Sleep and CatTraps

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August 12, 2012 by drandmrso

A few days ago I slept for 14 hours straight–a feat I can’t claim to have accomplished since my great battle with Swine Flu in September 2009. It didn’t feel good (sleeping that long, not the flu–although the flu felt terrible as well). My back was sore when I got up. I felt cloudy the entire day. It was probably the result of a bug, but I was really hoping maybe I was having a growth spurt and my dreams of becoming an Olympic volleyball player could finally come to fruition. You can still get taller in your mid-twenties, right? It got me thinking, though, about just how fickle this thing is: sleep. Especially when you share a bed. With a male. A male who works weird hours. And cats.

Let’s start with the obvious: sharing a bed with a male is an absurd undertaking. Dr generates more body heat than an electric blanket–which is great in the middle of winter, but an absolute nightmare in August on nights when we try to avoid turning on the air conditioning. About a week ago I thought we had finally settled in–sans AC for the first time in a quite a while–when out of nowhere Dr sat straight up and yelled, “It’s too HOT!” in a tone most often heard from elderly men who have just had enough with the racket being created by hoodlums outside with their newfangled contraptions. He clambered out of bed, shut all the windows, and turned on the AC. I didn’t have the heart to remind him it was going to take a couple of hours to notice a temperature change. But it perfectly demonstrates the difference between males and females: I was fine with the temperature! I even had a blanket! It’s a rare night indeed when I don’t have a blanket; I prefer to use as many as I can stand until I either melt or can’t move my limbs anymore. It works out really well when Dr folds his half of the blankets over onto my side, creating a heavenly double layer–on par with double-stuffed Oreos–of heavy blanket goodness under which I can fall into a warm, immobile coma.

Which leads to the second major issue in this bed-sharing conundrum: I’m a very heavy sleeper. Dr is not. So when he gets up at 4:45am it doesn’t really bother me. Getting to sleep is the real problem. A dramatic recreation of a recent evening:

10:02pm – Dr adjourns to the bedroom. He sets the CatTrap (more about that later); chucks the neatly aligned throw-pillows off the bed, grumbling to himself “Why the hell are there so many of these?!”; reads a bit; turns out the light; falls asleep.

10:49pm – Enter Vincent, a rather chubby house cat, stage left. Vincent sneaks up to the bedroom door, deterred only momentarily by the cardboard-and-tape device meant to repel him, and starts pawing at the space between the door and the carpet, meowing loudly. Mrs O rushes from the living room and snaps at him until he trots away.

11:53pm – Mrs O prepares the house for the night: fills the cats’ food and water bowls, locks the front door, turns out the lights. She stealthily steps over the cat trap and quietly opens and closes the bedroom door. Delicately, using her cell phone as her only light source, she takes one step toward the bed, then two–“What time is it?” cries a sleepy, concerned Dr O.

“It’s only midnight, sweetie. Go back to sleep.”

“But how are the pawoeintnts?”

“The what?” she whispers, crawling quickly under the covers.

“The patients.”

“They’re fine. They’re all sleeping; so you should, too.”

“Oh, ok.” He rolls over. She can tell from his breathing it takes many minutes for him to fall back to sleep.

3:24am – Vincent, never one to remember a disciplinary lesson, approaches the door once more. While he detests the feeling of the sticky tape on his paws, he flops down and stretches one leg as far as he can under the door and extends his claws, shaking the entire door because he knows–he just knows–there are warm, cuddly people in that room and they really want to pet his belly and let him sleep as close to their faces as possible and when he shakes the door sometimes the people open it and let him in and he can jump up on the bed between the people and dig a nice little nest for seven minutes and then switch to a new spot and dig a nest there for another five minutes and then finally go to sleep! Alas–on this night, Mrs O deliriously climbs out of bed, opens the door and shoos Vincent away.

4:45am – Dr’s alarm goes off. Mrs O doesn’t flinch. Dr gets up, turns on the light, opens the door to a very excited Vincent who jumps up on the bed and digs a nice little nest for seven minutes and then switches to a new spot and digs a nest there for another five minutes and then goes to sleep. Mrs O doesn’t flinch. The other cat, Jules, prances is and finds a suitable resting spot at the foot of the bed. Meanwhile, Dr prepares for work, opening and closing the closet, bathroom, and dresser doors. Mrs O doesn’t flinch.

This dramatization, in which Dr was portrayed by a young Sean Connery and Mrs O was portrayed by Halle Barry (because it’s my blog and I’m the casting director), demonstrated both the necessity and, unfortunately, the inefficiency of the O Family Household patented CatTrap. It’s an 18″ x 30″ piece of cardboard that Dr wrapped in packaging tape (sticky side out). He places it outside the closed bedroom door like a mediocre April Fool’s Day prank in the form of a welcome mat and hopes that maybe–just maybe–this will be the night the cats are actually put off by the CatTrap.

I realize that I have nothing to complain about compared to the sleeping issues faced by parents of babies–I’m sure I’ll look back on this post and snigger at my former self. “How naive. You knew you couldn’t make baby traps, right?”

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Dr. O is an otorhinolaryngology resident. Mrs. O was an English major and is easily grossed out by blood and guts. This is the blog where Mrs. O documents their adventures in (not bloody) detail. Enjoy!

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