What’s a Sleep Study?

My daughter asked that question this morning.  “Daddy, what’s a sleep study?”  She asked because I advised her to be careful while circumnavigating the cords by my side of the bed this morning as she was in my room preparing to have her hair brushed as we got ready for mass.

“Daddy’s having a sleep study, sweetheart,” I said to her.  And then, responding to her query, I added “It’s to find out how smart my sleep is.”


In truth I have no idea how this thing is going to go.  I was told to use the unit for three consecutive nights and that most people aimed for Fri-Sun.  It was obvious to me this morning (Sunday) that somehow, on the previous two evenings, I must have made it half-way through the night and then, in my sleep (or not, I’m not really sure and that’s why I’m having this study conducted) I disconnected several of the ledes and stopped the machine from recording data.

The results ought to be fun.

Crazy Tuesday

Look how neat and orderly my desk is. It is from this desk that I taught young minds today. It is also from this desk that I learned in an email that I have been asked to become a regular contributor to one of my favorite Catholic blogs. This means I’m back in the writing game! Good for me.

This is a zipper truck. After my day at work I had the joy of sitting in traffic so bad that I practically wound up having a conversation with the zipper’s driver. On the bright side I got to study the inner workings of this monster.

And that was my Tuesday. Hopefully it meant something for the kids.

Studying Sleep

I’m supposed to begin a three-day, in-home sleep study tonight. But just like when you bring your car to the shop and the problem mysteriously goes away; guess who’s actually tired tonight? Good thing I have this device until next Wednesday.

In other news, I’ve been noticing something interesting about my children’s sleep lately. I have a pre-bed ritual that I always walk through every night. After I’ve gotten myself ready for slumber, I slip into the kids’ bedroom, give them each a kiss, trace a cross on their foreheads with my thumb (simultaneously checking for any sign of fever), and quietly turn a small reading lamp on before exiting the room. Wouldn’t want them to get scared…

I turned to my wife last night and remarked how different this was from my childhood. My dad used to come into the room after I was asleep and turn lights off so as not to waste electricity. To each dad his own, I suppose. However, as one who remembers waking up in the pitch black smoke of a house fire at the age of four, I’m siding with the kittens on this one.

The lamp in question…

And just in case, a nightlight.

My Friends and Their Boring Addictions

A friend of mine is trying to quit smoking again (and it’s not me).

The thing is that every time this guy tries he reveals himself to be a socially-awkward, overly anxious sort of fellow who has no idea what to do with his hands in public and even less of a clue as to how to handle his nervous energy.  I’m trying to cut him some slack.  He revealed that he wasn’t quite ready to try again this time but that circumstances drove him to it.  I suspect the ridiculously high cost of tobacco had something to do with it.  I really feel bad for him, though, because I always thought he was a nice guy — pleasant to be around, funny, entertaining if not very loquacious.  Unfortunately now he barely has two words to say.  It’s amazing how a change in behavior regarding one simple thing can turn someone’s whole personality like that.  I told him to try Zyban.  Of course, my answer to just about everything is a prescription.  They’ve always been there for me when I needed them.  He’s worried about being labeled due to the fact that the primary indication for that drug is as an antidepressant and, well, he’s not terrible depressed, just out of sorts.  I still think he should try it.  Of course, he just might make it through this time.  He might actually reverse the trend he was telling me about (where he thought he was having a stroke).  In the end he’ll probably be hit by a bus anyway because God’s ironic like that.  But I wish him the best of luck and ask you to join in praying with me for him.

Other than that, I can’t wait for fall to arrive.  This being North Texas, it should be here in about two months.

Bedtime is a Bitch

Today the world lost a comedy icon in the legendary Joan Rivers.  She was perhaps the only person I have ever seen in concert who simply made me laugh from start to finish.  I laughed so hard I cried.  I’m thankful for the happy memories of me, my mom, and my sister-in-law sitting in the front row of a casino theater in Shreveport being truly entertained by this woman who spoke from a mere ten feet away.

Now then…  let’s walk through the day, shall we?

This morning I got to work and prepared my classroom for the day.  It was the day of the first test for my juniors.  They were nervous and I understand that.  They’ve taken five quizzes already and the results were less than edifying.  Ever the concerned teacher acting in loco parentis I knew that today I would have to allay their fears, set them at ease, make them laugh a little.  The test was entirely online so there was the matter of making sure that all of the answer choices were spelled correctly so I didn’t look like the idiot.  Then I had to find a clip of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on YouTube, set the SmartBoard volume a just the right level of “soft”, grab my coffee and a banana, and stand by the door to welcome them with my cheerful smile.  Faking all of this at that hour of the morning is a challenge but I pulled it off.  Mid-way through the test I saw a hand go up from the middle of the room.  The hand was attached to the powerful throwing arm of one of our best football players, a young lad of about 16 who, though by all appearances is quite confident and even more popular, I know is the same teenager we all were at one time — a little ill at ease in his own skin.  Look, what boy wants to ask for help ever?  More to the point, who wants to ask for help on a theology test of all things?  I mean, ever freakin’ answer is supposed to be “Jesus”, right?  Wrong.  So I gracefully tiptoed past the backpacks and laptop power cords and over to his desk where I knelt down beside him and asked in a gentle tone “What’s up, sir?”

