Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sleepy Time is a Happy Time...an Elusive and Insufficient Time, too...




I often wonder to myself why I’m always so f-ing tired. I generally get a decent amount of sleep, and take naps as frequently as my kids will allow. Yes, I’m 5 months along in my surrogate pregnancy so I can chalk it up to baby induced fatigue, but even before all this I was unendingly bushed. Yes, I have two young, very energetic, very strong-willed, very loud chilluns, but so do lots of people. Some people have way more than two, and I can’t even fathom being able to keep up with the incessant demands of so many, not to mention even more conflict management. 

Then it occurred to me that I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in years...since before we got married six years ago, perhaps. Alright, maybe a few lucky nights here and there, but I sleep so light that I wake up if the cat farts in the next room (do cats even fart?). Between a 6’6” 200+ lb husband who snores like a chainsaw and sleeps like a rock, three restless dogs, one nocturnally lively cat, an overactive pregnant bladder, and two needy kids, I am constantly waking up. 

Let’s say I go to bed around 10pm. If all goes well, I got the kids down around 8—maybe 9 by the time they finally quit hollering from their rooms for various reasons. When Dooley’s on the day shift (5:30am-5:30pm with at least an hour commute each way, poor guy), he’s passed out on the couch at least by 9pm, having been awake since 3:30am that morning. He may or may not be rouse-able so he may or may not be coming to bed with me. If he stays on the couch (and the kids stay asleep), I might get a few hours of solid sleep because hey, no snoring bear to punch till he rolls over every five minutes. 

But lately Tuesday has been waking up several times a night for no apparent reason; sometimes she quiets right down, but sometimes it’s the “night terror” crap that Dirt has mostly outgrown, where they scream and cry inexplicably but are inconsolable because they’re asleep. It’s the worst. At least it’s not so violent with Tuesday, because she’s small and less intense. When Dirt had them more often he would thrash around like a kid coming out from general anesthesia—and he’s a surprisingly strong little fella. 

Here’s an example of a standard night (times approximated):

8:00pm: Kids in bed.

9:00pm: Kids finally asleep and quiet…or so I think.

9:30pm: Dirt gets up and says he has to go potty. Then “I have a hug and kiss for you.”

10:00pm: Me in bed, asleep the moment I lie down.

10:30pm: Pete (border collie puppy) is chewing on a bone or something in his kennel. It is remarkably noisy.

11:00pm: Tuesday wakes up crying for no reason. I go pee while I’m up.

12:00am: Dooley gets up off the couch and comes to bed, after loudly fumbling around in the bathroom.

12:30am: Dooley's snoring.

1:00am: Tuesday wakes up crying again. I go pee while I’m up.

1:30am: Bruce (mastiff mix) is scratching so loudly his back foot thumps the floor from the living room like someone angrily pounding on our front door. 

2:00am: Hotdog (the cat) walks across me with his pokey little paws and purrs loudly in my face.

2:30am: Dooley's snoring and eating in his sleep.

3:00am: Tuesday falls out of bed and is crying. I go pee while I’m up. 

3:30am: Dooley’s alarm starts going off. He uses his phone alarm, which is louder and more abrasive than any radio/clock alarm you can imagine. It’s on the loudest setting with the most jarring possible ringtone, and he pushes the snooze button for at least thirty minutes. Every. Morning. Freakishly, he could sleep right through it, but it jolts me right out of my sleep into near-panic mode in which I punch the hell out of him until he turns it off. Every. Five. Minutes.
I recently read a short story by Mark Twain called “The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm”, which describes the way a faulty burglar alarm wakes up the homeowners, which feels eerily similar to the way Dooley’s alarm wakes me up: “…the first effect of that frightful gong is to hurl you across the house, and slam you against the wall, and then curl you up, and squirm you like a spider on a stove lid, till somebody shuts the kitchen door. In solid fact, there is no clamor that is even remotely comparable to the dire clamor which that gong makes. Well, this catastrophe happened every morning regularly at five o'clock, and lost us three hours sleep; for, mind you, when that thing wakes you, it doesn't merely wake you in spots; it wakes you all over, conscience and all, and you are good for eighteen hours of wide-awakeness subsequently--eighteen hours of the very most inconceivable wide-awakeness that you ever experienced in your life.”

