Thursday, 4 June 2009

On things that go OUCH in the dark

I am amused at the way this blog more and more closely resembles me. It promises much, too much, vaguely (waffles torment me in my sleep/election posters/prizes) and delivers almost nothing. It is late and poorly organised and frustrating. If I was terribly clever, I could claim that I have deliberately created it in my image. I am not.



Anyway, let me tell you about night time rituals here since at least one of you was interested and if I do it now while I am procrastinating about writing other stuff, it will at least get written.


So.


The CFO Needs His Sleep. Case in point: last night he could not resist watching The Apprentice against his better judgment, so was not in bed until the headily outrageous hour of 11. The dog woke him at 6:30. Perfectly reasonable night's sleep, you think? Me too. Not the CFO who has been thunderous and knocking back Berocca all morning, complaining about his sleep deprivation. As a rule, he is in bed by 10 and asleep by 10:02, perhaps with his glasses still on and an ancient copy of The Economist balanced on his chest, but definitely asleep.


I am not like that. I get tired around midnight, and that doesn't necessarily mean I go to bed then. The internets are calling to me, and when I can no longer see straight I am consumed with guilt at having ignored the dog all evening, so must sit and stroke him for a while. Of course, if he falls alseep with his head on my knee, then it would be cruel and unfeeling to just dump him off. I am a stranger to good sense in any event, so even if the dog doesn't fall aseep with his head in my lap, I may feel compelled to empty the kitchen cupboards, or read a discarded book I find behind the toaster.


As a consequence, I rarely get to bed before 1 or 2 and as you can imagine from the foregoing, it is vitally important that I do not wake the CFO when I do so I must sneak to bed In The Dark. The sneaking must involve locating and putting on pyjamas, brushing teeth, getting into bed. It is fraught.


We have lived in this house for three years, and I know it relatively well, but not well enough in the dead of night. This means that in recent weeks I have caused no end of chaos by getting lost and banging into things in ways that mystify me in daylight.


Look:





This is the bedroom. I have indicated the CFO's side of the bed with a copy of Haute Fidelité magazine, for audio nerds everywhere (in the French speaking world).


Let me take you through some of the pitfalls with one of my special ridiculous annotated photos (yeah, the ones where the annotated bits are so small you have to click on the photo to see them and it's really annoying).






Ok, starting from the far left, which is where I enter the room.


The first hazard is the CFO's bedside table, which seems under the cover of darkness to sneak closer and closer to the door. I must try to avoid bumping into it, spilling cascades of Haute Fidelité and Son et Lumière magazines onto the floor with a deafening crash. Often there is also a wind up torch to fall over discarded somewhere near there. Just In Case. No, I don't know in case of what.


CFO wake up factor: 6.



Next, marked with yellow crosses, the floorboards of doom. I have distributed the crosses at random because it appears to me that the floorboards choose at random on any given night which of them will creak excruciatingly and at length. I swear it's never the same one twice, though I do know that under the larger rug there is an absolute bastard that gets me every time.


CFO Wake up factor: 5



The red skull and crossbones (and goodness, aren't I bad at those? But it was too late and I was too indolent to do anything about it) warns of the dreadful perils of the corner of the mantelpiece, which seems to loom out of nowhere connecting with bits of you it has no right to be in contact with.



Whilst not particularly disruptive to sleeping Frenchmen, this is possibly the most dangerous part of the room in terms of actual injuries. I have a greeny purple bruise on the side of my head from a recent encounter with that corner, which should not be in any way on my route to bed.


CFO Wake up factor: 3 unless pain of impact leads to swearing or sobs.




Next, indicated with the green skull and crossbones, comes the chair, a light, padded, seemingly innocuous thing. But one step too close to and the chair legs reach out and trip you up. Honestly, they do. The next thing you know, you are sprawled face down on the floor getting bollocked for still being awake at 2:15.


