Apocalypse at 5 A.M.

Alex is out of town again for another Phish show, which is only mitigated by the fact that he is camping at their festival, which means hard ground, porta potties, and loud, inebriated neighbors. I’ve done the Phish festival thing and, honestly, I think I am too damn old to participate in such a thing these days.

I went to bed last night at 2 a.m. or so, pleased that while Alex was trapped in his little tent surrounded by unbathed people, I was stretching out all by myself on my king size bed, incumbered only by a small cat that likes to sleep next to me. That’s my favorite part of Alex going out of town. That, and the fact that I can watch scary movies without Alex whining about it.

So there I was, happily sleeping all by myself in our huge bed, knowing that I would have at least five or six hours of solid sleep before my kids showed up to awake me.

Cue apocalyptic thunder storm.

The storm woke me up, but I managed to doze through it. So did my kids…for a while.

It was 5:19 a.m. when they showed up in my bed. Most of the rest of this post comes from notes I scribbled on the back of a notepad after three hours of sleep. I do not vouch for its coherence.

Sam and Quinn were the first to arrive, leading me to believe that Jack, due to a confluence of melatonin and being a rock once he passes out, would sleep through the whole thing. More on that later.

Sam was pretty calm. He was more annoyed by the noise than anything, and the fact that the dog kept trying to go into the bathroom, because when there is a storm, she has somehow intuited that the bathroom—and more specifically, the shower stall—is the safest place. The dog has now officially become more prepared for a natural disaster than any of her human roommates.

Sam, always calm in a crisis, had the presence of mind to ask for an early morning bowl of Froot Loops. Don’t ask me what those abominations are doing in my house, all I know is that their existence kept me from having to calm down at least one of my children.

Quinn was a whole other story. He was FREAKED OUT. Originally, he was just upset about the fact that it sounded like someone was exploding bombs over our house, but after Sam successfully lobbied for Froot Loops and disappeared downstairs, Quinn decided he was desperately hungry as well.

He was crying and coughing (still left over from his being sick earlier this week) and had a nose full of boogers. This combination is deadly for Quinn, what with his overenthusiastic gag reflex. If there were ever a recipe that could make Quinn barf all over my bed, it is coughing/crying/snorting/gagging. Add to that the fact that he was exhaling ridiculously offensive middle-of-the-night breath all over me and you have two extremely unhappy people in one bed, one of whom is wondering if the other eats toads at night to attain that smell.

Needless to say, the cat had bailed by this time, but the dog was crushed up against the other side of me, meaning that I had dog breath on one side and toad-eating breath on the other.

Throw in an extra helping of guilt when Quinn started sadly repeating the following words: “Hungry, thirsty, tired, scared, sad…hungry, thirsty, tired, scared, sad…”

By 5:44, Jack had shown up—and a more fidgety bed companion you could not possibly imagine.

Thankful that the power was still on, I decided to turn on a kids show in hopes that it would calm my munchkins down. PBS was the only channel that was working on my TV by that point (stupid DirecTV) that featured children’s programming and that I could feel reasonably confident that if I fell asleep, my kids wouldn’t be scarred when Arthur ended and Scream 3 started airing.

That is how we came to be watching Sesame Street at six in the morning for the first time in five years. With my kids appeased, my mind took to wandering and landed upon the very fragile, elderly, outdoor cat we are petsitting at the house a few doors down.

Oh, dear lord…poor Mittens.

I briefly considered walking down there to make sure she was okay but decided to trust in the survival instincts that have kept her alive lo these many years. (For closure: she was fine when we went down to check on her this morning. Although I’m sure my mental chant of “Mittens, don’t be struck by lightning; Mittens, don’t be struck by lightning,” helped.)

Which brings us to the morning. I am not convinced that my children went back to sleep, but I eventually dozed off, to be awoken by some weekend talk-y public television program. All the munchkins were happily playing video games when I rolled downstairs, so no harm, no foul.

It was quite a morning though. Especially for someone who believes that 7:30 is an unforgivably early wake up time. I can’t remember the last time I even saw 5 a.m. I didn’t even know that there still was a 5 a.m.

Stupid scary thunder and its bitchy sister, lightning. You are no longer welcome here.

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