The Limits of Caffeine

Sleep is a Crutch

sandman Yesterday was one of the roughest days I have experienced in a very long while, and is the type of day that causes me to go to bed early when everyone else is still up and gaming.  It only takes one or two of those days where you have to struggle through with no sleep to keep you from ever wanting to do it again.  In my case Thursday evening was totally out of my control, which makes it all the more frustrating.  I had planned on going to bed around ten and everything was going to be perfect.  Then my lungs decided to conspire against me.  Either I could lay in bed and struggle to get my breath, or I could just get up and take a breathing treatment.  The treatment hopped me up enough that it really took until midnight for me to calm back down enough to be able to sleep.

Our eldest ferret, Smokey has had one foot in the grave for some time… and the other belligerently ignoring that fact.  It is to the point where we check on him when we get home each night just to make sure he is still alive.  He doesn’t move around very well and pretty much does three things… sleep, poop and eat, not always in that order.  As a result we’ve set up a cage for him in our bedroom in the floor so he could have some peace and quiet, and so the girls wouldn’t keep trying to play with him.  For the most part we are just trying to keep him as comfortable as we can until he inevitably does die.  His littermate passed on several years back, and at this point he is ten and really past the life expectancy of even the hardiest of ferrets.

When I laid down at midnight, moments later he decided that he needed to rearrange his bedding…. for multiple hours.  After laying in bed listening to the constant scratching and shuffling about I got up and sat down on the floor opening the cage and trying to help him out.  His mobility is very limited, so I thought by helping him arrange the blankets into a pouch, he would be happy.  Wrong… I was so wrong.  Everytime I would move something it seemed to start the entire process all over again.  Finally about 3 am he either got things the way he wanted them or decided to give up for the night.  We have to get up at 5:30 for work…. leaving us only a few hours of sleep.  There are times I would have called in sick, because I knew I was not going to function but I knew at least that afternoon I would be the only person in the office for my department.

Turns out when another coworker called in for oversleeping…. who had been planning on being out that afternoon anyways… I literally was the only worker there all day long.  Which means I got nothing accomplished as I dealt with ticket after ticket and an emergency request from the communications department.  It is days like this that make me try my damnedest to keep a schedule.  You only have to struggle through one of these to make you never want to do it again.  To make matters worse…. we had to drive to Tahlequah that evening, the entire purpose of carpooling yesterday and my cheat blog post typed up the evening before.  So I struggled through… and downed another 24 oz can of Monster as we headed out to our evening destination.

Chicken Fried Chicken

delrancho This was the highlight of my evening and likely going to be the highlight of my entire weekend.  My wife and I both went to college at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah Oklahoma, and one of our favorite places to eat was Del Rancho.  It is this odd throwback diner that has been in existence since the 50s.  Their claim to fame are these insanely huge portions of chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak.  The fact that they served this up cheaply, and stayed open until 11 pm made it the favorite late night cram session destination of many of my friends.  So of course… since we were going to be in town anyways this is where we were going to eat… damn the calories.  Besides this place has been a destination for many epic conversations involving us in the past, so no reason why it should not today.

If you are a long time reader of my blog you might remember two years ago when we helped a student of my wife’s move to college.  We were the thing he was lacking, stability.  While his grand-mom… grandmother turned adoptive mother, is a very sweet lady, she lacked the logistical ability to see him off to college successfully.  Over the course of his two years at college we have been the “parents” he has turned to, to help him out when he was in a moment of crisis.  So last night as we picked him up from his dormitory he was a much changed man.  More confident than I had seen him, and also considerably fitter.  College had done the thing that it does to everyone… change them and in this case seemingly for the better.  College is a place of “proto-adults”, folks in the tween time between being a teenager and a real card carrying adult.  Before my eyes I was watching him become the person he would eventually be.

Essentially he is a young gay man having an existential crisis, and once again we applied stability and logic to his dilemma.  After sorting through various relationship issues that he just needed someone to act as a sounding board on, we got to the root of the issues.  His mother and sister were planning on moving across country to California.  They were planning on doing this over the summer.  He was trying to decide if he should go home for the summer and see them for as long as he could or not.  But in reality what it seemed like he was needing was someone to give him permission not to.  His family is a massive quagmire of drama, and my fear is that him going back would cause him to become mired in it again.  His family has stolen from him, and tried to rope him into their schemes in the past.  So we gave him the one thing he really needed… permission to do what was best for himself.

The Limits of Caffeine

monsterzeroultracans It was while I was walking around Wal-mart as he and my wife picked up groceries, that my body began its crash cycle.  The lights in the store felt dim and funky… and I found myself having trouble focusing my eyes on anything without staring at it for a long while.  I had been here before… it what happens when I have pushed my luck entirely too far and the joyous effects of caffeination fail me.  The problem is we were still over an hour away from home.  I dropped him off at his dorm room and headed out of town to the convenience store formerly known as hilltop.  I gathered up a cocktail of stuff in an effort to try and give me enough to push across to home.  This consisted of a grape five hour energy, a monster zero ultra… and a bag of white chocolate drops for sugar content.  I questioned if this would actually do it, but I knew that it needed to.  My wife had been up just as long as I had, and while she was offering to take the wheel and drive home… she has even more issues with night driving than I do.

The problem is I had already abused myself pretty sufficiently to get to this point.  Two hours of sleep had been extended by a cup of coffee in the morning, a monster on the drive in… another monster at work, a five hour energy about lunch, a few diet mountain dews during the day, another big monster after work, and another five hour energy on the turnpike to Tahlequah.  Essentially I was learning the hard way… that there is a finite limit to just how long Caffeine can do its magic and keep you alert.  The drive home was really weird and somewhat hazy.  I went through moments of absolute clarity and alertness, to moments of feeling like I was swimming through fog and exhausted.  The oddest thing is these cycles seemed to happen about every ten minutes.  My wife did a valiant job of keeping me talking, even if it was just me responding “uh huh” and “yep”.

Thankfully we made it home safely, and went through the nightly ritual of dealing with the litter boxes and making sure all the children had food and were safe and happy.  I finally got to crash around eleven, and I am not sure if I was conscious much past that.  It was a day of zero gaming, and the beginning of a weekend where it is not sure if I will get in much gaming either.  Several years back I wrote a testing software for my wife in ASP.NET, and we hosted it on a web server here at the house.  When we switched providers and jumped from a 4 meg connection to a 98 meg connection… we lost the ability to host servers.  So now I need to figure out a way to rewrite this over the weekend in PHP/Jquery so that I can host it on the same external host I use for this blog.  All of this said… I plan on logging into ESO and relaxing a bit the moment I finish this blog post…. which seems like a really good thing to do right now.