The Head of a Sleeping Man – Unzipped

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

When is sleep, not sleep?

When it’s a woman doing it.

Meredith of Mom of the Year blog recently lamented the Logic of Midnight plight. It plagues mothers from Montgomery to Minneapolis, in the middle of the night. Women have a tough time just falling asleep.

Her post explained so much to me.

A woman looks like she’s sleeping. Then she’ll fire a question about locked doors or kitty liter. The lights are out, but you, lady, you’re open for business.

(I realize that with we fellas, sometimes the lights are on, and we’re out to lunch.)

photo credit: SpreadTheMagic via photopin cc
photo credit: SpreadTheMagic via photopin cc

For a guy, half a page in a novel is like a thousand Ambiens. (Yet, we’ll stay up to see the 3 a.m. SportsCenter highlights. Marvels of nature, we are).

Meredith’s post inspired me. I want to give women from Mesquite, Texas to Miami, Ohio (and even Florida) a rare, and beautiful, glimpse into the male mind.

At least, just before REM sleep takes hold.

I am willing to unzip my head and reveal what goes on as you stress next to us over PTA and armed robberies and spring fashion.

There’s 17 seconds between our last get-in-bed grunt and our first box-spring-shaking snore. And in that span, man covers the universe. And back.

# # #

Midnight snack: Eggs, or quesadilla?

It’s too late, and Dr. Oz says eating after 7 p.m. will wreck your colon. Or did he say eating eggs would wreck your colon? Let’s not think about colons at all.

What does Kirsten Kukowski wear to bed?

Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears, inciting and inviting me. What’s more revolutionary, the run option offense or Copernicus’ heliocentric model?

I want my girls to take three songs from me. They’re Daughters, by John Mayer; The Middle, by Jimmy Eat World; and Mr. Blue Sky, by Electric Light Orchestra.

Which is stronger: Thor’s hammer or Captain America’s shield?

photo credit: noahg. via photopin cc
photo credit: noahg. via photopin cc

The final stanzas of Mr. Blue Sky are much like the elements in the final movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. It takes shape, it dissolves, it comes together to end and reassemble and stir our hearts like few musical pieces can.

Does Kesha eat quesadillas? I bet Cher Lloyd would have a rum & coke with me. I’m pretty sure Ingrid Michaelson would have both with me. In bed.

Watching Wacked Out Sports.

Provolone, or Havarti?

In the 4-2-3-1, a field-changing pass is impossible if everyone stays home. And prevents the unmarked attacker. My defensive mids will have to also turn the counterattack and support it into the scoring third of the field.

Laura Linney. Glass pack mufflers on a 1979 GTO. Home Depot, or Lowe’s?

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc
photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc

Why did that girl in Trader Joe’s cover her name tag when I asked about raw vinegar? El Nino will prevent water temperature in the Atlantic from reaching 80 degrees. It will hinder high wind shear, so how can a category 3 or stronger storm even form during El Nino?

So how did Hurricane Andrew get so strong in 1992?

What if Johnny Manziel played soccer? What if my kids picked spelling bees over soccer? Good gracious, Stella Stevens. You were born too early.

Guacamole should NOT have salsa in it. Burritos shouldn’t have rice, and … you know, none of the girls ever had an imaginary friend.

Blackmon, Cuddyer, Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, Morneau, Arenado … man, what a lineup. Uncle Gilbert, Shane Becker … thank you for your service. And the ultimate sacrifice.

Salmon, or steak? Who haunts Stonewall Jackson School? I want to go. No I don’t. I would. What’s the worst that could happen? If I heard a ghost?

photo credit: Paul Williams via photopin cc
photo credit: Paul Williams via photopin cc

What could be scarier? Pushing a cart in Garden Ridge on an NFL Sunday? Eating quinoa at a public barbecue? Having to hear that new John Legend song over, and over, and over?

OK, Eli. Not the best thoughts when you’re supposed to be asleep.

*choral finale begins*

Salmon, with dill.

Provolone, usually.

