sleeping with the enemy

I desire to share an irreconcilable difference between my husband and me... in honor of  keeping it real for Valentines Day, and in honor of the fact that I am awake and writing this at 4:47 a.m. because of it.

Dave and I are incompatible sleepers.

You've heard of polar opposites? We are lunar opposites: Our paths to unconsciousness are paradoxical in every possible way.

This phenomenon is undetectable during daylight hours... I'm just me and he's just him, and we're your average couple who love each other and enjoy one another's company. But every evening between 9 and 10 o'clock, my sweet, mild-mannered man pulls a Jekyll-and-Hyde and becomes The Fascist Dictator of Forty Winks. The Hitler of Hibernation. The Mussolini of Zzzzzz's.

And the Epic Battle of Bedtime ensues.

I always retreat to our bedroom before he does, solely for the pleasure of basking in my preferred pre-sleep environment: Lights on (the more the better), TV on (the louder the better), me sprawled diagonally across our bed with my feet in front of a space heater, which sits on my nightstand and is running full blast. (I'm cold all the time. ALL THE TIME. End of story.) My goal is to enjoy these conditions in peace, for as long as as I possibly can... because my husband is diametrically opposed to ALL OF THESE THINGS. These are the conditions in which I sleep like a baby... and Dave fusses and carries on like a baby with a raging case of thrush and colic who's been sitting in a poopy diaper for five days.

Which is why, precisely at 10 p.m. every night, a personage resembling my husband comes barging through the bedroom doors, waving his arms around and barking rapid-fire orders:

  • "All right, that's it... 10 o' clock, time for bed, let's go."
  • "Turn that heater off!"
  • "Why are all these lights on? Is this really necessary?"
  • "Nobody can be that cold. Put some socks on... well, then, put two pairs on!"
  • "Your Grandma from Texas called... she wants to know if you could turn down the TV."
  • "Start telling your brain it's time to shut down. No more thinking."
  • "Can you hear that? It's the sound of our power meter going into hyperspeed because of that heater... thanks to you, they have to switch to a nuclear power source."

Behold: The Stalin of Slumber.

If you know me at all, you know that this foolishness doesn't sit well with me. There's no rolling over, no hiding under the covers... only full-scale retaliation using my own arsenal of rapid-fire responses, classified as Level One and Level Two.

Level One responses are warning shots across the bow... delivered politely and even playfully, but still meant to be taken seriously:

  • "Hon, I'm not tired."
  • "You're not the boss of me."
  • "It IS possible to be cold in Utah in February... a long shot, I know, but possible."
  • "Just because you're ready to go to sleep doesn't mean I am."
  • "Yes the lights need to be on so I can, you know, SEE WHERE I'M GOING."
  • "Leave the heater alone, please."
  • "I do have socks on!  And pajamas, as you can see. It's not like I'm sitting here in a bathing suit with the window open."

When it's clear that he's not willing to surrender, he leaves me no choice but to launch some ammo from Level Two:

  • "I'm not putting on two pairs of socks. If someone has to wear two pairs of socks to stay warm indoors, it means it's time for me to turn up the heat and time for someone else to ZIP IT AND DEAL WITH IT."
  • "My Grandma would never say that because number one, she doesn't hear very well... and, number two, she loves me enough to want me to be comfortable in my own home. I wish everyone in my life loved me that much."
  • "Seriously... don't touch that heater, or I'll break your arm."

This exchange goes on for at least an hour, during which time several other tactics are attempted by both parties in an effort to prevail:

The Holdout:
K: "Hon, it's time to carry those boxes to the basement..."
D: "I'm not moving until that space heater is turned off."

The Ultimatum:
K: "Hey, on your way back in here would you bring me my phone?"
D: "Turn that TV down about 20 decibels and I'll think about it."

The Negotiation:
D: "Ok, it's 73 degrees in here... can we please turn the heater off now?!"
K: "Yes... but only if I get to leave the TV on for as long as I want. Otherwise, no deal."

In fact, we only agree on one thing... one GINORMOUSLY ironic thing:


Given that fact, you'd think one of us would be quick to throw in the towel, right? Except that, when compared to the Openshaws, mules are downright accommodating... so round and round we go. At some point somebody waves the white flag and we both eventually drift off to dreamland... one of us deliriously victorious, the other licking their wounds and plotting their strategy for the next battle.

If I had to guess, I would say the surrender rate is about 50-50. Well... maybe 60 (Dave) 40 (me).

FINE!... 65-35, but that's only because my husband was raised by a polite, peacekeeping people, and I... well, I wasn't.

When morning comes the entire incident is forgotten, and we're a normal, happy couple... for approximately 12 hours. And then, like Mad Max and Aunty Entity, we return to Thunderdome (aka: our bedroom).

Lock and load, baby.

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