17 February 2012

File not found ...

Sleep deprivation is a powerful thing. I, without being a total showoff, am an obsessively organised person. I have to be … I’m a Mum to two kids and have a 40-hour-a-week job organising things. Not only is it in my nature, it’s in my job description.

So when I start being a complete ditz, the world can be a dangerous and chaotic place. And when I’ve had two weeks of very late nights and very busy days, followed by a week of very broken, interrupted and scant sleep, I become a complete ditz.

Let’s see … last weekend, I decided hubby and I should go to the movies – this was a big deal; we go to the movies about once a year. I had purchased a deal online that meant I could get movie tickets for $8 if I also bought them online. EIGHT dollars – crikey, that’s almost how little I used to pay when I first started going to the movies. So despite being perpetually broke, I decided that was worth it. So it came about that about midday Saturday I took to the phones, found us a babysitter and bought some tickets online.
Now, the first problem was that the only lovely friend I could find to watch our kids lives in West Auckland (and we live in quite-far-north-Auckland – about 30–40 minutes’ drive away). And she could take our kids if we went to the 1.40pm movie. Now the other problem was that at the time of purchase, it was midday. Not so bad, but we’d opted for the slow-start kind of Saturday morning and we had yet to get showered, dress the kids, feed the kids lunch, return the DVD to the shop and put petrol in the empty car. So we panicked … bought the tickets, had the showers, made sandwiches for the kids to eat in the car, zoomed to the video shop and took off down the highway, praying we’d make it to the petrol station on the way. I didn’t want to go to the local petrol station, I wanted to go to the one that was halfway there … get a bit of mileage under our wheels, so to speak. So we ended up at a petrol station we’d not been to before. When we went to leave we discovered that, instead of an exit to the right, back onto the highway from which we’d come, there was only an exit to the left. Into the wilds of suburbia, full of ‘no exit’ cul-de-sacs and curvy crescents. Being late for a movie, sleep deprived, stressed and … lost … is not a good mix. We remained lost for about 10 minutes until a random guess got us out onto a highway on the other side of suburbia. When I get a moment, I am going to write to that petrol station and tell them that a simple sign would be nice! Some direction along the lines of “How to get the heck out of here” would be good. Please.

So, we were on our way, finally. I concocted a great plan. I’m really good at fast plans. In fact, together, hubby and I are great at fast plans. And back-up plans as things change – which they do when you have two kids. You have to make plans up on the run. So that’s what we did. I said “I’m going to drop you off at the movie theatre, you go and pick up our tickets, while I go drop the kids off, then you see the first bit of the movie and I’ll text you when I get there and you come out with my ticket and let me in – okay?” Once I repeated my plan, he got the idea and reluctantly agreed. So, we had a plan. And then I missed the exit for the mall. Why the sign didn’t say “Mall” instead of “Henderson” I’m sure I don’t know. So then it was onto plan ‘c’. Which was actually plan ‘a’ back again in a slightly faster form. This one entailed pulling up at our friend’s house, turfing the kids out and burning rubber back up the highway to hopefully catch most of the movie. It mostly worked. We even found a park right outside the theatre! We quick-marched into the theater and gabbled “we’re really late, but can we still get into this movie – we bought tickets online”. The lady was really nice. But her words weren’t. They went something like this “You’re at the wrong cinema. These tickets are for the cinema in Massey.”

Sigh. We listened to the directions for Massey (supposedly about a 10-minute drive – if you know where you’re going … we didn’t). We listened to the alternatives (buying tickets at full price for this movie and hoping for a refund on the online tickets. Even in my ditzy hopeful state I figured a refund for being an idiot wasn’t likely and I sure as heck didn’t want to shell out full price for a movie I’d already bought at half price!). We decided to go for it. So we took off like our tails were on fire. And discovered that you can’t turn right out of the mall to get back on the highway (sound familiar?). You have to go left, drive to the roundabout and do a giant u-turn. So when we got to the roundabout and saw a sign for ‘Massey’ we figured to throw all caution to the wind and ‘go the back way’. To a mall we didn’t even know existed. While the map reading, prone-to-road-rage-and-stress-when-lost half of this relationship was driving. And the hard-to-stress-out, I’ll-be-calm-if-it-kills-me-but-not-particularly-good-at-giving-directions-to-the-driver half was reading the map. Yeah – I know – recipe for disaster wasn’t it! But we actually made it!
But – remember, this movie started at 1.40 … it was now 2.20. How long are movies these days anyway? On the way, I could actually physically feel the decline from ‘this is funny and we’ll miss a bit of the movie but who cares, we’ve got time away from the kids for the first time in months’ through to ‘this isn’t really funny, but it’s a bit of an adventure’ and off the edge into ‘I’ve wasted my precious pocket money and we’ve missed the movie and I’m such an idiot and I’m going to cry’. So when we got to the movie theatre, my shoulders were slumped, my sad face was on and I was quite prepared to cry on the ticket person. But I didn’t have to! The nice man told us we were not alone; that about ten people a day go to the wrong movie theatre! Oh – I forgot to tell you, the one I booked was at WestCity and the one I went to was WestGate. Or vice versa. I’m actually still a bit confused. But you can see how it happened, right? Anyway, he issued us tickets for the shoot-em-up American rubbish we’d been hoping to see and then promptly swapped them for the next movie about to show, which happened to be Sione’s wedding 2. So we saw a movie. We had ice creams (the ice creams were better than the movie, but by that time I’d moved back up to “who cares, it’s time away from the kids” so it was ok). And we had a story to tell.

