One of the best things about my husband's new job is that it involves travel. He's usually interstate for a couple of days or nights most weeks. Now, it's not that I don't love him, but it means I get a good night's sleep when he's away.
Because he snores.
I'm writing this in the shattered state of having had four hours' sleep last night. I don't function well on four hours' sleep. In an ideal world I'll enjoy seven or eight.
When I was young and silly I desperately craved a relationship, sharing a bed with someone, waking up with them, cuddling up to them. Those who are desperate usually end up with something less than perfect or nothing at all, as I found out. I went out with several men who cared far less for me than I did for them, and they exploited that. Read that bit about young and silly again; I didn't get out of those relationships as early as I should. In fact I clung, and clinginess is even more awful than desperation. I just didn't want to feel a failure, a girl who couldn't get and hold a man.
What all this lead to is that before I met G, my husband, I had been single for several years, and content to be so. I'd had it with men. I'd had it with sex - in fact the sour relationships told me one important thing about me: my libido is so low that I can identify for most of the time as asexual. Interestingly the older I get the more I find women attractive and the less I find men. I suspect I'm a bisexual asexual (yes there is such a thing).
I didn't really want a relationship. Relationships meant sex, and having somebody invading my body on a regular basis was something I could happily live without; with men, any display of simple affection - a desire to be held, a caress - is seen by them as an invitation to sex and I was sick of that. When G started sniffing around, ringing every night, emailing, and making it clear he wanted to see me as more than a friend, I was frank with him about my sexuality, or lack of it. He reckoned he could cope with that, and bless him, he has. We get around it. He's a lovely person and makes me laugh, and it's a revelation to be in a relationship where I'm so loved and adored.
Now I have learned another thing about myself: I really don't enjoy sharing my sleeping space longterm with another human. I quite like having the cats on the bed - I have always had cats and they have always slept on my bed. They don't heat up the sleeping environment as much as another human body does.
Being someone who is coming up to a milestone birthday this year, I am a woman of 'a certain age', that age which encompasses hot flushes and broken sleep. The fewer interruptions to my slumbers the better, I need every zzzzz I can get. Because I don't wish to fill my body with chemicals sleeping pills aren't an option for me although I've tried several herbal and natural remedies.
But gee, it tries my patience sometimes.
G goes to sleep more quickly than I. Sometimes he'll do the 'pre snore': this involves breathing in through the nose and blowing out through the mouth, something akin to a whale expelling air. It's seriously annoying if we're facing each other so that means I roll over and get as close to the edge of the bed as I can to get away. I hate copping stale breath driven into my face.
If that gets to snoring level before I can doze off I prod him and get him to roll over, so at least the noise is pointing in the opposite direction.
At that point I usually look desperately at the clock and think, oh shite, only six and a half hours until the alarm goes off. I then rip up some Kleenex and shove them in my ears and try to imagine myself floating on a pontoon on a lagoon, with warm sun caressing me and tiny waves gently rocking me. A few drops of Rescue Remedy Sleep and I can usually manage to drift off.
But lo! come two in the morning I'm often awoken by a snore in full force. More prodding. I bounce up and down on the bed, which sometimes works and brings G to a semi-awake state.
In the early hours of the morning I can become quite annoyed by the noise and it's not uncommon for me to be stuck there, wide awake and cross, going through other issues that are troubling me to a soundtrack of pre-snore and slowly increasing snoring. (Cue more prodding and bouncing.) Rescue Remedy or not, I can sometimes take two hours to get back to sleep depending on the soundtrack. Like this morning. I think I dropped off around four am.
In summer I solve the problem by heading to the second bedroom where we have a sofa bed. I don't bother setting the bed up, just curl up on the sofa because I'm short enough to do that. But now it's getting chilly and buggered if I know where we put the second duvet, so the sofa bed isn't an option.
When the alarm woke me at 6.30 today I felt bitter and disoriented. G, on the other hand, was cheerful.
"I slept like a log," he declared.
"Yeah," I croaked sourly. "Like a log in a sawmill."
He apologised and suggested I prodded him next time he snored. I said he'd had six prods between two and four am. We got to talking about snoring remedies one can buy at the chemist. He's always been unwilling to try them but is realising that it's time he did something.
"I'm just thinking about some old-fashioned snoring remedies you can buy in the shops," I said, more awake.
"Cast iron frying pan, mallet and meat cleaver."
At least he laughed. He didn't realise I had a vision in my head of an exhausted Victorian or Edwardian woman walloping her husband one with the frypan in the wee hours.
G isn't off on a trip until next week - I'll clearly have to hunt out that second duvet. Or lock up the frypan.