Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dear Lazyweb: Help me cope.

The one thing I miss, getting older, is the boundless energy I used to have. Strolling out of a nightclub at 7:30AM to pull on my Ray-Bans and mutter "My God, are those people jogging?" I thrived on my bad girl image; hopping out of the Porsche and bouncing into the office three hours later, still wearing the Wayfarers, my co-worker's whispers of "How does she do it?" were worth four hours of sleep right there. As recently as seven years ago I was working a full-time job at night, another part-time job during the day, and commuting 100 miles a day round trip on a sportbike year 'round, and loving it.

It's not like I've become narcoleptic as I've gotten older; I still get by just fine on five or six hours' sleep, but it seems like a certain... regularity has become a necessity. These days my body likes to know that it's going to be put to bed and woken up at or near the same time most days, and it gets cranky if it's not, and now my brain seems to have joined the revolt. And there's the rub: For the first time in my life, I find I have to deal with swing shifts.

The closing on Mo/Tu/We isn't bad at all; given my natural rhythms and left to my own devices, I'd go to bed at three or four and wake up at nine or ten anyway. It's the opening on the weekends that's going to be the death of me: 0400 on a Saturday is no time for an alarm clock to be going off. I compound it by trying to force myself to wake up early on weekdays because the Blog Monster must be fed, and you need to have content up... something, anything... in time for folks to sneak their reading in when they get to work (Check your SiteMeters, fellow bloggers; I'll bet 20-25% of your daily hits come between 0900-1200EST...)

The end result after a month is a surly, apathetic Tamara... Okay, an even surlier and more apathetic than usual Tamara ...who just sits and stares sullenly at her monitor on weekdays, bereft of creative spark, and types bupkis until she finally gets dressed and goes to work at 3:00PM. This can't go on. There has got to be an optimum way to build a schedule around this that will allow me to return to my perky, snarky self of yore.

I'm all ears.

29 comments:

Breda said...

oh, I get it...this is all part of your "yes, Tam really is human" ruse.

Nice try...

BobG said...

Welcome to the joys of middle age...

Roberta X said...

Ah, youth!

Don't worry. After working swing shifts long enough, all one's sleep/wake cycles are destoyed and you'll be able to catnap any time -- and never get a full night's sleep.

Ummm, "Turn back now" won't help, will it?

At least you're not on call 24/7!

Anonymous said...

Tam; I'm in the same place you are, the only suggestion I can make is get a different job. Yeah I know, big help.

Anonymous said...

Get thy self back in shape, Tam. I hate to use the 'e' word, but all those years of slacking off has caused you to develop an escargot-esque 14.4k metabolism.

You need to focus on building yourself back up to broadband speed with the help of your friend adenosin triphosphate and their sprog, called endorphins. You'll feel better.

Until then, think of yourself as living in the here and WoW..."you can't do that yet, you don't have enough energy......"

Matt G said...

Aw. That's sweet. Somebody took college biology and learned what ATP and ADP are.

Anon2: Beyond the fact that she's kind of in it for the heidonism, Tamara's got a pretty decent reason why she doesn't run.

comatus said...

"Tamara's got a pretty decent reason why she doesn't run."

Boot tips on top fence-wires and photogenically-bruised ribs come right to mind. First-rate putdown, matt, and I appreciate it. anon2, you can learn from this.

Roberta, who can catnap in harness at 830' AGL, has the line on this one. Don't think of this as a look back. You've discovered a whole new form of self-abuse. It's a challenge. I have confidence in you.

Glad to see you pop up, X. Thought you were hung up a pole somewhere.

LabRat said...

Given that if Tam stopped making ATP in vast quantities, she'd be dead, I was more than slightly confused.

It's like telling someone to get acquainted with oxygen.

Tam said...

comatus,

It's more that my legs below the knees sport a good size chunk of rebar and enough sheet metal screws to stock a Home Depot between the pair.

comatus said...

Oh yeah, I know. I'd been telling Breda how cheap it is to get tall, once you've got a surgeon on the payroll. But did all that hardware keep you from trying to vault that fence like a 12-yr-old? Nooooo.

Kristopher said...

I suggest drugs ...

LabRat said...

More helpfully: lack of sleep is cumulative. Get not quite enough for long enough, and eventually you'll feel just as bad as you would if you'd gotten none at all. It would probably help if you could schedule one day just for catching up on your sleep.

staghounds said...

What is this "get up at four" stuff? Just don't go to be- err, sleep!

Labrat is right, just schedule a long period, twelve hours or so, for a catch up rackout. Remember the soldier's creed- never walk when you can ride, go hungry when you can eat, or be awake when you can sleep.

Exercise, forsooth. Next thing they'll tell you to do is cut the beer and turn down the music.

Sheesh, old people.

LabRat said...

I really should have gotten all my pedantry out of the way in a single comment, but apparently my mind keeps returning to pick at it.

