Witching Hour

It's the middle of the night and I am wide awake. I woke up well over an hour ago, overheated in the summer of my bedroom, pillow too warm and comforter too heavy, further aggravated by my two large and furry cats, one outstretched on each side of me and both leaning heavily and against my shoulders, slightly pinning me down and making it difficult for me to turn over. Why they choose to flank me in this way each night, instead of B, is a mystery.

It's a common scenario that plays out almost every night around the same time, and usually results in me turning over the pillow to the cool side, gently nudging the kitties for a little more room, usually until at least one of the fluffballs gets annoyed and relocates. I then roll to my side and tuck the sheets and comforter between my knees and position myself so that one leg is elongated beneath the covers and the other is bent atop the coverings, open air. Feeling cooled and realigned, I can fall back to sleep within minutes...unless the little mind gremlins of witching hour decide to wreak havoc.

B and I leave for MI (via a brief Chicago stopover) tomorrow. The anticipation of the forthcoming itinerary has jolted the on-switch in my brain (in a good way! I'm excited for the events ahead!), and I am therefore wide awake.

Back in my working days, this scenario of witching hour sleeplessness would have revved up a cycle of understandable anxiety.You know, the kind where you tell yourself "I have to wake up for a long day of work in 4 hours, go back to sleep! SLEEP already!" Consequently all of that worry about not sleeping just haunts you even more. So then another hour creeps by...and another...with the night eventually ending with the decision to just get up and start the day well ahead of schedule (which can sometimes be empowering...until the inevitable crash at 10am), or the (even worse) alternative, finally falling into the deepest sleep ever, just minutes before the stab of the alarm clock. Either way, it's a given that day ahead will involve venti plus levels of caffeine infusion.

My alarm is set to wake me at 7:15 for an early workout followed by a morning of household chores and final trip preparations while B gets a half-day of work in before we hit the road. Despite a busy morning followed by a 6 hour drive to Chicago, I haven't cycled into the sleeplessness dread and gremlin mind takeover scenario. After all, I don't have a stressful day of demanding clients, meetings and heads-down analysis ahead (packing toiletries doesn't take a lot of brainpower), I'm more well rested than I've been in years so a little lack thereof tonight isn't that big a deal, and I'm a wizard at sleeping in the car. Something about the hum of the highway and a reclined front seat knocks me out every time I take a lengthy road trip.

It's a little feeling of victory, actually, to know that even though sleep has eluded me tonight, I've eluded the mind gremlins of witching hour.