The call to serve

AGMA isn’t sure I’ll be around to post after today.

I don’t mean to upset you, but I feel like I need to prepare you for the worst possible scenario.

Just in case.

No, I don’t have COVID or another illness that is about to take me out. Yet.

No, I haven’t decided to give up blogging. AGMA is one of my “touchpoints of sanity” in the totally insane world that is 2020.

No, I’m not going into exile to escape what is sure to be a very rough time in the US over the next 4 months. Although I’m sorely tempted.

Son#1 and DIL will be going away by themselves for a well deserved long weekend to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

Soooooo – AGMA and Hubs will be babysitting our 3 young grandchildren (ages 5, 3 and 14 months) for 3 days and nights by ourselves.

BY OURSELVES!!!!

(Did I just shout?)

Well, that’s not entirely true. My DIL has a lovely young lady come over during the day Monday through Friday to help her with the kiddos. The kids adore their nanny and she loves them so it’s really a great arrangement.

Super nanny will be around to help us on Thursday and Friday into the early evening. But we’re going to be solo at night and on Saturday and part of the day on Sunday.

Oh the humanity!

I’m not entirely sure I’ll survive.

Please don’t get me wrong… AGMA loves my 3 grandchildren dearly.

We sold our house, put most of our earthly possessions in storage, and moved over 700 miles away to be closer to them. During a global pandemic. And (of course) brought lots of toys with us.

And the 3 grandchildren I have now are it. There are no additions on the horizon nor will there be.

Zip. Nada, Zilch.

Son#2 is more than happy being a life long bachelor and having to only care for 2 cats.

Son#1, the kiddo’s father, saw to it, surgically, that there will be no additional rug rats added to the brood soon after #3 came along last year. If you catch my drift…

So these 3 precious children are it. They are the legacy that AGMA will be leaving to world when the sand runs out of my hour glass. My chance to achieve immortality of sorts. The future of my DNA.

Plus they are just a cute and adorable and personable as they can be.

I love them more than words can say.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m looking forward to spending a whole weekend with them. Alone. I mean, seriously?

There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. AGMA isn’t as spritely as I used to be (which wasn’t all that great to start with!) I get tired (translation = exhausted) trying to keep up with them.
  2. Hubs has a neurological condition that impairs his balance and mobility so this means that I will be doing all the “stair running” (they have 3 floors) and carrying of anybody or anything that may need carrying.
  3. We like to sleep at night. The kids don’t. The older ones often pile into their parent’s bed in the middle of the night. This is the very same bed that we will be sleeping in this weekend. It could be difficult to sleep with a foot in my stomach and an arm across my face or a squirmy 3 year old at my head.
  4. After 3 nights of interrupted sleep piled onto exhausting, stair running days, AGMA will not be somebody that anybody will want to be around for any length of time. Just sayin’…
  5. Most importantly, we like to be the “good guys” to the kids. We don’t want to have to discipline them or order them to pick up their toys or tell them they aren’t allowed to have that extra snack. You know – stuff parents normally do. But we might have to do all that this weekend. And that’s just no fun.

But we knew there would be assignments like this when we moved up to Chicago. We were aware of the risks.

We are the brave, the strong. We are grandparents. And we will serve despite the risks. That’s what grandparents do when called to action.

Even if we have a nasty case of bone spurs.

Please remember AGMA fondly just in case I don’t come out on the other side of the weekend…

To sleep, perchance to dream

sleep2

AGMA dreaming of sleeping through the night

“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,                                                                         The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,                                                                      Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,                                                                 Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

So it sounds like Bill knew how to get a good night’s sleep.

No surprise… No Monday Night Football or TV series to binge watch on Netflix. No glowing blue screens to reduce the production of his melatonin. No “mine is bigger than yours” dare and double dare between two narcissistic, megalomaniac bullies that threatens to wipe out humanity.

How about you? How you sleepin’ at night?

Once upon a time, AGMA slept like tRump at the G20. Like a log.

From my childhood through my 20’s, I was a 8 hour a night sleeper. Sometimes 9.

But of course, that was PC.

Pre-children…

Sleep patterns start going downhill when you’re pregnant.

