My sleep became erratic this week, after a month of stability. And I knew I had my one scheduled early appointment of the week the next morning. So last night, at 10:30, I sped home.
I wound down and shut down by midnight for an 8:00 wakeup, and... sorta... slept. That's been a problem for a few nights, these experiences of not being sure whether you're starting to fall asleep or wake up at ungodly hours of the morning. ("Ungodly hours" is a really nice concept I've introduced Bennie to, that nobody cares what hours you normally keep, there's a point beyond which you simply do not give anybody a phone call unless the situation is absolutely critical.)
One of those ungodly hours was at 3:00 this morning, or thereabouts, when I woke up and decided to do what I sometimes am able to do: deal with annoying external stimuli. Namely the lights on and the TV yapping in the other room.
That was the least of my problems: the room was half-full of faint white smoke that made the air translucent. And both B. and M. were lying back, mouths open, snoring as if nothing was wrong. On the stove was the root problem: a pan sitting on the burner turned to high, with the faint sizzle of what looked like a fist-sized lump of coal smoldering into the air.
I turned it off, pulled it off the stove, and woke Bennie to see if he was all right. (He was. Apparently I'm not the only one having sleep issues in the house, though; he was tired enough to try to cook himself some hamburger to eat before he conked out and left it to burn.) In the morning, he thanked me for basically singlehandedly saving the house.
And so, with a serious crisis averted, I went back to my room, lay down in the dark, and appreciated that it's really hard to fall asleep when your heart is pounding like a racehorse's and the adrenaline is flowing free.
I was fifteen minutes late to the appointment this morning.