Friday, April 1, 2011


So I have decided that the best way to combat the general whiny-ness about winter that I have been hearing about everywhere lately is to just move on and ignore it.  People are always looking for a reason to excuse their own crabby-ness or grouchy-ness, and it is only a matter of time before the humidity kicks in and I will be among the malcontents.

What topic should I take up for my "moving on" theme?  April Fools' Day?  Truth be told, I'm not a fan.  I'm not a natural prankster; I am much more likely to say or write something funny/sarcastic than try and make a fool out of someone through deliberate planning.

I guess I could write about the fact that we have now officially entered my birthday month.  As in 31st birthday month.  Eek. 

To pull back from that a bit, I work with someone who just turned 24 last month.  I realize that I am not decades older than her, but I have become increasingly frightened by how different my own life was at that age from where I am now.  My priorities, my beliefs about the future, my freedom.  You see, my 24th year was the milestone year that I purchased my house.

The year was 2004.  The housing boom was riding high, and I had been living in my grandfather's condo for two years.  While it was a nice situation and certainly not beyond my means, I had grown tired of the shackles associated with maintaining a house that belongs to my mother's father.  My grandfather was actually in the nursing home and he never really came back to the condo again.  However, the condo was in a great location and habitually served as the home base for family operations whenever my parents and brothers were in town.

If this condo was 4,000 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and maid service, there would not have been a problem.  Instead it was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with about 1000 square feet.  Maybe less.  It sure felt like less when we were all there.  For beds, there was a queen size in the master, a twin in the den/other bedroom, and a queen size pull out couch in the living area.  Due to the very odd sleeping issues of me and my family, it usually ended up being my mom and in the master, my brothers on the couch and my dad in the small room.

To demonstrate why this was a problem, I will tell you that I do NOT enjoy sharing a bed.  Why?  Because I snore.  That's right, because I snore.  My snoring does not bother me when I sleep alone.  When I have to sleep in the same bed (or same room) as other people, I get a bit paranoid.  I don't like other people to be disturbed by it, but I cannot control it.  I usually end up staying awake for a long time waiting for the other people to fall asleep.

With non-family members, this is usually the worst of it.  With family members, there is an extra dimension to the problem.  They all snore too.  This leads to a vicious cycle of me waiting for someone to fall asleep only to have them start snoring which prevents me from falling asleep anyway. 

The remedy that is frequently employed to get someone to stop snoring is a simple tap or push.  When my brother and I were very young, we used to have to share a bed at my grandfather's house.  Michael has the unique ability to snore, talk, walk and crack knuckles while sleeping.  He has had this skill from early childhood.  When we were young, I realized that his noisy sleep habits only respond to harsh violence in the form of punching, kicking or having shoes thrown at him from across the room.

One thing that I have learned about the tap/push method is that the reason it works is because it actually wakes up the snoring person.  It turns out that for my father and me, the prime snore time is really before we are fully asleep.  In fact, I have been told I was snoring at times that I thought I was still awake.  Weird, right?

This entry has taken a wildly divergent path, but I think I'm going to stick with it.  You didn't really want to hear about my house purchase, did you?  Maybe another time. 

My piece de resistance snore story comes from my family's vacation to Scandinavia in 2008.  We traveled to many places and stayed in many hotels.  Depending on how frugal my mother was trying to be, our sleeping arrangements varied quite a bit.  For the first few nights, my mom and I shared a room.  Thankfully, my mother brought with some Ambien to help sleep.  Of course, jet lag probably helped a bit also.  All of our hotel stays in Denmark and Sweden followed this arrangement.

Then we got to Norway.  Now I realize that Oslo is an expensive city.  Beautiful, but spendy.  In the interest of saving money, my mom got a room for all four of us.  It was cramped.  Oh, and it just so happened that Norway was experiencing unusually high temperatures for the time of year.  Nice.  The one advantage to a cramped space was that everyone was within easy reach for anti-snoring attacks.

Next, we went from Oslo to the sleepy town of Gol, located in the heart of the Halling Valley.  Again, we were able to fit in one room, although this room was actually designed to hold four people as there was additional loft space.  The main disadvantage to this was that my dad and brother slept in the loft, thus putting them out of reach of my anti-snoring acts of violence. 

Further complicating matters was the discovery that my mother was impervious to anti-snoring attacks while on Ambien.  The end result of this was that I spent many sleepless hours in the bathroom or on the balcony with a book, enjoying the constant daylight of the midnight sun.

After Gol, we had one peaceful night in the fjord town of Balestrand where we thankfully reverted back to our Sweden arrangements.  Unfortunately, the last leg of our trip was in Bergen.  This is where my mom got really creative.  As they did not have a four person room at our hotel, she arranged to get one triple and one single.  Through some odd twist of fate, my mom ended up in the single and I was in the triple with the men. 

In this final hotel room, the men slept on the main bed and I slept on a single bed by the window.  By this time, I was exhausted, sick of the unexpected hot temperatures that I had failed to pack for properly and not in the mood to be nice.  I therefore armed myself each night with a stockpile of shoes next to my bed.  These shoes were employed as projectile anti-snoring devices that were flung in the direction of the cacophony coming from the main bed.  It proved to be quite effective.

I hope that you have enjoyed my story and do not think less of me now that you know my dark snoring secret.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I am also a tooth-grinder.  I always have been and I always will be.  Same for snoring.  I have always envied the girls who can sleep silently and peacefully.  These are the lovely girls who are destined to find Prince Charming husbands who will never have to complain that they need earplugs or white noise machines to drown them out.  I am not sure what kind of person is willing to put up with this kind of behavior, because I'm not sure that I could put up with it myself.

Hopefully this has distracted you all a bit from the possibility of further displays of winter and its accompaniment of whining.  Sweet dreams.

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