It’s raining, it’s pouring, the Boyfriend is snoring… and keeping me awake!

Life, at Casa de Goodman, is good right now.

I’m thin, I’m happy, and I’m cohabitating with a guy who likes folding the laundry, sharing the cooking, emptying the dishwasher, walking my dog when it’s cold out, and organizing the kitchen. Aka all of the stuff that I suck at/would rather jump off a cliff than do. He even thinks I look better without makeup than with it (okay, so his vision clearly sucks, but that’s okay by me!), and for some completely and utterly inexplicable reason, he loves me for the total weirdo that I am.

There’s just one teeny, tiny, itty bitty, little, inconsequential-to-anyone-else-but-potentially-insurmountable-to-me problem.

He snores.

Loudly.

Every night.

And I’m the world’s lightest sleeper/an insomniac on a good night.

Houston, we have a problem.

Especially because no sleep for Sara is the approximate equivalent of no tv and no beer for Homer Simpson.

So, like with all of life’s great problems, I turned to my mother for help. My father is a chronic snorer, and I knew she’d have a solution for me.

Unfortunately, I forgot about Operation Mama Goodman Wants Grandchildren, so her answer was to suck it up and deal with it.

Thanks mom.

Next, I tried talking to the Boyfriend about finding a solution.  He claims he does not snore.  Despite the fact that he snores so loudly that he often wakes HIMSELF up with his snores, then looks at me and says, “Did you hear something?”  At which point, he claims it was our upstairs neighbors, whom I firmly believe are either rolling a boulder Sisyphus-style across the floor every night or else are engaged in the BEST game of Raiders of the Lost Ark EVER.  (If it’s the latter, I so want to go play with them.  If it’s the former, they just need to cut that crap out.)  But that’s never what actually jolts him awake in the middle of the night.  It’s his snoring.

It was time to solve this problem on my own. I already have a white noise machine, but the Boyfriend is louder than that. Actually, he’s louder than the combination of my white noise machine, the white noise app on my phone (used for travel), an oscillating fan, and a rabid platypus giving birth to a full-sized rhinoceros. Which meant that my first solution (earplugs—but the super cute, Holly Golightly-styled tassel ones, dahling) was ineffective.

And, as my best friend constantly reminds me, I look terrible in orange. So plotting his death, while satisfying at 3am when he’s sprawled like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man across the entire bed, with Rosie sleeping on my side in the sliver of space left for me, and snoring louder than the Concord’s sonic booms, is out of the question.

Plus, I’d miss him (albeit not his snoring or bed hogging) if he was gone.

But this is really a safety issue. Not just because I’m even more sleep deprived than usual and am therefore far more statistically likely to fall asleep at the wheel, make soap, start an underground fight club, and/or shop for shoes I don’t need and can’t afford as a form of stress relief. But because when the zombies finally attack, we won’t survive the first night. They’d hear him snoring no matter how well we hid and then Rosie and I would be devoured as well. And that is simply unacceptable.

I read online that snoring is most common when someone sleeps on his back. So even though I’m the world’s least cuddly sleeper, I figured that telling him I wanted to cuddle could fix the problem.

It did not. It just meant that he was snoring directly into my ear.

And apparently he can’t breathe when I put my pillow over his face to muffle the sound. I kind of felt like that was his problem, not mine. But he disagreed, and I wasn’t trying to fight. These are the sacrifices you make for a successful relationship, people.

I contemplated the idea of trying to convince him that a gag would really be a sexy role-playing thing as opposed to a method of forcing nose-breathing, but I don’t want to open that door. No offense to anyone who’s into that stuff, but it’s just not my thing. AT ALL. Let’s blame Pulp Fiction for my aversion to anything along those lines. But when it’s being forced on Marcellus Wallace, I just don’t find it appealing. And neither does Marcellus Wallace.

So I tried gently waking him up when he starts to snore. At which point I was mauled by a wild bear. Or at least that’s what I thought was happening, because he does a pretty good impression of a mauling wild bear when woken unexpectedly mid-snore. Some Bactine and a Tetanus shot later, I won’t be trying that again.


Then I had a Dorothy-with-the-ruby-slippers kind of revelation. I’ve always had the ability to make him stop snoring. I just needed to figure it out for myself.

It was so simple! I have a dog. And that dog has a bark control collar! No, not the shock kind. I couldn’t handle that (on Rosie. It might be funny on the Boyfriend. No, it wouldn’t. But it would be HILARIOUS on someone ELSE’s boyfriend. Note to self—suggest shock collar to someone else who has the same problem). She has the kind that sprays her in the face with water when she barks, which stops the barking, makes me laugh hysterically, and sends her to hide in terror under the bed.

Perfect.

Of course, there are two problems with this solution: I probably still won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep because of the insomnia issue and the Boyfriend definitely won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep due to the being sprayed in the face with water every time he snores issue.

