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Maybe it was the caffeine. And the lack of food. Or the physical exertion late in the day. Or just my old overactive mind.

In any case, I didn’t sleep at all last night. I tried. Repeatedly. But I just couldn’t do it.

I don’t think I’ve pulled an all-nighter since that freaky Jazz Fest weekend five years ago.

(Wrong! Don’t forget that homebound all-nighter in 2008.)

To elaborate:

I’ve been off caffeine most of the summer, except for an occasional indulgence. At book club Saturday morning, I had two and a half tiny cups of extraordinarily strong coffee. But since it was before noon, I thought I was safe.

As for the physical exertion, that takes a bit more explaining. I’ll recount the essential facts without delving into the numerous bizarre details. As I mentioned a couple months ago, we need some work done on our driveway. A parent of one of Xy’s students offered to do the work — for free. This is amazing enough I hope to write more about it later. He and his crew got started yesterday, busting up the old concrete the old-fashioned way.


I felt obliged to go out and swing the sledgehammer with them, even though I’m not really in shape for that kind of work. We kept going until well after dark. I learned that sledgehammers make sparks when they strike concrete.

Between the caffeine and the exertion, I didn’t really seem to have much appetite, and so I didn’t eat much. I’ve found that having a snack before bedtime helps me get to sleep, so I planned to have a bowl of cereal, but we were out of soymilk, so I skipped it.

I’ve had many “sleepless” nights before, but that’s usually a figure of speech. Usually I drift off around four or so, or just after dawn. In this case, however, I really don’t think I slept at all. I got up several times during the night, to read, to eat a snack, to surf the web. I worked on my interface to the library of Babel, available (for now) at borges.rox. At 4:15 AM I left the house in my robe to investigate a car alarm. Each time I went back to bed and tried to go to sleep. But it just never took.

I have suffered from intermittent bouts of insomnia for as long as I can remember, but I do believe this was the worst ever. Certainly the worst since my daughter was born.

Published inBodyOur House


  1. Robyn Robyn

    Sorry about the insomnia. That stinks!
    But more to the point, WHO volunteers to demolish a concrete driveway. . .by hand. . .for free?

    Seriously? Is this guy a saint? And would he like to come spend a little time in Austin? Because I can teach AND I have a couple of miserable jobs I need done! WOW!!!!

    I hope you sleep tonight.

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