Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. Maybe it's a mother thing but I often have nights where I can't get to sleep or when once asleep I'll wake up in the middle of the night, my mind racing with important stuff like, "I forgot to put muffin wrappers on the shopping list. I need muffin wrappers. If I forget to pick them up on Thursday I'm dead. DO NOT FORGET MUFFIN WRAPPERS."
I've even devised a sophisticated memory tool to help me remember those midnight panics. I throw one of my bedside books on the floor accompanied by the thought "If I throw this on the floor I'll step on it in the morning and it will remind me to remember to call the insurance company." Forget a simple thing like writing it down on the handy pad of paper I keep at my beside table because if I make all the noise necessary to get the paper and pen out of the drawer and then write the item down it will wake Andrew.
And it usually works. The next morning I step on the book and *bang* on go the memory lights and suddenly I've remembered that Grace needs to be picked up at 4 rather than 3 for play practice. Works like a dream. Okay not a dream, bad choice of words.
You'd think with all this talk of insomnia that I'd launch into a story of my sleepless woes this week but oddly enough I've been in a good-sleep cycle. The planets have aligned and I'm sleeping soundly. No complaints. Until last night.
We have five smoke detectors in the house inherited from the previous owner. I usually change the batteries on daylight savings, twice a year, just like a good homeowner should (and I floss regularly too). But those same planets that were aligned before decided to conspire against me last night because somewhere around midnight I was yanked out of a sound sleep by a loud warning *BEEP*. Not the kind that indicates a fire, the kind that indicates your batteries are low. Loud enough to wake me up. Just one *BEEP*.
I went back to sleep, thinking I'd take care of it in the morning, that I must have got a bad battery in there somewhere but I'd only been asleep 20 more minutes when it went off again. *BEEP*. Considerably irritated, I got up to dismantle the rogue smoke detector and get back to my beauty rest but as soon as I got up I realized the horrible truth: I had no idea which smoke detector was beeping, with five of them, and with my stumbling in a sleep-deprived state it was hard to tell.
So there I stood, waiting in the hall, half-dressed and freezing, just waiting for the dumb thing to go off again so I could pull it off the wall and remove the battery for good (it's not like I carry extra 9-volts). I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, convinced the show was over for the night I went back to bed.
20 minutes later *BEEP*.
Up again, more waiting--WHICH ONE WAS IT?? But again, nothing.
I considered dismantling all, just ripping them off the walls in quick succession but there's this primal warning that comes to mind that says "Don't do that!" You know if I pulled them all down it would be the night we have a fire. At least that was my reasoning in my near-zombie state. I don't play odds too well after only three hours of sleep.
So I grabbed the one I thought was beeping, pulled out the battery and went back to sleep. 15 minutes later *BEEP*. The beeps were getting closer together, kind of like contractions--which didn't make me feel any better. I tried ignoring it but every 15 minutes I'd get lurched out of my REM with the brutality of a root canal without anesthetic.
Okay maybe I'm exaggerating a little but I'm not pretty when my sleep is taken from me. My precious precious sleep.
By 4:30 am I'd tried three different detectors before figuring out it was the carbon monoxide detector. I reached to yank out the battery like some vicious mechanical appendectomy but wouldn't you know it the battery case was screwed shut with these little tiny teensy screws. I knew I had a screw driver somewhere that would work but there was no way I'd go pawing through the garage in search of the correct tool because too much activity, too much thought and I'd never be able to go back to sleep. Just get up, get the job done and go back to sleep.
Not being able to remove the battery I pitched the vile machine down the stairs and into the family room, buried it under a pile of very fat pillows and stumbled back to bed. Lucky I didn't have a hammer in my hand, in a frenzy of adrenaline I'd probably have smashed the plastic case to pieces and felt much better.
And Andrew slept through it all. It must be a mom thing.
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