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June 1st, 2007

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07:51 am - And ... it's a GO!
Yesterday evening was a flurry of last-minute checks for Mom & Dad's Alaskan cruise. Passports? Check. Boarding passes? Check. Luggage tags? Check. Everything looked good. Mom had brought her birds over for me to look after, and I was feeling quite complacent about the whole thing.

Suddenly, Mom came over to me and said in a low voice with a worried tone, "You will make sure your father gets up in time, won't you?"

See, there always has to be a catch with these things. Just when everything's going smoothly, and you think, "Ah, yes, great, everything's ready to go, and they're off, and it's nothing to do with me," something like this happens.

The taxi would be arriving at four fifteen AM. That meant that, assuming Dad had done all his packing the previous night (which he had assured me he would), he would have to be up and out of bed no later than four AM. (That's four-o-fucking-clock-in-the-freakin'-morning, for those of you watching at home who are insufficiently caffeinated at this time.)

I think you see where I'm going with this. In order for me to be able to make sure that Dad was up at four AM, it meant that I would have to get up at quarter-to-four so that I could stumble down the stairs, blearily let the dog out, put a pot of coffee on, wait for it to finish, and then drink enough of it so that I would be able to say something coherent like, "Hey, Dad, time to get up" instead of (as would be the case pre-coffee at four AM) something like, "Bluh GAH in feister RUNAMUCKIN ... huh?"

Nevertheless, I am a devoted and dutiful daughter (plus, you don't want to mess with Mom when she's on her way to something like a cruise), and so I set my alarm for four AM. It probably bears noting at this time that my alarm clock is deliberately set to be 15 minutes fast. This allows me to set the alarm for the time I want to get up and still sleep in for 15 minutes. I'd always thought this was just a personal quirk, but I've since learned that at least two other people I know do this, so that makes it, as far as I'm concerned, perfectly normal. So there. And yes, if my friends jumped off a cliff I'd be right behind 'em with a parachute yelling, "WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" or, perhaps, "BOO-YAH!!!"

At any rate, Charlie sometimes asks, "What time is the alarm set for?" and when I tell him, he goes on to say, "Is that real time or 'Tina-Time?'" ("Tina-Time" being his affectionate way of referring to the artificially induced sleep-in interval.) Therefore, four AM "Tina-Time" is actually three forty-five real time. If I'd wanted to sleep in, I would have set it to 3:45, but I mean, Geez, who gets up at 3:45?

It was a bit of a tie which went off first: the alarm or the Border Collie who, for some reason, every so often goes through a phase where she absolutely, positively, MUST go out RIGHT NOW at a time between 3:30 and 4:30am. This would be easier to ignore if she didn't have such a loud and shrill bark. But I digress: suffice it to say that I got up, turned off the alarm, and stumbled down the stairs to blearily put the dog out, after which, I put a pot of coffee on and waited for it to finish. I sucked down quite a bit of the coffee, and went towards Dad's room to get him up, when amazingly enough, Dad met me on the way. He was not only up, he was fully dressed!

"Wow," I said, "I was just coming to make sure you were up!"

"Yeah, it's a good thing because actually my alarm didn't go off," he told me.*

I looked at him. "So ... how'd you get up, then? Did you just not really sleep last night?" (He had been musing over the possibility of staying up all night when I had talked to him the previous evening.)

"Well," he replied, "I actually did sleep, but I sort of woke up about every half hour or so, looked at the clock, figured it wasn't time to get up yet and went back to sleep until eventually after several half hours it turned out it was time to get up, so I went ahead and got up."

Between me, my alarm clock (with battery backup), the Border Collie, and Dad's semi-insomnia, it was like a belt, suspenders, an overhead crane and several sturdy steel rivets. So to speak. At any rate, it was four AM, Dad was up, and all was right with the world. Mom arrived right on time, and we waited while Dad did a last run-through to make sure he had everything and packed up his CPAP machine. ("Continuous Positive Airway Pressure." It's a thingy to make sure that he doesn't die of sleep apnea in his ... um ... sleep.)

The only thing that somewhat worried me was how he packed up his CPAP machine. That is to say, in his carry-on luggage. In a tote bag. That wouldn't zip due to being stuffed past the brim with, well, a CPAP machine. Prior to September 11™, this wouldn't have been an issue. However, under the watchful eye of Homeland Security®, I could see it becoming, shall we say, an "inconvenience."

You see, there's really not much to a CPAP machine, or at least, to the one Dad had packed. But you've just got to know that to one of those Security® people, it's going to be a Suspicious Item™. There's a somewhat heavy black box that looks as though it might contain some kind of electronics. There are a bunch of tube things. And some plastic things. And some straps, and a mask, and ... well, on the whole, you could hide a very large bomb in a CPAP machine. Not to mention the fact that you could garrote the flight attendants with the tubes and hoses and so forth. I mean, you're worried about a box cutter? Think about someone being choked to death with anti-sleep-apnea tubing and you've got something to REALLY worry about.

