For the past five years, my husband and I have had the same argument starting around about the week before Eastern Standard Time comes calling.
"'Fall Back' means we lose an hour."
"No 'Fall Back' means you turn the clocks back one hour, therefore you gain an extra hour of sleep."
"I don’t think so."
"When you go to bed at midnight you turn the clock back ONE HOUR. Then it's 11 p.m. See? Gain an hour."
"I don’t think that's exactly how it works. Sure we set the clocks back, but I think that means we lose an hour."
After a few more rounds of this He Said, She Said game, I invariably lose my composure over the lost hour and wind up sounding like a teakettle set to boil.
"Listen, buster, you are talking to someone who LIVES for this time of year. Since March or April, when we set the clocks forward and I sleepwalk through a few weeks, I'm thinking only of the time when I get the hour back come October or November. … And that time is finally here!"
He eventually acquiesces, half heartedly, hoping to avoid a full-scale scalding from the steam escaping from my ears.
I’ve won the battle but not the war; I know he doesn’t really believe me. To him it seems ludicrous that one measly little hour can cause so much havoc to a person’s internal clock.
After all, he surmises, it's not like someone has taken away our day like would a pie, devouring a piece and handing it back to us with only 23 slices.
Even if they did make off with a slice of the clock, he thinks, 23 slices can still get you a nice, thick waistline.
This year we didn’t even bother talking about the time change, let alone make the effort to fight its causes. Neither of us is getting much sleep with two little ones in the house. Champ sleeps like a baby (up every two hours) while his sister sleeps like a cyclone (one never can tell where she’ll pop up or when).
Still, I was smiling on the inside waiting for that hour to return. I fully expected to awaken the next morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Before I went to sleep at my usual (arguably too late to begin with) midnight bedtime, I set the clock back an hour. And though I was up again at midnight an hour later, and two hours after that, and so on and so on until the little cyclone blew in for good at 5:30, I fully expected to reap the benefits of my extra hour of sleep.
Instead of smiling, though, I spent the rest of the day trying to keep my eyes open (or at least afloat) by making several trips unscheduled trips to the coffee maker and keeping myself busy.
The hours ticked forward like weeks, but I tried to make the best of our time: We’d have breakfast, straighten up the house. I’d gather some art supplies to keep Ittybit occupied and not clamoring for the television. I started laundry and a new pot of coffee. I made lunch and plans for dinner.
This isn’t so bad, I thought to myself. I’m not as tired as I expected.
Soon it would be time to squeeze the kids’ into jammies and start the process of sending them off to the Land of Nodd once again.
But when I looked at the clock and saw the hour hand on 10 and the minute hand on 12 I thought I was perhaps a key player in a horror picture:
Holy smokes, it’s only 10 a.m.?
The husband just sat at the table with his paper and his coffee cup and smiled.