Other nights it’s easier, and I fall into a deep sleep around 11:17 PM, not even waking slightly to fluff my pillow in the middle of the night.
Coincidentally, those easy nights are the ones in which I indulge in a little rum and Diet nightcap or two. I say “falling into a deep sleep,” you say “passing out.” Potayto-potahto.
Whatever the case—rum-induced or not—because I fall asleep by 11:30 each evening, I can awake bright-eyed and bushy tailed (and, oddly, bright red-nosed) by 5:30 or 6:00 AM each morning. When I’m not working on a piece before my regular 9-5 (Isn’t it cute how I said that? “Working on a piece”? As if I’m some serious, legitimately paid author who doesn’t crank out curse word-addled blog posts that not even my dad reads anymore?), this gives me time in the morning before anyone else in my family is up and moving to sit on my deck, sip my coffee, and enjoy the sounds of a neighborhood waking up while reading a book and waiting on my morning poop. (Quick aside: One morning when I stepped into the kitchen to refill my coffee mug, my husband said, “I’ve already been up for an hour getting stuff done; it’s going to be a busy day.” I said, “I’ve been up for an hour, too” because it’s a competition between the two of us. Then he said, “Well, yeah, but I’ve actually been DOING stuff. Sitting around on the deck waiting for your coffee to make you poop doesn’t count” and I said, “Um, YEAH IT DOES because if I didn’t poop in the morning, it would make my stomach hurt later and decrease my work productivity. It’s called EFFICIENCY.”)
Anyway, my alone time on the deck is glorious.
Except when my husband decides to join me. Then, because I’m a good wife, I close my book (only softly ruffling the pages, not slamming it open-faced onto the table) and invite conversation. I even keep my annoyed sigh to gentle mode so that he understands he’s infringing on my sacred morning solitary time but that I will allow it because I’m a good wife. <<See what I did there? Sighed like a total bitch but kept it at “gentle” so he feels privileged that I’m letting him join me without complaint, which in turn makes me look like a sweet, thoughtful wife? That’s what 13 years of marriage will teach you, young brides. Watch and learn. Watch.and.learn.
TANGENT: I once read a People magazine article that showcased some big Hollywood star. She said she liked to get up “early, around 7:30, before everyone else was waking up” to sit on her porch and meditate. I was like, “EARLY?! In whose world is 7:30 AM EARLY except someone with a damn live-in nanny who’s there to wake the kids, get breakfast ready, and get them to school on time? EARLY my ass.”
A couple of weeks ago, the hubs plopped down on a deck chair next to me. I took my time finishing the page I was on before sighing gently, ruffling the pages softly, and closing the book. I looked up at him and he started talking about his last dentist appointment.
“I guess they’re going to put a cap on that back tooth,” he said. “I told them it’s not like it matters; I’ll end up with false teeth anyway.”
This comment gave me pause—and when I say “pause,” I mean I gasped and recoiled in my deck chair so hard that it almost toppled over.
“Like hell you will!” I screeched, probably a bit more loudly than I had meant to. Any remaining neighbors still sleeping were most likely wide awake now, thanks to me. Oops.
My husband looked amused. “What do you mean?”
“I mean you have great teeth—not that anyone notices because you never smile, but still. Great teeth. Why would you think you ever needed to get false teeth?”
“Well, I didn’t mean like right now—"
“When did you mean?”
“I don’t know…like when we’re 60?”
“SIXTY?! That’s right around the corner! We’re 40! Sixty will be here in the blink of an eye, and it will NOT bring false teeth with it—for you or for me.”
“Maybe having to get false teeth is kind of hereditary,” my husband mused aloud. “Mom and Dad both have them.”
“Are they related?” I asked.
My husband smirked at me. “Well, your mom has them, too,” he pointed out.
“Yeah, and have you seen the dandies she picked out? Her mouth puts a horse’s grin to shame. NO THANK YOU.”
My husband leaned back in his chair and smiled at me. “What, you won’t find me attractive if I get false teeth when I’m 60?”
I shook my head. “Hell no, I won’t.”
His smile widened as he leaned forward in his chair and reached out to grab my hand. “I’m kinda glad you care.” I rolled my eyes.
“Well, what if I decided I did want to get them someday? What age would be appropriate for false teeth?” my husband asked me.
“I won’t live that long,” he replied.
“Then you’ll never need them. End of discussion.”
I always win, you guys.