What position do you sleep in?

I know, I know. What does that title have to do with anything?

We’ll get there. I promise.

But before we do, I’ll cover some of what happened this past week. Because that’s what you expect, right?

You know, I wonder what random readers of these posts think of them. If this is your first time reading something here and you’re confused, please let me know that, or something. These have gotten progressively weirder ever since I graduated from art school. Not that art school had anything to do with that. No, it’s probably pandemic fatigue combined with too many house projects.


This past week we ordered some shelving to help unpack more boxes. When we left California — approximately 15,000 years ago — we got rid of all our shelves. It was simple, Scandinavian stuff, essentially Ikea in style and construction but without the brand name. It was teak veneer, though, which was nice. Probably cost more than Ikea, but it was the same stuff in terms of construction.

This time around we decided — and this will get me in trouble if certain people (who make very nice furniture for a living) read this — to just go with Ikea. We ordered it online and had it shipped to the house, so there was no need to visit a store full of potentially infected humans. It’s also inexpensive and solves our problems. Perfect.

We know it’s not great stuff, but it’s perfectly adequate, and in the age of Covid I really didn’t want to deal with anything more complicated.

Here are a couple of pictures of things as a result:

The first is an Ikea bookcase to which we have added kitchen cabinet feet. (The art on the wall above is a sneak peek at the next section.) On the right is a rack of narrow bookcases for one wall of the library. They are not yet fully assembled, but that should change by the time next week’s post goes out. Note that the library (like two other rooms) needs new carpeting, but that will probably wait for the post-Covid era, so we’ll just deal with taking everything out of there when the time comes. In the meantime the moving boxes really must go. (They’re around the corner to the right in that photo and take up so much space that I cannot get a good photo from inside the room itself.)

There is other Ikea stuff happening as well, particularly in the foyer, but it’s not fully assembled yet. We’re waiting for a couple of products to come back into stock—which could take many months given Covid — to finish that up.

In any case, there is good progress on getting unpacked, and that makes us happy.

And speaking of unpacking…

We’re finally hanging the art. Most of this has been in boxes for over three years. It’s taken Anne several days to figure out how it will hang on the various walls we have available. The bottom photo shows much (but not all) of what is left to go up.

Many of these works are by people we know personally, and it’s really nice to see them once again. I hope to have them all up by the time next week rolls around, and the plan is to share photos of it all then. If you see something you recognize, or have questions about, let me know. I love recognizing the artists we’ve known and loved over the years.

Between the unpacking the art, the stuff from Ikea, and a couple of other things we had quite a pile of recycling in the garage this week:

Once that was all out of the way, it turns out the garage is much improved:

The concrete and painting work I was doing last week is done. It’s all hidden behind the shelves in the first photo, which was taken with my back against the garage door. The second photo was taken with my back against the black cabinets you see in the first photo.

The CNC is still there (nothing new to report about that this week) and will be until Covid lets me return it safely to its owner. There’s still quite a bit more organizational work coming to the garage itself, and a bunch of things need to go elsewhere somehow, but this is good progress. There is space to walk around in and room to work on projects without swearing constantly.

Additional progress was also made this week on Anne’s office closet:

Not a great photo, I know, but what matters is that the drywall fixes are done, the support for the closet shelf and rod is installed, and the baseboard is done.

I need to prime and paint in there, still, and eventually re-hang the closet doors. Once the painting is done the metal shelves you see on the left will probably go out to the garage to help with the organizational issues there. A new Ikea bookcase is ready to replace them inside the finished closet when we get to that point.

Anne is taking this week off, so I’d really like to have that closet returned to working order before Monday morning if possible. We’ll see.

That’s the summary of what I’ve been doing recently, which lets me get back to the topic of sleep positions. This has been rattling around in my head for months. Here’s the thing: I sleep a bit like the Tasmanian Devil gets around town. You know the character in question, right? This one:

He, er… spins a lot while getting about. Similarly, I spin a lot while trying to sleep. I’m wondering if this is a common thing or if it’s just me.

