Posts Tagged ‘sleep

18
Apr
17

Road Trippin’ Down Under: Bedded Bliss

Four hours and several rounds of Word Hero after the Jarhead had hit the hay I, too, was finally ready for bed. Having metabolized more than my share of sugar, caffeine, and wine—not to mention cortisol and adrenaline—over the past two days, it may be more accurate to say I was ready to crash—and hard.

And so, as quietly as I could and using my phone for a flashlight, I performed my evening ablutions, retrieved my CPAP from its case, and started to set it up. It’s not a complicated process but neither is it easy to do quietly—especially in the dark. And it’s not something I normally have to do myself when we travel. In fact, because it often involves moving one or more pieces of furniture or light fixtures—especially in older hotels—the Jarhead usually sets it up the minute we get to our room.

I can hear some of you now saying awwww and what a sweetheart—if not out loud then inside your head. But let’s not kid ourselves: the Jarhead’s dedication to helping me establish and maintain an open airway at night is as much for his own benefit as for mine. For if he doesn’t make sure upon our arrival that there is in fact a surface on which to position the machine as well as a source of electricity to power it, my ability to sleep and/or sleep quietly will be greatly impaired, which means HIS ability to sleep will be greatly impaired. And nobody wants that—least of all the Jarhead.

I should point out the alternative, which is that I suffocate in my sleep. That, too, might impair the Jarhead’s his ability to sleep—especially as he waits with fingers crossed for the results of the autopsy. And nobody wants that except—just kidding!

Most often, his advance efforts prove unnecessary, as power options are found to be both ample and in close proximity to the sleeping area. Now and again, however, the situation will require a change of rooms or the acquisition of an extension cord, which are burdens best borne by the fully clothed (and preferably while the bags are still packed) or so I’m told. This type of scenario is such a rarity that I cannot recall when last it arose. Nevertheless, it apparently created sufficient havoc for the Jarhead as to warrant his near-obsessive approach to preventing it from happening again.

Despite the playful tone, the Jarhead’s interest in making sure I’m able to breathe (and, therefore, sleep) when we’re away from home is not something I take for granted. It has, however, left me perhaps a little spoiled since it allows me to focus on things like room décor, shower configuration, and word games over sleeping arrangements and outlet placement.

Which is probably why it took me until nearly 3am to realize there were no outlets near the bed.

Notice that I did not write “near my side of the bed.” I make this distinction because the Jarhead had fallen asleep on what is generally considered by all parties to this relationship to be MY side of the bed and, therefore, if there had been an outlet on that side of the bed it would have been useless to me anyway. Unless, of course, I had been willing to drape the cord across his sleeping form and risk having him accidentally unplug it—or worse, strangle himself with it—at some point during the night, which I was not.

But that was a moot point because the fact is there was no outlet near what is generally considered by all parties to this relationship to be my side of the bed or any other. In fact, the only outlets in our room besides those in the bathroom and those behind the TV, were located at the base of the outer wall andapproximately 10 feet as the crow flies from the head end of what is generally considered by all parties to this relationship to be the Jarhead’s side of the bed.

In other words, in order to survive my first night in Australia I had to get down on my hands and knees, crawl under the table, plug the cord into an adapter, plug the adapter in to the outlet, crawl out from under the table, place my CPAP on the table, drag the table as close to the bed as the CPAP cord would allow, put on my mask, and hope:

  • that the distance between my face and the machine did not exceed the length of the air hose (72 inches) and,
  • that I didn’t roll over at some point during the night and manage to pull the CPAP off the table and have it land with a fatal thud on the floor and,
  • that the Jarhead didn’t get up at some point in the night go to the bathroom, forget which side he’d woken up on, and try to climb in on WIGCBAPTTRTB his side of the bed, trip on the cord, hit his face on the table, and land with a fatal thud on the floor

Either way you look at it, it was not an ideal arrangement. Unfortunately, the only other option was to pull the bed closer to the wall on the other side of the room, which would have been almost impossible with the Jarhead already sleeping on top of it. And even if I had been able to move it by myself, I doubted I could have done so quietly or smoothly. In other words, I would have woken him up. Which totally defeated the purpose. After all, if I was going to wake him up anyway, I may as well do so gently and deliberately, and then ask HIM to move the bed for me.

To my sleep-deprived mind at 3am, that sounded much easier.

But still not ideal. Because even if I had succeeded in moving the bed without waking the man of my dreams, he may still have gotten up at some point in the night to use the bathroom, tried to climb back in bed, which was now on the other side of the room, and landed with a fatal thud on the floor.