I helped Dad out to the taxi by carrying the CPAP machine and his suitcase. He and Mom got in, I nagged Dad to put his seatbelt on, told them I loved them, and waved goodbye.

Now, the original plan was for me to get up, get Dad up, see them off, then go back to bed. Unfortunately, I was now wired out of my mind, which begins to explain how I ended up sending the following message to someone on the BPAL forum at about 4:20 after she let me know she'd mailed me a vial of some perfume I'd been seeking for ages (Shill, for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing.):

Have I told you lately that I love you? I would totally marry you if I weren't already married. And ... well ... possibly the logistics would be a bit difficult, since I have no idea where you are, really. And then there's the whole "not letting people of the same sex get married" thing we have here in the US, which would kind of put a damper on it.

So, let's just agree that it ~sob~ was never meant to be, but we'll always have BPAL.

*wipes a tear*

I then went off and composed several equally silly and somewhat lengthy emails to various email penpals I have across the globe. I moderated everything I had to moderate on my own websites. I wrote a detailed cultural analysis of lesser-known government and bank holidays in the US to one of my friends in China who had never heard of our "Memorial Day." I cleaned the kitchen a bit, mopped the laundry room, read Terry Pratchett's "Maskerade," and created a spreadsheet to track and organize my perfume oils.

At this point, Charlie was up.

Since that time, I've been buzzing about the house, waiting for the inevitable phone call from Mom to tell me that they think Dad's medical device is a bomb and the cruise is off. So far, I've heard nothing, and their plane should have taken off two hours ago. I hope that no news is good news.

But they still have to get through Canadian customs ...

* It turned out later that despite the fact that we had discussed the dangers of accidentally setting his alarm clock for 3:50 PM instead of 3:50 AM, he had, in fact, set his alarm clock for 3:50 PM. I know this because when I finally crashed at about 3:30 PM or so on the futon in the living room, I was shortly woken up by Dad's alarm going off next door.

(43 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
YAY! Glad they are finally off.

So when's the party? Ya know now that the 'rents are out of town. :P

Oh and I'm highly betting that you'll crash at some point. It's just a matter of when.

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! KEGGER!!!!!!!

Yeah, I crashed for about 5 or 10 minutes about the time Charlie left for work, but I bounced back. Probably when the meds kicked in. Remember the "time for my medication melty face" thing? Yeah, I had that.


How YOU doin?

*waggles eyebrows*
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
(SNERK!!!) I shouldn't be laughing this hard at work- they're gonna wonder WHAT I'm looking at that is so D*(^ned FUNNY... Cause it SURE ain't that filing list or that training spreadsheet...
Course- NOW you know how I feel prior to a Faire or SCA Event..
Wanna come up and play with the fencers? >:D

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)

I always wanted to take fencing lessons ever since I was a kid, and never could find anyone in town to do it. Then, when I was no longer a kid, I either didn't have time, couldn't afford it, or was too ill.

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Wow, good job staying up and being productive!!

By the way, I also set all my clocks 10 minutes fast. Sure, it means I do mental math all the time, but it works!
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! That's you, me, blackbirdshaq, and banshree so far. Maybe it IS a "girl thing!" hahaha!

Or we're all just psycho in the same way.

Hey, math is good -- keeps your brain going strong!

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Hehe. I set my alarm for 15 minutes ahead too! I'm a chronic snooze-hitter too. So, if I really need to be up at 6am, I have to set it for 5am, which is really 4:45am, but I actually won't get up until 6:15am. You can see I lead an interesting, complex inner life.

Isn't coffee great for getting stuff done? How are you faring now?

You read ALL of Masquerade? This morning? Whoah. I am SO not that fast of a reader.

I hope they get through Canadian customs. Yes, I had a CPAP for about 30 seconds before my bypass. I hated it. It dried out my sinuses. I kind of welcomed death through sleep apnea rather than have my sinuses dried out. I'm funny that way. I've still got a bit of an issue with The Apnea®, but let's not get into my health issues right now. This week was crap, but now I have a bit of money and I'm ready for SUSHI and SHOPPING. Even if it's just grocery shopping. I like to shop.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I'm still awake! I suddenly crashed just about the time Charlie left, but after a 5-minute nap I was up again. I've just finished cleaning off one corner of my desk. This would be a lot more impressive if you had ever seen my desk. We're talking stuff stacked up to ... well, about halfway down the pile was last year's Christmas cards, if that tells you anything.