Moving on to a bit later in the week … I had a dentist appointment after work. And after the dentist appointment I popped in to see my friend who had a baby last week. I had a lovely time. I helped out a bit. I held the baby. I gave some advice. I listened a bit. I talked a bit. Then I realized it was 7.30 and my own kids would be in bed by the time I got home, so I thought I better get on my way. I was halfway home when I realized … my hubby was supposed to be in a rehearsal at 7.30. In the city. It takes about half an hour to get to the city. Which meant that by the time I got home, he would be about … ooh … I dunno, quick calculation … AN HOUR AND A HALF LATE. Oh. My. God. Worse than the horror of realizing what I’d just done to his evening, and that of the band with whom he was rehearsing (or not, as the case may be) was the horror of realizing what I’d just done! Things DON’T just slip my mind. I don’t just forget stuff!! In my head, I have entire filing cabinets of useful things going on. I have wall planners lining the insides of my brain. I have entire issues of journals lined up and ready to publish. I have work meetings, appointments and deadlines stacked in neat piles. I have Ruby’s school schedule all mapped out. I have our social calendar on tap at a moment’s notice. And I know when his rehearsals are, when his nights out are and where I’m supposed to be. And I had stalled. I had got a ‘no files located’ message. I drove home with my mouth hanging open in shock. Me – human? Fallible? Surely not. Tired – yes, ok, I’ll go with tired.

It actually got worse. When he came home that night, at 11.30pm, I was still up. Funnily enough, I was writing the previous blog post about not getting any sleep. Go figure. We chatted (he’s very forgiving, my husband!), we talked about the coming week. I talked about going to see my friends with the new baby tomorrow night and taking them dinner. About the same time as he realized I thought I was having the car, I realized he needed the car. Tomorrow was Wednesday. Wednesday is Kindy day. Kindy is miles from nowhere and you need a car to get there. My mouth went back to hanging open in shock. Strike two – was I getting Alzheimer’s??? We went through plans a, b, c, d, and finally got to e – where I worked from home on Wednesday until he got home from kindy and then I took the car. Thank goodness I work with a truly enlightened team leader in a family- (and idiot-) friendly workplace.

Happy with the new plan, we got into bed. And then he said “Oh, by the way, happy Valentine’s Day” and I said “oh shit”

14 February 2012

Ahh, sleep ...

One of my wonderful friends has just had a baby, and she and her husband are now experiencing the rite of parenthood that is ‘going without sleep for days on end just when you need it most’. Ah, the joys. Their experiences, their texts “got 2 hours sleep last night”, “finally got to sleep at 5am”, and their tired but deeply besotted faces are bringing it all back to me. I have posted on this topic before, but as every parent knows, it’s one that is dear to our hearts and we all have fond memories of lying in bed all day and some of us have vague hopes of doing it again in some distant future.

Sleep has become an odd demon for me of late. I recently dropped my dose of antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication down by 50%. Yes, that was quite a drop and apparently not the way you’re supposed to do it. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it – I felt like vomiting for a whole week and instead of dropping off to sleep, every worry and anxiety that I had ever entertained came back to say hello in the dark of the night. Not pleasant … if you’re ever thinking of doing something silly like that, go see your doctor first. However, I digress. My point was going to be that, on my previous dose, these lovely drugs would make me sleepy. Quickly. In fact, I would take one, get ready for bed, lie down and … schlop … asleep. Magic. If I got woken up within the next two hours, I would feel intensely ill, which does make it hard to be nice to whichever little person has arrived at my bed, but that’s another story for another day. On my new half (lowest possible, yay for me, might I add!) dose, I don’t get any magic sleepiness. None. Zip. Hello, wide awakeness! It’s been over 2 years since I had to think about how to get to sleep and I’m having to work hard to remember to do things like relax, think happy thoughts, breathe steadily and from the belly … etc.

