Monday, December 15, 2008

The Afternoon Nap




Growing up, my Mother often talked of her grandmother’s fond habit of taking an afternoon nap. I thought at that time, that’s what little kids and old people do, take afternoon naps. Because I missed kindergarten (I went straight to first grade, my Mother didn’t know to sign me up for kindergarten), I wasn’t introduced to concept of a nap.

Fast forward about 35 years (1980) to when I worked full time as a 40 year old bank operations manager. I was in the process of having a house built in Downingtown, PA. I had sold my previous house and thus didn’t have a place to live until my new house was completed. My partner Bill retired early from his job and lived in the basement of the new house while the men building our new house worked around him. I rented a fourth floor walk up apartment so I would have a place to live while I worked at the bank.

One afternoon I had a cold that I just couldn’t’ shake. I left work early. After walking up the four flights of stairs to my apartment, I was exhausted from the body weakening effects of my cold and the physical exertion to climb those stairs. I opened the door to my small apartment that was located on the top floor of the old Victorian building at 2224 Walnut Street. To my left I could see the afternoon sun streaming through the windows to the back bedroom. The sun drenched room looked so peaceful. I had a small, comfortable platform bed in that room. I was so tired from my usual stress filled day as a back operations manager at the bank. Ringing phones to answer, urgent questions requiring immediate responses, and deadlines to meet. I left that all behind me at the bank and I was ready for a serious wind down. I took my off shoes and collapsed on that incredibly comfortable platform bed tucked into the corner alcove of that small back bedroom, only intending to lie down for a few minutes to regain my strength.

An hour later I woke up, totally refreshed. My body was refreshed. I was like a wooden soldier with a big wind up knob on my back that had wound down. After my nap this wooden soldier was rewound. I was ready to go.

From that day on, when I had the opportunity, I would lie down in the afternoon. Sometimes I would drift off to sleep, and other times I would occupy that sweet land between consciousness and unconsciousness. Because that first adult nap took place in the middle of the afternoon with the bright sun streaming in the window; that became my preferred time to take a nap. I don’t take naps in the late afternoon or early evening. I have done so occasionally over the years, but taking naps at those times either left me groggy when I woke up or I slept right through to a few hours before I would go to bed at my normal time. So, my nap was and is officially an Afternoon Nap.

This afternoon I had another good afternoon nap. Originally, today I was supposed to go to Pennsylvania to visit my Mother for my annual Christmas Visit. While visiting my Mom, I was planning on taking her to visit her older sister who resides in the dementia unit of a Downingtown nursing home. Hopefully, I could squeeze in some visits to some other older relatives that my Mom hasn’t seen in a while. Mom doesn’t drive or get around too well these days. On December 24th she will be 85 years old. I planned to stay at Mom’s two or three days. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for this week did not look promising. Although the sun was out today, rain and snow showers were forecast for the rest of the week. I don’t like to make that 2 ½ drive to Pennsylvania or back to Delaware in this kind of weather. I’ve done it before and it is not a pleasant experience. In fact, it is dangerous. The last time I visiting Mom, I got away later than I had planned and drove back in the dark, light snow, and fog. I might as well have had a blindfold on me with little pinholes in the blindfold for my line of vision. Bill and I arrived at our home in Delaware, thankful that we survived the journey. My trips to and from Pennsylvania are meant to be pleasant experiences, not a Trial by Fire. I decided not to make the trip to Pennsylvania today. In retrospect it was a good decision. I didn't know how bone tired I was. I keep forgetting that I'm 67 years OLD. In my mind, I'm always that 40 year old, full charge ahead manager, who can go all day long.

I just got up from my afternoon nap. I was knocked out! Every now and then I am so exhausted that my afternoon nap is a necessity. Today was such a day. I must have napped for a good hour and a half today. I was way off in Never Never land. I didn’t realize how tired I was. I feel like I was rebooted.

Having just come off of five straight days of work at the Inn, I should have realized that I was bone tired. The past five days at the Inn were busier than usual. We have a contingent of lawyers in the hotel for a case in Georgetown, Delaware which is the country seat of Sussex County. They are not only using our hotel as sleeping quarters as their “war room.” That is they are using one of our conference rooms as their temporary law offices. My job, when I’m on shift, is to provide the setup and cleanup for the food catering that they require. I also provide directions, restaurant reviews, replace burned out bathroom light bulbs, forwarding incoming phone calls, and fixing cable TV channels that whistle, among other things. Suffice it to say, I’m kept jumping during my eight hours shift. Particularly grueling was Thursday when I worked until 11:30 pm and had to be at work in the morning in time to have their breakfast set out by 7 am. That was a long day. The next two days I worked the 3 to 11 pm shift. On my feet most of the time, answering phones, cleaning up dishes, folding laundry, mopping the lobby floor, vacuuming the lobby rug; yes indeed, it’s been a long five days.

I am now off until December 24th, when I do another five day stretch. My original part-time work schedule was Mondays and Thursdays at 3 pm to 11 pm. During the holidays I work different shifts to accommodate my co-workers who have family related activities. I don’t mind working the holidays. It is not as much a hardship for me as it is for others. I don’t even mind working five day stretches. I don’t even mind working for the lawyers (actually they have been quite nice to me.) As long as I can have my afternoon nap I’m happy. I had a good nap today. Oh yes, it was a good nap. I'm good now.

3 comments:

  1. Ron,

    I made up kindergarden for you. I attended twice, boith times in Mrs. Helms. When I got through the first year in kindergarden, my parents tried to register me for East Ward, but the school said I was too young (I'd just turned 5) and wouldn't except me, so my folks put me in kindergarden agin.

    lar

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  2. Kevin W12:05 PM

    Taking an afternoon nap is fine, but if you start causing trouble and knocking stuff over at 4 in the morning, then you're turning into one of my cats!

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  3. Pictures of the kittys please! I love cats. Oh yes, they do have a habit of letting you know when they are awake and ready to start THEIR DAY. Just remember, you don't own the cat, they own you. You are their pet, not the other way around.

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