Tag Archives: sleep

Staying out on a school night

20170322_193334Part of a daily countdown to 50.

88. Weekdays have always been “school days” to me, so the nights – even after my kids grew up and moved out – have always been “school nights.” When the kids were little, our weeknight evening activities were limited to those that ended early, were school functions or were special occasions, like birthdays.

Most of the time, though, we stayed in because “it’s a school night.”

As they got older, those rules began to get more lax – sports, youth groups, even just hanging out with friends sometimes kept them out later, and as long as they were getting good grades and good sleep, we made it work.

My weeknight routines began to get a little more lax, too. It became OK to go out with friends after work, or to go see a movie.

The older I get, though, the harder it is to go out on a school night. Sleep almost always seems the better option.

Sometimes, though, there are exceptions. Gaelic Storm is one of those exceptions. They were in Iowa City this week and I won two tickets to see them. On a school night.

No regrets.

Here’s one of my favorites  (one of many – which probably doesn’t make them “favorites”, right?) (not from the Iowa City performance, though they were even better now.).

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Karma is an unforgiving wench

imagesYou ever have one of those days where you wake up and just know something is going to be a little off about this day? The ones where you really, really want to just crawl back under the covers and wait for the storm – whatever it is – to pass?

Today was one of those days.

The morning itself was fine. I almost literally jumped out of bed, turned off the alarm and felt refreshed and energized, ready to face the day. No hitting snooze and snuggling with my pillows this morning – no, I was up and ready to face the day. I turned off the alarm, turned on the lights and started my ritualistic walk toward the kitchen where, thanks to the wonderful designers at Mr. Coffee who put automatic timers on their machines, my cup of hot morning necessity would be waiting.

Halfway down the hall it hit me: This is not how morning is supposed to be. And since this good morning isn’t how it’s normally supposed to be, something is going to balance it out later in the day. Something …

It nagged me for a little bit, but then I put the music from my phone on and proceeded about my morning routine. All went well.

Work was busy, but good. While writing is a big part of my job, another part – the media relations-defined part – is to escort members of the media through the hospital when they have interviews with doctors or patients and their families, and to get consent forms signed from or on behalf of the patients (in the case of our pediatric patients). This morning I had a radio personality from Mason City come and get patient and family interviews for an upcoming radiothon for Children’s Miracle network. We walked through different parts of the hospital for four hours, but he got what he needed and left.

Then I started to feel it again. I knew whatever it was hadn’t happened yet. It wasn’t the four-hour media tour. It wasn’t listening to Christmas tunes on the Cambus in September.

I still didn’t know what it was, but I couldn’t shake it.

I was set to do another media escort at 3, so just a few minutes shy of the hour I went down to where I’d agreed to meet the reporter. I waited. And waited. And at 3:20 I tried calling the patient’s room to see if the reporter had gone up without me. No, I was told, that patient was discharged.

There would be no interview. And no one called to let me know.

I knew who was responsible. It was karma, in all her glory, snickering behind the plants in the lobby.

The reporter, as it turns out, was from the station I anonymously mocked on my Facebook page yesterday for having three language/grammatical errors in a 140-character tweet. I didn’t name the station, just posted the tweet.

Karma, you miserable little bitch.

 

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More on the misadventures of traveling with teens

I came to the realization long ago that I am a magnet for mishaps. I’ve been locked in a public restroom, tricked into running into a men’s restroom at a sports arena, forced to stand outside for hours while my new (to me) house was aired out after a natural gas leak and have survived countless embarrassing events that would send most normal people into hiding.

You learn to roll with the punches and develop the ability to laugh at yourself early on.

One DirectionThat humor kept me going during my most recent travel adventures with two teenaged girls, my daughter Kimberly, 17, and my niece Emily, 16.

I should have known a year ago that this weekend would turn disastrous when my daughter first purchased the two tickets to a One Direction (it’s a boy band) concert in Tinley Park. The concert locale is four hours from our home, near Chicago, but Kimberly at the time had a friend who lived in a neighboring town and the two planned to go together. The plan was that Kimberly would drive to the friend’s house, and her parents would take care of getting them to  the concert. Easy Peasy.

