; remember that.

Trust me, if you do that – the odds of you being licked on a bus are far less.

Why I no longer take my cat to the vet

Okay, so you need to know a few things about me. One: I am a highly emotional person (shocking, I know). So when I think stuff is hilarious, I will laugh with all my might. However, when things are sad I will be downright devastated.
This particular devastation happened last week. It was time for Gizmo’s yearly check-ups. The poor guy hates the vet. I pulled out his carrier and like a doomed POW, he just walked into the carrier with this defeated stride. I tried to make it up to him by plying him with treats in his carrier, which he did not indulge in. I tried being upbeat and talking the entire walk from my condo to the car. When we started driving, I tried to keep my upbeat attitude.

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Then he mewed. This sad, baleful sorrowful sound that clearly said, “Mommy, why are you doing this to me? Don’t you love me?”
And I lost it.

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We hadn’t even got the vet yet and I already had tears.
So we finally get in and go into the examination room. The first thing to do is get Gizmo out of the carrier which is done by tipping the carrier parallel with the table and shaking… kind of like when you’re trying to get ketchup out of the bottle.
When he’s finally out, shaking and making me feel like a villain, we place him on the scale to get weighed. This is when things turned dark.

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I felt indignant.

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Someone later told me that this was the equivalent of someone who is supposed to weigh 120 weighing closer to 150. I was not aware of this at the time and thought the vet was being unfair… but I also thought that this definitely confirmed my fears that I would make a TERRIBLE mother in the future.

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I also thought his logic for getting Gizmo to eat less through the day was…odd.

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By the time the actual shot came around, Gizmo had pressed his entire body against my chest, hiding under my hair and trying in vain to get me to protect him. I have never felt like more of a monster. So when the vet came back to the exam room with the needle, this is what he was greeted with.

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With what could only be a disgusted shaking of the head and firm “no” he quickly gave Gizmo his shot and ushered us out into the foyer, glad he wouldn’t have to see me for another year at least.

When I told my husband of the day’s events, trying to choke back tears, I was greeted with a sigh, a bemused “only you, Katelyn” and:

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He’s the best.

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Why Being Married to Me is Sometimes the Worst

My husband puts up with a lot. And I mean, a LOT. At bedtime for some reason, I turn into a giggly, curious schoolchild that needs to know answers to questions and likes to ask my husband puns as he tries to read his latest boring adventure novel.

The following is a very accurate portrayal of five minutes before we are going to sleep when my Husband is about to fall asleeo and the light on his nighttable is still on. To me Light On = Conversation Time.

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Usually this is the point in the “Discussion” that he chooses to kiss me goodnight and turn off the lamp.

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Why reading is magical

The one thing that I could not live without in this world is reading. I love reading so much its pathetic. Sometimes my husband will walk into the living room with me engrossed in a book and it takes THREE times saying my name to garner my attention.

It’s because books are magical. That is a fact. Sometimes when I see someone starting a book I’ve read already, I get this feeling like, “wow I wish I was reading these all for the first time.” It started when I was very young. My dad would leave picture books for me to find as I sat like a lazy lump because I refused to crawl. I loved them.

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I remember bringing out the giant antique dictionaries we had and telling my babysitter that I could read them super fast in my head. She didn’t believe me and insisted I read it out loud which I did –a little slow. Whatever- victory!

The only time that I recall reading ever getting me in trouble was when my cool older cousin *Mary (*names changed to protect the innocent) came to stay with us for the summer. I think I was nine or ten and she was entering 20’s. Needless to say, I obviously thought she was the coolest person EVER. I wanted her to hang out with me CONSTANTLY.

Surprisingly, a hip 20-year-old and a tomboyish 8-year-old have little in common. I remember begging her to take me with her and her cool friends to see “Village of the Damned” the one about those evil kids that control thoughts? Yeah, she said no. Shocking. I saw her leave, her long hair flowing behind her and remembered thinking, “Man, I wonder what it’s like being her.”

So one day with Mary in the shower, I figured I had my chance to see what she was all about. Years of learning about mysteries from my dad had taught me tricks about being sleuth-like. Unfortunately staying at the scene of the crime we apparently hadn’t been gone over yet.

