Friday, August 25, 2006

exercises in sleep deprivation

I am deeply, horrifically sleep-deprived to the point of cognitive impairment, and for once, my children are not to blame. Even my chronic insomia is not the problem. Every night, hell breaks loose around here.

A couple of nights ago, my husband awakened me around 2:00 AM to inform me that the cat known as Frowsty the Immortal God was killing a bird downstairs and it was my job to deal with it. Exhausted, I stumbled down to find Frowst with a beautiful little dove, Frowst looking as happy as I've ever seen him and the dove looking moribund. Feathers were everywhere. (Sidenote: why have the cats declared the hallway rug to be the killing zone? Not once has a cat tried to off anything in the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, study, or anywhere else in the house other than the hallway rug or the master bedroom. In their showier moments, the cats have been known to bring dying mice right into our bed to finish them off in front of us, somehow not realizing that this means a total ---albeit temporary-- loss of my goodwill). I locked up Frowsty in the bathroom, picked up the feathers, and turned to the dove, which actually had a strong heartbeat and was not bleeding anywhere. Unable at that hour of the night to think of anything better to do, I put the dove just out the front door, where cats never go, in the hopes it would magically heal up and fly away. I went back to bed.

Less than an hour later, the neighbor's stupid fucking house alarm went off AGAIN. For the past several nights, the alarm has gone off at 3:00 AM and blared for an hour or more. This alarm once went off for more than eight hours, during which time the police arrived, looked around, and then left, evidently feeling that restoring quiet to the neighborhood was not in their line of business. At that time, peace was restored only by my husband stealthily disabling the alarm without harming it (I tell you, the man is a genius). However, at 3 AM he's too much of a zombie to go out in his boxer shorts and deal with the alarm half a block away.

And within three hours after that alarm finally shut off, the foster kittens were yowling their tiny heads off for breakfast, and the child known as Lola was agitating for breakfast. The husband judgmentally said to me, "There is a creature on the front porch for you to deal with", meaning the innocent dove. I put the dove, who was in much better shape but unable to fly, into a carrier and left her on the front porch.

The husband then said to me, in dark tones, "The fish is missing." (We are fishsitting the preschool fish for summer vacation). Obviously our minds jumped to the conclusion that the bloodlusted Frowstomatic had managed to get the goldfish out of the aquarium. Later, Anton came back to report that he'd found the fish, dried out, under the girls' dresser and that the fish must have jumped out of the aquarium. He asked me to help Lola hold a funeral, and, severely cranky at this point, I told him to just deal with the fish and leave the poor child out of it. Eventually Anton went to pick up the fish and discovered that it was still alive, although stiff and covered with lint and dust. He put it back in the tank, where it could not control its buoyancy and was trailing lint. The fish's fins were desiccated and wilted, and overall it looked highly pathetic.

By the end of the day, the fish was swimming more energetically and managed to get a little fish food down. The next day, the fish appeared as good as new. We occasionally go in to marvel at it. "I could have sworn it was dead," Anton said in wonder.

"Maybe it's a zombie, an undead goldfish," I suggested.

The dove's fate is less clear. The pound (which does some wildlife rehab) said the problem with the dove was that its flight feathers were all sheared off, and it wasn't clear whether it was too old to grow them back or not. Sigh. Cats are such murderous bastards. For days, Iris has been haranguing me, 'Why did Frowsty try to kill the dove?"

"Cats are just like that."

"But why did Frowsty try to kill an innocent dove?"

"I don't know."

And on and on. Maybe if I could get some frigging sleep, I could come up with some more satisfying answers.

And, to add to the sleep deprivation, tonight is the night my husband promised said Lola that she could "have a pajama party" again, meaning no enforced bedtime and plenty of Spongebob videos. The man was not thinking things through when he made this promise, but there's no backing down from it. He has to get up at the crack of dawn to drive a truck all morning for our preschool, and Lord knows what atrocities the neighbor's alarm and the cats have in store for us. The house alarm went off this afternoon for an hour or so, and right now, my dearest wish is for that house to burn to the ground.

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