Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?

My uncle gave Dave and I his frequent flyer points as a wedding gift so we could go to Australia a year after we were married. We had an amazing time and stayed in every level of accommodation from relatives' couches to a five-star resort and everything else in between. We spent a week in a campervan driving up the Great Barrier Reef coast. It was spectacular.

The farther north we drove, though, the more tropical it became. To me, tropical equals snakes, and snakes equal RUN!!!!

One day, while we were visiting an aquarium, Dave spotted a handout labelled Snakes of the Local Area. Dave's theory, before I read the pamphlet, was that ignorance bred fear and that once I discovered that there were, oh, three harmless breeds of snakes, I would stop my vigilance. His theory after I read the pamphlet was that ignorance was bliss. There were 39 different breeds of snakes, including the second deadliest in the world, and a large number of large constrictors among the non-venomous snakes. These constrictors liked open, cool buildings - like the public washrooms we had to use in our campgrounds at night. Needless to say, I took to limiting my liquid intake and peeing in buckets at night.

Today, I feel like I read another such pamphlet. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the responsibilities in my life and I decided to make a list of the pressing ones. The pressing ones, I tell you. Not everything. And not a subdivided list showing the responsibilities in each responsibility. The conclusion: RUN!!!!

I guess the only good thing in this is that none of the snakes appear poisonous. It's all good stuff. But still, they're slithery and there are a lot of them. And peeing in a bucket won't help this time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sleep and Time

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.

~William Shakespeare, Macbeth

I get what Shakespeare was saying here. Sleep is a beautiful thing. I'm not a bad sleeper, either, in the sense that I generally fall asleep soon after my head hits the pillow and more or less stay that way until morning. The challenge is getting my head onto the pillow.

My babies woke up to eat like clockwork at 2 and 5 am. I couldn't budge this and learned what it was to function as a sleep-deprived person.

When the kids were small, my day never began in the morning. It began the night before. The way the night went would determine the whole course of the next day: would the kids be cranky? would the mom be a zombie?

Just as the last of the kids were getting past that night-waking stage, I fell into the habit of writing fiction and the related condition of self-induced sleep deprivation.

I like when the house gets quiet and I know that no one is going to interrupt me. Late night is a great time to get into the zone, to sort out all sorts of creative things.

The problem is that family life starts early in the morning. I don't like that I sleep in later than I should. I don't like that I wander bleary-eyed for quite some time in the morning, in slow motion. I don't like the mad rush when I finally do come to life.

A good mom, I think, makes muffins and has a load of laundry on and a portion of the Bible read long before her cherubs roll out of bed. And I like being that mom too. I love the sense of being the only one in the world to see the sunrise. I enjoy the feeling of productivity of getting my household in order. Occasionally I even experience this.