Yep, I found her diary. And I was enthralled.

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So enthralled that I didn’t hear her return from her shower.

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I have never been so quick in my life, I threw the diary up in the air, muttered sorry as I streamed past an irate Mary and never looked back.

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Now, as you are probably aware finding a great book brings me a certain level of joy. Going into Powell’s Book store in Portland, OR changed my life for the better. I remember being so excited at this massive new and used book store that I threw up in my mouth a little. Every once in a while I have a series or a specific book I want and Powell’s usually has them or a good substitute. You guys, they have a Horror: Short Fiction SECTION. Like, a giant bookshelf. So great.

This year is the 80’s/90’s series “The Year’s Best Horror Stories” edited by Karl Wagner. EVERY time I go into a book store I look for them. Having a new one of those in my hands is something akin to pure anticipatory joy. The best thing about books is that I have been able to find new and exciting books that usually live up to my expectations.

So little in my real life lives up to its expectations that a good book really changes my worldview.

I remember the first time ordering a brand new book though- through the Scholastic book program. (I think it was Scholastic but it may have been something similar) They brought flyers to our classes with photos of the book titles and a short description beside it.

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I looked through them all a million times, but the one that I kept coming back to was “The Haunted Underwear” by Janet Bloss. And the summary was something like this:

When underwear start showing up all over the house in weird places, Kelly thinks it is the dumb tricks of her brother. But all she knows for sure it what she sees – is her brother to blame or is this a case of… Haunted Underwear?
You don’t need to be a genius to know I wanted this book.

You also have to know that money was not something we tossed around at my house. I didn’t have an allowance; I didn’t get money for good grades. I would ask my parents for something and was usually greeted with a, “Sorry, no.” and I would shrug my shoulders and have to be okay with it.

So when I brought home that Scholastic form home, I knew I needed to be aggressive.

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And my parents shocked me.

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It was happening. My parents said yes – My father was so big on my reading that he was willing to put out the cash to get me a brand new book. “You can never have enough good food or good books” he used to say. My belly and love for reading is a daily reminder that I live by this adage to this day.

My very own new book. And I knew exactly which book I wanted! The Haunted Underwear. My mom definitely tried to talk me out of it a few times and suggested books with fewer possessed undergarments but I could not be swayed. And so the order was placed and I waited until the blessed day it arrived, covered in clear wrap and waiting to be read.

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It was the best book my grade 2 self ever read. And it showed me the magic of reading, of having a plot twist, of a mystery needing to be solved. I was in the second grade, and I remembered everything about that book when I described it to my husband last night. That’s saying something.

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And books have the amazing ability to have a character that you connect with. For me it was Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye (a cliché I know) when I was 15 years old. But when I was twelve, I decided that I was tired of my humdrum life. I wanted adventure. This is partly to blame from books. I specifically wanted to sneak in and stay overnight in The Metropolitan Museum of Art like Claudia in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

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Also I was full of teen angst and thought my parents were lame. So I gathered my friends and hatched a plan.

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A little while later I was in my room, considering what I would pack for my long trip when my dad knocked on my door. He held out a small book.

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I remember thinking, “He knows.”

 

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And looking into my dad’s non-angry, non-judgmental face and broke down and told him everything. He said he knew and that books sometimes reach children in ways that parents sometimes couldn’t. And so we talked forever about what was bothering me and why I wanted to run away. He told me about all the runaways he came into contact with since he was a cop. We talked about safety and how he knew how I felt but that he wanted to keep me safe as long as he could.
I didn’t even have to read the book, the lesson had been learned. I would always have someone to talk to that wouldn’t judge me but would try to show me different points of view. He always did that.

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Reading is magical. Start early with your kids. If you like reading silly books – KEEP reading them! If you like YA fiction and you’re 50 – who CARES?! You’re reading! You are transporting yourself to another world and expanding your mind. There is nothing wrong with that.