Quesadilla, always.

photo credit: memories_by_mike via photopin cc
photo credit: memories_by_mike via photopin cc

Kirsten K. in an Rockies sleep shirt.

A celebration, Mr. Blue Sky’s up there waiting and today, is the day we’ve been waiting for.

Oh yeah … definitely heliocentric model.

Staying power and all.

Lights … out. Six hours to breakfast.

I got this.


sleep quote


  1. Wow! This explains so much.

    I’m exhausted after reading this. Of course, that could be because of the way my brain works… Around 3:00 a.m. my eyes pop open and every fear and worry starts running through it.

    Thank you for providing the answers to some of your questions at the end of the post. Otherwise, I may have been pondering those until dawn.

    So, with those burning questions answered, I’ll try to zone out watching tv and know I’ll have a peaceful sleep. Eventually 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Pretty heady stuff, eh Cheryl?

      3 a.m. is just when I start dreaming of racks of ribs and Poppy Harlow, not worrying about work or finances or global warming.

      Unanswered questions are the tax collectors of nighttime questions. Resolution is is the kerosene to the spark of REM sleep.

      Just … don’t think so much. I think men have an automatic trip switch.

      1. Sure, easy, don’t think so much… I don’t think women are capable of that. It must be in our DNA

  2. Alison says:

    Um, I’m pretty sure my husband’s internal monologue pre-bedtime involves cheese as well. What’s up with that? (for the record, I say Provolone)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Cheese is kind of like a slice of heaven. That’s why. (And yes to Provolone, although Havarti is a worthy backup, isn’t it?)

  3. My husbands final seconds before bed would be writing riffs in his head for guitar and thinking about his band more than likely… While mine is… Well never mind, there isn’t enough time to cover it 😉 haha no, I’m pretty chilled most of the time but like all mothers, sleeping with one eye open.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I seriously think this needs to be a post, your final thoughts before nodding off. Moms are the guardians of everything dear, I suppose, and we dads … well, it’s our job to join the realm of the unliving for our non-waking hours.

      1. It’s so automatic I’m not sure I’d even recall it lol and I have bad habits of winding down with the iPad.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        They say an iPad is only going to wind you up. Unless you’re on this blog, experts say.

      3. Of course… It’s the exception 😉

      4. Daryl Lubinsky says:

        Eli: Cool blog! — Daryl

  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    How could you sleep with all of these things going through your head? If anything knows how to sleep it’s a koala. Drugged out on eucalyptus leaves they snore on for ages. Then when they’re awake they’re looking for some other branch to sleep on. Sounds like me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I began to draw the parallels between you and the koala even before you mentioned it. And it’s kind of like flipping through channels on the TV, racing through all those thoughts. And that’s not even a night I’ve had jalapenos.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        With jalapenos would keep me awake thinking about never eating them again. I do nap like a koala though.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        And you fight like a kangaroo, the legend goes.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        I can hop, jump and kick right along with the best of them Mate.

  5. ksbeth says:

    thank you. this explains a lot.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s my contribution to mankind. Can you zip me back up?

  6. That’s a lot of thoughts crammed into 17 seconds! No wonder you sleep soundly.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It wipes me out. And it makes me believe in Darwin.

  7. If I didn’t love you so much, I would have to tell you I hate you that you get 6 hours straight of uninterrupted sleep. I with Meredith on this and not sure what the hell sleeping through the night looks like anymore! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Honestly, Janine, sometimes it’s no more than 5 hours, 50 minutes – sometimes, I have to roll over and that wakes me up a little.

      If you moms slept through the night, would you binge on panic when you woke up, to catch up on your quota?

  8. Thanks for the insight. You know I think it’s enviable how guys can turn off work when they toss and turn in bed. I can’t tell you how many mental „to do lists“ I’ve made when I couldn’t sleep. Should have used that time to think about food and with whom to eat it in bed.
    So the raw vinegar lady mystery is still unsolved? I’m pretty sure it has something to do with wrecking your colon.
    Love your songs.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m a sacrifice for all mankind, Tamara Gerber. I just realized I didn’t even think about work once on this. Maybe you could put “go to sleep” atop the to-do list.