“Um, Mr. H.?” he said pointing to the screen.  “What does ‘conceived‘ mean?”

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.43.15 PM

This could have gone so many different ways.  Fortunately I was on top of my game.  Realizing that the young man sitting next to me probably did not know that his question either revealed a complete lack of basic understanding regarding human reproduction or that he was wording the question incorrectly I thought for a microsecond.  If it was the former, he’d never live it down.  I mean, he’s on the football team for heaven’s sake.  If it was the latter, he might just look dumb and, even though he’d play it off, I could never allow that.  He’s actually a bright kid.

“Well,” said I, “you know when babies are born, right?”  He nodded his head and gave a puzzled look as if to indicate he knew he’d bitten off more than he had bargained for.  At this point every other student in the room was looking up from their laptops.  “So think back to what happens about nine months before that…”  I looked up in time to see the light bulb flickering above his brow.  But I couldn’t let this one go.  As I was standing up and preparing to walk away I tossed in “Son, your dad did have that talk with you, right?  Because that’s just a bit outside my pay grade.”  25 students (including the newly enlightened cornerback) laughed.  A moment later, the punter in front of him added his two cents.  “My parents tried to talk to me about that once and I just left the room.”  Again, moments like this are not to be wasted.  “You know my friend,” I shot back, “Don’t want to shock you here but they’re probably actually speaking from experience.”  He buried his head in his hands while covering his ears.  “And since I taught your sister a few years ago, I’d say probably on more than one occasion too.”  Score one for middle-aged married couples.

How is this getting to bedtime?  Stick with me.  Or don’t.  I don’t care.  I’m a stand-up comic.  I can get cheap laughs whenever I want.  And my audience LOVES me!

Ater work I took son to violin.  It’s a weekly struggle.  He’s naturally very good but he doesn’t love it.  On the ride he even told me “I don’t like violin!”  “But violin loves you,” I said from the front seat.  “In fact, I overheard it say that it wants you to take it to dinner and then to the movies.  Pretty soon you two will be married and have little half-little-boy/half-violin children.”  It’s always nice when I can make my boy spit out his drink.  Wish it hadn’t been at the back of my head while driving; but…

On our way home from his music lesson my precious precocious wonder-child started mentioning to me all the stores where I can purchase The Lego Movie for him.  “But son, we already have it.”  “No, Daddy,” he reminded me, “It was on-demand and Mommy said she’s getting rid of cable.”  Once again he was right.  I’m still not sure why we’re doing this.  I understand it will save money and my wife doesn’t care much for TV.  Still, it will be strange going back to “broadcast”.  Anyway, my young progeny, gears spinning in his mind, then inquired “Daddy, what’s cable anyway?”  “Well, little man,” I replied, “You know all those channels we have on the TV?  Well, we have to pay for them every month.  That’s cable.”  Silence followed for a few seconds.  In the rear-view I could see his face growing more and more irate.  Finally he blurted it out.  “Well what good is TV without any channels?!”  My sentiments exactly.

And finally, bedtime.  Well, that’s the reason I’m writing this.  My daughter is a sleep champ.  Son?  Not so much.  As it is currently just after 11PM and he has just gone to sleep you can see how the rest of my evening went.  And on that note I will remind you that Joan is still dead (sad), not every teenage boy knows about the facts of life (funny), and TV with no channels is just (dumb).


It’s Much Too Early for This

I must really be back into the “back to school” mindset. For the past few weeks I have been unable to sleep past 5:30. Yesterday it was 4:30. That’s not too bad.

What’s bad is that I can’t seem to adjust things on the other side. In other words, I’m still falling asleep around midnight. Here’s hoping it doesn’t catch up with me anytime soon.

I Love Being the Fairy

Son lost another tooth. And this brings me to a part of daddy-hood I really love – playing Tooth Fairy!

I have learned that you need two things to do this right. First, you need a hefty wallet. Son’s getting $3 for this one! I blame inflation. Second, you need good upper body strength. Do you know how hard it is to lift a heavy head off a pillow from an angle while trying not to disturb the kid attached to it?

Oh, and Son, when you eventually read this just know I wasn’t “lying” to you. You’ll understand when you have kids. Now go spend that cash! Just not on candy.

OK, get some candy.