Apr 28, 2006

The "Sleep Revolution"

Babs and Kimo in the garden, Sunday morning, April 23, 2006.

Sunday marked the beginning of a much more balanced week than the past month or so has been. The fact that we finally had a week without “major” events helped, but it was also the result of some deliberate decisions we made.

Sunday morning, Barbara was up early as usual and out in her garden. The goal was to replant the red ginger plants she got from our friends Rex and Clarie. She hadn’t planted them deep enough, and they were too close to the fence. She spent about an hour of back-breaking labor trying to dig a deep enough hole in the rocky soil before she came and roused me out of bed to help her. I took a few turns at the shovel before declaring we needed a pick. That’s when our pastor who lives in the apartment next to ours arrived on the scene to save the day. He showed us, how by running the hose over the ground for a few minutes, the soil magically softened and the stones loosened. We were amazed! We showed him the claw Babs inherited from her grandma. He was amazed! He’d never seen such a thing before. Together we dug the other holes in about 10 minutes

Here’s Babs posing with her new holes.

While Babs continued to work in the garden, I did our laundry and then drove out to the north end of the island to meet my friend Vince to discuss our upcoming 5K race that we’re holding as a fundraiser for REAL Christian Theater. It was a beautiful day, gorgeous blue skies, puffy white clouds, the flame trees just coming into bloom, the water along Beach Road as blue as God’s swimming pool. I met Vince at a beach where she and some friends were having a small barbeque, and we hashed out our plans for the run.

After that I drove up to our favorite restaurant in the WHOLE WORLD, Coffee Care to get something to eat. I ended up having brunch with our friends Rod and Jean. They’re an older couple that we met when we were assigned to look after them during the last Marriage Encounter Weekend.

In the afternoon we went to our favorite Thai restaurant, (see picture above) the one next door to the school. We got a traditional low Thai table on a raised dais next to the window, where you sit on pillows on the floor instead of chairs. With the sun streaming in through the windows, the soft whine of a Thai vocalist in the background, the restaurant almost empty except for us, we nursed our Thai teas and spent several hours setting our budget. We set our budget for the next couple of months (though that has been since wrecked since what with the exorbitant costs of traveling this summer). We also talked a lot about our daily schedule and I made a couple of decisions. First I decided that I would limit myself to only one night "out" during the week. My Monday theater rehearsal covered that. After that I simply wouldn't allow myself to go to "meetings" or plan "events" during the evening.

Second I decided that at least 3 out of five days of the week I would aim to be in bed by 9 P.M. and asleep by 10. And perhaps the most crucial decision of all, I decided that Sunday needed to be one of those three nights (the others being Tuesday, Weds, and sometimes Thurs). Now normally I stay up and watch "Grey's Anatomy" but this time we recorded it and instead we watched "Match Point" on DVD and by 9:30 we were in bed.

Monday was magical! I felt alive, awake! All because I got sleep, and because I started the week off on a good night's sleep. The rest of the week was like having a brand new life.

I’m still amazed at how simply it’s all come together. I’d been thinking for awhile, daydreaming, really about how I wished my life could be. I’m not talking about “big dreams”here, I’m talking about what it would take to have a normal day with the life I currently have now. I wanted to be able to get up at six and have my quiet time of journaling, Bible reading, and prayer (prayer is still hard for me. . .of the get on my knees and focus type. I always get sleepy and I can never seem to organize my thoughts. . .but still). I wanted to eat breakfast at HOME instead of hastily wolfing it down at my desk as the school day is starting. I wanted to get to school at seven and take care of my photocopying and whatnot before staff worship at 7:15. I wanted to not have ANYTHING scheduled between 7:30 and 8 when the school day begins so I could putter around my desk, maybe straighten the room or read the paper and begin the day relaxed rather than rushed. I wanted to start and end my classes on time. I already explained how I dreamed of my evenings going in yesterday’s entry. And on Sunday, I just woke up and realized that there was no reason why my life couldn’t be that way.

So far just about all the elements are in place. I haven’t gotten to school at 7 yet. I have to wait for Babs and she’s not always ready. And staff worship has been ending late, around 7:40 or so, so I end up rushing around still. I’m also tending to actually get into bed at 10 or a little after rather than at 9, but still it’s a vast improvement, and I’m very happy with the changes to my life.

On a low note, our travel plans for this summer are getting really, really screwed up, all because we have to go to Hawaii. Babs has principal's meetings at the end of every summer and they used to be in California, but this year they moved them to Hawaii, and it's going to end up costing us way more out of pocket for her (and me) to come home to see our families this summer (the school only pays for her to fly to the meetings, and we've always paid the difference out of pocket. Well, with the meetings in Hawaii, the difference is now over $1000.).

"But you get to go to Hawaii. . .," some might say.

Big deal. When you live on a tropical island in the Pacific, what's Hawaii but another tropical island in the Pacific (and plus we've already beent there tons of times).

My wife and I were trying to work out the details this afternoon and it was so frustrating. I hate it when we're both stressed and we have this impatient, high-pitched whine to everything we say and our faces have this pained, constipated look.

Next week promises to be very busy. We've got the evangelistic series going on our yard, drama rehearsals, our 5K race on Thursday, and Per Chance to Dream next Sat. night.

And the week after that Palau!

A couple of bonus photos! Here's Babs at the "ribbon-cutting" ceremony for our new playground that she got for our school with federal grant money!

The new playground.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sean & Barbara, I loved hearing about the garden & seeing the pictures. I'm glad you were able to use the claw. It really helps. I worked in the garden yesterday. I planted onions. I planted some more asparagus this week & then yesterday I was at Walmart & saw some asparagus for really cheap so I got some more. I don't like planting it. It's hard work. You have to dig a trench. It really wore me out planting it. - Love, Mom

Ken & Crystal said...

Great looking play ground! Nice work Barbara! I know the kids will love it! Glad to see you frequenting some of our favorite Saipanese restaraunts as well ... Coffe Care and Spicy Thai Noodle Place.
:-) Ken and Crystal