So, I think I’ve mentioned, oh, once or twice before that, while I adore my long-term sub position, I’m really, really tired. I just can’t seem to manage do everything that needs doing while adding twenty-five hours of work into each week (go figure), and sleep gets sacrificed the most. A lot of the time, this isn’t too big of an issue… but other times, it becomes a small problem.
I’ve had a stuffed dog since I was ten (when I went to sleep-away camp and needed a pal), a once uber-soft, now rather leathery, caramel-colored dog.
I thought my scrapbook contained a photo of that first summer with Caramel – and, indeed, it does – but, rather inexplicably, the photo is of only my cabin-mates and not me. (I guess I took the photo and Caramel was their mascot?) So, rather than post a picture of completely random ten year-olds, I’m posting a blurry picture of a once-fuzzy dog. Artistic excellence right there.
Although I don’t really sleep with her anymore, I keep her by our bed and occasionally plop her unceremoniously over my head if I’m trying to drown out Nick or the dog’s snoring. She’s not as plush as she once was, but she’s special, and so she stays.
Langston has also had a penchant for stuffed animals. Ever since he was a tiny pup, he’s loved chewing on one, especially his white bear.
It was as big as he was!
Quite possessive, he is…
When I say that he “sleeps with it,” I am not exaggerating.
Lang managed to keep that bear perfectly intact – gnawing on it only just barely – for the entire 18 months that he was with us before Jambi got here, but within a few months of her arrival, the bear began to lose its stuffing. Jambi doesn’t do it to be mean, per se, but she just prefers to rip things to shreds rather than nibble daintily on them. She’s sweet like that.
Now that the white bear is basically a shell – sort of like a Davy Crockett coonskin cap except, you know, white – it doesn’t hold as much appeal for Lang, and he’s taken to gnawing on a tan dog. Again, he doesn’t tear it apart, as many hounds do, but just gums it up, as though he’s teething on it. As a result, the tan stuffed dog has a rather “crusty” coating on it. It also smells delicious.
One night a few weeks ago, as per usual, I stumbled upstairs, bleary-eyed, at an hour that should be illegal, and proceeded to get ready for bed. Clothes changed, new clothes laid out for the morning, teeth and face and all that jazz, right? When I was finally, mercifully, ready to actually crawl under the covers, I noticed Caramel lying beside the bed in a discarded beige heap, and decided to take her with me. As I curled her into my chest, I did notice that she was a bit… crunchy… but I didn’t really think anything of it until I pulled her closer toward my face and was nearly knocked unconscious by the smell.
Yep. In my exhaustion-fueled haze, I’d accidentally grabbed Langston’s matted-up, filthy, saliva-soaked, gag-inducing dog and had brought it as close to me as humanly possible in an attempt to cuddle it at two o’clock in the morning.
It was then (after I’d finished gagging and dousing myself in Lysol) that I realized just HOW tired I am (as if the passing out at 8:30 wasn’t already an indication), and I resolved that, once this long-term subbing gig was done, I would well and truly make a conscious effort to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and that I would treat myself better. I’ve adored this job, but it has not been without side effects, and while I was sad to leave, I was eager to try to get back on track.
Today marks the end of my original eleven week stint, and that was what this post was supposed to be about: finishing up my job and trying to get a little shut-eye. It was going to be a bittersweet, reflective, hopeful post (with stinky stuffed animals thrown in for good measure).
But life doesn’t always work in tidy, eleven-week boxes, does it?
At two o’clock yesterday, just after I’d I come home from teaching, I received an email from the school secretary explaining that the teacher for whom I’m subbing has to extend her medical leave, and would I be able to stick around for a few more weeks? There were a couple of appointments I needed to shuffle around and reschedule, but I was able to do those fairly quickly and reply in the affirmative.
… I was able to tell them, “Well, I hope you meant that, because guess what? WISH GRANTED!”
It’s spring break next week, and tomorrow, we are going on vacation to visit my dad and stepmom in South Carolina. It will be fantastic. Somewhere deep inside, I am crazy excited for this, but it’s been so busy, I haven’t even thought about snoozing, much less packing. I’d probably better get on that. Maybe I can even catch some zzz’s while I’m there.
As for the rest of my (non-vacation) life, I guess I’ll have to start sleeping again sometime in May. But that’s okay. When you find messages like that on your white board, it makes it all worthwhile.
Except the sleeping-with-the-wrong-dog part. Pretty much nothing makes that acceptable.