The first thing to go was the tummy sleeping. As a child and young adult, AGMA was a tummy sleeper. However, this is difficult if you have a little human in your abdomen. They tend to take issue with being squished. Plus, you reach the point where tummy sleeping is like balancing your body on a volleyball.

I became a fitful side sleeper.

Then there were the wee hours (pun intended) trips to the bathroom. That little human needs more room as he grows. And the space formerly occupied by your bladder seems the perfect place for him to practice his downward dog.

Bladder volume decreases significantly. Bathroom visits increase exponentially.

Finally, there is the last month of pregnancy where no sleeping position is comfortable no matter how many pillows you try to stuff around the “hanging out” places

Then the baby comes and all hell breaks loose. Sleeping at night is replaced with naps that come in 2 to 4 hour intervals 24/7. The distinction between day and night is a blur. AGMA looked like an extra on The Walking Dead.

We had our second son when our first was 18 months old. This was a brilliant (if unintended) plan. We front loaded all of the baby induced sleep deprivation into a 3 year time frame.

AGMA was so exhausted one night that I didn’t hear my older son (who was 2 at the time) coughing and wheezing in the middle of the night. I didn’t hear Hubs get up. Nor did I hear the garage door open and close when Hubs took son to the emergency room. Nor did I hear them return from the emergency room. I found out about it all the next morning.

Oops…

By the time the kids are old enough to sleep solidly through the night, your sleep cycle is so mangled that you wake up in the middle of the night for no reason.

This lasts until they become teenagers and start going out on the weekends with friends. Now you can’t sleep because you have to stay up to wait for them to come home. This was pre-cell phone tracking. We used to have to depend on them finding a landline to get in touch with us if they were going to be late.

Which they never could seem to find.

So when they finally leave home (assuming they ever do leave home) for college or to live on their own, you are sad. Really. But you think that you will be able to finally get a good night’s sleep.

Nope.

What time is it kids?

“It’s time for perimenopause and menopause!”

Now AGMA’s waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Or at a minimum, kicking off all of the covers to try to cool down. Then waking up an hour later to put the covers back on because I’m cold. Over and over. And over.

This went on for 6 years until the plumbing finally turned off.

TMI?

But at this point, sleeping though the night now was being thwarted by modern technology. WTF?

Those damned blue light screens… On your TV, laptop, phone and tablet. Google “how blue light affects sleep”. We do a number on our brain when we stare at those things in the evening.

It interrupts our Circadian rhythm. Not a good thing.

And as long as we’re talking about interruptions, Hubs doesn’t help AGMA’s sleep issues.

I’m an early to bed, early to rise type of gal. He’s a late to bed, late to rise kinda guy. So every night at 1:30 AM, AGMA’s roused by his bathroom ritual. And him feeding the cats.

But AGMA being AGMA, and needing her beauty sleep to keep me from being a raging bitch, has found some solutions.

Friends and family are truly thankful.

I take some natural sleep aids (Holy Basil and Tryptophan) that are non-habit forming and pretty effective. On rare occasions, I take a big pharma sleep aid if I have a long run the next day or am on an international flight, and really need to get a good night’s sleep.

AGMA bought an eye mask and ear plugs. Presto! Hubs doesn’t wake me up anymore when he comes to bed. I’m like Sgt Schultz… I hear nothing. I see nothing. I just hope our smoke alarm doesn’t go off in the middle of the night.

I started running. On run days, I sleep soooo much better at night.

AGMA needs to get better about the blue light stuff. My phone and my tablet both have those blue light filters that you can put on the the evening, but I don’t use them enough.

I still get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but because of my running or natural sleep aids, I go right back to sleep when I get back in bed. Most nights.

And then tRump became president.

AGMA’s still trying to figure out how to get around the nightmares that one’s causing.

Is it 2020 yet?

Yippy dogs and bad moods

lady-and-the-tramp-02

I’m in a bad mood today.  I know, right?

We live in a townhouse.  This means that there are many people smooshed into many connected homes on a small plot of land.  We’re all just one big happy family.

Not.

