If Virginia Slims Man (VSM) and I ever get a divorce I’m certain that the divorce filing will read:
Grounds for Divorce: Husband turned on television while Wife was sleeping and woke her up, knowing full well that Wife is not able to fall asleep as easily as narcoleptic Husband. Wife then picked up iPad that was sitting on bedside table and attempted to bludgeon Husband to death with it. Wife seeks spousal support, child support and a new iPad. Husband seeks restraining order and would like to press attempted murder charges against Wife. Husband also requests that he not be required to purchase new iPad for Wife seeing as how he bought her the first one and she tried to kill him with it.
I should have been a lawyer. Or at the very least I should write for one of the Law & Orders.
In all honesty, Virginia Slims Man has been incredibly considerate of my relatively new sleep issues. In the past, I could fall asleep easily and stay asleep, regardless of the noise and light level in the room. But for some reason, I think related to the acquisition of children, the TV now drives me nuts.
I do sometimes like to watch a show in bed. But my goal is to watch a show, start to finish, not to make myself sleepy so that I can then fall asleep in the middle of the show. So I’ll go into the bedroom, turn on the TV, watch my show, turn off the TV and then fall asleep. You know, how a normal human being does it.
Virginia Slims Man, however, sees the TV as a 32-inch, electronic binky that he uses to lull himself to sleep. This process takes a little over a minute, but because the timer on our TV cannot be set for less than 30 minutes, I then have to suffer for 28 to 29 more minutes while waiting for the TV to turn off on its own, or I have to molest VSM in an attempt to locate the remote control to turn off the TV myself.
A few months ago I explained to VSM that either something was going to have to change regarding the TV or one of us was moving out of the bedroom. We discovered that if I’m in a full, dead-to-the-world sleep, then his turning on the TV doesn’t bother me. Or, if I’m wide awake when he comes to bed to watch TV, if he falls asleep within a few minutes, then it’s really not a big deal for me to find the remote (taking care not to touch him in his special places because if I accidentally do that it creates a whole host of other issues that interfere with my sleep) and turn off the TV.
The big deal is when he enters the room just as I’ve just drifted off to sleep. I’m not in a deep enough sleep for it to stick, and if he turns the TV on and wakes me up, then I cannot fall back to sleep.
With that knowledge, our sleep issues have greatly improved. He’s been very careful to make sure I’m either fully awake or fully asleep when he turns the TV on, and really we haven’t had an issue over the last few months.
But last night I contemplated throwing my bedside lamp at the TV and then strangling him with our sheets.
You see, The Beast’s sleep is all jacked up. He says there are ghosts in his room. I think he’s been watching too much Scooby Doo, but that explanation does nothing to calm him in the middle of the night.
Last night, at about 11:00, The Beast woke up and called for us. I was already well on my way to being asleep. Since VSM had just come into the bedroom and wasn’t yet in bed, he went to The Beast’s room and got him back to sleep.
VSM came back into our room, got into bed and didn’t turn on the TV. I felt a wave of relief that I wasn’t going to have to kill him for waking me up completely, but then The Beast started fussing again. Again, VSM got out of bed to calm The Beast back down. All the while, I was in the semi-conscious state that occurs just before the wine completely knocks me out.
VSM got The Beast calmed down and came back into bed, only this time he turned on the TV. Now, I completely get why he did it. The Beast has some sort of supernatural ability to sense the exact moment that you have fallen asleep, and it’s at that precise moment that he calls out for you. He does this two or three times, spaced about five minutes apart, and then he falls back asleep for the rest of the night.
It’s infuriating and exhausting to get in bed, start to fall asleep and then hear him call for you. In an effort to avoid this frustration, VSM turned on the TV so that he could hopefully stay awake so that when The Beast likely called for him one last time, he wouldn’t be woken from a sleep. Then once he felt assured that The Beast was down for the night, he was going to turn off the TV.
I should disclose that most of the time my husband is a saint, because 9 times out of 10 when The Beast calls for someone in the middle of the night, it’s VSM who goes in to comfort him. Part of this is that VSM falls asleep so much easier than I do, so even if he gets out of bed and is fully awake from walking to The Beast’s room, once he’s back in our bed, he’s asleep the minute his head hits the pillow.
The other reason that my husband usually gets up with The Beast is that the monitor is on my side of the bed and VSM doesn’t really hear it, so when The Beast wakes up and calls for either one of us, I kick VSM and say, “He’s calling for you.” Yes, I lie.
Anyway, none of my husband’s generosity mattered last night when he came to bed and turned on the TV. I truly have no idea what he was watching, but based on the flashing strobe lights, my closest guess is a documentary on Studio 54.
In my annoyance, I huffed and puffed and yanked my blankets over my head. I lay there, cursing my husband under my breath for waking me up just as I was falling asleep. I imagined all of the horrible things I wanted to say to him. I was now completely awake, yet exhausted, but not able to fall asleep due to the discothèque (That is not even close to how I thought that word would be spelled) that VSM had invited into our bedroom.
After what felt like three hours, but was probably closer to three minutes, I grabbed my blanket and pillow and stormed out of the room.
VSM called out, “I’ll turn it off.”
I exited the room and yelled, “It’s fine!”
It’s never fine.
Since the guest bedroom is a disaster, I went to the couch and tried to fall asleep there. And while I was no longer at risk for suffering light-induced seizures, I was now awake to stew in my anger. I imagined all of the horrible things I was going to say to my husband in the morning. I fantasized about how I was going to set up my new room in the guest room. I was going to make it perfect for me. There would be a wine refrigerator and possibly one of those margarita machines. There would be a gentle sound machine playing. There would be a TV, but it would play Psych and The Middle and nothing with Donald Trump or monster catfish.
Then I fell asleep. I woke up this morning, confused as to why I was on the couch, but then I remembered the night before. My anger had now dissipated, and I knew that VSM felt badly for waking me up. I reminded myself that Virginia Slims Man is really a good guy and chewing him out for turning on the TV would serve no purpose.
Plus, I’m a little bit afraid that if I harp on the TV issue too much, he’s going to make me start getting up with The Beast in the middle of the night.
So, if I can overcome my fear of being strangled by it in my sleep, I’m going to get a sleep mask. And some earplugs. Possibly talk to my doctor about getting some sleeping pills and anti-seizure medicine.
That said, if you ever read a story in the paper about a double murder in a suburb in Texas where the husband has an iPad-shaped indention in his skull and the wife has a sleep mask wrapped around her neck, you’ll probably be able to surmise what happened. . .
Ass turned on the TV.