June 29, 2005
The Puley Report: Wednesday A.M.
wakes up every night
between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.
is not a new
development. It started a couple of
months ago ... right about the time she had the
operation on her Stoopid Infected Ingrown Toenail. The
throbbing would wake her up, in the middle of the night, and nothing
but a fresh dab of Neosporin, a new Band-Aid and half a prescription
Motrin would help alleviate the pain.
Then she would force herself to crawl back under
the covers and try to go back to sleep. Some nights it
worked. Most nights it didn't. On the nights it
didn't work, she would lay in bed and watch the Hello Kitty clock
change from 1:00 to 2:00 ... to 3:00 ... to 4:00. Her head would tick with worries, while
she tossed and turned and waited for sleep to claim her:
worries, Tot worries, health worries, world-in-jeopardy worries. Mostly, though, she worried about her job. Why couldn't
she just relax and be happy with her low-stress/high-paying job? Was it time to look for
something that made her happier? How could she ever find
something that paid as well? How would JoAnne get
along without her? She would usually drop
sometime around 4:30 a.m., which gave her roughly an hour of
snooze-time before it was time to get up and get ready for work.
By the time she got to the office, her eyes felt like they'd
been buffed with fine-grade sandpaper.
Now that's she's unemployed -- EXCUSE
me: now that
she's experiencing temporary "Career Realignment" -- waking up in the middle of the night isn't quite as
Last night it was 1:20 a.m. when the toe-throbbing wrenched her out of
bed. I watched her in the darkness, digging around
in the little wicker basket she keeps on the headboard. She keeps it
filled with all of her emergency middle-of-the-night stuff ... ear plugs, antacids, Benadryl, Kleenex, lemon
fresh batteries for David's Walkman (he can't sleep without
it), the nearly-empty bottle of Motrin, a handful of fresh
Band-Aids. Except that there didn't seem to be any Band-Aids
left in the basket -- she'd used the last one the
night before, apparently -- so she was going to
have to get up and go to the bathroom and check to see if there were
any left in the medicine cabinet.
She slid out of bed with
the stealth of an alley cat -- no sense in waking
the one employed person in the bed -- and she
into the bathroom. The Band-Aid box was empty, but she did
have a couple of adhesive pads and half a roll of gauze, left over from
the surgery. She perched herself on the edge of the bathtub
at 1:23 a.m., with the bandaging supplies and a pair of scissors, and
ministered to her oozing, throbbing big toe. (The weird thing
is that lately it's been 'oozing and throbbing' on the side that DIDN'T
have the surgery. The podiatrist says this is normal:
the nail shifting location, as it adjusts to its new
cauterized/streamlined size. Eventually it will quit oozing
She hopes this is true: she has a brand-new pair of
Naturalizer sandals, size 8-1/2 WWW, which she purchased before the
paychecks stopped rolling in, and she's looking forward to
wearing them WITHOUT the oh-so-attractive Band-Aid accessorization.)
And then she crawled back into bed, next to her sleeping
husband, and she closed her eyes, and she waited for a couple of
minutes to see if sleep would naturally overtake her again.
Five minutes later, she decided that it wasn't going to happen.
it was the Pepsi
she'd had with dinner. (People in the *Career Realignment Phase* of Pulology
tend to be somewhat offhand about caffeine intake ...
a fact we frown upon, actually. But I'm not going
to start making noise about it just yet.) Maybe it was the
street light shining through the thinning bedroom curtains above her
head. Maybe it was the lumpy mattress, the traffic noises on
the street outside the bedroom window, the gentle snoring of her
husband on the other side of the bed.
Whatever the reason, sleep obviously wasn't
going to resume any time soon.
she did what she
always does, lately, in these situations: she reached over the side of
picked up the computer from the floor, and pulled it onto her lap.
She slipped the headphones over her ears, so she wouldn't
her husband, and booted up the laptop. In the darkness of the
bedroom, the light from the monitor seemed bright as midday.
logged in and fired up her favorite web browser. There were
many things she could do to entertain herself. It looked like
out of three Tots were online, for one thing ... her son's
name appeared as "Active" on her Yahoo Messenger list, her oldest
daughter was lurking on AIM ... but the truth is
exactly in the mood to engage in conversation right now.
(Plus -- an i.m. from Mom at 1:30 a.m.? They'd
was stalking them for sure.) There were a couple of e-mails
her 'In' Box, but technically they were addressed to Puley.
were another couple of annoying unsolicited advertisements in the
guestbook, which she yanked out immediately. (Whut the fudk is the deal
with SPAM in GUESTBOOKS?) Then she just sat there for a
casting around for ideas. She could create some new art for
website, maybe. Lately she's decided to resurrect the
cartoons: they were always so much fun, and always elicited such positive reader
commentary. She could answer that e-mail from her old high
school boyfriend ... the one who is asking her if
she still wonders about God? She could listen to Internet radio, or
catch up on the handful of online journals she still reads religiously,
or play a couple rounds of Ball Breaker.
Eventually, though, she ended up doing what she always does: she popped
a DVD into the player.
Tonight it was "Rescue Me" ... the FX show about
firefighters, starring Denis Leary. She's on the third disc
the three-disc first season set. The DVDs are already two
overdue at Blockbuster, so she's got to hurry up and finish watching
them before the late fees suck up the last of her life savings.
(And yes, usually she uses Netflix to feed her DVD addiction,
the day after she quit her job she walked up the street to the local
Blockbuster and opened an account there, too. She figures
she's going to have lots of time on her hands -- and on her
laptop -- for the next little while.) To
the truth, "Rescue Me" has turned out to be something of a
disappointment. She loves Denis Leary -- there's
crudely hot about the guy -- but the writing on
feels rote and predictable, and none of the supporting characters have
grabbed her, the way they do on "The West Wing" or "The Shield" or "Six
Feet Under" or "Nip/Tuck" (or any of the other 43,897,621 other DVD
television shows she's been hooked on lately). Still, she's
got this last disc left to watch, and then she can take the DVDs back
to Blockbuster and get something else. A friend has
"Popular," so she thinks maybe she'll give that a try next.
nothing else, it will give her a reason to get out of bed in the
morning and get dressed and leave the apartment for half an hour.
the meantime, though, she settled back against
pillows and watched three episodes of "Rescue Me," one right after the
other. By the time the final episode was over, it was nearly
"Let's go to sleep now, Secra," I whispered to her
"You've got to wake David up for work in two hours."
agreed with me -- I don't think she likes me very
just yet, but I think she understands that I'm only looking out for her
best interests -- and she set the laptop back on
and snuggled beneath the covers, with one pillow tucked over her head
to block out the light and the traffic noises from the street outside
her bedroom window.
worried about her. But at least she got a little sleep finally.
to throw a rock?