4:00am: Dooley finally turns the damn thing off and actually gets out of bed. I breathe a sigh of relief until I realize I need to pee again so I stumble to the bathroom, eyes glued shut, and then go back to hiding under the covers. There’s ten or so minutes of Dooley clamoring about as he gets dressed and gets some food in the kitchen—all cabinets and microwaves and closets slammed in drowsy carelessness. I think he secretly (or not-so-secretly) resents the fact that I get to stay in bed several more hours, and so he turns on bright lights and makes no attempt to keep quiet. In doing so all the animals in the house are also roused and I’m still wide awake from the alarm. I hug him goodbye and then try with all my might to go back to sleep.

4:30am: Hotdog is meowing at the door to go outside. I throw a pillow at him.

5:00am: Hotdog is meowing at the door again. I throw another pillow and stomp on my bed like a kid throwing a tantrum till he runs out. Much to my dismay, I see a tiny bit of pale blue in the sky but do my best to catch a few more precious Z’s. 

6:45am: The alarm starts going off on my phone. It is on the lowest possible volume and the softest, nicest ringtone available. I press the snooze button until about 7:00am, when I finally pour myself out of our ridiculously tall bed and stagger out of the room.

I have no idea what on God’s green earth compelled me to sign Dirt up for morning preschool, seeing as no one in our family is even remotely a morning person, other than Tuesday. Normally the kids sleep until 8 or so, after which we have a leisurely morning with an unhurried breakfast and plenty of time to feed all the other beasts. Now we have to leave the house by 7:40 to be to school by 8, so it’s all rushing and stress. Dirt is like a teenager when I try to get him out of bed…he growls and whines and rolls over and hides in his covers and then fights me every step by getting dressed and eating his to-go waffle as slowly as humanly possible. (Tuesday is cheerful and perky, but she’s the only one.) He’s also like a teenager after preschool. When asked what he did in school, he scowls out the window and mutters “nothing” or if I’m lucky, he says they “just played”. When I ask him what his favorite part of school was he says “just all of it”, so at least he seems to enjoy going…even if he hates getting up in the morning and hates when I ask him questions about it. He’s only 4 ½! WTF.

UGH. So the model schedule above was loosely based on last night. I recently put the kids down for their nap and they seem quiet at the moment, so I’m gonna take this opportunity to have my own self a little nap. Sleepy time is a happy time!

This article talks about cortisol levels and how we screw them up, which makes us more tired.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Dialogue of Two Mature Professional Artists



The following conversation between Me and B encapsulates the ups and downs of being a mature, professional artist and samples an average day's exciting events. The actual paintings are to be in a show about body image and sexualization/desexualization, to give you some background.

B, 7:56am: I have to tell you that I think I caught your preggy disease. I am tearing up because I saw that the John Butler Trio is breaking up. Read it on the facebook. Legit reason to cry, right? This is every day for the last 4 days. No period in sight. DISEASE

Me, 8:46am: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Hormones are fun.

B, 1:18pm: I just joyously mopped my studio and now I am eating everything I can find. Mmmmm chips.

Me. 1:25pm: I wish I had the motivation to joyously clean anything. Come to my house with your joyous cleaning. We can eat everything together.

B, 1:49pm: I want to paint so bad right now. I paint bestest when I am a hormone.

Me, 2:24pm: You're always a hormone.

B, 2:29pm: Shut up you don't know me.

Me, 2:31pm: Juno no me.

B. 2:38pm: (Sends pic of nude self-portrait in progress)

Me, 2:47pm: That is AWESOME. I can totally tell that it's you too b/c of the knees and freaky arches in your feet. The hair is quite luxurious and sexkitteny for you though.

B, 2:49pm: Hahaha freaky knees. That's me - Ol' Freaky Knees! Yeah, added hair and boobs, too! But it has to be extremey cuz that's the point. Otherwise people would be like, "why is that dude talking on a banana phone next to a bowl of phallic vegetables?" and I would be like, "I don't know."

Me, 2:52pm: Well the boobies don't seem tooooo exaggerated. What are you doing with your non-banana-phone hand?

B, 2:53pm: Non-banana-hand = just lying there. Grab the little one, it's stronger! <--remember that movie?

Me, 2:54pm: Other hand should be idly caressing the veggies. And no, I have no idea what movie that is.

