Friday, February 8, 2013

Unsolved Mystery

Remember Unsolved Mysteries? The TV show aired from 1987 to 2002, and told of strange happenings not accounted for. Robert Stacks baritone voice and terse jaw added to the mystery, intrigue, and creepy nature of the show. Kerry and I have our own Unsolved Mystery.

Kerry and I got married when I was fresh out of high school and eighteen, and he was twenty and had just graduated mechanics trade college in Williston. We got married on a Saturday and spent Sunday seeing off our family, that had come from out of state for our wedding. To poor for a honeymoon, and probably no days off besides, we both went back to our jobs in Minot Monday morning.

Two years later, after saving enough money for a vacation we took off in our 1969 Pontiac Bonneville with a gazillion miles on it for Phoenix to visit Marcy and Jerry. Their first daughter Heidi was about a year and a half old and we were dying to see her and Marcy was pregnant with their second child.

The trip started out great! We were singing to the radio and cruising down the road, leaving ND in the rear view mirror. Gosh, we were adults we thought on our first vacation together. We planned to stay overnight only one night in Walsenburg, Colo., which is halfway to Phoenix. Near a little Wyoming town called Chugwater, our singing stopped when the car crapped out! Seeing Kerry under the hood, a nice Mormon couple picked him up and took him into Wheatland to see if he could get parts for it while I stayed with the car guarding our treasured belongings. Kerry got parts, while the people went to church. Finally, they returned and I anxiously hoped the car would start as the couple shined their lights on our car and Kerry worked on it. Turned out it was the water pump -which Kerry couldn’t fix himself, so we had to stay over night in Chugwater and get a mechanic the next day. I called Mom, wailing that we didn’t have money for major repairs on the car! She came through and said she’d send some money for us to borrow to Marcy so we had some once we got there.

Back on the road we drove on to Walsenburg, Colo a day behind now. It was about one am by the time we pulled into the main street hotel. We rang the bell at the desk and tousled haired, elderly man, came out and sold us a room for sixty dollars, ( three 20.00 travelers checks). Lugging our suitcases, we climbed the steps, and opened the door to the room. peering into the darkness and   fumbling for a light switch, we see from the hallway light... a bulb with a chain hanging from the ceiling. Kerry walked over and pulled the chain. Looking around in disbelief, we see 2x4 walls and a bed, thats it! Obviously overpriced for 60.00 we went back down and dinged the bell until the unhappy old man came out again and we demanded our money back! He wanted to give us the travelers checks we gave him back, and we wanted cash as they were written to him already…he finally conceded and gave us the cash, so he could go back to bed and we were back out on the road at 2am.

Driving on to Aurora, Co and getting low on gas we decided to stop and have coffee, caffeine up and wait for a gas station to open. We decided to just drive straight through as its already so late to get a room and who wanted to sleep around these parts?.Here’s the unsolved mystery part…we walked up the steps to a porch like landing to the little Mom and Pop type coffee shop and opened the door, everyone in there looked dead! Twelve people or more all slumped over tables.... no blood however. Even the cook in the window was slumped out of the window. I looked at Kerry and he at me in disbelief, and said, “lets get the hell out of here”! We ran as fast as we could to his side of the car…he put the key in the lock and locked and unlocked it about three times while I jumped up and down eager to get in and annoyed at his messing up at a time like this. Happy to be alive, we peeled out of there and drove uptown further until we saw another diner. This one had cop cars there and officers were having coffee inside. We went in, sat in a booth and ordered coffee and laughed like hyenas about what had just happened. In hind sight, why didn’t we tell the cops? We just didnt want to be involved or take up time we needed to get on the road as soon as the gas station opened! We to this day don’t know if we were pranked, or something had happened but it makes for a good family story. We searched the news and no mention of such a thing.

We went on to Phoenix, and had a fun visit with the little Walton family, camping and enjoying the city of Phoenix. On the way home after more car trouble in Green River, We stopped in Glenrock, Wyoming and visited Kerry’s Dad. While there I felt sick and stayed home from a planned outing because I thought I had the flu. It turned out I was pregnant with our first child Brendon! We’d been married two years and were so ready for a baby. Oh happy day, Oh happy trip! …we were young and adventurous and had a good time and were blessed with our bouncing baby boy besides!

Hell's Angels wannabes

But back to the unsolved mystery. As Robert Stack would ask in his creepiest voice…Was there a mass murder in the little town of Aurora Colorado on June 1, 1975 or were Kerry and Pam Picek victims of a cruel hoax buy a bunch of locals at a coffee shop? You be the judge…ha.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Best Cure For Insomnia Is To Get A Lot Of Sleep!

The Best Cure For Insomnia Is To Get A Lot Of Sleep! That quote by W.C.Fields is funny but true.
Insomnia... it sounds like a tranquil word doesn’t it? Certainly not something closer to torture! If you are plagued with this nasty condition,  insomnia and tranquil don’t belong in the same sentence... no matter how its used! Insomnia is a common condition in which you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. It’s a common thread woven throughout our family of anxiety ridden, can’t shut your mind down, energy fluctuating worry warts such as us!

