Guest column - What happened to my house? - Northwest Chatter - Explorer

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Guest column - What happened to my house?

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James C. Sandefer

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Rearranging our home furnishings is one of my wife’s periodic mystical retirement maneuvers. While she has a knack for putting things in the right places in each of the rooms of our home, this can create a dangerous transit in the night for us creatures of habit with occasional bouts of midnight bladder call and routine memory incognizance.

Correct me if I’m uninformed, but it seems to me that many senior guys venture into the bathroom at least one time after nestling themselves between the cozy sheets and prior to becoming aware of daylight. My doctor labels this process an age related urological readjustment. For me, it’s simply an occasional, inconvenient time for a pee.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind getting up at night so much if I’d ordered those night vision glasses last year when they were offered for a sale price online. I knew if I owned them they’d eventually come in handy. For now, I’m seriously considering padded door frames which will undoubtedly save me from a concussion while wondering through the house half-conscious in the middle of the night.

While I’m on the tangent about nocturnal nuisances, another discordant situation that I don’t understand is what happens to our sleep pattern as we age, other than it diminishes. I used to sleep more in one night than I sometimes sleep now in a week. Actually, I used to miss more sleep in a week than I get in a month. It seems like only a few years ago I could conk out anywhere and any time, awake rested, and ready for anything. Now getting to sleep is only the initial challenge, staying knocked out is the real trick and it only happens easily and quickly prior to serious medical procedures. They should sell some of that anesthesiological stuff over the counter; it would rake in a fortune.

Okay, back to the house, and maybe you can help clear something up for me. Why does the interior of our home take on a dissimilar appearance in the dark? I’ve also noticed this unfamiliarity phenomenon on formerly friendly roads that turn mysteriously indistinguishable when driving after sunset, but I suppose that’s another aging issue. I’ve found that navigating the crooks and turns of my hallway offers almost no challenge at all during midday. Come bedtime, all bets are off. There’s a 50/50 chance I’m going to injure an external part of me while wandering around at night.

Now that I think about it, this may be the reason we don’t travel as much as we used to. I’ve become fearful of hotel rooms regardless of the overnight cost or extravagance. For starters, my wife doesn’t trust the multiple dead bolts and log chain on the door for security, she sleeps more sound when several pieces of ironwood-like furniture are dragged over and braced against the door. I don’t have a problem with this practice except for my history of midnight mishaps. The leg of one of these additional security items will inevitably encroach the route to the bathroom threshold and find its way in front of my big toe when I’m semi-consciously trekking through that region at sometime between 12pm and 3am. When I’m stumbling along in an auto-minded brain fog my feet tend to charge ahead of my body at greater than normally considerate speed for their safety, and cr-a-a-a-ck, the second toe takes a hit. I’m surprised it’s still longer than the other ones.

Before I know it, I’m lamely hopping around holding my foot like it makes a difference and could actually ease the throbbing pain. By the time I find the light switch and send juice to the 3000 watts of blinding makeup bulbs, my longer-than-the-others toe is already swollen to twice its size and taken on that dreaded multiple green, yellow and blue color combination. And I asked for the room as far away from the ice maker as possible. That always proves to be a convenient request. There’s nothing like humping a stainless steel, dripping ice bucket down the hall while hopping on one foot. Who cares that most hotel guests are securing their best sleep of the night around this time. If the hotels wanted quiet they’d offer nerf buckets for carrying ice, or put the machines in the rooms for convenience.

The obvious resolution for my nighttime meandering problem is simply getting to sleep and staying asleep until daylight; don’t I wish. Since that doesn’t seem likely any time soon, I think it’s fitting that my wife should: 1) leave all furniture in place for at least 6 months after rearranging it, 2) wrap the legs of all heavy wooden objects with bubble wrap, 3) place those mini-sized orange bumper cones at all hallway exits that don’t lead to a bathroom, and 4) buy some rubber toed sleeping socks for me.

As usual, my wife had another optional solution, allow safety cones leading to the sliding doors from the bedroom that offer an exit to outside. That way I could safely leave the house and wander the yard until I saw the light of another non-slumbering soul. She might be on to something unintentional, neighborhood insomnia parties. Yeehaa, now where’s the coffee.

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James C. Sandefer

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