B, 2:56pm: Hahaha yesssss Scary Movie 2! Come on now. Did you end up putting the kids down? I like our whole day conversations lately, ps.

Me, 3:00pm: Yes kids are "down", except that the big one just got up to go poo, as usual, and will be working on that for a while to postpone nap. If the little one is still awake and overhears the events at hand, she will also have the sudden need to poo. I enjoy the talks as well. Asswell.

B, 3:02pm : Hahahaha asswell. Favorite.

Me, 3:03pm: So I did like 5 squats yesterday and my quads are all sore and weak. Cuz that's how in shape I am. My ass is well though. (Did you see what I did there? Totally unplanned.)

B, 3:10pm: LIES. You've been planning that line for weeks. You must have gone all the way to the floor, right? Dropped it like it was hot? Want to know something scary? Out of nowhere I did squats yesterday too!

Me, 3:13pm: HA! Squat twins. I totally did go all the way to the floor cuz I was holding onto one of those big metal posts in the basement, like a stripper. Then Tuesday really thought it was fun and wanted to copy me, so I had to stop. And no, truly, asswell was pure serendipity. My ass actually didn't get sore cuz apparently I use my butt muscles with more regularity than my thigh muscles. ERGO...my ass is well.

B, 3:15pm: How many times do you check your armpits? I check mine a lot.

Me, 3:18pm: I don't think I check my pits that often, but I do apply deodorant several times a day when I'm at home. I got set up to paint in my dining room (have all the stuff out) and am sitting here typing instead because I am the worst about procrastinating when it comes to painting. But I WILL have an underpainting to show you before the day is done.

B, 3:19pm: Yay! I'm glad you at least have your stuff out! Now get off of here and paint! I need results!

Me, 3:20pm: But this is such an excellent conversation.

B, 3:21pm: What time is the rehearsal of our betrothed friend on the 20th?

Me, 3:25pm: I don't freaking know things.

B, 3:25pm: Why don't you know things, MATRON?

Me, 3:26pm: Cuz I suck and so do you, bridesmatron. Do you know what else sucks? My painty station is right in front of the swamp cooler so I have to turn it off so I don't get blown away. But now it's hot and I hate that too.

B, 3:30pm: Can't you move the painty to the other side of the room, excusey-pants?

Me, 3:34pm: Fine, be all practical and shit. But now that the swamper is back on, it's loud and I can't hear my music and I hate that too. In other news, Dirt just saw my reference photo and told me I need to put a bra on the naked person I'm gonna paint.

B, 3:46pm: Hahahahah put a bra on mom. You ho.

Me, 4:18pm: I decided to gesso texture on my canvas so I haven't actually started painting yet. Waiting for it to dry. Dumbness.

B, 4:32pm: I hate you!

Me, 4:32pm: But I'm still wearing my painting apron. That counts, right?

B, 4:39pm: NO! Use your hair dryer.

Me, 4:52pm: Okay, Mrs. M. (hangs head)

B, 4:54pm: Damn straight. God. Nothing has happened here at work in like 2 hours. I shoulda brought my art to work on. But I'm always afraid someone will walk in and see the nakey. Or I will hurriedly flip the canvas and they will know I am up to no good.

Me, 5:37pm: Well then I'll just message you constantly. Aaaand Tuesday has hives all over her body that are seemingly painful and itchy. I hate wondering if we should go all the way into town to see a doctor. Last week Dirt was covered in spider bites that swelled to golf balls. Two of them were on his face--one on his cheek and one on his forehead--and he looked totally Quasimodo-rific. Only he was acting normal and they weren't weird colors so I put off the Dr. for a few days and finally took him and of course there was no reason for bringing him in except wasting money.

B, 5:38pm: Ew why are your kids hivey and rashy?

Me, 5:39pm: Ew why is your butt so hivey and rashy?

B, 5:41pm: Cuz I don't wash it.

Me, 5:42pm: Well maybe I don't wash them.

Me, 6:01pm: Have you checked your armpits lately? I just applied deodorant again.

Me, 6:09pm: You're no fun now that you're actually doing work at work.

B, 6:14pm: All done with work! I checked my armpits like 16 times today. This is a stinky shirt.

Me, 6:22pm: Remember that one stinky shirt that we always shared in 8th grade? The boat-necky dark brown/purple one?

B, 6:23pm: THAT YOU STILL HAVE

Me, 6:34pm: I might. Not quite sure.