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This blog entry is dedicated to my amazing Dad; Jim Szekeres.
The man who showed me the magic of reading.
Happy Early Father’s Day.
I miss you tons.
– PTL

Why you shouldn’t bury your change

I have always loved getting free stuff. I got a free slurpee cup from 7-11 once and could not stop talking about it for months afterwards. Free stuff is one of the best things in the world – it’s the universe smiling upon you.
But you know what’s even better when you’re a kid? Buying stuff yourself. The FREEDOM of saying, “I want that, here is some shiny crap in return.”
You get that money in your hot little hands and you can buy WHATEVER you want! Candy? Check! Toys? Check! When I found a five dollar bill on vacation once, I nearly lost it in excitement. I literally RAN over to the “Sugar Shack” as it was known and bought a boatload of candy (or what constituted a boatload when I was younger) to share with my brothers.
I was a HERO.
But, at the tender age of nine, I had decided that money was what made this world go around. Money was where it was at. And at nine, I had none. My family didn’t do allowance, you did what mom and dad asked you to and once in a while unrelated to what chores you did, sometimes they bought you stuff. It was a good deal and I never remember going without.
But one day, sitting by my doll house I distinctly remember wanting a candy and feeling powerless because, well, they cost money. I knew my Mom and Dad wouldn’t fund this sugar-laden treat more than once a month. But it would seem, fate intervened.
I came downstairs to grab a glass of water when I heard my Mom moving around in the kitchen and the unmistakable sound of coins. COINS = MONEY! I peered around the corner to see Mom tossing in her loose change into this small, black, cardboard tube we stuck on the lower shelf of our kitchen.

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I always just thought it was decoration. When she vacated the kitchen, I rushed over to said tube and saw to my surprise and delight that it was FILLED with change! Shiny quarters, dimes and nickels – delightfully copper colored pennies. All I could see when I looked into that thing was: CANDY.

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Specifically, the penny candy you got at “Macs” which if you spell it backwards is Scam. Is this a coincidence? I do not think so. Anyway, Macs = penny candy. Which in no world cost a penny, everything was at least a nickel. The really good stuff was a dime. And the rich stuff was a quarter each. When I looked into that tube, all I saw was all the penny candy I could eat and more!

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I want to tell you that I had a crisis of conscience. I want to tell you that an angel and a devil sat on each of my shoulders and I weighed the decision thoroughly before eventually deciding to do the right thing.
But if I had, let’s face it, this blog wouldn’t exist.
The moment I knew my Mom had gone into the backyard, I rushed over to the tube and stuck my greedy hand into it. Even as a child I knew that I couldn’t steal all this money at once. I had to be crafty. I had to bide my time. (This is how I know it was devious. The forethought).So over a course of a month, I took small handfuls of change from that tube, stole away to the front yard of my house and buried it in a hole beside my favorite tree. Seriously, I actually DID that.

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Then I would sit in my room, pretending to play Barbie’s with my giant dollhouse and secretly just scheme on the next time I would steal from the tube. Would it be Wednesday? No, I would wait until Mom went to mow the lawn. Dad would be at work. It was perfect. Then I would smile a Grinch-like smile and wait until my next covert operation.

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I remember the thrill of taking this money. I remember the thrum of my heart in my chest as I scrambled with those coins (always replacing the lid so it didn’t look suspicious) and running to the front yard to bury my treasure.

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Now, you’re thinking:
Hey Katelyn, wouldn’t your Mom find it suspicious when you came home with all this candy?”
I had that under control. You see, my brother Matt loved pirates. So much that my Dad made him a pirate ship in a tree. Yes, my parents rocked. And Matt was always going on about pirate treasure. BURIED pirate treasure. I had the scheme all hatched – I would innocently play in the front yard (with my Mom watching of course) and pretend to be playing pirates. I would then unearth this treasure and rush to Macs to buy candy. It was the perfect crime.

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Except, you know, it wasn’t…
I went to the tube one afternoon, one of my last planned heists. And just before I could stick a hand into the tube, my Mom and my littlest brother Jon rushed into the room holding a plastic bag full of change.

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Yep. My Mom knew all along. She’d watched me over the weeks rushing off, burying the treasure. She saw it all. And she made her move KNOWING that there was no way I could claim the money as my own. I’ll never forget that feeling of being super furious at the situation but feeling utterly powerless because I knew I was in the wrong.