      Food and celebrity are much better endeavors.

      I hope Trader Joe’s girl wasn’t thinking about my colon. I think maybe she didn’t want me to remember who she was in case something did happen to my colon.

      If colon trends on Twitter, I got it made.

      I need to do a post on those songs. I hope they will always remember me when they hear them.

      1. You’re our very own personal Jesus, E. hahaha!

        Once I mentioned to my boss back with the coffee beans that a certain project was haunting my in my sleep or even prevented me from sleeping at all. He gave me a smile and said “next time when that happens, please know that I would not want you to lose sleep over work.”

        Well, thank you. I’d rather not think of you as soon as I leave the office…

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        JC’s work is a bit above my pay grade!

        Maybe you need one of those wands from Men in Black on your way out the door at work.

  9. I’ve composed some of my best posts right before I fall asleep. Eloquent. Riveting. Heart-wrenching. Honest….and gone in the morning. sigh…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You need to go to bed with a pen and pad in your hands, Jenn. You owe this to the world.

  10. tamaralikecamera says:

    My mom used to stay awake until all five teenagers parked all five battered cars into the driveway.
    I, on the other hand, have been known to sleep through earthquakes, babies crying, tornados and more. Not even a slight exaggeration.
    However, before I get there can sound a lot like above.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Havarti is particularly stellar with black forest ham, spicy mustard, dill mayo and a poppyseed hard roll.

      A mom’s watchful eye never rests, I suppose. Maybe you have a gift, to be a mom and still find rest. I figure if a sinkhole opens in the night and shuttles me to kingdom come, I’d rather just wake up there, not as I’m being dragged there, you know?

  11. kathyradigan says:

    I’m curious to see what my husband thinks of this piece because honestly I think his internal monologue is not much more than head hits pillow and boom he is asleep. And he then stays asleep. Come hell, high water or child throwing up in his bed and me cleaning up child and changing the sheets around him. (Yes this really happened) Maybe after 21 years of marriage I have misjudged him. Perhaps he is thinking about cheese. Thanks, I have a lot of questions for him tonight. (I’m sure he is going to thank you too! Lol!)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s the thing, Kathy – we have more going on up there, despite the mouth breathing. We sleep soundly after such deep thought.

      Our ability to sleep through hell, high water or vomit is a Darwinian adaptation not unlike playing possum. It’s in these 17 seconds that the true battles of our era – such as determining the greatest of great cheeses – are waged.

      Did you pepper the poor boy tonight? He’s going to want to get to bed early.

  12. Roaen says:

    i love sleep, but a lot of things get in our way.. and I also love the other things getting in our way more than sleep.. but sometimes when sleep and I really get together – it’s a 14-hour sort of deal. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You mean midnight snacks?

      A former soccer parent once told me, “We love to watch our daughter play soccer, it’s our favorite thing. Except for late-night adult fun.” But she said it with an expression like she just said, “my whole family enjoys corn in their meatloaf.”

  13. Rosey says:

    I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Then hubby comes in with his noisy self and I wake up. I wonder if he thinks I’ve been awake the whole time (between the time my head hit the pillow and the time he walks in the room). hahahaa I’ll have to ask him (my guess is he probably never thought about it one way or the other 🙂 ).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You have the gift, then. But you also have a curse. I think there’s a goddess in mythology who is plagued by the same affliction – the ability to sleep soundly, but the vows of matrimony with a noisy, noisy man.

      I wonder if fellas will resent me for sharing these secrets.

  14. Rea says:

    Oh, this is so me! LOL! I don’t think my husband goes through this though, it seems like when he gets to bed, he falls completely asleep in just one second. Or maybe not. I should ask him. HAHA.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s the thing – you women *think* we take the bullet train to snore-in-apolis, but we are really a powerhouse of thought and intrigue before we mouth-breathe.

      Ask your husband, he’ll tell you.