Then, as sometimes happens with teen girls still forming friendships, relationship disaster struck and the two stopped talking. Suddenly Kimberly (who fortunately was the one who purchased both tickets) was left to find someone to go to the concert with – and I was looking at a weekend or overnight trip to the Chicago area.

Kimberly asked her cousin Emily – the two have been close since they were little – and we made arrangements for Emily to get to our house the day before the concert and we’d leave the next morning for Chicago. Our hotel had been booked and was five miles from the concert venue. Check-in was set for 3 p.m., gates to the concert opened at 5:30. We figured we’d get in early enough to do a little shopping in another suburb, check in a little after 4, the girls could get ready and we’d head out. Easy Peasy.

*Tip: “Easy Peasy” apparently means “nothing goes as planned.” It’s recommended you never use this phrase if you’re looking for a smooth event.

We got to Oak Brook in plenty of time, did a little shopping, had a late lunch and headed for the hotel. We arrived at the front desk at 4:25 – and were greeted by 35 teens and their parents sitting in the lobby, looking exasperated. There were girls rolling their eyes, boys playing video games and five mothers swarming the front desk. The clerk looked more than a little frazzled.

Apparently there were no rooms ready. None. The hotel had sold out and for some reason the cleaning staff just … did nothing. Ninety minutes after we were supposed to be able to check in and just one hour before gates opened and no one had a room. Tempers were, in a word, flaring.

We were eventually offered a double room on the smoking floor (it’s Illinois – they still have such things) and, to the girls’ disappointment, I took it. The room smelled of stale smoke and I went out and bought several room fresheners, but we had a room. The girls got ready and we headed out.

20130715_030648It took us 45 minutes to go the five miles to the amphitheater. I’d forgotten how much I hated concert traffic – and this traffic was made even worse by the fact that the venue was on a rural two-lane highway with a single two-way entrance. I got the girls dropped off at 5:45, plenty of time to go stalk the buses and take in the atmosphere.

As I was leaving I was given a slip with directions for pickup. Because of the limited gate area, they required that all vehicles be in the parking lot by 9:15 – just 15 minutes after One Direction took the stage. I got there at 9:10 and the girls came out at 11. Did I mention it was still 84 degrees and I hadn’t packed a water bottle?

The traffic getting out of the arena was worse than getting in and it was close to 12:30 before we were on the road out of the parking area. After stopping for food for the girls – neither of them wanted to pay arena prices for food – we were back in the hotel by 12:45, and we all finally turned in at about 1:30 a.m.

Sleep was short-lived, however, as the hotel’s fire alarms started going off at 3 a.m. We’d find out later that someone pulled the alarm (which is what I had guessed) but the hotel still needed to be evacuated and the fire department needed to be called.

It’s funny, the things you think about when you know you’re going to be standing with a group of strangers outside in the middle of the night. I didn’t brush my teeth or brush my hair, or even put shoes on, but I did put on a bra and change out of my pajamas and grab my purse and phone.

Within minutes we were surrounded by two fire trucks, a ladder truck and a paramedic unit. You know, just in case.

It became obvious there was no real emergency when fire fighters ignored – or actually blocked – a hydrant located just 30 yards from the front door and some of them came out to take their big jackets off.

20130715_032211-1More than a half-hour into our outdoor adventure another thing became obvious: the only thing keeping any of us from getting back to our rooms and nestled into our beds was the alarm – and that apparently none of the firefighters or hotel personnel knew how to shut it off. It was another 40 minutes – and three trips outside to their trucks and toolboxes by the firefighters – before the alarm stopped buzzing and the doors opened wide.

By 4:15 a.m. we were back in our room. I’m guessing by 4:15:30 we were all asleep.

On the positive side, our hotel offered a free continental breakfast. The downside was that it ended at 9 a.m. on weekdays – and thanks to our middle-of-the-night goings-on, we didn’t wake up until 9:30. So much for breakfast.

It was an eventful weekend, but the girls had a good time and it was definitely something to remember. Hotels.com is refunding half my hotel cost because of the snafu at check-in, and I took today off to recover from the 9+ hours on the road driving my niece to my sister-in-law and then doubling back to come home.

I’m just glad I learned to laugh.

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