One could go completely mad in this house, from lack of sleep – from a desperate need for sleep and from being kept from said sleep by
a) a snoring husband
b) a vampire daughter who sleeps in the day and is awake at night, even though tomorrow is the first day of school and she is going to be shattered
c) a coughing daughter, whose hacking coughs echo through the house, relentlessly, hour after hour.
So far it’s those three. Soon it will be a cat sitting on my chest while a dog makes himself comfortable on my feet. If the night plays out as it usually does, the puppy will eventually try to get in on the act by trying to jump onto the couch. He won’t be able to because he is too small but the fact that he is trying to get on will disturb the cat and the dog who will both start to growl and who will then eventually jump off the couch while the puppy gets comfortable in one of the newly vacated spaces. Then he’ll get too hot and he’ll want to get back off the couch so that he can sleep under it.
The night will not be complete without the smell of dog poop because, you see, since the puppy is now awake, from this on the couch off the couch business, he may as well take a dump on the lounge floor. I won’t be able to sleep knowing that the smelly turd sitting there, and I’ll get up to clean it up.
By this time I will be so wide awake, that sleep will be impossible. Impossible, that is, until around 5:30 or 6:00, when it will be impossible for me to keep my eyes open for a moment longer, and waking up to go and get some exercise will be too great a challenge.
A slow, heavy lidded, foot dragging day will follow, in which I will struggle to do some work, fail miserably, and will fall behind on my deadlines. I will also have all sorts of extra admin to do. For example, I already know that I bought all the wrong exercise books for the kid, so I have to go back to CNA tomorrow to exchange them. I have also been told that we are out of toilet paper and so I will have to head to the shops to buy a giant pack of double ply. I’ve also not yet arranged to meet the estate agent at the beach house and so that’s the next thing that my husband will nag me about. And I’ve not replaced the plug on the standing lamp. Nor have I bought a new bookcase, so the books remain stacked on the floor in the passage.
In the meantime, the garden is looking like one giant dried arrangement, and the house is a complete tip, full of stuff that must be thrown out or donated or just set alight. Tax. I need to do tax. Filing. I’ve not used my beautiful, bright red KitchenAid that I was given before Christmas. And I need to follow up on my invoices – no one has paid me, even though they were desperate for me to churn out work at superhuman speed.
And I was going to go to Pilates and then to run early in the morning. Well, since it’s almost one am, I can safely say that’s not going to happen.
So, when people ask why there are so few famous female artists, scientists, mathematicians, inventors (or even great marathoners), and so on, here is what you can tell them:
After doing all the chores, the fetching, the carrying, the dropping off, the favours, the ‘justs’, the cooking, the shopping, the gardening, the fixing, the listening and the soothing, they would fall into bed at the end of the, exhausted, but knowing that if they could just get some sleep they could be up early and get that novel/sculpture/painting/mathematical equation/invention sorted out before anyone else wakes up.
All they would need is a couple of hours.
But they won’t get it. Because, throughout history, the damn and blasted bloody husbands of potential great women SNORED!