Here’s an example.

  • The time arrives and I climb into bed, carefully avoiding stepping on a dog in the process. I lay down on my back and try to figure out where to put my hands and arms.
  • They might start on my chest, but then I only need a calla lily for that to feel really wrong. And besides, they’re resting on my ribs, which creates pressure points.
  • OK, move them down to rest on my stomach, but that doesn’t work either. The stomach is more compressible than the rib cage, so I get different pressure points there. And in either case the area where the arms meet the body gets warm, which is also not great.
  • Try putting them at my sides, slightly away from the body. This lasts for a while. I might even fall asleep, but after a some time— perhaps half an hour — pressure points develop somewhere: back, elbows, neck, wherever. And if I ignore those (or they don’t wake me) I start to lock up. My joints need movement. Spending too long in any one position causes all kinds of unpleasant biofeedback.
  • Roll onto one side, then attempt to find a place for my arms that doesn’t cause pressure points, excessive heat, or noise from my hands moving around under the pillow. (Yes, they move. Regularly. I move them. Don’t want them to get stiff now, do I?) Let’s say I find such a position — one that works for a while, anyway — and fall asleep (or fall asleep again). What happens next?
  • Well, my legs are what happens. Lots of leg/leg contact there (causing heat buildup), and pressure points with knee on knee, knee on thigh, or whatever. And if none of those things are happening then I am twisted in some weird way to avoid all that and it gets uncomfortable pretty quickly. And again, if I am not moving I am stiffening up.
  • Wake up, roll onto belly. Find some way to splay my limbs that avoids contact and attempts to minimize pressure points. Fall asleep for a while, but this time I wake up because of who knows what. Possibly I get warm and need to move the covers around. Possibly pressure points developed despite my best attempt to avoid them. Maybe a dog needs to go out. (That happens a lot thanks to Tinkerbelle’s previous fungal infection.) Or maybe I need to go out.
  • Regardless, wake up and after dealing with any required outages it’s time to roll around and find another position to sleep in. The other side? Same issues. Try on my back again? This time the covers are hanging off the end of the bed and pulling down on my feet, which makes the ankles sore. Roll over and try again.

As the instructions on the shampoo bottle say: lather, rinse, repeat. There is no way out of this loop. Thus, also, the reference to Taz.

Some will suggest a softer mattress. Tried that, no luck. In fact those cause me back problems. Others love those memory foam monstrosities. (Hi mom!) But they’re apparently designed for people who do not move while sleeping. You lay down in one of those, sink in to a pit custom formed to your body, and go off to dreamland, right? Fine, unless you wake up (because of heat, or pressure points, or getting stiff, or a dog, or whatever). Now you roll over and what do you find? First you have to clamber out of the hole you were sleeping in before, and possibly it was the clambering itself that woke you up as you attempted to roll over. In any case now you’re trying to sleep in a different position from the hole that you last created. It takes some (very uncomfortable) time for the old hole to fade away (this is memory foam, after all) and a new one to be created. Just about as long as it takes to need to roll over again, at least in my case.

At this point I am pretty convinced the only place I might sleep soundly is on the International Space Station. In microgravity I would just float in a temperature controlled environment, with nothing touching anything, and thus no pressure points. Sounds lovely. As a practical matter I think the astronauts tether themselves in so they don’t drift around and bang into things, but that’s a minor quibble. The absence of pressure points of any kind sounds delightful, and covers — if any are needed — literally won’t weigh anything.

Can someone please arrange with SpaceX to send me up to the ISS every night and bring me back each morning? I’m absolutely certain that is the answer to all my sleep related problems.

Your turn. How does sleep work for you? Am I the weirdo here, or do others suffer my fate?

Finally, as if that wasn’t a strange enough segment — I cannot wait to read the email this week! — here’s a photo of the note posted on the inside of our front door:

Several things are referenced there: some practical, some from popular culture. Can you figure out what all is being referenced, and what we are being reminded of every time we leave the house?

All the best everyone! Stay safe and healthy, please!

Written by

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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