SEPTA was shut down today and I needed to find a way to get to work to grab my laptop so after helping a friend food shop, I continued on to Market Street across from City Hall at around 8:30am. The roads were empty and I was able to park on the street by Samsom and 16th Street. On street parking on a week day during work hours. I went to my building, rode a dark elevator to my office floor, checked my voice mail, grabbed my laptop and returned to my car. The GPS told me that it’d be 30 minutes to make the 26 mile trip home and this may be the only time that estimation of getting from Philly to Feasterville would be accurate.

Heading north the roads had few cars on them which somehow made them feel more deserted than if I were alone. The other cars served as reminders of what there should have been more of. Southbound traffic was backed up for miles going into the city. It was like Philly had been featured in an episode of The Walking Dead.

At home, I got my laptop set up, connected to the company VPN and began work. I was working from home, an impossibility in my previous life doing lab work. I started a few items in the oven to try to have food to ride out the inevitable power outage and finished two cheesecakes. I put four pounds of chicken in the sous vide rig and set it to 140ºF. Even if power gave out on that, thermal inertia would take the poultry to completion.

The power went out around 5pm near the end of my remote work day and with no ability reasonably work, process photos, or run cleaning equipment I finally felt freed up to revisit something I used to do: sleep.

Thank you, Sandy.

I’ve been out of the state each weekend for the past four and felt that was catching up to me.  My average sleep time over the past three weeks dipped below 6.5 hours where I normally average 7.8 and prefer 8.5.  I was going to sleep in on Saturday before going to the shore but first I had to put in a long day at work to take care of some things so the next week would be reasonable.  Instead, I slept for 14 hours.  I’ve slept this long and indeed longer in the past but usually tied to illness and now I had the added bonus of my fitbit which tracks my sleep.  Here was the timeline so sayeth the sleepgraph:

6:30 AM – first wake-up.
6:39 AM to 8:07 AM – Every 9 minutes to hit the snooze button
8:10 AM – I either hit the alarm in such a way as to turn off the alarm or my clock gave up.
8:50 AM – I have an active period that I think is me using the bathroom.
1:04 PM – Receive phone call, decide to get up.  Fail to get up.
3:22 PM – I actually wake up.  But this is preceded by what appeared to be very placid sleep.

Thank you, fitbit.

At some point, John convinced me that we should leave for a weekend trip to Chicago directly from his house Wednesday evening was a good idea.  I presumed him a capable driver and his parents outfitted us with dinner and a care package of iced tea and popcorn before we went west over the Appalachian mountains and into the west.  John and I didn’t have much overlap in musical tastes and he didn’t seem one to complain so as a last resort I started a 12 song play list of Beatles hits and promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat.  I woke up 3 hours later where he looked at me, then the radio and said “make it stop”.  My radio apparently defaults to loop for playlists and he’d now heard the set 5 times but didn’t want to break my radio by changing anything.

We arrived in Cincinnati at 7 AM and the number of sleep-deprived car members increased by one.   The drive across Ohio and Illinois was uneventful outside but inside the car I got to hear someone being fired, and then a recounting of their attempt to steal a cash register tray which was way better than anything else on my iPod.  Peter met us at around 10:30 AM, gave us a tour of his new apartment and I showered and changed before driving John, Suzie, and I to meet a fellow outside Chicago for lunch at Portillo’s, a purveyor of fine cased meats.  The call agent used rhyming announcements which made me wish silver, month, and orange were numbers and I had a mediocre Vienna beef sandwich as I talked with Ty about things while in a hypnogogic state.


At some point I said something funny.


Oddgo's spider senses activate.

John was made to volunteered to drive us back to Peter’s where I learned two things quickly:  He didn’t appreciate the wanderlust of my GPS and he does not enjoy city driving, where city is defined as within 4 miles of anything larger than a tool shed.  He did not enjoy driving around Chicago.

Back at Peter’s, we engaged in lively discussion:


A lively debate

After a nap, we started putting things into boxes.  We stopped putting things in boxes when we ran out of boxes.  There were many boxes.  Tomorrow, there would be more boxes, a box-like truck into which the boxes would be placed, and two boxy freight elevators to hold our then-filled boxes. Boooo……ooooxes.

I’ve had some very long days recently culminating in yesterday’s 25 hour time awake.  I came back from Chris’s house and fell asleep.