I'm about ready for some mo-fo-SUSHI, man. Shopping ... eh ... maybe.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
Sugar, by contrast, seems to get up earlier and earlier.

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
Hubby's doing two business trips this month (after practically none for years, bless his boss) and was afraid he'd have to do something like a disgustingly early wake time, but luckily a day was changed, and now it's all good.

When I say "disgustingly early" I mean that the flight would have left at 4 something AM, and we're two hours from the airport, the company shuttle would be unavailable, AND we have only one vehicle, so I and Meg would've had to go along, too. And while I drink coffee (omgcoffeewhatmakesuswakey) he doesn't (college hijinx involving 13 double espressos and now he can just barely get along with the smell in the house). Yeah, we're VERY glad about the date change, though I still really want to fly w/ him to Norfolk so I can daytrip down to Williamsburg.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! Yeah, at that point, you ARE better off just staying up all night. Nothing lovelier than the red-eye specials!
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
My hubs has a CPAP, too. I have to nag him to use it. The man can fall asleep in less than a minute, so i've gotta be quick. Martyr doesn't work without time to really play it, so i just go straight for super-bitch. ;)

Your parents shouldn't have too much trouble crossing our border. We let everybody in. :P
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
We let everybody in.

Heh. But coming back, they may get an express trip straight to Coobah! It also depends if MrsV ended up putting anything special in his luggage/passport to enhance the story-telling potential of their trip.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
I would have skipped the coffee. Just make a sign with all pertinent instructions on it. When the alarm goes off, bang on Dad's door, shove sign in face, go back to bed.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
*knock knock knock*

"GRAAAAHHH! Mac bizwort floofle!"

*hits Dad with the sign*

*goes back to bed*

Yes, yes I can see how that would work. I'll keep it in mind for next time.
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
"Bluh GAH in feister RUNAMUCKIN ... huh?"
We speak the same language. That's exactly what my sister claims I talk like every morning.


[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
I've been reading a lot of Terry Pratchett lately. I think it's inspired me to new heights of humor.

Either that or it's the meds.

Or both. :-)
[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
Mrs V, Mrs V, Mrs V...you do spot your fatal flaw right? Chugging a pot of coffee at 4am. No wonder you were wired! =P

I would have stayed up all night b/c I don't like the cramped conditions of flying so I'd rather be unconscious.

I sometimes wake up a bunch of times if I have something important/anxiety causing the next morning.

My sister has a CPAP. The only reason she got thru the DC airport w/out a problem (or so I hear b/c I am smart enough to travel separately from the family) is b/c the inspector had one too.
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2007 03:29 am (UTC)
Saw this via metaquotes

It probably bears noting at this time that my alarm clock is deliberately set to be 15 minutes fast. This allows me to set the alarm for the time I want to get up and still sleep in for 15 minutes. I'd always thought this was just a personal quirk, but I've since learned that at least two other people I know do this, so that makes it, as far as I'm concerned, perfectly normal.

I do it too. It annoys the hell out of my fiancé, but he's learned to live with it.
[User Picture]
Date:June 2nd, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
Ah HA! That's like six or seven of us so far!

I say the next time the fiancé complains about the time being wrong and having to add or subtract minutes, just look him straight in the eye, flip your hair back (if applicable) and go, "Math is HARD!"

My husband has really hardly ever mentioned it since then.

I mean, ever. He's hardly mentioned it ever. Because I'm not the sort of person to pull out the "Math is HARD" for just any old occasion, you know.

(Oh, and welcome! Thanks for stopping by.) :-)
[User Picture]
Date:June 3rd, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
Here via diachrony-- Bwaa-haa-ha! That was a very entertaining story!

And for the record I set my bedroom clock 10 minutes ahead. I used to do 15, but found myself hitting the snooze alarm and being late. "Oh, I don't have to get up yet; it's only 3:45; not 4..." For reasons I can't explain 10 minutes resolves that issue!
Date:June 5th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
(I'm only anonymous because today I can't remember my password, and don't care to reset it.)

I do the alarm clock thing, too. I used to be really weird about it, though. I'd set it ahead an undetermined number of minutes (press the button and don't look), and periodically, as I'd figure out how much time I still had to sleep in, I'd push it farther and farther ahead. If it got as high as 30 minutes, I'd reset it to the correct time for a day or two, just to reinstate that "Oh my God that is the ACTUAL time!" auto-panic.

I don't do that anymore, but I still set my clock ahead. My mom's weird about hers. She has her alarm clock nearly 20 minutes ahead, but a small clock next to the bathroom door that you can't fail to see while getting ready that's the correct time in minutes, but not hours. I still haven't figured out how that helps. Come to think of it, she's always late anyway, so it doesn't.

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