My first memories of “not being able to sleep” are from childhood. Mom would make Kathy and I lay down for naps. I hated that word!  I spent my time either laying there gazing at Kathy sleeping peacefully, or checking Big Ben! That was my nap routine. Mom’s alarm clock called a Big Ben flashed light before it rang. I never heard it ring in all my life, because one flash and she was up and dressed. At nap time I watched the golden second hand go around and around. How I wished it would go faster. After laying there an eternity already, Mom would invariably appear out of nowhere to check and see if we were sleeping, because she wanted to sneak out and get the milk cows. After the same quick  daily scolding about, “how was I going to sleep without my eyes closed” she left…so I closed them until she went after the cows and I went back to watching the clock.

Marcy and I joke about her pinching me on Christmas eve when she was a teen and I was about five or six because I wouldn’t go to sleep so Santa could come. I would beg and plead with somebody to let me sleep with them because the night didn’t seem so long.The thing about insomnia besides being tired the next day is the torture of feeling so alone ALL NIGHT LONG! The whole rest of the world is sleeping and it feels like you’re the only one awake. Occasionally Kathy would give in and let me sleep in her room but that was usually short lived because I would get over on her half of the bed, and she’d send me packing back to my room.

In high school I would go on dates and come home and sleep downstairs with Mom. Way to wound up to sleep, I’d tell her all about the date, until she’d finally say, “No, we better go to sleep the birds are starting to sing”!

When I worked at Trinity hospital, I worked nights and lay awake days when I was supposed to sleep. I worked three nights in a row so by day four, relieved to be done, I’d sleep hard and long. When I cooked at the school, I would have to get up about 4:30 am so for an insomniac that’s about when you might be falling asleep! I never went to that job with any sleep and thank God I was only a substitute, because I don’t know how I’d have done it all the time. Working at Mirage elementary school,  some days I could hardly stay awake during story time or calendar because I hadn’t slept the night before.

So far, this sounds like a minor annoyance problem but it really has been a big problem that has kept me from doing a lot of things in my life. If I know I have something going on I will for sure not sleep unless I take something and any insomniac knows you can’t take the same thing or it won’t work more than a few nights. I have tried it all, melatonin, Tylenol pm with out the Tylenol, Benadryl, tranquilizers, ambien you name it and it all works for awhile. Alcohol doesn’t work it makes it worse, and for somebody that’s only been drunk a couple times in my life that isn‘t an option, because I never feel good from alcohol. I have given over my problems to God, prayed about it, stopped caffeine, worried about it, and not worried about sleeping by taking on a, “who cares, you will sleep when your tired attitude”. I have the little sign that says “let God worry about it he stays up all night anyway”. I have Faith, its not fear that keeps me up, it’s just an energy that won’t shut down….NOTHING WORKS!

My poor son Brendon has it bad as well. He too has had it since he was young. He used to lay in bed and yell to me, “Mom if something happens will you tell me what it is”? Or sing to me from his room just to keep me awake so he wasn’t alone. When he had surgery you know how your konked out the whole day after surgery? Not him…he came out awake and stayed awake all day and way into the next night! Poor guy winds up looking like this picture more than once because of lack of sleep. We won’t say what I look like because its a lot worse than this dude!

I have had sleep studies done and I went into REM sleep for 1 minute one time and 2 minutes the second. They have no solutions…just that it’s a common problem. A common problem that really disrupts your life! I hate to make plans because that’s a given I won’t sleep the night before. I don’t like to sleep with anybody because I will probably have my kindle lit up in their face all night long or be jumping up and down all night.

This was my itinerary last night. Took a Tylenol without the Tylenol (I don’t know what that medicine is called) about ten o’clock. Went to bed at eleven and went right to sleep, … until three! Went to the bathroom and not really sleepy, so looked at facebook on my kindle and left a couple comments. Laid down the kindle and said to myself, “get to sleep”. Tossed around until four o’clock. Thought of playing song pop but then decided I’d probably lose because the kindle is so slow to buzz in, so fired up the kindle and played a slot game. Played that for an hour, have 9643 monies on that game... but  I quit because if I heard that Hawaiian song play one more time as the reels spun, I would lose my desire to go to Hawaii! I found another with a Egyptian theme. Played that until I was bored silly. I shut the Kindle off again and turned upside down on my bed, right under the ceiling fan, snuggled down into the covers and laid there. Said prayers for the second time in the same order I’ve said them in for 55 years or so and added a personal one for people I knew that were suffering. Tortured by the nothingness I fired up the kindle again and checked face book at 5:55! When I saw it was 5:55 I angrily shut the Kindle off, flung it way to the other side of the bed, leaped out of bed, tore all my sheets off and marched out to the washing machine. The dogs who sleep in the laundry room both lay there like, “we aren’t going out this early, go back to bed lady”…but instead I threw my sheets in the washer and turned them on leaving the poor dogs to listen to the noise of the machine. Then I made a cup of tea and a skinny bagel for a fat lady, and hammered out this blog.

Sheets dry now, I’m going to go clean my room and when I rock Easton today, he could be putting me to sleep before I put him to sleep. Other days I expect to be exhausted and am just fine. I shouldn’t complain at all because many people are dealing with deadly diseases and I am whimpering about a little lost sleep but ??!!//? it’s maddening!