Friday, January 14, 2011


Ray and Beth Way Back When

If you've ever watched "The Simpsons" on TV then you know how poor Marge Simpson, thwarted at every turn as she tries to take care of her family and live her little life, GROWLS with frustration. I'm a nice person. Really. And, usually, I'm in a cheerful mood. BUT, if I am deprived of a deep-sleeping, blissful night of rest, I growl.

Silvie and Michelle in Earlier Days

Last night was a growly night. My 17-year-old poodle, Silvie, hasn't been well these past few days. She acts confused at times and is unsteady on her tiny feet. So anytime in the night that she struggles against me, trying to stand up, I wake up instantly. Usually, I pick her up and take her outside. I wait for her to come back in through the dog door, since I'm afraid she might wander around for a long time in the current very cold weather.


She seemed better, but last night, she got up three times. The last time, I figured she didn't need to go out, but wanted some water, so I just put her on the floor beside the bed. I watched her go to the bathroom to get a drink and I dozed off . . . Until loud thumping feet woke me. The stupid cat, Hobbs, was bullying poor little Silvie, charging at her and knocking her around! Hobbs weighs 12 pounds - - Silvie weighs four. I yelled at the cat, got up, and rescued Silvie. Then tried to settle myself, Silvie, the other two dogs and the cat beside my husband, Ray.

Beth Napping with Maggie's Help While Michelle Watches

Deep in the "arms of Morpheus" I woke to hear Michelle, my other poodle, emit a soft cry. Then came five minutes of examining, soothing, and comforting 12-year-old Michelle, who hasn't seemed to feel well lately, either.

Michelle Resting After Rigorous Night

She didn't cry or do anything else, except look totally forlorn. Maybe she had a bad dream and just wanted to go back to sleep (like I did).

Morose Michelle

Back to deep hibernation . . . until Maggie, Holly's Yorkie, trilled from the floor beside the bed. HOBBS again! He wouldn't let Maggie get back onto the bed.

Maggie As A Christmas Fairy

This time Ray got up to rescue Maggie, but she screamed when he picked her up! Then she lay tight against me, not trembling or crying, but stiffly, as though in pain. Maggie has had pancreatitis and I began to fear that she was sick again. But little Maggie is a drama queen and maybe Hobbs had just scratched her.


By the time I got up this morning (and thank God it was a snow day and I could sleep in!) I was feeling pretty tired, but all three dogs appeared fine and the cat was napping. I was tempted to push him off the printer.

Look How Innocent Hobbs Looks

Told You He Was Big

Now, waking up with sick family and pets is par for the mother course (so to speak) and I don't hold a grudge for lost dreams if someone is ill. But I have another problem when I try to "knit the raveled sleeve of care" as Shakespeare said. My husband is wild in bed.

My Handsome Husband

No, it's not what you think. Sleeping with my husband, Ray, is no picnic. In fact, some nights there is very little sleep for either of us.

Little Holly and Ray

Ray suffers from sleep walking. Actually, Ray sleep walks and I suffer from it. Scientists believe sleep walking is inherited and I believe it, since Ray's dad walked in his sleep, too. Family legend has it that Ray's dad once beat a bedside radio to smithereens while still sleeping. And Ray wonders why I sleep with a pillow between us.

Looks Harmless, Doesn't He?

Ray has gotten out of bed in the wee, small hours, dressed and tried to go to work, with me running beside him, trying to get through to him, like a Chihuahua yapping ineffectually at a Great Dane. Yet, all this time, he is sleeping.

Lydia, Ray, and Gizmo

I love my sleep. I hate to be awakened. Unless someone is sick or bleeding, I want to be left in dreamland all night long. Unfortunately, Ray's nocturnal ramblings are more frequent when he is sick and once resulted in quite a lot of bleeding.

Angie, April, and Ray

Not long ago, I was awakened by the familiar, agitated jouncing of the bed. As I grabbed Ray's wrist to wake him, he snatched his arm away from me and THREW himself out of bed. After a loud WHAM, I heard a terrible cry from Ray. I rushed around the bed to find him on the floor, bleeding from his mouth. He had dreamed he was high in a tree and was falling out. He landed with his face striking the round plastic bedside trash can. Part of the rim hit Ray's mouth, splitting his lip and causing the later loss of a tooth. The opposite rim of the can gouged Ray's throat, causing a lot of bleeding under the skin. He wouldn't go to the hospital right away, but eventually agreed when I showed him the way his lip gaped open when he talked. It made me a little dizzy and I'm not weak of stomach. The doctor at the hospital glued his lip back together and put a few steri-strips on it and it healed nicely.

Ray and Beth in Moscow

Over the years, Ray has awakened me repeatedly by getting up, turning on the lights and stripping all the covers off the bed. Did I mention that I don't like to wake up while I'm sleeping?

"Get up," he would say, "there's a snake in the bed." Or "Get up, there's an alligator in the bed."

"There's no snake (alligator, etc.) in the bed," I would insist, grabbing at the blankets and sheets. "You're sleepwalking; get back into bed!"

One night I was warm and cozy, probably dreaming of dating Clint Eastwood or something, when Ray sat up and said, "Is the reactor running?"

"Quick," I thought to myself, "which answer will satisfy Ray so he'll let me go back to sleep?"

Ray was field engineering a gasifier (also called a reactor) and had been working on it 24 - 7 for months. One of the problems he had with it concerned the ash screw, an auger that moved the wood ash out of the reactor. Surely he would prefer that the reactor be working?

"Yes," I answered, hoping I'd made the right call. "The reactor is working."

"Get out of the bed," Ray shouted, jumping up, starting to grab the sheets.

"I'm not getting up!" I answered, clinging to them tightly.

"All right." he exclaimed. "You'll be sorry when your toe gets caught in the ash screw!"


Some Sleep All The Time