So my fresh hell is the cat, who has taken to climbing up the house and crying outside my bedroom window in the early hours of the morning to come in.
My nightlife is a wheel of fire, my rest consumed by the flames. It started with firstborn Curly Girlie, actually a pretty good sleeper all things considered, but as much a sleep thief as any baby. Then came no. 2 - Alpha Blondie - tiny, hungry, male. What a combination. Every morning rose earlier and earlier until I was getting up before I went to bed, in a stumbling cycle of pain and surrealism that owes more to over-tiredness than Monty Python.
Then I discovered the Rabbit Clock – little boys are only allowed to wake their Mummies once the rabbit is awake and, oddly enough, little boys embrace this rule with alacrity – and, finally, I slept.
Then the dog started. Afflicted with leishmaniasis, he needs to drink an absurd amount of water, very loudly and for a prolonged period, day and night. Then he needs to lick himself thoroughly. Then he needs to walk round and round and round and round and round and round on his cushion in order to, presumably, dislodge the pea that discomforts his pampered, noble, stinky-dog posterior. Then he needs to scratch his claws down the wall to improve his position enough that he can fall into a deep slumber and have an energetic dream about god only knows what but it involves running, growling, whimpering and, apparently, laughing. Then he farts a bit, by which time it is morning and the blasted rabbit goes off.
The dog’s bed was removed to the utility room and his nightly travails take place in the privacy of his own dog fug.
Then The Husband took up snoring. He’s never been a snorer: it was a significant factor in my decision to marry him. Some people might have shared hobbies or lifestyles or sexual depravities, we have our mutual lack of snoring. Happily, the snoring coincided with a lot of business travel to China, so that resolved the issue without my having to raise the issue of gum shields, separate bedrooms or wee-small-hours strangulation with a bathrobe belt.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the cat. The scratchy, needy, nocturnal cat, who thinks my role in life is to lie motionless and unsnoring in bed, waiting to let her in to the house through the window when there’s a perfectly functional cat-flap downstairs, not five yards from all her bowls, bed and other business.
It’s possible that I consume too much popular culture, but sometimes I get ideas. Ideas purloined from sci-fi and drama and mini-series about what it means to be here, living this life, on this place we call Earth. What IS it all for? Is it actually a test? If so, what is my special test and how do I pass it?
God (if, indeed, He is in any way responsible) only knows, it feels like a bloody test sometimes. Here I am, on my wheel of fire, fire-fighting. Splosh! A bucket of water deals with sleep-thief number one. Fer-lump! A load of sand douses the second. Whoosh! I turn the hose on the night-owl dog! Thwack, thwack – a fire blanket puts out The Husband...
But now the cat has joined the fray. The latest in a long line of rest-robbers, slumber-stealers, catnap-kidnappers. And I’m all out of solutions.
So, if I just give in and reset my body clock to get up earlier than I feel is humanly decent, will I pass the test? Then will the Great Cosmic Sleep Fascist call off his dogs of war and let me lie in? Is this the reason for my current Karmic turn on Earth – the lesson I have to learn before I can move on to the next stage of enlightenment – that the morning really IS the best part of the day? Is that IT?
Universe – is that all you’ve got to say?
Well, OK, Universe, God, Giant Cosmic Rabbit, Dr Who-ever the frick is in charge. You win. I’ll change the habit of a lifetime and get up early enough to eat a proper breakfast and read the bloody paper. Just let the kitten live.