Sunday, April 27, 2014

Nocturnal Nonsense

(This is a repeat of a blog that originally appeared in April, 2012)

Several months ago, somewhere between the time my head hit the pillow and my alarm clock shook me out of bed, my husband Bob began twitching and shaking in his sleep.  I gently rubbed his arm, with the goal of easing him out of his bad dream without causing him to shout in terror.

"Sweety, are you alright?" I asked soothingly.

He turned to me with a look of confusion on his face before uttering these incomprehensible words, "I have to go to the bathroom but I don't know where it is."

Now, at this point I should explain that we have called our current location "home" for the past eight years.  Navigation to and from said bathroom can be accomplished quite easily, even without the aid of a GPS unit.  (In point two feet, turn left at the end of the bed, then arrive at destination on right)  So when Bob questioned his inability to remember the site of the room where he has read countless novels while sitting on the porcelain throne, I became concerned.  Perhaps the early symptoms of dementia had taken hold, threatening to rob my hubby of all of his precious memories.

"Bob, our bathroom is right over there, just where it's always been," I said reassuringly.

He stared at me once again, trying to comprehend the instructions I had just provided.  Then, he began  to giggle.  "Oh," he said, laughing even harder.  "I'm dreaming!"

And with that he rolled over, re-positioned the pillows, closed his eyes and promptly returned to his land of nocturnal nonsense.

I should have blamed the dream world immediately, for this certainly cannot be counted as Bob's first night time break with reality.  My earliest inkling that deep REM sleep would cause irrational behavior came early on in our marriage, when a bedroom ceiling fan provided some measure of relief during the hot summer months inside our new home.  One day, during those dangerous hours between dark and light, Bob woke up in a panic, pointed up and the ceiling fan and yelled for the world to hear...


After convincing my poor husband that our bedroom did not serve as the opening sequence for M.A.S.H., he fell back asleep.  As for me, I lay awake and  wondered, did I marry a nutcase?  Perhaps.  But his nocturnal nonsense seemed harmless at best, and made for good stories to entertain friends and family.  Certainly he'd never actually cause harm to himself....or me.....

Or so I thought.

A few months later, we had enjoyed a long, tiring, yet fun-filled day touring the city of Boston.  By the time 11 pm rolled around, we more than happily snuggled into our cozy, king-size hotel room bed, hoping to reclaim the energy needed for another day of sightseeing.  Suddenly, Bob awakened from a deep sleep, his fist pumped, ready to strike.  I rolled over and looked at my mate, a stranger ready to pummel me to pieces.  Before I had the chance to run for my life he stopped and said, "Oh wait, I know who you are!"

Saved by the sanity.

The next time I did not fare quite so well.

Seems my prize-fighter of a husband conjured a dream where he entered the ring, about to go up against heavy weight champion Joe Frazier.  Only, Joe's body was, in reality, the back of my head.  Thankfully I had not been sleeping with my face toward him, for lord only knows what would have become of my nose.  He awakened quite startled at the sound of my screaming, wondering why I would cry in the middle of the night, and insisting his target had been Joe, not me.


Now if you ask Bob, he'll insist his nocturnal nonsense pales in comparison to mine, and unfortunately, my 16-year old daughter Melissa can back up his claim.

If I am having a nightmare, it usually involves terror of some sort of another, and an increasingly frustrating inability to actually let out a dream-based scream.  Invariably, as I try to call for help, I end up emitting a low, eerie sounding moan, which gradually gets louder and louder as my voice appears to channel dark spirits until finally, an ear-splitting, terrifying scream erupts from the deepest bowels of my body, scaring my husband, daughter, neighbors, the entire population of China, etc., out of their minds.

Melissa will yell, "MOM WAKE UP!"

Bob will grab me and hug me and repeat over and over, "It's only a dream, it's only a dream, it's only a dream."

Unlike Bob, after a troubling nightmare my mind stays alert, rehashing the horror over and over.  Whereas he simply rolls over and reenters his slumber, unaware of his antics until I remind him in the morning.

As for Melissa, seems she has not inherited her parents' propensity for nocturnal nonsense and doesn't appreciate when our dreams interrupt her deep sleep.

To her we're just a couple of nocturnal nincompoops.  Sounds like the plot of a bad dream where Bob is in a boxing match and I am his opponent and nobody can help me because try as I might, I can't scream... oh no, here we go again...AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How NOT to Teach Your Teen to Drive

I would like to propose a new federal regulation:

Only one parent at a time shall be permitted in the vehicle when a teenager is learning to drive.

Yes, that is correct.  

Moms, if you want to jump into the passenger seat while junior grabs the wheel, go right ahead!

Dads, if you want to press on the "imaginary" brake while your princess runs several stop signs, be my guest.

However, if junior is behind the wheel and mom is in the passenger seat, dad is forbidden to be in the back seat, in the trunk, under the hood, or anywhere within a 50 mile radius of the vehicle in question. 

We shall call this new legislation "The Weinstein Law".