CFO Wake up factor: 8



We have nearly reached the bathroom, where I can safely shut myself in, put on the light and get my shit together. However! Watch out for the last cruel hazard. The door handle, placed at an entirely unfeasible height, easier to bang into with your forehead than to actually open. Most evenings I spend a good five minutes in classic Marcel Marceau pose, feeling around for this handle.





CFO Wake up factor: 2; Emma despair factor of 230000.

At this point, my troubles are not necessarily over, because I will be unable to find anything to sleep in and must either risk running the gauntlet of darkness all the way back to find pyjamas, or fashion something out of what I am currently wearing, or what I can find in the bathroom. As a result I often end up sleeping in the CFO's running gear (yik!), or my dressing gown, or a cashmere jumper. No, I can't sleep naked, don't even ask. I need to wear layer upon layer of clothing even when it is very warm. I am sure we split evolutionarily into naked and clothed sleepers for some reason, but it doesn't appear to be genetic since I - god help me, I wish I didn't know this, but unfortunately I do - am the product of two naked sleepers.

Worse still, the bathroom contains one of the Worthy Books I am trying to make myself read. A gift from the divine Mrs Trefusis, I only encounter it late at night, hiding on the bathroom floor and I am perhaps not being fair to it. Whatever, let me say that there may very well be profundity hiding in Adam Philip's Monogamy, but at 3 in the morning with a mantelpiece bruised head wearing a clownish selection of men's running shorts and moth eaten jumper, it sounds like it has been culled from an economy sized pack of fortune cookies.

Bedtime rituals? Incompatible sleeping habits? Tell me all.

32 comments:

hairyfarmerfamily said...

This is all horribly familiar. The Hairy one must be in bed before the witching hour or his tractor turns into a pumpkin the next morning. Or something. Whereas I don't actually get sleepy whilst I remain upright, I actually have to lie down and read a page or two of something light-weight before the yawns start. Hence, I can often be found right at the absolute end of the bloody internet at 2am, whereupon I then do my last rounds of the house picking up discarded socks and tripping over my lurking fat spaniel.

Our bedroom floor is littered with clothes - in fact, they are so thickly strewn that putting a foot to carpet is sometimes hard. Wooden toys with tetanus-inducing spikes lurk below the surface. The Hairy one is generally fast asleep on his belly, his chin buried in Practical Photographer, glasses pushed askew. The last trump will probably not wake him, but WILL wake the toddler, whose metal door-gate I usually manage to deliver a toe-cracking kick to, instead of stepping through it like a normal human being. Idiot.

magpie said...

I have a similar problem but in the mornings. I have a partner who refuses to go to bed anytime before midnight unless he is completely exhausted. it doesn't seem to matter how tired i am... mainly because i am always tired. But then I am the one forced to stay up later than i want to only to have to get up when it's still dark and fumble around to get dressed, etc without causing too much disturbance to the sweetly slumbering man.
He does look terribly attractive when he's all sleepy, which only amkes the whole thing even more difficult. It's an endless cycle of tiring-ness.

rosiescribble said...

I love that room. I want your house! The Apprentice kept me up too. Not sure who I want to win. Possibly Kate.

exromana said...

such a good read. what a treacherous course. btw, your kilims are exquisite- hope they are secured well to the wooden floor, have tripped on them many a time...maybe a skull sign should be sketched on those, too. xoxo

Wife in Hong Kong said...

We are a similar picture of incompatibility: night owl married the lark. I come alive in the evenings after being half asleep all day. He is yawning by 9.30 but is great at getting up in the morning. Sigh.

Chantal said...

I second the above - your house (well, bedroom) looks very gorgeous indeed.

I have to do the bedroom gauntlet run as gentleman friend cannot bear being awake past 11 on a schoolnight. I have cunningly placed my beloved eight year old cheeseplant, Toni, pretty much directly in front of the small gap between a table (hard) and my end of the bed (also hard) and so have to machete my way through every night. Poor Toni. GF always waked up anyway. Bedtime silence: ur doin it rong.