Exercise won't do a goddamn thing for your energy levels if the underlying problem is truly "never enough sleep". It'll just make you more tired. You need sleep to recover from exercise; without it you won't get the energy benefits, you'll just be even tireder and sore all the time in the bargain.

Roberta X said...

Exercise is actually not a bad thing, and there are plenty of options for those of us who have explored the stabilty envelope with negative outcomes. --It's also a matter of taste and choice.

Vitamin supplements can be a help, the B-complex stuff (and D if one isn't getting enough sunshine). It's middlin' cheap to try.

Comatus, I wasn't hung up on a Pole. I do kinda have a crush on a Hungarian but it's unrequited.

Roberta X said...

(I should 'splain that one benefit of exercise is that it will make you tired enough to get some solid sleep even if your natural rhythym would be to not sleep).

comatus said...

Let's rule out the possibility of Tam being short of B vitamins, and I think you know why.

Breda said...

Tam - I say we both prop up our crappy legs and have a beer (and then a decent nap). Shall we?

GeorgeH said...

You lasted longer than most of us did.

At least it's hunting season. Try to convince your body it's getting up at 4 to go duck hunting.

Anonymous said...

Tam, in the words of Uncle:
"Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you."

Shoot, I don't read you for breaking news, y'know? Post when it fits your schedule. We'll still be by to admire your warped view of reality.

Ben said...

I don't have any sage advice for you I'm afraid. The jobs I've had for the last decade or so have involved mostly odd hours and lots of them. Two days off in a row simply do not occur anymore and I am constantly dragging ass on any days off. Exercise does help some but it only happens on days off and certainly not all of them due to the dragging ass factor. But I don't have to be up at 4 am so I won't bitch too much. Some of it may just be that late 30s sliding into 40 thing. Like you, my days of coasting on no sleep are gone.

On the lighter side, in the recent past I have switched from a 2 seater sports car to a big 4 door sedan. I have quit carrying my 1911 as my daily sidearm in favor of a lighter plastic model that doesn't make my back and feet hurt at the end of long work days. And I don't use caffeine much anymore either. God help me. You haven't gotten to that point yet so count yourself ahead of the game.

Don't feel bad if creativity doesn't come every moment of the day. Write only when the urge strikes if you feel quality is suffering. Relax, take a deep breath, and mumble "fuck it" to yourself from time to time. It's alright to cut yourself some slack you know.

Oh, and for good measure an oldie but a goodie: Underneath she's a hyper-alloy combat chassis. Fully armored, very tough.

Roberta X said...

Is there, like, a "leg rule" for gunnie gals? I swear, I was shooting lots before I shattered my right thighbone at the knee!

Heck with it; I say we chip in and hire a very clean, fluffy and stealthy Yeti to sneak up at the appointed hour and grab Tam, hauling her off for the prescribed number of hours of sleep, purring all the while. Possibly adminstering a prescribed bottle of highgrade ale first. Sure, it's unfair, maybe even actionable; but it's worth a try!

Would they be under "A," "Y," or "S" in the Yellow Pages, do you think?

Dion said...

Remember when "old" people told you to never get old?
Guess what? Your here!
The only thing left is suck it up and pretend you don't feel "old".
As for the screws and sheet metal...An electric space heater does wonders for me.

comatus said...

You're not getting old if you can still use an apostrophe in a contraction.

Stag:"just schedule a long period." Oh sure, that'll help.

B&N said...

"Post when it fits your schedule. We'll still be by to admire your warped view of reality."

To the former, yes, since we are all here for the free ice cream anyway, and for the latter, I'm wondering, how is it that her views are warped? She seems to be even keeled and alert to the sufferings of modern times to me.

staghounds said...

Yes, that would be two for one, wouldn't it?

Also a nice benefit for the lackeys and customers.

Blackwing1 said...

What's this stuff about Tam getting "middle-aged"? I definitely SAW the picture that was posted both here and in "People of the Gun" (thanks, Oleg). Here I thought you were some cantankerous old fart, and you turned out to look like a 17-year-old.

My wife's ACL transplanted ligament blew out again...the only thing that's keeping her in shape is riding bicycle. It's relatively low impact, and she's got a bunch of nuts and bolts in her leg, too. Here in Minnesnowta you can't ride for 4 months of the year, so we've set up one of our beater-bikes on a track-stand so it works like a stationary bike. She puts on headphones and cranks up some tunes (or listens to her language tapes) to keep the boredom to a minimum.

On the other hand, my personal fitness regimen includes copious quantities of home-brewed Dry Irish Stout. It's why I'm a stout little old fart.

Sleep when you can, post when you feel like it, and we'll all stick around for the snarky goodness.

Anonymous said...

Tam,

There are schools and training out there on how to power nap and catch up on your sleep.

Do some searches on wireline safety, schlumberger and sleep etc and you ought to find something.

Schlumberger came out one time to our office and gave us some tips on how to get through those 36 hour days of working straight. They really help when I am on shift for days on end on the boats or the rigs in the oil industry.

Kim du Toit said...

Just wait till your bowels start demanding the same kind of regularity...