B, 6:36pm: You're wearing it right now. I can smell it.

Me, 6:38pm: Heh. Actually I'm wearing an oversized bedazzled tank with a weird southwesty pattern and torn/stained cutoff sweats. Hotness to the max. *What are you wearing?* (low creeper man voice)

Me, 10:57pm: in case you wondered if i got anything accomplished today. Ta-da! Sort of an underpainting at least. (Sends pic of nude painting in progress...artsy talks of composition and negative space and foreshortening and proportion ensue.)

*NEXT DAY*

B, 1:15pm: Don't eat kale. It smells like poop.

Me, 1:17pm: Ew why would I ever? Speaking of poop, I had coffee for the first time in forever today because I got no sleep last night because Tuesday slept in bed with me and kept kicking me in the face because she was sleeping sideways so I was falling asleep standing up today and needed caffeine and it made me poop like right away. Plus forced me to use run-on sentences.

Me, 1:26pm: Now I'm eating an inch thick pancake the size of my face and will prolly be pooping all day as a result.

B, 1:26pm: Quit making me die. I am trying to work dammit.

Me, 1:27pm: No you're not. You're trying to *look like* you're doing work while you drink beer and do facebook and sniff your pits.

B, 1:28pm: I'm debating the beer. It's still morning to me though and I want coffee. And then some coffee poops. I finally started my period which is good. Now I know why I want to kill!

Me, 1:29pm: Are you less murderous once Aunt Flo is in town?

B, 1:30pm: Yep. But much wittier. I am having the worst hair day ever. It looks like I just woke up and was like, that'll do.

Me, 1:31pm: HA. I'm just perpetually irritable and retarded. Never changes. Lucky me.

B, 1:31pm: But you're pretty, so that's cool.

Me, 1:32pm: But I'm fat and never take showers or put makeup on or get dressed and all I do is yell at stuff, so less cool.

B, 1:33pm: But you're getting paid to get fat. WAY cool. I had to start dieting cuz i put on three lbs for no reason. And the meds aren't giving me the awesome skinny making diarrhea anymore. UGH. And preggs is diff than fat. So shut up your whore mouth.

Me, 1:44pm: You mean shut your whore mouth. Plus I am fat AND preggs.

B, 1:55pm: Hahaha nope. Shut up your whore mouth. Remember when I tried to text Hahahaha and I wrote 
Hannah? That still makes me laugh stupidly. Cuz that's how I am. I ruv you don't feel fat and preggs! Just preggs with a stranger's alien baby. That's all.

Me, 1:56pm: Hannah! I just put the kids down and I need to take a nap and/or a shower, and/or paint and/or vacuum and/or clean the kitchen, but I can't decide so I probably won't do anything. Except this since it's clearly the most productive.

Me, 2:02pm: I tried painting with the kids earlier today again and Tuesday dumped a bunch of yellow paint on my purple carpet. It was pretty.


B, 2:02pm: Uuhhhh suck

Me, 2:05pm: It actually came out cuz it was acrylic and I dumped a gallon of water on it right away. They always want to paint when I'm painting but then I spend every moment setting up and helping and cleaning up for them and make no progress on mine so there's no point.

Me, 2:42pm: :3 ballsface for you

B, 2:42pm: Ballsface! :o3 Does noseballsface work?

Me, 2:43pm: I know how you love ballsface.

Me, 2:49pm: Crap I started unloading the dishwasher and now I'm not sure if I actually ran it and I already put all the silverware away. Do I take it out and wash it again?

B, 2:54pm: Nope. Use them.

B, 3:12pm: I do that like every time. It is so gross. Especially oatmeal spoons.

Me, 3:15pm: Too late. In the absence of your sagely advice I grabbed a handful from every silverware section and put them back in the dishwasher, which is presently running...again? But SEE?! I'm getting things done. Painting AND kitchen...and NOW I'm gonna go clean my own self. P.S. Are you guys experiencing a resurgence in moths in addition to flies? HATE.

B, 8:47pm: You're a new woman! We don't have the moths. But the flies are from Satan. P.S. if you were wondering if my boobs are huge and magnificent today, the answer is yes.

Mountain Mama / Dirty Hermit

Revisiting and updating the ol' blog today, naturally as a mode of procrastination, when I should be working on some art. Sound fam...