Btw, we also have that little wooden bird! And a wind-up torch come to think of it, which was bought for me as a present. Yes. Thanks.

expateek said...

Am now entirely sure we are married to the same man. My problem is that I fall asleep these days about the same time as Mr D, 10 or 11 or so, but then wake up at 12:34! Or 1:40! Or even 11:16! And I'm awake, awake, awake! I sneak downstairs, fiddle about on the internetz for hours, and then fall asleep on the couch in a deathlike coma from 5am until 6:30, when Mr D kindly brings me coffee "to help me wake up". Ummm hmmm. Kindness or passive-aggressive control? You make the call.

ptooie said...

Perhaps you could sneak into your room during the evening and put sleeping clothes in the bathroom?
I have the dubious joy of getting up when it is still dark, getting dressed in the dark while hubby sleeps (if he's home). When I get home, and I really really want to take off my work clothes right away, I must sneak about in the dark again as he is napping in preparation for going to work at night. Today is one of my days off, I fully intend to get some laundry done today but it will require sorting in the dark as husband is asleep and the room is in blackout.

Mrs Trefusis... said...

You need a small torch, perhaps the kind that attaches to a key ring (on second thought, attach to weepettes collar, dogs less easily lost than keys). I will source and send. Then you can retire to bed in manner befitting a discreet cat burglar.

fabhat said...

My sympathies are with you. Perhaps a sleeping mask and ear plugs for the cfo - then he can remain in silent darkness and you can turn on a small light and not be forced to cat burglar your way to bed.

I either manage to go to bed at the same time as my husband - but we will both read for a few minutes until he unilaterally turns off the light - despite my being in the middle of a chapter. Or I drive him mad taking ages to take out contact lenses, remove hairpins etc etc.
Alternatively I do the creep in to the far side of the bed, past the ironing board, laundry basket, the sharp and knee high bed corners, a pile of clothes and assorted rubbish (mine usually) dumped off the bed onto the floor. If I wake him I get the hmmmuppph of despair...

The Gossamer Woman said...

I am very lucky in that I live by myself and have no one else to consider but me, so my bedtime can darn well be any time I want it to be (depending on what I have to do the next day) and when I go to bed, I can turn lights on and off all over the place. I love it after having been married longer than was good for me. I also went out and bought myself several pairs of decent pajamas, not having to look sexy and alluring anymore.

Welsh Girl said...

I'm thinking the wind up torch is there just in case YOU NEED IT!!!

I am entirel with you on the inability to move the loyal hound off my lap late at night and sudden decisions at 1 in the morning to retile the bathroom, alphabetisie the books in the bookcase, watch rubbish on telly etc etc. Anything rather than going to bed. I am then astonished at my subsequent tiredness the following day....

katyboo1 said...

I usually go to bed at the same time as Jason, but do not sleep before 1 or 2, or 3 etc. I have lots of annoying habits in bed that drive him insane. I steal all the covers, even when awake. I have to lie on my side, then turn over, and then turn back before I go to sleep. I have to have my hair up,away from the nape of my neck, but not in a band, because that would be too easy.

I huff, I sigh, I moan. He likes total darkness and no ventilation. I like the blind half up and the window open. He likes white noise while he sleeps. It drives me crazy.

I have to pee at least four times a night, which also means repeating my stupid rituals every time I get back into bed.

Also, I am blind, and even with my glasses on in the dark, continually run into the blanket chest, the chest of drawers, and trip over the bedside light.

Oh yes. And he sleeps in the raw and I sleep with four layers of clothes on and a hot water bottle even in the blistering heat. And I have to have the covers over my head, which he hates.

Why we are not divorced stuns me.

Sorry about that. Got a bit carried away there.

Persephone said...

