Andrea's column: Andrea finds no rest for the wicked
Bragging about how little sleep I get by on -- going to bed at midnight and rising at the crack of dawn -- is a thing of the past. Now, if I want to be halfway pleasant and somewhat productive, my perfect sleep number is nine hours.
Nine hours elude me, though, so instead of boasting about my lack of sleep, I am complaining and crying because four hours after hitting the pillow, I wake up and stay awake until 6 o'clock the next morning. Then, I finally fall asleep for an hour, or two, and the entire day feel as though I got no sleep at all.
Experts say when you have insomnia, you should get up, read a book or watch television. When you get groggy, go back to bed. That solution has never worked for me so I stay where I am and spend the time solving problems. Mine and everyone else's too.
Some nights, I plan menus for when the kids come to visit. Think of the perfect words to write in a sympathy card for a friend whose father passed away. Make a mental list of areas to tackle when my cleaning person comes the next day. No pencil. No paper. Just my mind spinning in fast-forward mode.
A few weeks ago, after awakening and tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I found myself planning my funeral. Not because I'm at death's door but because I had run out of things to obsess about.
Unable to decide on a venue for the service, I went to work on the important part: who would sing my praises to those in attendance. Dividing my life into segments, I decided to have a different eulogist for each period. A former employer would speak about the 23 years he was my boss. Let everyone know that I, a dependable and dedicated worker, had been the first woman to sell cars in the Twin Cities.
A friend I met at my first writing class would talk about my second career as a writer. She had pushed me to enter my first literary contest. I balked at the $15 entry fee, saying it would be better spent on lattés, but won the contest and a sum large enough to keep me in fancy drinks for a long time.
The young mother who helps clean my house would have time at the podium, too. After all, she's been taking notes for the occasion for years. Whenever she thanks me for something -- a piece of chocolate, an apple, a bottle of water -- I tell her to write it down for my eulogy. It's become a running joke with us.
My oldest granddaughter and I share a laugh about the subject, too. "Write it down," I tell her when she says something nice about me. "We'll need it for the eulogy." A college student, she recently read some of my work for an artists' event I wasn't able to attend. My husband said she did a bang-up job so I know she'll do the same for my send-off.
That's as far as I got. Morning came and I was able to doze off for a couple of hours. Later, when my cleaning person arrived, I told her about my night. How I had visualized each person as they spoke about my life.
"I should just write everyone's lines for them," I said. "And instead of a ceremony when I'm gone, let's have a big shindig while I'm still here. I'll just hand out scripts to you and the other eulogists."
We had a good laugh about it but the wheels in my brain had started to turn. An "I'm still kicking, let's celebrate" party might work. The way things have been going, I'll have plenty of eyes-wide-open nighttime hours to plan the festivities. I still need a school chum and someone who knew me when I was mothering my children to fill the cast. Applications are now being accepted.