“I’m going to bed” – January through October:

Write for thirty more minutes. Let dogs out to pee. Holler at dogs to stop barking their heads off then attempt to call them back into the house in a whisper-yell. Wipe eight paws, find my way back to the kitchen, take meds, head for the bedroom. Put on PJs, brush teeth – floss, too, if I’m feeling spunky – wash face, smooth magic “what wrinkles?” cream around eyes, pop in retainer, and push a dog off my pillow so I can climb into bed and restart the process of getting sleepy. Remember one kid still hasn’t ordered lunches, another needs to turn in a form, and I can’t figure out how to get that stain out of the carpet. Eventually pass out from sheer exhaustion with a delirious tumble toward restless sleep.


“I’m going to bed” – November through December:

Write for thirty to ninety more minutes, depending on how much personal time I logged during the day. Catch at least one extra episode of whatever I’m currently binge watching on Netflix. Remember I forgot to plan dinners for the week. Search calendar for open afternoons, check weather for cold snaps, look for recipes that match up. Create grocery list and find time to fold it into the next day’s errands. Think of two more dishes we could make for holiday dinner. Research recipes, ingredients, vegetarian and gluten free options, then make a note to think about it tomorrow when I’m not so tired.

Remember three texts I was supposed to send. Also remember texting someone after 11pm when I haven’t been in a car accident could get me permanently blocked. Set reminders on my phone to text tomorrow then move reminders when I realize they conflict with “MAKE CALLS” and “BRUSH DOGS”. Set three alerts so at least one will register then set another in the afternoon to confirm I sent the texts. Accept the fact that there’s a 60% chance I’ll be jumping through these same hoops tomorrow night.

Look back over holiday menu plans and crosscheck against running shopping list. Change an appetizer. Search for an eraser to fix planning sheet. Wonder if I can find mozzarella balls at my grocery store. Wonder how many jokes we can make out of “mozzarella balls”. Wonder if that glass of wine earlier was a mistake.

Say the hell with it. Trip over a dog taking them out. Briefly wonder if anyone would hear me crash down a carpeted flight of stairs in the middle of the night then freeze my fanny off trying to call the dogs back in off the scent of squirrels/groundhogs/deer/God knows what. Stumble back upstairs to kitchen. Pause at an awful glug-glug-slurk noise in the hall; refill cat fountain with water and jiggle top so it stops dying. Take meds then head off for PJs, teeth, and face.

Shuffle Phoebe sideways and slide in under comforter. Check the nineteen alarms on my phone and activate the right ones – wake time, basketball and swim alarms, pet reminders, call/errand alerts – tech keeps my life on track, and it all depends on this mostly-sleepy review. Remember that e-mail I forgot to return, gifts yet to be bought, wrapping still in my closet, and clothes sitting wet in the washing machine then say a prayer I’ll remember it all in the morning.

‘Tis the season.