  15. Meredith says:

    Eli, bless you because it’s now all so clear. Marital mediation at it’s best 😉 So glad I could inspire and thank you SO MUCH for the shout-out! To all those “restful” nights of sleep!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m here to deliver answers, Meredith. Solve mysteries. Thanks for making this post necessary. And I had to give credit where credit is due!

      Sweet dreams.

  16. Louise says:

    I don’t get rum and coke. So I’m mainly going to fixate there. Lowe’s generally wins over Home Depot, but it depends what you’re looking for and I’d love nothing more than to enter an exhausting (I mean fulsome) point-counterpoint with you should you wish based on the two home reno projects we’ve done here which so obviously make me an expert.

    As for Hurricane Andrew? I was 15 and in Florida for training camp when it hit. And we swam through it. Because we’d paid for the pool time. Dammit. And the lightening really wasn’t that close. And “cold” is a relative term. According to our coach in the parka.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ll get the rum and Coke then, Louise. I insist. The Lowe’s/Home Depot debate is polarizing. Are you going to write about these home reno projects? Currently, my bedroom bathroom is taped for painting. And I have visions of tiling the floor and laying down a bit of hardwood in the teenager’s room (the one with allergies, so it’s medically encouraged).

      Home Depot wins largely because their credit card folks haven’t angered me.

      I’m surprised you didn’t end up in the Atlantic for swimming during Andrew. Now, that’s bad-ass. Is that a post somewhere? It needs to be.

      1. Louise says:

        Huh – I landed more with Lowe’s when we renovated our bathrooms – we got our vanity from them – I found their selection for that sort of thing was a bit better here.

        As for swimming through Hurricane Andrew – hmmm – there is not a post – but I’m thinking maybe one is warranted…. Thanks for the idea!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Maybe the great debate continues, then.

        Definitely send me the link to your Andrew post … and you’re welcome! I’m full of ideas. Not all of them are bad.

  17. Fishing. I’m pretty sure that’s what my husband think about as he falls asleep. I’d ask him but, ya know, he’s asleep. (And he just went to bed a few minutes ago. What is that, some kind of voodoo magic?)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Fishing’s huge. I could just mentally fish for a while before drifting to sleep. My voodoo knows no bounds, Lisa.

  18. Thor’s hammer.

    Also, I’d be afraid to share all that goes through my mind before, during, and after sleep. The thing never shuts up!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I definitely think this needs to be a post on your blog, Rox.

  19. Rorybore says:

    My husband is snoring in less than 2 minutes. And he rarely hears the children come in during the night. Proof: they always come to my side of the bed, even though its the furthest from the door. Some nights, I can expect no less than 3 visits – since we have 3 children. But normally, they will all be from the youngest. Thus…. I think the reason why women/mothers don’t sleep well is because even IF we do fall asleep; we are constantly awakened. So our bodies, even though tired, are all like “oh no….I’m not falling for that again. You get in the bed, you let me fall asleep – and then BAM – I’m up. Fool 217 times.”
    Now, the important question: I do believe that Caps shield cancels out the power of Thor’s hammer. Mjolnir, or “the crusher” – cannot crush Caps’ shield because it is made of the strongest material known to man: vibranium and nearly indestructible. Even though Thor can summon lightning energy with the hammer, when he struck the shield, it absorbed the energy. The hammer enables Thor to fly, but we’ve also seen Captain jump out of planes without a parachute and use the shield to safely land. Thor would never use the shield – he has no use of it, but interestingly enough? Captain America is one of the select few characters deemed worthy enough to wield Mjolnir.
    There, I can sleep now. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      All this nighttime stuff goes on, while we dads check out of this realm completely.

      Wow. All Avengers questions will now be rerouted to Canada. I only wish we could make a graphic of your comment, and I could use it as a guest post.

      Are you equally stellarly-versed in the Fantastic Four, Rore?

  20. normaleverydaylifeblog says:

    Turning off the mind is the most difficult part of falling asleep. I would be thrilled with six hours of uninterrupted sleep! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It is kind of heavenly – although if I don’t get those six, I feel it. For guys, I think we don’t mess around with flipping the power switch – we just pull the plug completely.

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