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And so yes, I conceded defeat. Either I had to admit the money was STOLEN and get no treats PLUS get grounded and make my brother really sad. Or I could just pretend like my brother found buried treasure and let it go and accept my fate. My Mom was sure to dole out the appropriate punishment.

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My mom knew the devastation of the event had hit me at my core. She didn’t even have to move the black tube from its shelf. It sat there until the day we moved from that house and I never touched it again.
Moral of the story: Don’t steal, bury your treasure and think you can unearth it a while later pretending its buried treasure. Someone will always beat you to it.
Oh, and also, just don’t steal.

When sleep evades me.

First of all: I decided to finally get a twitter. Because I actually found myself one day having a very funny insight into humankind that was less than 140 characters and I had nowhere to put it because I didn’t have twitter. And also because I don’t think anyone really checks facebook anymore.

https://twitter.com/OddbutNice1

You’ll notice –hey. Your handle isn’t Oddbutnice? Nope. Apparently I either signed up for it years ago and forgot or Odd but nice is just becoming a popular phrase. I can dig it. Anyway, that’s that. So I have to be OddbutNice1.

ONTO THE COMIC!

So, if you know anything about my life right now, you’d know that I am having a heck of a time sleeping. It continually evades me. Which is weird, because usually my relationship with sleep is usually very copacetic.

 

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But I guess I get much like an overly attached girlfriend to my sleep and sleep decides it has to be a jerk.

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So my usual nightly routine involves me slowly growing sleepy, usually when watching previously recorded Jeopardy episodes. I feel my eyelids grow heavy and then I crawl in between the crisp sheets of my bed, welcoming the warm darkness.

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Except, it starts as a subtle restlessness. And then a hitting a brick wall and being even more awake than I was that entire day. Then the cycling thoughts that will NOT shut up.

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Then i try to calm myself by thinking nice thoughts, but they usually get away from me too.

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Until its 4 am and I have to get up to start a whole new day in two hours.

If this happened once in a blue moon, yes I would be pissed off. But I’d get over it. But unfortunately, these bouts of sleeplessness usually coming in a prolonged series.

The following always happens as the days go by.

 

#1. My face looks like it was walked on by an elephant carrying a dinosaur.

 

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I wake up, having no rest, with giant circles under my bloodshot eyes, my hair looking frazzled, my skin having had no time to rejuvenate over the course of a full sleep looks sallow and droopy.  Bottom line:  I look like garbage.

 

#2.  As the sleeplessness continues, I make increasingly poor decisions as the days roll by.

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I should note that at this point the days which now seem like one, endless, horrifying day.

 

#3.  Daily tasks like opening mail, typing on the computer and generally anything related to hand-eye coordination seem daunting and at times impossible. My self esteem takes a nose dive because combined with the melting face, poor clothing selections and inability to do anything correctly I assume that I should be locked up away somewhere lest small children  gaze upon me and scream.

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At this time I tend to cry over really stupid things. A lot.

 

#4.  My head feels like its floating and my eyes have trouble focusing. I get through my day by forcing a smile on my face and avoiding interaction with people at all costs- I try bargaining with sleep. I become desperate.

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#5. When my sleeplessness has reached an unhealthy level, I become afraid of everything. Like, I genuinely worry about people breaking into my house even though there has been no issues in the entire building since we moved here. Or I am convinced that if I don’t wipe up the water on the floor immediately following a shower,  I will trip in the hallway, bang my head and go into a coma.

It usually gets unbearably at night. My husband tries, but does not quite know how to wrangle crazy yet.  He attempts reason. Sleep has no reason.

 

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At this point, I usually have a full on melt down. I cry and whine and don’t understand that I’m not sleeping because I’ve now worked myself up into a frenzy every time the sky gets dark. Its at this dark time that sleep suddenly finds he has pity for me. This usually comes after finding me hunched on the floor crying and carrying on.

 

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Usually I cry myself into a sleeping coma where I sleep for up to 12 hours at a time.

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And then my friends, the beauteous joy of sleep.

 

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