With that option sounding no better than the other, and finding no viable alternative, I strapped on my mask, put my head to the pillow, and tried to fall asleep.

And sleep I did. Until precisely 4:43am when the sunlight came streaming through the south facing window and patio door of our room.

That was a bit of a bummer—until I remembered that we were in Australia and on vacation.

Then it was bliss.

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28
Mar
17

Road Trippin’ Down Under: Sleepy Seconds

By the time the Jarhead had awoken from his nap, I had showered and fixed (literally) my hair, and was ready to take on the day. Since it was nearly 6pm by that point, there wasn’t much of the day left to take on, so we decided to head over to the waterfront in search of sustenance.

Fremantle Waterfront

That’s kind of our modus operandi. When we can’t think of anything else to do, we eat.

Unless we can’t decide what or where to eat, that is. Then we don’t eat. For hours.

If you think I’m joking, ask my kids. Or our friend Nancy. She once sat imprisoned in our car as the Jarhead and I tried to decide where to go for dinner one Saturday in 1993. She had the same reaction to that experience that she did after witnessing the birth of the Princess six months earlier: Never doing that again.

I can’t say I blame her. After discussing, debating, and eventually discounting nearly every casual dining establishment in south Minneapolis area only to settle for carryout pizza, I, too, was disgusted with us and questioning my reasons for staying in this relationship.

But we’re older now. And presumably wiser. Plus, it was getting late, and if we didn’t choose something we would eventually run out of time and either have settle for overpriced junk from our snack bar (shown below) or go to bed hungry.

Room Snacks

Under those conditions, I was sure we could find an acceptable place to have dinner, and make it back to our room before sunrise.

We crossed the Esplanade Park and Preserve and headed up Mews Road, vowing to stop and eat at the first place we both found acceptable. It went against everything we believed in, of course, and had a high probability of failure. The greatest threat to its success lay in the what ifs. What if we eat here and later find out we could have had something better/cheaper just a few blocks away?  What if we DON’T eat here, and then find out there’s nothing better/cheaper elsewhere? We had been burned by this strategy in the past, obviously, and were loath to try it again. But the clock was ticking, so we decided to give it a shot.

Our trip started, like any worthy quest, at a brewery. The Little Creatures Brewery, to be exact. Since the place was deserted and looked an awful lot like an actual brewery, we naturally mistook it for a brewery and gave it a miss.

Continuing up the street, we came to Cicerello’s. Offering a “unique eating experience in the heart of Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour” and providing not only “the best fish and chips” but also “freshly caught seafood, including oysters, mussels, crabs, and crayfish,” the place would have had me at hello. But for the fact that, even on a good day, the Jarhead is barely lukewarm when it comes to seafood, we might have stopped there. But instead we moved on.

Next up was Kailis’ Fish Market Café Waterfront.  This place had everything going for it that Cicerello’s had, plus cafeteria style seating and piles of freshly caught seafood on display and available for purchase.

In case you missed it, that was irony. The combination fish market and café may have been an attractive novelty for some but it was a definite deal-breaker for us since, one sure way to ruin the Jarhead’s already limited appetite for seafood is for him to see it before it becomes food.

The last option—or at least the last one that we could see due to the road blocks and other evidence of construction further up the road—was the Char Char Bull   Unfortunately, its décor and menu gave the place an air of hip elegance that posed a major threat to my self-esteem.

So back down the street we went, hoping to discover options that we had missed along the way but coming up with nothing new. Turning around again, we walked back up the street and wound up—again—at the Char Char Bull.

“At least we can get something besides seafood here,” the Jarhead observed as we read the menu on the door for the second time. Nodding, I took note of our reflections in the window and compared our hair and clothing to that of the patrons I could see inside. Noting that we looked less hip than the hippest people we could see but definitely more hip than the rest, I agreed to go inside.

And with that, our choice was finally made.

We had taken less time deciding to have a baby. And what to name him.

Nevertheless, we had come to a decision, and soon were being shown to a lovely table for two, which happened to be last open table by a window. Sa-weet, I thought as we took our seats. Then I wondered if maybe window-side tables were not considered prime real estate in Australian restaurants. Especially waterfront Australian restaurants. Maybe we should ask to be moved…

Fortunately, the arrival of our server halted that train of thought and put it squarely on the menu where it belonged. It was a much better journey, I concluded, as I took in words like:

  • mac and three cheese croquettes with spiced sea salt, Dijon and truffle mayonnaise
  • ciabatta loaf with whipped brown butter and sea salt
  • crispy tempura with wasabi tartare sauce
  • pork belly with sherry shallots, charred nectarine, almond skordalia, & vincotto
  • butternut pumpkin gnocchi

And the list went on and on.

