Monday, March 24, 2008

Wake Up Call

Have you ever noticed that the manner in which you wake up sets the stage for your entire day?

Waking up to a fresh breeze, the sounds of birds chirping in the sunlight, and the warm scents of summer wafting over your face brings a sense of peace and optimism to the day. The sputtering of the coffeepot and the rich smells of a fresh cup under your nose can awaken your senses and give you the energy to face the day.

I have heard that there are pleasant ways to wake up, but I don’t remember them personally, because the last time I woke up pleasantly was, I believe, in the early 1990s.

Since then, I can categorize my methods of waking up by degree of unpleasantness. Among the least offensive ways I’ve been woken recently is by alarm clock, which is rarely necessary in a house with four young children and a farmer. One of them is nearly always awake by 5 a.m., so an alarm clock is only utilized during calving when night checks occur.

The telephone is never a pleasant way to wake up. If the telephone is ringing after 11 or before 5, which is usually the only time it could wake me up, it is usually not good news. Besides, the person who is calling inevitably forces you to lie when you answer.

“Hi there. Did I wake you up?”

“Uh, no. Nope. Not me. I wasn’t sleeping,” you mumble as you glance at the clock and realize how ridiculous it is to lie about that at 5:30 a.m. Both you and the caller know good and well that you were, in fact, sleeping, but rare is the person who actually admits it at any time of the night or morning. Instead, you try to subtly disguise the sounds of wiping the drool off your face and coughing up the phlegm that has accumulated in your throat during your sleep.

Other unfortunate ways to wake up involve children. Some of these awakenings cause only brief exits from your bed, such as when the baby loses his pacifier and you trudge, still half-asleep, across the house to replace it. After four children, I can walk across the house with my eyes completely closed, barring the presence of a Hot Wheels car that will hurtle me across the kitchen and skate me into the refrigerator. I rarely lose any sleep on the brief trips to the kids’ rooms since I am usually not completely awake.

Some situations require full consciousness, however, such as the “thump and scream,” which moms everywhere will recognize as the child falling out of bed. This requires a mom’s full attention and a good 10 minutes of consolation and several smooches.

The crying baby, the coughing child, the nightmare, and the “I really gotta go” are all nuisances which can be tolerated fairly well because you can usually catch some sleep after they are dealt with. Some child-related awakenings can even be construed as partially pleasant, if you can concentrate on the joy of snuggling a toddler and disregard the time on the clock or the pressure of the child’s heel in your eye socket as she struggles to find a comfortable spot.

Animal awakenings are rarely pleasant, easily resolved, nor indicative of a good day to come. Anything scurrying across the floor promises a full night of hunting and wondering what it is and where it is headed. Even the smallest creatures can destroy a perfectly good night’s sleep. I spent many a night trying to eradicate the crickets that would keep me up all night in our old house, wielding a sandal as a weapon and quieting them only to go back to bed and hear several more chime in.

Last night I was awakened by the sound of a dog digging in the gravel. This morning, a perfectly circular hole remained in the front driveway. I have no idea why the dog felt it necessary to dig through a deep layer of gravel and clay so dry it resembles concrete, but he persisted for at least an hour and 20 minutes, and as is usually the case, the sound was magnified by the effort I exerted in trying desperately to get back to sleep.

I usually don’t mind barking so much, because that usually forces the man of the house outside with the rifle to take care of whatever creature has invaded the dog’s space.

This morning, however, it was an animal of a different species that managed to ruin the day. The baby had finally slept past 6 a.m. and I was snoozing away at 6:20, a rare treat for me, when the sound of a disgruntled farmer woke me up. He had looked out the kitchen window and, instead of basking in the glow of the glorious sunlight, he spotted a cow in the yard.

Awakening to any problem involving cows or other critters is bound to wreck your day. I never thought I would say it, but I kind of miss the sound of my alarm clock.


You never know what you'll wake up to on a Montana morning.


jane said...

"did I wake you up?"

"No, I had to get up to answer the phone."

Anonymous said...

Well done.. Was it a cow or the deer that he saw? Love the picture btw! :-)


Andrea said...

I can too walk through the house managing to miss all the hot wheels and dinosaurs!! It's amazing. But if my husband gets up you can hear him say, "Ouch" as he steps on everything!! LOL!! I am all too familuar with all those wake up "calls".

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