I woke up 18 hours later.  18 hours.  I think my previous record was 16 and I think that was after I did 3 20-hour days at work or had my wisdom teeth removed.  I do 14 hours maybe four or five times a year and 12 maybe once a month.  I do 10 whenever I can as the other 14 hours of the day are the equivalent of 16 under 7 hours sleep if I’m doing a creative task and without the grumbles.  I felt drowsy and achy when I woke up and the remaining hours of the way were a waste.  I was glad to go back to bed.

After a lunch of tacos of questionable authenticity and diagnosing the world’s quietest desktop computer fan I was off to do the short 600 mile drive to Texas.  I was quite tired as despite being in bed for 8.75 hours, my host’s three-legged cat was being attacked by the cross-eyed ancient cat who periodically fought with the blinds.

Driving south, I crossed Oklahoma and thought they deserved a shout-out for traffic design.  Oklahoma’s roads aren’t amazing, nor wide, nor even well marked but one thing they get right is speed limit placement.  PA will have a 65 MPH road under construction with a 45 MPH sign that suddenly appears.  At the end of the construction zone, there’ll be no sign to resume the previous speed unless it coincides with an already posted one.  Oklahoma will gently reduce the speed limit from 75 to 55 or 45 at such a rate that a sedan can comfortably drift to the appropriate speed.  At the end of the slowdown from either a town or construction, the speed signs will quickly get back to 75 or 65.

Thank you, Oklahoma.

Otherwise, the drive to Dallas was dull and I arrived at the hotel without incident.  There were four people in one room:

Justin: Who wants the floor?
Me: No one.  These are queen-size beds, we could have two people play a game of Risk on the bed.  If you don’t want to sleep in the same bed as someone, you get to be on the floor.
Justin: Well, I’ll just take the chair then.
Cody: What, you don’t want to share a bed with someone who’s in-game name is “Spooner”?

When I have a week or two without an event at a specific time, my sleep schedule tends to drift into something like a 26-hour day with between 8-10 hours of sleep.   Now that camp was over and no fixed-time Scouting events I had drifted into going to bed around noon and waking up at 8 PM or so but needed to reset to normal hours to prepare for the work weekend.  There are two ways I’ve found of getting back: Stay up late, or sleep a while.  So, I got up early  at 5 PM, fed the animals and steled myself for my long day of trying to stay awake until 6 the next day.  I sorted cards, read, did some errands and did well until about noon when I dozed off in my chair.  I snapped out of it a few minutes later and felt like I was entering the home stretch until I woke up again… in my bed… at 8 PM.

I blame sleep faeries.

Dad: Terry, I’m worried about your sleep schedule.
Me: Why?  I woke up before 9 every day for the last six.  I used to wake up at noon to go to work.
Dad: I know, but that’s a pretty sudden change.  It can’t be healthy.

I’m glad he’s concerned for me.

Kyle and I rolled into my driveway at around 8 AM each of us having slept for a few fitful hours.  We calculated the total cost which, even after food, was around $200 per person.  I still felt a bit drowsy and decided to take a nap and leave for work around noon.  I woke up at 3 AM the next day.  I guess I was a bit more tired than I thought.

Next trip, I bring ear plugs and a face mask, even if it has ponies on it.

I think I may have hit a critical point in running Scout events.  It is the day before a Webelos overnighter and I’ll receive 8 hours of sleep.  This marks the first time this has happened in the two years of me running District events.  Were I to need something that I forgot, I could still got to a reasonable large store and acquire it.  I could place a phone call to someone knowing I hadn’t woken their family.  I feel a mixture of relief and deviousness knowing I’ve bucked my own trend.

I called it an early day yesterday and got 10 hours of sleep.  If I go below 7.5 hours two days in a row I’m useless and if I get more than 11 I’m groggy.  Between the two: magic.  My oven was also replaced and made brownies, so I came into work at 5 AM chipper and armed with brownies like some alternative reality June Cleaver.  This contrasted heavily with a coworker who lives off of 4 hours of low-quality sleep.

Coincidentally, we went out to lunch today and he asked me why I was so chipper and I told him it was due to 10 hours of sleep and his left eye started twitching.  No the “I have a bug in my eye” twitch but the “the previous statement reflects a mode of being I have never occupied nor probably ever will.  I will sleep when I’m dead” twitch.  It was frightening until I realized his decimated cerebellum probably couldn’t muster enough coordination for he to stab me in any reasonably short length of time.  I jokingly offered to replace our luncheons with me driving around New Jersey while he napped in the passenger seat sleeping.  His mouth said “no” but his eyes screamed “yes”.  Maybe one day I’ll replace his Tic-Tacs with chloral hydrate and he’ll get a quality afternoon nap.