We started with the mac and three cheese croquettes and some crispy calamari with watercress salad, white bean hummus and pomegranate dressing. I remember drinking wine as well, but since I drank much of it before any food came, I don’t remember what kind of wine it was or how it tasted. Given how well it went down, however, we can probably assume it was pretty damn good.

For my meal, I had an eye filet with smoky bourbon green peppercorn sauce and brown butter potato puree. I remember enjoying it very much, and wishing I could have tried everything on the menu while we were at it.

Meanwhile, since we were in Australia, the Jarhead decided to take the plunge and try the kangaroo loin. It was also served with brown butter potato puree, plus salt-baked beetroots, pearl onions, poached pear, and caraway jus.

To our surprise, the kangaroo loin was virtually indistinguishable from other high quality red meat. I don’t know what we were expecting, to be honest, but we were well and truly surprised. It looked and tasted delicious, but it was no better or worse than a venison loin or a good old-fashioned American T-bone or porterhouse steak.

By the time we had finished our meal—and our bottle of wine—we were both fit for nothing but our bed. And yet, our bed was about a half-mile walk through a chilly seaside park from our table in the nice warm, fireplace lit restaurant. So rather than get up and leave, we decided to delay our departure by ordering dessert.

That proved a mistake, as the Jarhead was soon snoozing lightly with his chin precariously perched in his hand, and his elbow precariously perched on the edge of the table. Oh my god, I thought, as I saw him through the sliver of an opening at the bottom of my own closed eyelids. Realizing that I, too, had fallen asleep, I shook my head a couple of times and took a good long drink of ice water.

“Hey you,” I whispered to my comatose companion as I looked around to see may have heard me snoring.  “Wake up.”

The Jarhead blinked a few times, then looked around guiltily and apologized. “They haven’t brought our dessert yet?” he wondered aloud.

“No,” I replied, although I wasn’t sure. They could have brought it over, found us asleep, and taken it away again for all I knew. But I wasn’t going to tell him that since doing so would have clued him into the fact that I had fallen asleep, too. “I was going to say something, but I don’t know how long ago we ordered it.”

“It’s been at least fifteen minutes,” he announced after looking at his watch. “I wonder what the holdup is.”

Looking around, it became clear that at some point between the arrival of the wine and end of our nap, the restaurant had gotten slammed. Not one table was empty, and the servers and other employees were racing around like bees in a hive.

It took us ten more minutes to get someone to stop at our table, and she did not have our dessert.

“We’re looking for our server,” the Jarhead told her.

“Do you need your bill?’

“No. We’re waiting for our dessert.”

Not sure how or why, but apparently our dessert had not arrived because our dessert had not been made. We learned this a few minutes later when our server came back to apologize and to assure us it would be out momentarily.

A few minutes later, the Jarhead was sleeping again, and I was fighting the urge to close my eyes as well. Knowing how hard it would be to get him on his feet and back to the hotel once he was down for the count, I scrambled toward the kitchen, and stopped the first person who looked me in the eye.

“Do you need your bill?” she asked.

Boy, these people sure wanted to get rid of us.

“No. I mean, yes. I mean, that depends,” I stammered. “We want to go, but we ordered dessert but it didn’t come, and now they’re making it and we really need to leave.”

At that point, she offered to pack the dessert to go and bring it to the table with the check. “I’ll do you one better,” I countered. “I’ll give you my credit card now and you can bring over the dessert and the slip for me to sign as soon as possible.”

Moments later, we were sleepwalking down Mews Road toward the park. Or sleepstumbling, to be more accurate.

By then the air had grown cold and the wind had picked up. I shivered and tried to use the Jarhead as a windbreak, but could barely keep my eyes open wide enough to see him as we made our way through the park and to the hotel entrance. Fortunately, it was enormous and well lit, or we might not have found the place, and would have ended dying of exposure in the park (assuming the spiders didn’t get us first.) Not exactly how I’d like to go, if it’s all the same to you.

Back in our room, the Jarhead quickly stripped down, got into bed, rolled up in the covers, and fell back asleep. Rejuvenated by the cold wind and the promise of chocolate cake, ice cream, and caramel sauce, I traded my clothes for pajamas, flopped down in a chair, propped my feet up, ripped into my dessert.

It definitely was not a pretty sight. The ice cream had melted and all that jostling had left it looking like something a child had created in the yard after a rain. But it was still cake, ice cream, and caramel sauce, and—thanks to jet lag and one lost order ticket—it was ALL mine!




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