Two months ago, despite delays brought on by mother nature and her bi-weekly snow storms, my 16-year old daughter Melissa finally obtained her learner's permit.  This meant that I could legally teach her how to drive!  For our first outing, Melissa got into the car, put on her seat belt, checked the mirrors, and then slowly pulled out of our driveway.  In the meantime, I pulled out my hair, had a heart attackpumped the imaginary brake with all my might, stayed calm as she made the 1.5 mile journey to the local library.  Honestly, despite taking longer than necessary to turn left and enduring the beeping taunts of the impatient driver behind her, she did great!

The following weekend, my husband Bob took her out for her second session of driving lessons, still keeping to the safety of our fairly calm neighborhood roads.  Once again, Bob reported, our fledgling teen driver did fantastic!

So, in the great scheme of things, operation "Teach Melissa to Drive" seemed to be right on target. 

But not for long.

When Melissa accepted an invitation to a party hosted by a friend who lived less than a mile from our house, it seemed fitting that she should get behind the wheel for the short excursion.  Bob and I figured we would drop her off, and then go have dinner and perhaps, see a movie.

Melissa took her honorary spot in the driver's seat, Bob joined her up front, while I was relegated to the depths of the back seat. Although our final destination was practically around the corner, we were unfamiliar with the development and therefore, pulled out our trusty GPS.


As we set off, GPS tried to tell Melissa that she would need to turn in 0.5 miles, 0.4 miles, 0.3 miles, 0.2 miles, 0.1 mile, ...........


At this stage of our journey, I felt it fair to point out the obvious:  "Bob she missed the turn!"

Bob: "It's alright, just keep going, just keep going!"

Melissa: "What's the speed limit?"

Bob: "Don't worry about the speed limit just keep going."

GPS: "Turn left in 0.2 miles."

Me: "Bob she needs to turn left!  GPS says she needs to turn left!  I don't want to miss the turn again!

Melissa: "Do I turn here?"

Bob: "No, don't turn here!"

Me: "Yes, Bob she needs to turn here.  Melissa, slow down, put your turn signal on, and make the left here!"

Bob: "Lisa, stop telling her what to do! We can't both tell her how to drive!  I am giving the instructions!"

Melissa slowed down, put on her signal, and safely turned into the development.

GPS: "Drive 0.1 mile and make a left."

Bob: "Ok, now make a u-turn."

Me: "Why are you telling her to make a u-turn!? GPS is giving her another way to get to the house!  GPS is telling her to turn left! She should follow GPS!"

Bob: "Lisa, stop telling her how to drive!  I am giving the instructions!"

Melissa (in a bit of a panic): "What should I do!?"

(Fortunately, we were in a very quiet neighborhood with no other cars in sight.)

Bob: "Ok, drive up closer to the intersection so you can see if any other cars are coming."

Melissa propelled the car 0.0001111 millimeters forward.




GPS: "Make a left."



Melissa made the turn.

GPS: "Drive 400 feet to destination, on right."




Me: "Oh sorry, I thought we passed the house."


Melissa: "Sniff! Sob! Waaah!"

So there you have it folks.  The rationale for immediate implementation of "The Weinstein Law". I urge you to support this legislation!  Call your members of congress today!

My "baby" behind the wheel!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Recovery

Sit still.



These instructions, although quite appealing, are rarely ever heeded in "Lisa World".  With my full-time job as a communications manager for a home health agency, coupled with my full-time mom and wife duties, I simply do not know how to take time to - as the old cliche goes - stop and smell the roses.

It seems there is always something to be done.  Never mind the never-ending flow of soiled clothes and dirty dishes, we are also talking about vacuuming, taking out the trash and recycling, changing the cat litter, carrying things upstairs, bringing different things downstairs, going food shopping, putting food away, cooking dinner, making lunch, and driving my 16-year old daughter Melissa here, there, and everywhere.

It took a major life-changing event for me to force myself to sit.... and stay put!

It took major surgery.

Following a series of misdiagnoses and failed treatments by more physicians than one can imagine, I found a urogynecologist (a surgeon who specializes in urology and gynecology) who correctly identified my problems.  The discovery of this wonderful doctor gave cause for celebration in my household, for I could now, finally, attribute my pain to an actual, very real condition - uterine and pelvic organ prolapse.

Thanks to a number of non-surgical interventions over the past four years, the pain subsided.

For a while.

But it came back.

In all of its sinister glory.

Although the prospect of major surgery did not send me jumping for joy, after careful consideration, my husband Bob and I decided it would be the best option.

Repair the prolapse - relieve the pain. (Hopefully)

Today, I am five days post-op, and..... I. Do. Not. Like. Sitting. Still.

However, if I am going to recover, I know I must.

The laundry? The dishes? My wonderful Melissa will rise to the occasion.

Getting me everything I need and showing me more love than I think I deserve? My husband Bob, who has truly earned the title of greatest man alive.

What's more, each day I am greeting by the thoughtful well wishes of family and friends who have sent cards, food, and flowers to help me feel just a wee bit better.

So I will read. I will watch TV.  I will blog.  I will sleep.  Anything that requires minimal movement, if that's what I have to do to get back on my feet on the full road to recovery.

What do you mean I have to stay in bed and REST!?

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