So on Sunday night, when I went to bed early because I knew I’d had way too many late late late nights, I wasn’t happy when it panned out like this …

9.30pm. In bed, lights out
9.45pm. Bugger – still awake, forgot I have to put myself to sleep. Chat to husband. Get grunts in return. Try to make body go loose and floppy.
10.00pm. Still awake. Try lying on my back.
10.15pm. Oh. My. God. Still. Awake. Go back to side.
11.05. Crap, still awake! Right – concentrate … lie flat, relax forehead, relax eyes, relax mouth, relax neck. I wonder what will happen about that email I sent at work. Oops, supposed to be relaxing. Relax forehead, relax eyes, I think I could have worded it better. But I’m prepared to stand by what I said. Perhaps we could have a meeting, that might be better than emailing. Oops, supposed to be relaxing. Relax forehead. No, that’s not working. Lie on my side. Come face to face with small child. Oh! Hello! What are you doing standing silently by my bed?! Cold? Come and have a cuddle. Yes, lie on my arm so I lose all feeling in it, perfect.
11.30 Ok, time to go back to your bed. Yes, you can lie so you can see Ruby. Yes, I’ll put your duvet on you. O-kayyy, I’ll put it on you the right way. Yes, you can have a kiss. Yes, you can have a kiss on the other cheek too. Are we right now? Ok, night night, off to sleep, good girl.
11.35 Lie on back, let’s start from the toes this time. Relaxed toes, relaxed feet, feel warmth moving up legs as whole body starts to relax, hey this might be working, am feeling sleepy … ahhh, dozing.
Midnight. Bright light … well, hello Leah, did you have to shove the door WIDE open like that? Yes, ok, another cuddle. Ok, I’m going to put you back in your warm bed now. Yes, that noise is just the wind. No, you’re quite safe, look, Ruby is fast asleep. Ok, you cuddle caterpillar. Ok, night night. You stay in your bed now, ok? Ok.
12.05am. Back in bed. Assuming restful dozing position – starting to doze. Feck, I can hear footsteps. Hello Leah – you’re scared? Ok, it is a bit windy isn’t it. Want to sleep in our bed? Ok, in you get. Daddy, move over. Bless the lovelies who gifted us a super king-size bed. Yes, I’ll get your pillow for you. Yes, and caterpillar. Ok, you want to hold my hand, fine, done. Now go to sleep. Ahh, quiet child, quiet husband (kind of) … dozing.
Full sleep.
More blessed full sleep.
2.00am. Wide awake. Not sure why. Hmm, had 2 hours – bliss. Lifting very asleep very heavy child … bugger, who shut the door? Probably me seeing as I was the last one through it. Manage to open door while holding very asleep very heavy child in both arms, not quite sure how. Maneuver comatose child into sleeping position, cover with duvet, retrieve pillow and caterpillar from our bed, place in correct positions, creep out door.
2.05am. Curled in fetal position in my bed. Calculate it’s 3.5 hours until alarm goes off so I can go and run in the dark. Reach out and adjust alarm to ‘spent all night traipsing up and down the bloody hall’ time and resign myself to staying fat for a bit longer.
2.45am. Meee-orrrrr-owwwwllllll-grrrr-arrrrgh. Holy Mother of God what is that noise?!!!!! Who’s murdering my children? Spring to fully awake in seconds. Hmm, even without much medication that’s enough to make me feel sick. Oh, not murder, effing cats. There will be murder. Is it murder if it’s a cat?? Lie in bed and swear every bad word I know while husband opens door and chases cats away.
3.00am. Body has evidently decided it’s pointless going back to sleep.
3.05am. Relaxing forehead …
6.00am. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. More swearing.
6.05am. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. More swearing.
6.10am. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. More swearing.
6.15am. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. More swearing. Slowly drag myself upright. Peep in on completely comatose children. Consider poking the youngest one so she knows how it feels. Realise that would be decidedly counter-productive. Get ready for work. Mumble to self about bloody kids, bloody cats, who’s bloody idea was it to drop the drugs, bloody work, bloody sleep. Get text from friend with new baby, happy to have 2 hours sleep. Buck my ideas up and be glad they mostly sleep through these days!!