2007.03.21 Wuthering Nights

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

Yesterday, my brother Jamie and I spent an hour or so picking up big sticks around my parents’ house. In the olden days, we were usually required to pick up both big and little sticks, but now my dad has this fancy brusher thing that he attaches to the riding lawn mower. It allows him to pick up little sticks with the greatest of ease.

Since I’ve lived in either a dormitory or an apartment for the last six years, I haven’t had much chance to whine about having to do yard work. With the exception of my two-summer engagement as a maintenance worker for the DNR, I can actually say my last half-decade has been pretty yard work free.

I should note, however, that I did live in a house my senior year of college, but neither I, nor my roommates, did anything remotely related to yard upkeep there. We’d schedule occasional parties during which mobs of 20-somethings would trample down our weedy patch of lawn, but not even I have the gall to call that “work.”

I pondered this dearth of yard work during my drive back to Morenci this Monday, and wondered whether it has contributed to the streak of insomnia I’ve suffered recently.

Classically, I think of insomnia as the inability to fall asleep, so I tend to consider my affliction as “reverse insomnia,” or the inability to stay asleep. I have no difficulty nodding off—sometimes collapsing as early as 7 or 8 p.m.—but there is a real trouble in staying asleep past 3 a.m.

In the beginning, I attributed this to “being a grown-up” which is often defined as “going to bed at a sensible hour so you have time to read the news before going to work.” But I figured something might be up when I found myself watching not one, but two installments of “The Godfather” before plunking down to the office.

I knew there was something odd going on last weekend when my friends revealed that they had scheduled their St. Patrick’s Day festivities around the assumption that I would head home to bed before 9 p.m.

“Have I really become that lame?” I thought.

True, I’m not a college party animal anymore. I don’t go to bed at 4 a.m. and wake up some time in the afternoon and I prefer to spend most of my waking hours in the daylight, but there is no good reason why I should be exhausted so early and unable to sleep past the wee hours.

Last night, my dad and I watched “Wuthering Heights”—the version with Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier and David Niven—and he just wouldn’t shut up about how much work he got done. (And by “he,” I mean my dad. Nobody seems to do much of anything in “Wuthering Heights” except be dramatic, and, in the case of Merle Oberon, die of pneumonia).

I have to admit, his list of accomplishments was impressive. He got up at seven, made a smoothie, watched a terrible John Wayne movie, went for a six-mile walk with my mom and Darla the dog, got the lawnmower running, picked up sticks, cleaned out the garage, fed the birds, fed the deer, made a salsa dip from leftover pot roast, cooked an asparagus and chicken dinner, watched “Wuthering Heights,” and read from a biography of Abraham Lincoln before falling asleep and snoring loudly enough to keep his son up.

My day, on the other hand contained essentially no physical exertion, or exertion of any kind, so it’s no wonder my strapping young body didn’t require any more than four or five hours of sleep. That’s what I assumed, at least, while I tossed and turned from 3 to 6 a.m. Monday trying to catch some Zs.

I should spend more time mowing the lawn, or peddling the exercise bike, or just being productive in general—anything that will help me get a good night’s sleep so I’m not awake at 4 a.m. and exhausted at dusk.

I’ve already got a few things planned. The trail along Bean Creek can use some foot traffic and it’s always fun to walk over to Silver Creek and gaze at the water gurgling over the rocks. And there’s cleaning to be done; there’s definitely enough cleaning to go around. I’m also mid-way through an epic struggle to gather all the clothes and doodads I don’t use anymore to donate to Goodwill.

And then there’s my unfinished novella “Pie-master” which is begging to be cranked out.

I really just have to stop being such a slug.

“No duh,” says my brain.

No duh, indeed. If only real life were so simple.

    – March 21, 2007

 

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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