I would fain go to bed earlier, but unless I stay downstairs, the Resident Fan Boy will come down and fall asleep in front of his hockey games. (We live in a country with six time zones, so the west coast hockey games go deep into the night.) The Resident Fan Boy is convinced he is dedicated enough to watch said hockey games. I know better. He nods off and ruins his back, sleeping slumped in a sitting position. Far better to banish him to the bedroom where he can at least nod off during the game in bed. This means I come to bed at eleven or later, still needing to wash my face,remove my contact lenses, and brush my teeth, before groping my way to bed with no night vision whatsoever, that's if the RFB has roused himself enough to shut off the set. (If I arrive late for a movie, I have to stand there for fifteen minutes before I can locate my seat in the dark.) Like you, this means a perambulation around to the right side of the bed, trying not to stub my toes on: 1) the standing mirror; 2) the cat's water fountain; 3) the television; 4) the bed; 5)6)7)8)9) the laundrey baskets and containers of younger daughter's books that have failed to fit in her bedroom; 10) my bedtime reading, journals and tissue boxes. If nature calls during the night, and it usually does, the perambulation is reversed with the possible addition of stepping into cat upchuck at the foot of the bed. She sleeps at my feet, and occasionally between my ankles, and if she's been nibbling at the flower arrangements, hoarks up on the quilt, or over the edge. (Word verification is "uppcoust" which probably describes it better.)

Your bedroom looks airy and uncluttered. (You tidied up, didn't you?)

bevchen said...

My boyfriend likes to stay up ridiculously late working then spend all of the next day complaining that he's tired... as if it wasn't his own fault! But even if he did go to bed before me I wouldn't have to worry about waking him up... he can sleep through ANYTHING. Set fire to the room and I swear he would continue slumbering peacefully. Which becomes a problem when he's managed to take over the entire bed AND stolen all the covers - I can't sleep without covers no matter how hot it is. So I then have the fun of trying to get my quilt back from the world's deepest sleeper. Fun.

The City Road said...

Yay, another 'photo with things drawn on', love those - Emma, you really must find a way of recording all the appropriate noises for each scull & crossbones location and I'll make an interactive Waffle game from it for you - we'll need appropriate CFO wake-up factor responses which may be more challenging to capture...

Have had a stiff neck recently (sleeping with too many windows open during cross winds) and so have taken to deliberately wearing cashmere polo necks in bed - feels splendidly decadent I have to say. Though perhaps a bit effete.

Burning Shoulders Girl (AKA now very slightly tanned shoulders girl) happy to sleep in whatever Ralph Lauren linen PJs of mine are clean and refuses to be woken by almost anything. Has some issues with snooze button also.

expateek said...

Yes, and Persephone pointed it out first... you did tidy up! Where are all the sliding stacks of books on the nightstand and on the floor? The toothbrushing cup with its fuzzy algae growth? The false beard? I feel a bit disoriented here... all of the familiar old landmarks are gone!

Jaywalker said...

Expateek/Persephone - the disappearance of the book mountain is related to the death of the pontypines in an oblique way. No pontypines means no aquarium, means more shelf space, means removal of 8000 books from the floor, essentially.

edwynuk said...

Laughed my socks off, the OH has a similar obsession with number of hours sleep and therefore the unsuitable night wear, marcel marceau and purple eruptions are all too familiar.
Even the light from my iPhone is a hindrance to the sleep quota.
Plus the glass of water OH has kindly placed on the night stand more often than not gets knocked over on to the dog whose basket has been placed next to the bed during cat yowling season to intercept any noise nuisance and fodder for death threatening OCD neighbour.....

Evitchka said...

I'm similar to you- stay up late;husband early to bed early to rise; have to creep in;same floorboards; must wear pyjamas; but worse than you- must find ear plugs, bottle of water with cap (easier to drink than glass when in sleeping thirst stupor) indigestion pill (if I've been drinking copious amounts of wine)then I have 3 extra pillows- knee pillow, pillow to put my arms on and ear pillow (this is a tiny pillow because my ears hurt if resting straight onto main pillows (weird I know!. So creeping in late, in the dark, into bed with all this paraphernalia to arrange is a nightmare- the beginning of a night of mares! For example if I can't find one of the 3 extra pillows- it is hell!

