Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The four degrees of tired

At the moment, perhaps even more than when the spawn were tiny, I'm exploring the outer frontiers of tired. Noone sleeps. Nessun fucking dorma. Fingers has a consumptive cough and "mauvaises pensées", as he whispers to me, tugging on my ear in the wee small hours that should not exist. Lashes hates exams and school and closing his eyes and needs to discuss DEATH. The dog keeps getting itself snarled up in the duvet cover and asphyxiating itself by wrapping discarded bras around its neck and needing to be rescued. I need to sit up and twitch until I can barely see for no apparent reason other than evolutionarily disastrous stupidity.

I am not a proper insomniac, and I function very badly without sleep. I am filled with admiration for people who cope. People who cope on no sleep: you are fucking amazing. I have identified four separate grades of tired evening in my current canon.

1. Irritably tired
(5-6 hours sleep)

Snappy. Itchy eyes, and irresistible urge to rub them, smearing eye liner all over face. Everyone forced to eat pasta. Clear up as if wading through treacle. Sit slackjawed in front of screen for far too long, doing nothing. Go to bed eventually in jumper and tracksuit bottoms after sketchy facewash and lame poke at teeth with toothbrush.

Stock phrase: "OH FOR GOD'S SAKE".

2. Fuck off, world tired
(4-5 hours sleep)

Irrationally shouting for no good reason. Strange itchy growths in corners of eyes to be rubbed until whole face becomes red and itchy. (No make up to rub off - too tired to apply). Oven chips for everyone. No attempt to clear up - dump all plates in sink and go to bed still half clothed. No face washing. Take toothbrush to bed and spit out into a water glass.

Stock phrase: "OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE".

3. Red mist tired
(3-4 hours sleep)

Eye-poppingly filled with undirected rage, alternating with crying jags. Red craters where eyes should be. English and French meld into one incomprehensible mass of self-pitying, whiny crap. Tell children to scavenge for their own dinner in kitchen cupboards. Shout at them when they uncover stash of Wispa Golds. Eat whatever is on the kitchen counter - cucumber peel, old congealing bowls of breakfast cereal, phone bills, while thinking Sad Thoughts. Go to bed fully clothed, but remove bra, because, you know, I still have standards. Take toothbrush to bed but forget to use it. Consider peeing in water glass rather than staggering 5 yards to the loo, but decide just to hold it in until morning.

Stock phrase: "I just can't stand it" (delivered in quavering sob to totally indifferent audience)

4. Dead tired
(2-3 hours sleep)

Catatonic. Face looks like an abandoned bowl of gruel. Itchy from head to foot and use up remaining shred of energy scratching. Too feeble to either shout or cry. Dry rattling noise comes from throat when I try to speak. Vaguely aware of presence of some children at one point, not sure where they came from or who they are. Lose track of them once they both have a jumbo box of Swan Vestas , 20 Woodbines and the Racing Post. Sit down "just for a minute" in full work clothes, including tights, bra and possibly shoes. Wake up five hours later with dog sitting whimpering on my head, wearing my best Aubade (unearthed from previous night somewhere down bed) tangled around its neck. If I had a water glass I would definitely pee in it. I don't. I probably ate it in my sleep.

Stock phrase: none, see above. A sort of guttural rasping noise at best.

This week has been a 2-3, and there was a delightful 4 on Sunday night, but today was a 1. I am so very proud. Progress!


Unknown said...

Melatonin. That's all I'm going to say.

Waffle said...

Is it approved for dogs and under 8s, knackered mother? I do hope so.

fountain pen sue said...

I noes the tired. I was wide awake this morning at 4. When I got back from work I searched the bastard house for something I promised to a colleague's 7 year old daughter. Needless to say it could not be found and I spent some time Wailing. So then I did cleaning and had a coat audit. More Wailing. We have so many fucking coats. Not so many now though. On the up side, I found a Mulberry handbag under the stairs that I forgot I had and M&S are doing FRENCH! as in made in FRANCE! mini macaroons. They are quite lovely in an M&S sort of way and I have had two for my supper with a glass of fizz. Also, Mr FP popped round at the weekend to see the child and left a cheque. When he buggered off I drove to Majestic and spent most of it on Cloudy Bay and Moet. I know. The guilt. Pah. Hope some decent sleep comes soon to all of you. xxx

katyboo1 said...

You have my sympathy but no tips. If you get any good ones I am all ears. The itching eyes. OMG. It is too, too much. I have rubbed mine so much I am now looking through the back of own head.
Good luck.xx

the polish chick said...

sweet lord, insomnia. i have suffered it for years, i have finally gotten little blue pills from doctor and i take them half at a time only at the worst moments, not because i want my liver to be spotless and drug-free (hah!) but because i fear over-using to the point of them losing all effectiveness and then what shall i do? i can hardly get pissed on a work night just to pass out. patients would surely not appreciate booze breath on their dental health provider.

as such, by the way, i applaud your dental hygiene attempts. hurray for you. to multitask, you could floss with bra straps.

so, what worked for me? well, moving to british columbia, canada's most wonderous province, suddenly made me not be an insomniac. it practically happened overnight and i highly recommend it. we DO have a spare bedroom but the house isn't anywhere near child-proof, but come on down. every bloody day you see bald eagles, seals, deer and other crazy beasties. no tiny little bats, though.

Titian red said...

Why have you been watching me through my computer - this is an invasion of privacy...... how did you arrange for my WV to be "liked" because that is a LIE, sleep and like yes, no sleep and like = big fat fib

Phoenix Berries said...

