When I was living with my parents, I had to be home by midnight and there was no exception to my curfew. Dad lived by several mantras, one of them being, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.” These days, my question is as follows—at what point in the morning does it stop being “after midnight” of the night before and become “the next morning?” If this question doesn’t make sense to you, let me explain a little of what is going in our lives right now.
Jacob goes to school in Pocatello. We live 80 miles to the north. Luckily, I work for a transportation company that can shuttle him south to Pocatello. At the bus stop, he keeps his car parked so that he can drive himself from there to school. Unfortunately, his first class begins at 6am. In other words, Jacob has to leave our house at 3:15 in the bloody morning in order to catch his shuttle to get him to his car, to get him to his class on time. Thus, you can understand my question better. Does this 3am morning still count as “after midnight” since we have technically gone to bed and woken up again? Can anything good happen at this hour?
After a couple months of 3 o’clock mornings, I admit wholeheartedly that events are always more dramatic at that obscene time of the “day.” Emotions are high and rational thinking is low. Today I am grouchy—ridiculously yet justifiably so. Major lack of sleep. Here’s the story. Cue scene:
2:45am Jacob’s alarm clock goes off. I stayed up late reading after he went to bed, so I am very groggy. I somehow manage to slink off the bed long enough to use the restroom, gave him a quick hug and kiss goodbye. Unfortunately, I always have had a hard time falling asleep (even when I am exhausted) so after I make it back to the bed, it still takes some time before I finally get back to sleep.
3:10am I have just drifted away and the bedroom door opens. Jacob is digging through his dresser. He informs me that he can’t locate his keys for his vehicle that is sitting in Pocatello. Without them, he can’t get from the bus stop to the school. This has happened many mornings before and he always manages to find them, so I am unalarmed. After minor rummaging, Jacob leaves the room and I roll over to once again to try to fall back asleep.
3:15am Jacob reenters the bedroom and continues his search through the bedroom. At this point I realize he must need help if he still hasn’t found the keys. So I give up on sleeping for the moment and get up to help in the search.
3:25am After 10 minutes of desperate searching, I opened the front door to see if perhaps Jacob had left the keys in the door when he unlocked it yesterday (which he hadn’t) and I see his shuttle sitting in front of the house. Shortly thereafter we get a call from the driver, who can no longer wait for him and keep to his schedule. Driver leaves.
3:45am Still no keys. Up to now we have been (mostly) tiptoeing around the living room and using hallway lights only to avoid waking up the bird, Belle. She has the habit of making a high pitched squeal or a loud squawk if we are awake and she is still locked in her cage and covered up. (Side-note: until this morning I didn’t realize where she learned the squeal. Now, after having opened and closed the front and back door a million times this morning while trying desperately to be quite so as not to wake up the upstairs and downstairs neighbors, I am quite aware and embarrassed at the awful squeak both doors make—which I am sure my bird has learned to imitate). At this point we can no longer search without the main lights off. We turn lights on. The following conversation ensues:
Jacob, in a furious whisper: “Belle! Knock it off!”
Jennifer, directed at Jacob: “It’s not her fault! She is confused at what’s going on. Let her be!”
Belle: “SQUAWK. SQUEAL. WHISTLE. SQUAWK!!!”
Jennifer shouting at the top of her lungs: “SHUT THE HELL UP, BELLE!!!!”
Unjust on my part? Obviously. Like I said, high emotions and low rationale.
4:00am My house is completely turned upside down. The original keys are still AWOL and spare keys haven’t been located. Jacob has dumped out everyone of his who-knows-how-many junk drawers and boxes, as well as some of my very well organized storage boxes. We have looked on every shelf, in every drawer, under the beds and couches, emptied his backpack and gone through the whole laundry basket. The bird is dancing around on my shoulder and pecking at my ear, begging to be scratched. I am sitting on the bed trying my hardest not to make snide comments about Jacob’s “organizational” skills (by the way, my hardest wasn’t good enough and I failed miserably at being nice).
Jacob: “Why don’t you just go back to bed?”
Jennifer: “Oh sure! I’m positive I will sleep through all the ruckus and lights. Especially since I’ll be wondering what you are going to do now. Why don’t you just take my Mini and drive yourself there? You are going to miss your class if you don’t leave soon.”
Jacob: “How are you going to get to work, then?”
Jennifer: “I’ll ride my bike.”
Jacob: “In the ice and snow?”
Jennifer: “I will figure it out later. Can you please just go so I can go to bed?”
4:10am Jacob is outside scraping the ice off of the car. I feel guilty for being so rude, so I run outside to give him a hug and kiss goodbye and ask one more question about the last time he saw his keys. He tells me that he swears they were on the table. I go back inside and back to bed. As I lie there thinking about the missing keys, I realize that the last time we saw them on the table was before we left for dinner—and we left the house unlocked when we left. Now my imagination goes wild and I am picturing someone that has come into my house, stolen only the keys and is planning a mass break-in and theft later. I can imagine the guy watching the house and seeing Jacob driving away. Now I am never going to sleep.
4:15am In an attempt to stop thinking about the man who has stolen my keys and is now planning to rob all my possessions, rape and kill me, I run through the events of the evening (while praying vigorously) to try and remember any pertinent information surrounding the keys. All of the sudden, I remember Jacob taking out the trash and making a joke about going outside in his bathrobe. Leaping out of bed, I went straight to the keys. It would be a much better story if I could say the keys were in the trash, but they weren’t. They were, however, in the pocket of his bathrobe which was hanging on the back of my bedroom door. I call Jacob and he turns around to head back to the house.
4:20am Jacob no longer has a shuttle that will get him to his class on time. He sets up a shuttle which will leave at 6:15ish and get him to his next class at 9:00. Being such a loving husband, he volunteers to sleep the rest of the “night” in the guest room so that I don’t have to wake up to his alarm in an hour and a half. Great! Sacrifice accepted.
5:20am I am lying in bed, still awake. My body is pumped with adrenaline, along with traces of frustration, anxiety, and anger from the previous saga and impatience at not being able to sleep. On top of that garbage, I can feel bile bubbling in my stomach. Every night before bed I take a medication that has the tendency to make me nauseous. Normally I would sleep right through this wave of nausea. Not so this morning! In fact, I think the mad-dashing increased the symptoms and I now find sleep impossible.
6:10am Sleep had finally found me. Then my bedroom door opens and the light of a cell phone falls directly across my face. I snap awake. Jacob is standing in the doorway.
Jennifer: “Why did you come in here?!”
Jacob: “I just wanted to tell you I loved you before I left for the day.”
Oops. There I go again. Bye, sweetie! Have a good day and I love you. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Now I will lie in bed stewing over losing my temper (once again) when he was just trying to leave on a good note.
6:30am My alarm clock goes off. Good morning!!! And I think it’s gonna be a long, long day.
The conclusion is this: Nothing good happens after midnight and before the sun rises the next morning.