Juci said...

1. That mantelpiece looks really dangerous, but I still have massive bedroom envy.
2. You guys need to switch sides, you need to keep a toothbrush in the kitchen/downstairs bathroom/wherever so that you don't have to get to the bathroom in the dark, and keep your pyjamas in the bed. Sorted.
3. We usually go to bed at the same time (11ish, but we really should go earlier, because Andris wakes at 6.23 every day and it just doesn't feel like enough sleep) unless I have some urgent work to do, which is not very often, thank Nathan. When I got pregnant I took the side of the bed that was easier to reach from the door because my balance has never been too great and my movements lack grace, to put it mildly, which was worsened by the giant balloon that my abdomen turned into, plus the disorienting darkness. This way it was a little easier to navigate my way to the loo without incident approximately sixteen hundred times a night. The sleeping arrangements have remained so since (of course I needed to get up for the baby as well for a good while).

Z said...

I'm sorry to be smug yet again - do bear in mind that the Sage and I have been married for 36 years so really should have got our shit sorted by now anyway - but this owl and lark have got things in hand.

The Sage goes to bed sometimes between 9.30 and 11. He slumbers peacefully. I go to bed between 11.30 and 1. I have a bath. I wake the Sage. He has a bath. We happily converse, in words or *whatever*, hem hem, for a while, and then go to sleep at the same time. He usually gets up earlier than I do, which is good as it means we don't have to talk at breakfast time, which I don't care to do. As I'm not available, he has a chat with his bantams while he feeds them their breakfast.

Summer said...

Love this post. A very cute story, hope to see more from you.Have a great day ahead.=)

A Writers Den
The Brown Mestizo

Red Shoes said...

1. You have lovely taste in room decor. Good grief, it looks tidy and pretty. Minimal but warm and welcoming. Ver nice. Love your tiny box of paper art. Beautiful.

2. The City Road's idea of interactive Waffle game is DIVINE. Can you imagine the fun we'd have with that?

3. This post is adorably funny and beautifully vivid. I can picture you navigating these treacherous grounds as though I were there, bumbling around in the dark and taking a mantle corner in the tit with you.

Red Shoes said...

Speaking of things that go ouch in the dark, here's my bedroom. See the sharp stabby thing on the posts? They are exactly at tit level, I sleep on the far side and they catch me straight in the left one every time I have to go to the bathroom in the night. Have probably gotten breast cancer 10x over from lancing them so often.

sexy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Z said...

Red Shoes, how about wrapping some padding round the spike and disguising it by hanging a hat on top? I have to say, I'd only put up with being stabbed once.

rainsinger said...

Gosh, I have Uncluttered Bedroom Envy now. It's a lovely room.

Back in the Olden Days when I slept on a bed and not on a sofa, we went to bed together and I would race to fall asleep first before Z's Snores Of Doom. Otherwise we would engage in complex Snoring Dance in which I would thump him and he would mutter and roll over and then I still wouldn't be asleep and thump him again and then he'd wake up for a bit while I tried to race towards sleep etc.

Then I developed a habit of falling asleep on a sofa while we lay watching a movie and refusing to be removed from it much to Z's fury. He'd eventually give up and go to bed and I'd join him around 3am and then we'd do the Snore Dance etc.

Now of course we are like ships that pass in the living room. I have Evil Coursework Imminent so in order to study I have taken to sleeping in the living room. I fall asleep on the sofa betwen 10-11pm (sometimes in mid-conversation) and I sleep until 3-4 am at which point I wake up to do a few solid hours of work before the child wakes up and makes academia impossible. Meanwhile Z plays a few hours of computer games and retires to the bed and then we intersect over coffee in the morning. I sleep draped in cats and unbothered by snores, while Z nests comfortably in a pile of magazines, lost earrings and clothes that litter my side of our bed.

Provincial Lady said...