This is brilliant and hilarious and sounds exactly like having a newborn but without the hormones to make you have to pee in the cup at stage 4. I hope you get miraculous levels of sleep upwards of 7 hours soon.

wv: pedism. hmm. no comment.

Margaret said...

Oh girl. You are breaking my heart. I also do not do well without sleep. I'm married to a chronic insomniac who doesn't understand that I need 8 solid a night. Not 7 1/2, not 5, not even 8 with numerous interruptions. I need 8 dead to the world. When I was single and exhausted I sometimes just unhooked the bra. And I get itchy when I'm excessively tired, too! What in the fucking fuck is up with THAT?

teddy said...

have you tried drugging?! you and the kids?! and possibly the dog?!

Chantal said...

I know it's wrong but that post really made me laugh (WITH you, WITH you, you know I'm not a bastard).

I second melatonin though, it's a work of pure genius.

See you (literally! Gasp) at the Craftacular xx

Waffle said...

Bring melatonin with you Chantal. Yay, we will finally meet. And it's ok! You can laugh! You might laugh less if you knew just how little exaggeration for effect there is.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what is with the itching? It's the maddening corner of the eye itch that drives me insane.

My niece is very interested in death and doom at the moment. I was very uncomfortably quizzed a little while ago at when EXACTLY I would die.
And when did I become old enough to have question directed at me to begin with 'in the olden days....?'

Anything cooked in the oven is healthy and wholesome. No need for guilt there.

We should have a meet up at Brasserie Georges soon. I'll send you home filled to the brim with kir royale so you sleep like a baby. Of course the next day will be a 4, but you can't have everything.

Waffle said...

It was fucking grim, Fran, that aubergine disastro-bake. I'd rather a nice onglet and frites at Brasseries Georges any day.

Chantal said...

No shit, I actually do have some melatonin. If I can dig it out of my recently-moved heap it's yours.

The Spicers said...

Melatonin never worked for me and Tylenol PM is better than Ambien. But if it's children waking you up, as is frequently the case in my house, there's not much you can do. We get up 2-3 times a night to test my son's blood sugar, so I sympathize; I haven't had a full night's sleep since 2004. No option of being in a comatose state of deep sleep for the foreseeable future. I hope the night-waking will pass for you.

Lisa-Marie said...

the husband is ill, so he sneezes all the way through the night, and coughs, and then wakes up and puts the light on at 4am when i have to get up at 5 becuase he can't find his inhaler.

I had 4 hours sleep last night, got up at 5, and went to look after a 2 year old who has the same illness,a dn is at the same time the most energetic child that every there was. I have it too, but of course I have to get on with it. It's lucky that I enjoy my work generally.

I kind of wish someone would shoot me, but I'm going to Poland on friday, so maybe they could do it when i come back?

Lisa-Marie said...

Oh, also, for the eyes - get some crystal clear eye drops. I get the itch whenever i am worried abotu things, which is alot, and it totally sorts it out.

bevchen said...

The itchy eyes thing is terrible. Having to stare at a computer all day totally makes it worse as well (which would explain why I then come home and sit in front of the computer rather than going to bed. Ummm)

Anonymous said...

Probably late with this, but in case you get another veggie box this week, there are several things you can do with aubergines that are quite delicious, even if you're not a real fan of aubergines.

1) Slice them into 1/2 cm thick rounds, dip into cold water for a minute (to remove the sour-tasting fluid that comes from cutting them), dry them with kitchen towel. Then dip them in flour so they're coated in white and fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Drizzle with salt and serve hot with tzatziki, hummus or another dip. This is also a good option for courgettes /zucchini - doesn't take too long to prepare.

2) Like no. 1, except dip them in beaten egg first and then in flour (makes a thicker batter). Actually, cauliflower is quite delicious in batter too.
Another variation would be to use Japanese tempura batter, which is an excellent option for all kinds of vegetables. Serve with soy sauce. The kids would probably (well, they might, it's worth a try) like carrots and peppers in tempura, dipped in soy (or sweet n sour) sauce.

3) Delicious Lebanese aubergine dip, baba ghanoush http://www.lebaneserecipes.com/BabaGhanoush.htm

4) Moussaka? You could try to convince the children that it was a new kind of lasagne...

Can't really help with the turnips though...

M. said...

I'm at the 5th stage, where you are so tired of crafting that you just want to kick things. Gaaaaaaah.

Waffle said...

M - But your puny hunchbank does not allow you to kick. Every surface is covered in baking crap. and everyone hates you. yeah, I am familiar with it.

also, I think I've got kitchenaid tinnitus.

Juci said...

Go to bed. NOW.
(And I see the Etsy store is up and running, yay! Now off to bed with you.)

Nimble said...

After I had my first baby and was seriously sleep deprived I realized what a hazard I was on the road. It put into perspective my rush to judgment against other pinheaded drivers. I decided to try and have an ounce more patience with (stupid! crappy!) drivers because maybe they had good reasons for being distracted too.

Chloe said...

You express so well what we often feel! xx

MadameSmokinGun said...

Hello there. I've forgotten what 'a good night's sleep' actually is again. I'll have to look it up on Wiki. I'm way beyond taking off make-up and bra. If I make it upstairs at all it's a fucking miracle. And if I do, I don't make it back down the next day until the biscuit tin is totally empty, there's a couple of poos in the potty, some children missing and a man with a clipboard at the front door. This is on a good day.

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