Memoirs of a wife trying to sleep.
RV life has led us to Northern California, which means it has led us to both forest fires and very low nighttime temperatures. I cannot be sure whether it is the coldness or the smoke that has impacted my dear husband so, but as we settled in to the campsite in the Golden State, my husband settled in to a new hobby: keeping the campsite awake with his snoring.
Perhaps that's unfair — an overstatement, you may surmise. Hyperbole! Exaggeration! But, then, consider this. The other night, people here saw a bear traipsing through our campground, just a few sites away from ours. Then, suddenly, something scared him off. Could it have been the unsettling vibrations of loud snores echoing from my motorhome? Only the bear can say for sure, and I doubt he will want to relive such trauma.
Snoring, though nothing new and certainly something that others have reported (read: lied) that I do on occasion, creates a new challenge while living on the road. Certainly, being a deterrent to bears is a plus. And it's not absurd to think the deafening sounds might also keep away robbers, tricksters and yetis. However, the sleep quality of the three other inhabitants of this home on wheels has been greatly harmed — so much so that we may wish the yetis would come into our motorhome and whisk us away to a frozen mountaintop, where perhaps we would be turned into a stew to feed the yeti young, but at least there would be peace and quiet first.
Accommodations have been made to survive the snoring. The children, who always go to sleep before us, have now been run around to maximum exertion prior to bedtime to ensure they are at peak pass-out mode. Yet despite their heavy eyelids and exhausted bodies, the snores still sometimes make them wake, fearful an earthquake has come to our campsite. My task, however, is more treacherous than that of the children's. Whereas they have hours to settle in to their deep slumber, I'm on a timed course toward doomsday.
Never one to fall asleep quickly, my evenings now toggle between the stress of trying to fall asleep before my husband's snores keep me up and trying to relax and let go of the stress so that I actually may successfully sleep. The latter has yet to work.
The typical evening routine begins with my getting ready for bed in our RV's tiny bathroom, which is directly across from the bunk bed where my children sleep. The key is not to wake them, lest they stay awake for hours with the snoring. After I enter bed, my husband uses the bathroom, while I scroll on my phone. I tell myself to only do this for a moment. Just a single moment. But there is always something of dire importance, of course, that I meant to look up earlier but forgot until snug in my bed, and it surely can't wait until morning. Somehow, this important research project turns into Instagram. Why am I on Instagram? I curse myself. Those were precious minutes I wasted when I was alone in bed and could have fallen into a deep, snore-deflecting sleep. But no, I don't put down the phone until my husband crawls into bed with me. The moment his head hits the pillow, he is asleep. It's coming. I know it's coming. The snores will arrive, and it will be hours before I can get any rest. If he wakes the children, I might as well make coffee and prepare to take pictures of the sunrise. I try to sleep, but my heart is racing. The battle is lost.
The snores come on steady and strong. I try hiding my head under my pillow. I try making big movements in the bed to jostle my husband into silence. No luck. Eventually, after an hour or so, when desperation settles in, he may receive a push, a kick or perhaps an exasperated expletive-filled demand to shut up.
This often gets an apology that is forgotten by morning and somewhere between 120 and 500 seconds of silence. I squeeze my eyes shut tightly. I begin to breathe heavily. My body sinks ever deeper into the mattress. I'm drifting. I'm drifting.
Ah, well, at least the bears won't get us.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Follow Katiedid Langrock on Instagram, at http://www.instagram.com/writeinthewild. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.