Another vote for a beautiful room here - gorgeous! Amazing what good things can come from the death of fish. As well as, say, battered fish and chips, another very good thing from dead fish, and one I had an excellent example of for lunch.
My sleeping's the other way round from yours though - I need to sleep reasonably early or zombiness and inexusable absentee-ism ensues. However, other half is more like you, can stay up for hours on end doing not very much, then can't sleep and ends up asleep all the next day, eventually becoming entirely nocturnal. I have to pre-empt this by forcing him to stop compulsively internetting/gaming/watching crap telly and make him go to bed, but as I'm always in bed way before him I have to keep half an ear open for as long as possible to detect the tell tale sounds of no-intention-of-sleeping. Then when I do go to bed, I have to unwind a bit by doing crosswords, and he tells me off for it and says I should be trying to get to sleep!

screamish said...

i cant believe it.

you have the bedroom i thought i was going to have when i was 20 and fantasized about surfaces and parquet floors and click clacky heels as i arrived home from my noble but well-paid job saving the world to drop the keys to my old but cool car into a blue glazed ceramic artisan bowl.

researchers claim that people who can visualize their goals in detail are more likely to achieve them- but frankly, they lied in a pig's eye.

Jaywalker said...

I am late replying. I am a shithead, sorry.

HFF - yes, that all sounds very similar, doesn't it? If I want to read late at night, I have to shut myself in the bathroom. It's rubbish.

magpie - oh dear, sympathies. The mornings sound hard.

rosiescribble - hmm, they are both awful. That's what makes it so horribly watchable..

exromana - oh, yes, the arse bruising kilim slide. A great favourite.

Wife in HK - there must be an answer, but who knows what it might be..

Chantal - you have the Palo Samko bird too?! Yay! I really want to meet Toni the cheese plant now.

expateek - I could not possibly opine. Perhaps it varies depending on the day?

ptooie - pitch dark laundry sorting, now there's an activity I've never thought of before. Poor you.

Mrs Trefusis - ooooh yes. Actually, I have one of those in my present cupboard. Maybe I will liberate it?

fabhat - oh god, a single light would be an absolute deal breaker. I am allowed my very very faint light on if I go to bed early enough, but it's entirely outlawed for late night sneaking.

Gossamer - don't, I'll cry. That sounds wonderful.

Welsh Girl - yes. Suddenly these things seem absolutely intolerable and must be dealt with at 1am. Mystery.

katyboo - I am never sharing a bed with you. You sound terrible.

Persephone - oh god. Late night cat sick. I am appalled.

Bevchen - maybe you need 2 duvets? People do that. I have heard about it.

City Road - YES. I want an interactive waffle game. Gimme gimme.

expateek - I confess, the bedroom is relatively tidy. But I didn't do it for the purposes of this post. It was an accident, sorry.


edwynuk - oh dear, you too. what to do? separate bedrooms? I am at a loss.

evitchka - I am fascinated by the ear pillow. what does such a thing look like?

Juci - yeah, but SWAPPING? The world will cease to spin! Impossible. In all other places, I always take the door side; why I have ended up on non-door side here is a mystery.

Z - you are so wise. But also, the Sage is very tolerant. If I were to dare wake the CFO the consequences would be bloody and terrifying.

Red Shoes - look! Your BEAUTIFUL calendar is on my bedside table! Did you spot it? I LOVE IT. Also, your bedroom is also beautifully minimal. If dangerous.

rainsinger - I rather like the sound of your arrangements. Yes, it is a great room, and it leads on to an adult sitting room type space with music and books and elegant sitting space. It's the only part of the house that doesn't look like shit and that's because WE NEVER USE IT. Also, I am very familiar with The Snoring Dance. Very.

Provincial Lady - yes, dead fish have not died in vain. we have decluttered. I will show you a pic of where they used to be maybe soon, and you can see just how welcome their sacrifice was.

Screamish - yes, the bedroom is very lovely but oh, think of the rest of it (house, Things, dog shit, living inside my head). The trade off is tricky.

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