Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Working Through the Time Zones

It is six in the morning, and I am writing this post. That isn't so unusual - I normally get up at four-fifteen these days. But I am nine time zones away from my usual morning coffee on the couch with Erik, and my body hasn't caught up yet.

The girls and I arrived home after three days of travel. All in all it was pretty painless; the kids are so big now that they only need me around to navigate them through Customs and Immigration and pay for the odd sandwich. One flight after another we ate, we watched movies, we squirmed in our seats, we dozed, and we inched ever closer to home.

Our rule, learned from hard experience, is you have to forget your old time zone. (Flying from Toronto to Europe is the worst, because the flight is only eight hours and you land at about seven in the morning, meaning you have to force yourself to stay up for another twelve hours.) Naps are a trap best avoided unless you like waking up for the day at 2am.

"What? No, I've been awake this whole time!"
As we taxied down the runway at Pearson, I woke the kids and reminded them of how things would be. "We just have to stay awake until seven," I said. "That will get us on track." It was already afternoon, so that sounded pretty easy.

So far so good. We were excited to be back and to see the family. By six o'clock I was fading, but we fought through to eight, which I thought was a pretty strong showing.

At four am, my eyes snapped open, and I knew I was done for the night. I read until five thirty, then crept upstairs for a pot of tea. My mom and the girls followed shortly after. I was kind of proud of us - we were adjusting pretty quickly. Indy was having the most trouble, but only because she couldn't understand why the sun refused to come up.

"Mom,"she said, looking out the window at seven fifteen, "it is still the middle of the night. Do we have to go back to bed?"
"No, remember, we talked about this," I said. "It is almost the winter solstice. This part of the Earth is tipped away from the sun at this time of year, so we get long nights and short days."
She shook her head at the inky blackness outside. "It isn't right."
Amen, sister.

After a morning of errands and a good lunch, I made the fatal error of sitting down on the couch. Having quiet time at two o'clock is deadly, because sleep is almost inevitable. I opened my book and settled in. "Don't let me sleep," I warned my mom.
"Okay," she agreed.

I opened my eyes to discover it was dusk outside. I shot upright. Indy was out cold beside me, her head on the sofa, her legs on the floor.
"Mom!" I shouted. "You let me fall asleep! What time is it?"
"About five," she said calmly."And I tried to wake you up. We all tried to wake you up. It wasn't happening."

That was it. My plan was blown. I didn't get to sleep until midnight that night, and then I woke up four times in the night. Yesterday I made it through the day, but was snoring by nine thirty. Today? Awake at five o'clock.

I'm sure this will all smooth out soon enough, but in the meantime, put me first on the list for when someone invents an anti-jetlag pill.


sean cox said...

Are you back in Canada?

Nicolas Turcotte said...

Joyeuses fetes à toute votre gang!