Friday, October 26, 2007

Bed Bugs

In the small hours of the morning, while I’m peacefully cherishing the last remaining bits of my sleep, I’m half-awakened by Natalie, navigating the laundry piles and the sprawled-out dog, as her feet quietly pad their way into our bedroom, sometimes with a pillow dragging behind her and a couple stuffed animals tucked under her arm, and always with imagined stories of strange spidery dreams or visions of ants crawling on her bedposts. I usually don’t even hear her come in, and lately it has been a nightly thing. When I wake up in the morning, she’s just there, and there’s not much I can do about it. A couple of nights ago, she came in soon after I did, about 1am, and I spent the next couple of hours playing tug of war with the covers—she doesn’t like them on her and I don’t like them off of me—and a few rounds of kickboxing from her restlessly tossing and turning all night. She has as much trouble sleeping as I do.

I peel myself from the bed in the morning and stand droopy eyed in front of the mirror, wondering why I don’t boot her out of bed when she keeps me up all night, swearing that it was her last night sleeping in our bed. “No more,” I hoarsely wheeze, full well knowing that she usually climbs up into our bed when I’m fast asleep.

For a while, she was doing pretty good, and we could get all-nighters out of her on a regular basis in her own bed, maybe stowing away in ours only a couple nights a week at most (including the official Friday-night sleepovers). Then we went on vacation for 10 days, and each night, Kara and Natalie shared one of the queen beds, leaving the other one solely to me, and to me only.

I have to admit, I rather liked it. I got all the pillows. No parts of the covers had to remain tucked in, and I could cocoon myself into a tight blanket burrito without short-sheeting anyone else. I could put one foot on one corner of the bed and the other on the other, and nobody would accuse me of hogging anything. I could lay on either side of it, all sides of it and roll over and over and over without fear of breathing my bad breath into anyone’s face, nor squirming too much that Kara thinks she’s sleeping on a ship in a storm. Also, for 10 days, there were no cold feet to worry about, no sudden jerking knees to protect myself from and no surprise attacks as a result of ninja dreams to fear of. I was completely by myself, my own little soft island of slumber and it was great.

For 10 days, I slept like a married bachelor.

And that got me thinking about the act of sharing a bed with Kara at all…which leds me to question the whole motive of anyone sharing a bed with their spouses. What’s the point? To be close to them? To talk? To cuddle? To feel their body heat? Frankly those are four things I don’t want to do while I’m trying to sleep.

Sure, the point of having a giant king sized bed, the centerpiece of our bedroom, is to celebrate the sanctuary of marital bliss. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that little celebration as much as anyone, but let’s be honest. We’ve been married for 10 years and I’m sure she’d be the first agree with me on this: We’ve got two kids, two jobs, a messy house, a mountain of laundry, weird working hours, a nosy dog, so the best form of bliss that happens in that bed happens when we’re both happily fast asleep in it. There’s time for romance during the commercials, and time for pillow talk between the chapters of Kara’s book.

Other than that, what is a big bed for and why do we as a society feel it is necessary to share a bed with our spouses? For intimacy? Truthfully, I’m not a cuddler and I don’t like to be touched while I’m sleeping. I wouldn’t be able to stand more than 30 seconds of sleeping in a big tangled mess of arms and legs for the sake of intimacy, and if someone’s leg is randomly touching mine while I’m trying to sleep, it makes me feel like there’s a hot poker on my leg. Stay on your side and keep your 98.6-degree parts off of my 98.6-degree parts and I’ll be just fine. Kara sleeps higher in the covers than I do, as I like to tuck way down, pulling the blankets up over my shoulder and part of my head… and I have to have one leg sticking out. I can’t explain why, but it’s just comfortable that way.

And it never fails that, at some point in the night, I’m fighting for covers, fighting for space and fighting for air. I’ll make the mistake of rolling over counter-clockwise (toward the center of the bed), while at the same time, coincidentally, Kara rolls over away from the center of the bed. My mistake is that I’ve given up control of my share of the blankets by allowing them to untuck out from under me. At the same time, Kara rolls away from the center of the bed, taking a swath of real estate with her and leaving me out in the cold… quite literally. Other times, Kara’s pillow creeps over to my side of the bed, for inexplicable reasons, and I wake up feeling like a giant marshmallow is attacking my head. Or I’ll just randomly get kicked in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just a reaction to something, but I’m on the boot-end of it… and sometimes it really hurts.

Now, these are just my problems, and I’m sure I provide a host of things that aren’t ideal for Kara too, as I’m sure I can be a bed hog, a cover hog and a pillow-space hog too. My constant pillow flipping (I like the cool side of the pillow, so I flip it over probably every time I wake up in the middle of the night) must be annoying, and the fact that it takes me nearly two hours every night to fall asleep, during which time I toss and turn endlessly, probably drives her crazy. Not to mention that I come to bed at irregular times and all hours of the night. Oh, and I read in bed with the lights on or I’ll have the TV on… and the lights on… and I’m reading, all at the same time.

So, I’m no bed picnic either. Plus, I am not a morning person, not by any stretch of the imagination… and who really wants to wake up next to someone who resembles of fuming volcano?

Figure it this way, before we were married, Kara and I spent the first 25 years of our lives sleeping alone in a bed all to ourselves. Now suddenly we’re thrown into one bed and we’re expected to share it? It’s been 10 years and I’m still not use to it. Of course, before the kids, it was nice to have one bed just for the two of us… but that was before the kids, and that’s what the big bed was for.

Oh well, I’m off to bed. Let me get on my shin guards and staple gun the sheets to my side of the mattress so they don’t creep away in the middle of the night. Teehee.

Of course, after this, I’ll probably end up sleeping on the couch, so this will be a lesson in being careful of what you wish for.

Interestingly enough, I’ll leave you with a trivia question: What is the first sit-com couple to share a bed on TV? If you say Ricky and Lucy, you’re wrong. Nope, not Mike and Carol. Not Herman and Lily either. Fred and Wilma shared a bed in 1960, but that was a cartoon… plus, the correct answer is earlier than 1960 (believe it or not).

The winner gets the satisfaction of being able to Google quicker than anyone else.

1 comment:

Tris said...

I never saw Lucy and Ricky share the same bed so the answer has to be...Mary Kay and Johnny. Damn, I'm good.


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