But on the plus side, remember how good Brad Pitt’s abs looked in Fight Club? There are benefits to not being able to sleep I suppose. You’re just not allowed to talk about them.

I found my hairbrush in the fridge–was it evil elves, Inception, or insomnia?

Yesterday morning, I couldn’t find my hairbrush.

I looked in all of the places that I could have logically set it down.

No luck.

I looked in all of the places where it could have fallen after I logically set it down.

Nothing.

I looked in Rosie’s crate and under my bed (where she likes to hide anything that interferes with my ability to devote all of my attention to her all of the time. My cell phone winds up in both locations frequently).

Still no hairbrush.

Finally, I gave up because I was running crazily late for school and keep a hairbrush in my car.

And then, of course, once I stopped looking, I found it.

In my refrigerator.

Yeah. That was a proud moment.

Now, your average person would be able to make one of three logical assumptions upon finding her hairbrush in the refrigerator.

Logical Assumption #1: Early onset dementia. Or, as we call it in my family, turning 35. But I’m not close to that age yet. And while I AM precocious in many ways, I still have the ability to work a dvd player, send an email, and drive a car without knocking off my side mirrors, so I think I can–for the time being–rule out that special hereditary gift that I’m eventually bound to inherit.

Logical Assumption #2: The elves that break into my apartment every night to cobble shoes and order pay-per-view movies on my account got drunk Wednesday night and thought it would be hilarious to put my hairbrush in the fridge and my bras in the microwave.

I do know that the elves were on the job Wednesday night, because all of my shoes were freshly cobbled and my cable bill is listing the movies, “Our Bodies, Our Elves,” “Snow White and the Seven Horny Elves,” “Harold and Kumelf go to the Keebler Factory,” “The Wizard of Elf,” and “Pretty Woman.” (Because as everyone knows, elves love elf porn. And Richard Gere movies.)

But none of my bras were missing, so I’m pretty sure the elves just did their normal cobbling/movie watching and then went on their merry way.

Logical Assumption #3: While I was asleep, dream terrorists entered my dream, planted the idea of my hairbrush in my refrigerator, started spinning a top, and made me very confused about whether Leonardo DiCaprio is awake or in limbo at the end of Inception. 

I can neither confirm nor refute this assumption, leaving you to wonder if I’m awake or asleep right now. Or maybe I don’t exist and YOU’RE asleep right now and someone just planted the idea of ME in your mind.

Except I know that Logical Assumption #3 is completely illogical in my case.

How?

Well, it’s actually simple. I know I wasn’t asleep. Because my body hates me and I’m an insomniac.

This isn’t anything new. I’ve been an insomniac since early childhood, when I used to get up in the middle of the night and sneak downstairs to watch tv because I couldn’t sleep (which is also, coincidentally, how I know that elves love elf porn and Richard Gere). Usually it’s just an inconvenience and means that I get less sleep than I’d like to. But sometimes I go a week or more on one or two hours of sleep a night.

Which is what happened this week.

And which is why I wasn’t all that surprised to find my hairbrush in the refrigerator.

Because when you aren’t getting any sleep, your brain basically pulls an alcoholic, snowed-in at a haunted hotel in the Rockies Jack Nicholson.


In fact, finding my hairbrush in the fridge was kind of a relief. At least I didn’t write an entire novel using only the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” chop down my bathroom door with an axe, try to murder my family, then freeze to death in a snowy hedge maze.

This time.

The last two weeks have pretty much sucked sleep-wise, but as my personal bouts of insomnia go, I’ve actually been fairly productive.

At least I think I have.

I keep getting brilliant ideas for my blog/next book/hair style/makeup line that I’m going to start someday/plan to take over the world within the next couple of years at about 3am. And because I know that when I’m in a bad cycle of insomnia, if I don’t write the ideas down, I’ll lose them forever, I keep a pen and notebook next to my bed to record these flashes of genius.

Unfortunately, the pen and notebook are missing and after checking the logical locations AND the refrigerator, I still can’t find them. So I’m forced to record my amazing bursts of insight using whatever tools I can find in the dark at 3am, which sometimes works fairly well and is sometimes rather disastrous.

Last night, for example, I came up with the title for the book I’m planning to put out this spring. I’d been trying for nearly a year to figure out the right title, and inspiration finally hit. So I grabbed my phone and typed the title and my plan for how to work it into the novel appropriately into a memo to myself.

Which was better than the night before, when I wound up scribbling ideas for future blog posts on my mirror in $24 Stila lipgloss. Fail.

It also worked out better than the time I had a sharpie but no paper and wrote my holiday shopping list on my leg. You get some really weird looks at the mall when you have to look down your pants to see what you need to buy.

I was actually really excited to have figured out what to call my book, and after typing it into my phone, I fell asleep for a couple of blissful hours.

The excitement ended this morning, however, when I tried to read what I’d typed and discovered that I apparently speak some language that’s a cross between English, Japanese, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and whale mating calls. And I can only speak it between 3:04am and 3:22am. After that, it’s just plain gibberish.