We’re in a middle unit of a row of six so we have neighbors on both sides.  Lucky us. This could have been a disaster. Fortunately, and not due to any due diligence on our part in discovering this before we moved in, the town homes were very well built. There are thick firewalls between units. This is not only good if there is a fire, but it also provides some pretty amazing soundproofing.

Our neighbors on one side have two little kids and a big dog.  “Oh crap!” I thought to myself when we first met them.  But we never hear them.  Ever.

We’ve only seen our neighbor on the other side once in the nearly three years we’ve lived there.  He obviously likes to keep a low profile.  And we never hear him either.  But that’s what I would expect from a man whose weekly trash consists of a little grocery store plastic bag tied at the top.  I’m ashamed every week when I wheel out our overflowing trash can.

But despite the amazing soundproofing, there are still challenges to living in a group situation in our modern “I want what I want when I want it” culture.  People who don’t notice that their roof gutter is now resting on their garage.  People who park in a guest spot (a paltry 2 per 6 homes) because they use their garage for storage.  Finding a drunk neighbor passed out in your driveway.  Yeah – okay – I guess that could happen anywhere…

The worst is the pets.  Dogs specifically.

Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs.  I had a sweet little pup growing up.  And we had a totally wonderful Corgi when our kids were growing up.  The Queen and I still miss him.

Honestly, I’ve never lived in a neighborhood with so many dogs.  So many.  And not just little dogs but big dogs as well.  Dogs galore.  I feel like I’m in the middle of a Disney movie and they’re all going to eat spaghetti together soon.

We’re actually the odd ones because we don’t have a dog.  We own cats.  But that’s another post…

Our covenants say that, when you take your dog out, it should be on a leash.   And you should pick up after it/them.  Yeah sure.

The renters in the end unit let their big dogs out to run free and leave little bundles of sweet smelling delight all over the grass at the end of the street.  Other dog owners won’t walk their dogs down there because of the dog poop . Kind of funny in a twisted, ironic way way.

I think the HOA has given up trying to get the owner to get his renters to pick-up the poop.   He just gets charged for annual sod replacement.

But the bane of my existence are three little yippy dogs two units down in the other end unit.  The dogs didn’t get yippy until they added the third one last year.  The doggy James Dean.  Seriously bad influence on the other two.

When the weather is nice, the owners put the dogs out on their deck.  And that’s when it starts.  Not constant yipping, but explosive, intermittent yipping like machine gun fire.  At all hours of the day and night.  Like last night.

Bad mood.

They started about 3:30 AM and it just kept up in spurts all morning.  I’m on a diet.  I’m recovering from a running injury. I’ve had several bad hair days in a row.  And I missed Dancing with the Stars last night

For the love of all that’s holy, I need my sleep!

‘Round about 5:30 AM, I was starting to have some pretty disturbing thoughts about those three little dogs.  I know there are no bad dogs, just bad owners, but try telling that to a sleep deprived, cranky AGMA.

The Bad Owners will try to walk the triumvirate of yippy dogs without leashes.  The dogs go ballistic.  Out of control; running everywhere.  Like Andy Dufresne after he busts out of Shawshank Prison.  They like to run into people’s garages.  And jump on other dogs that are on leashes.  And run after cars, and dart in and out of the wheels. One of them started nipping at my heels when I was finishing up a run.  The owner tries to call them back, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them look over their haunches, smile, and give her the finger.  Or the paw.  And sniff their butts.

After last night, I’m toying with the idea of not watching as closely or driving so slowly down the street when they are doing their Born Free routine.  I know that’s awful.  I feel awful just having these thoughts.  And writing them down.  And planning what I’ll say to the Bad Owners afterwards.  Really, I feel bad when I kill a bug in my house – I try to capture it and put it outside.  Except ants. They have no business in my house.

But a girl’s gotta sleep.

So Bad Owners…please put your yipsters in tonight. I’m sure they’d rather be snuggling at your feet than out on the deck where there’s a bunch of creepy, weird sounds.

And I hear there are coyotes in the neighborhood.  I hear they can climb on decks for their appetizers.  Yip, yip….(silence)

So disturbing…