The Big Sleep


I like sleep. You like sleep. Everybody likes sleep. But my teenaged kids really, really like sleep. They don’t sleep so much as hibernate on a 24-hour cycle.

This is not news, that teens like to sleep a lot. That’s like saying Miley Cyrus enjoys making people squirm. It’s a given, a recognized fact of nature. But these kids, especially my daughter Speaker, sleep so long and so hard that it’s become a Sisyphus-like exercise as I try to ratchet their sleep schedules back to a school-friendly time frame.

As a work-at-home dad, I usually have no reason to get up at 6:30 during the week. But I do. I’m the first one up most days during the school year. It’s my job to wake the kids and make their lunches. And, to be honest, this is a good way to propel me into my day. Otherwise, well, let’s just say the Bob-shaped dent in my side of the mattress would soon be much deeper than Barb’s.

So I get up, poke my head into each kid’s room and mumble a few words that hopefully sound motivational, and go switch on the coffee. Then I walk back to Speaker’s door and poke my head in again and say it’s really time to get up. By this time Rusty is already in the shower.

Then I get dressed, pour a cup, and assemble the components for a healthy, boring, monotonous lunch. (Hmm­—­which one likes ham but hates turkey? Which one likes applesauce but hates fruit in jello?)

At that point I’ll take a sip of coffee and walk loudly up the hallway to Speaker’s room. I throw the door wide open. I speak in a loud clear voice as I stride across the room to fling open the curtains and raise the blinds. The room floods with clean morning light. I tell Speaker it is getting late, she MUST get out of bed NOW. She nods, grunts, squirms under the blankets until I leave the room to give her some privacy. When I hear the bathroom door slam, I know my work is done.

This scene will be repeated 179 more times, until the day in early June when summer vacation starts, and she’ll wake up just in time for Jeopardy.


Look closely. Guess which kid gets more wake-up visits from Dad every morning. (Note: In the event that my wife accidentally stumbles across my blog, I have to state that I would never display photos of the ratty door mouldings if I were not in the process of repainting them.)

Hey, it’s like Neil Sedaka used to sing, waking up is hard to do. But like paying your taxes or accommodating vegans at a barbecue, it’s just something that has to be done.

I wish I was one of those people who leap out of bed like in those Lunestra commercials, unrumpled, spry, stretching and smiling like it’s National Oral Sex Day. Or better yet, one of those people who get by on three or four hours of sleep a night so they have more hours to spend on inventing a Large Hadron Collider that runs on beet juice. That would be good.

But no, I’m a troubled sleeper, as is my wife. We battle insomnia, together and separately. When I toss, she turns. When she turns, I toss. Rare is the night where we both string together eight uninterrupted hours of slumber. REM? Phst. For me, that’s about as likely as Bill Berry returning to that band.

Maybe I’m jealous of Speaker and her luxurious long sleeps. She’s like a lioness, an animal that sleeps up to 20 hours a day. But the difference is that Speaker doesn’t spend her waking hours running down slow herd animals to feed on. Well, I assume she doesn’t. I don’t know what goes on when she hangs out at the mall.


Did I mention that she can sleep through anything?

One thing that allows her to sleep so long is her superhuman ability to sleep through anything. You may recall a tremendous, earth-shaking thunderstorm earlier this summer. There was lightning strobing blasts of full daylight, followed by thunder that sounded like train cars colliding directly over your house. This amazing show went on for a good half hour. Wind snapped large trees apart. Water rumbled through the gutters and the rain sizzled in the streets as one of the most violent storms in years had our family up and gaping out the windows at 2:00 a.m.

Well, three out of four of us. Speaker woke up just before noon the next day, and looked out front, rubbing a fist into her eye.

“It rained?”

So now, as we lurch into a new school year, the dance continues. Rusty has taken to using his alarm clock, so the only thing I have to worry about with him is whether he prefers frozen GoGurt or string cheese in his brown bag.

This morning, the second day of school, I made four trips into Speaker’s room. The fourth time, I stayed. Sat on the edge of the bed and placed my hand on her head, telling her gently that there was no more time to sleep. I stroked her hair and her eyes slowly peeled open. She became aware of her surroundings, and a beatific smile bloomed on her face. Her green eyes, puffy with sleep, swiveled to my face.

“I was having a dream,” she said.

“Oh yeah? Was it a good dream?”

She turned her eyes back to the ceiling, smile growing, remembering some delicious detail of her dream. She sighed, and laid a forearm across her forehead.

“It was great. I was laying in a meadow of wildflowers, and it was right next to this beautiful waterfall. It was warm.”

“Sounds nice,” I said, standing up and making for the door. “What were you doing?”

“I was taking a nap.”

   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blog archive.


Have an off-white Christmas with Bob Wire.Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.


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