Hopefully the insomnia spell will break soon and I’ll be able to resume my role as a semi-functional member of society. Until then, if you talk to me and I seem a bit odd, try to go easy on me. And if you run into me on the street and start talking about an underground boxing club that I started, don’t be surprised if I get really mad at you.

Because the number one rule of insomnia is that you do NOT talk about Fight Club.

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky: Try to take over the world."

There are a lot of things that I’m really good at. Sleeping, unfortunately, is not one of them. In fact, I may be the worst sleeper in the world.

The clinical term for my condition is insomnia. I prefer to call it Extreme Sleep Deprivation Torture. Let me tell you, depriving prisoners of sleep at Guantanamo was probably FAR less humane than any of the other unsanctioned methods that were used there. I’d take waterboarding any day if it meant I could get a good night’s sleep. Seriously. Bring it on, just give me a cure for insomnia afterward.

People who can sleep easily don’t understand just how crippling insomnia is. My favorite movie, Fight Club, describes it best.

When people tell me to get a good night’s sleep for something, I want to punch them in the face. Don’t you realize I’d LOVE to get a good night’s sleep? You might as well tell me to outrun an airplane. It doesn’t matter how much I want it, for me, sleep isn’t happening.

I’ve been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid and I couldn’t sleep (aka every single night of my childhood), I would sneak downstairs after my mother went to bed and watch Letterman with my dad. And when I was little, he was still on at 12:30, but that didn’t matter because I was awake. Dad would let me watch through the Top Ten list with him, then I had to go to bed. And on nights when I made a second trip downstairs because I still couldn’t sleep, he would threaten to sing to me if I didn’t get in bed.

Yes, threaten was the right word when it came to my family’s singing. So off I would go to bed with a flashlight and a book, because sleep just wasn’t happening.

But no one ever thought to take me to a doctor, because in my family, you didn’t go to a doctor unless you had a severed limb. If it was still hanging on by a thread, you were expected to walk it off. So trouble sleeping wasn’t exactly a doctor-worthy problem. Although if I had gnawed my own arm off because I couldn’t sleep, I probably could have gone to the doctor, but I would have had to get all the way through the arm, so it wasn’t worth the effort.

I never really knew that I was expected to actually sleep for a full night until I got to college and had a roommate, who let me know just how bizarre my sleep patterns were. Then I got worried. What was wrong with me?

My grandmother had the solution (or so she thought). She gave me Ambien. No, she’s not a doctor. But she somehow has more pills than a pharmacy. Literally. If the police ever raided her house, she’d be in some trouble. Then again, she probably wouldn’t. She can talk her way out of anything. And if any of the cops were Jewish, she’d try to marry me off to them.

But I digress.

So she gave me Ambien and I thought, “Great! Here’s the answer! I’ll be cured.”

 
Hah.

Three days later, when I hadn’t sleep a wink, I gave my grandma the rest of her pills back. And I at least managed a couple hours of sleep without the Ambien. Apparently I’m so sleep-dysfunctional that the most commonly prescribed sleep aid in the country keeps me as awake as six shots of espresso would for a normal person. No thank you.

Years later, a doctor (and I use the term “doctor” loosely here… he had a prescription pad and an office, but I’m pretty sure REAL doctors don’t give out as much dangerous medication as he gave me without even asking any questions about my sleep problems) gave me a prescription for Halcion. Which was AMAZING. I slept like I’d never slept before. It was the happiest time in my life.

 
Until I realized that it was basically like taking roofies every night.

I started having to take the pills earlier and earlier to go to bed at the same time every night, and I wasn’t remembering anything that happened after taking the pills. I’d talk to friends and they’d remind me that we had already had the same conversation. Only I couldn’t remember it. Not even a little, like when you blackout drunk and remember what happened when people remind you. Nothing. Then I woke up one morning with a shopping bag next to my bed and didn’t remember going out. So it was time to stop taking the Halcion.

Since then, I’ve tried every non-prescription remedy on the planet. I have a white noise machine and a sleep mask. I’ve taken melatonin and valerian. Not much helps.

So when I’m lying in bed unable to sleep, I do what everyone in my position does: plot world domination.

Yes, I’m serious. You see, that’s the one and only benefit to being an insomniac. I might be a zombie for large portions of the day, but when I lie down, I’m wide awake and therefore have a LOT more time to plan how I will conquer the world than you do.

Someday, when you least expect it, my fellow non-sleepers and I will rise up while you sleepers are wasting away precious hours in bed. And be warned, we don’t like you. In fact, we hate you. Because you have the one thing we want more than anything else in the world. Sleep.

Next time you wonder why I’m cranky, do me a favor: stay awake for two full days and nights. Then see how happy you are when people tell you that they were so tired that they fell asleep super early the night before. If you at least TRY to put yourself in our shoes, we might spare you when the sleep revolution comes. But if you’re sleeping when we come for you, don’t hold your breath.