How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sleep In

With the recent round of daylight savings time ending I found myself with a bit of a problem. I wake up at 5:30am naturally, but with the time change I was now getting up at 4:30am… that’s really early. Too early. I mean, I enjoy some quiet time in the morning but no one needs quite that much. This new 4:30 wake up time was seriously effecting my work and family time as I was exhausted earlier in the day and felt behind on sleep. On top of this I have a total inability to sleep in so even on weekends I was still getting up too early.

As a bit of back story I spent my summers in high school working on a farm. Often times in the summer I’d be getting up at 3:30 or 4am in order to get to work on time. This was stressful since I was usually doing this on my own. The stress of being late must have seeped into my subconscious because I never seemed able to shake it after all those summers. Nowadays I do set an alarm, but often times I am up well before it goes off. For example if I set my alarm for 6:30am I’m usually up at 5:30 checking the time, then I doze till a few minutes before my alarm goes off. All this being said this weekend I managed to hack my body to sleep in until 8am and here’s how I managed to pull that off.

Quite simply, I removed the alarm clock from my bedside table. I had no idea how often I woke up in the night to check the time. With my alarm clock gone, I did have an initial shot of panic about what time it was, but I just told myself that it wasn’t time to get up. I suspect my subconscious mind was stressing over not being able to sleep in, even though I know I need that extra sleep. If I woke up at 5:30 I’d start doing the math of how much I slept, how much more I wish I could sleep and then I’d start checking the clock and getting annoyed that I was up at such an early hour. Then, with all this brain activity I was wide awake. By removing the clock I deprived my mind of that ability to measure my sleep.

Another unexpected benefit of removing my clock is that my bedroom is actually a touch darker now as well. I never noticed that the glow of my alarm clock was right in my face, like a glowing billboard on a dark street. This can’t have been helpful.

I am not sure if I should put back my alarm clock during the work week so I think i’ll do a little experiment and see what happens if I don’t. I always use my iPhone alarm anyway so my alarm clock is superfluous anyway. It’s just a matter of how much do I trust my phone to wake me up? I guess I’ll see what happens and report back at some point with that and a few other tips I’ll try to get a better night sleep.

On a final note, as a bit of irony, this post was really difficult to write because normally I am up a few hours before my family giving my lots of quiet time to think… this morning because I slept in I had to put on my headphones to drown out of the distractions. Funny that I chose this morning to start writing again 🙂

Earth for Sale

I wrote this children’s story quite a few years ago. When I was a kid I had a bad case of the “greedy gimmies” and my parents were far to willing to indulge, which is where this story was born. 

I’d like to get this story illustrated someday but for the time being I’m happy to share it as is. Read it to your kids at bedtime some night. I hope they enjoy it. 

Earth for Sale

by Adam Kantor

One day while Dan was out shopping with his parents he saw the greatest, most amazing, most spectacular remote controlled spaceship that he had ever seen, and he knew he had to have it.

“MOM! Can you get me this spaceship? PLEEEEASE!” Dan asked. “Sweetie, that spaceship costs forty dollars and you already have so many spaceships. I don’t think you need any more.” 

He turned to his Dad “DAD! Can you get me this spaceship? PLEEEEASE!” 

“Sorry buddy, you know we love you very much, but your Mom’s right, you already have a lot of spaceships at home.”

“But Dad, I really need THIS spaceship!” Dan protested. “If you buy me this I’ll never ask for another one EVER again!” he promised. “You said that the last time” his Mom said. “And the time before that” his Dad added. “Maybe you’ll get it for your birthday.” 

Dan reminded his Mom and Dad every chance he could about the spaceship and after about a week his Mom said, “Sweetie, you have so much stuff. Toys aren’t free, when you’re making your own money you’ll understand. 

“Mom, how do you make money?”

“Well, honey, your father and I earn money working at our jobs.” 

“How do you get a job?” he asked. Dan’s Mom smiled and told him all about it.

In the following days Dan tried to get a job as a bus driver, a dragon trainer, a fireman, a superhero, a candy taster, a construction worker, a racecar driver, and an astronaut. In every case he was either not qualified to do the job or the job that he wanted didn’t really exist.

“How am I supposed to earn money if nobody will give me a job?” Dan yelled as he threw his space helmet on top of his superhero costume. “You could always have a yard sale.” Dan’s brother said as he walked by his room.

Dan liked his brother’s idea. The next morning he used his crayons to make a sign. Then he moved a small table from the garage to the end of the driveway and hung up his sign, it read “DAN’S STORE”.

Dan wandered around the house and picked up his Mom’s makeup, hair supplies, and perfume bottles and took it outside to his table. He cupped his hands around his mouth and began shouting “Welcome to Dan’s beauty store! We have everything you need to look as pretty as my Mom!” 

When his Mom saw all her things on the table she was very upset, “Daniel, what do you think you’re doing? You can’t sell things that don’t belong to you! Take all my things and put them back right now!” 

After Dan put all her things away he realized that his Mom was angry because he was trying to sell things that she used all the time. He needed to find something to sell that no one ever used. He walked out to the garage and gathered up his Dad’s tools and set them up on his table, cupped his hands to his mouth, and began shouting “Welcome to Dan’s tool store!” 

When his Dad saw all his tools on the table he was also very upset. “Daniel, what do you think you’re doing? You can’t sell things that don’t belong to you! Take all my tools and put them back right now!”

While Dan was having a timeout in his room he played with his spaceships and tried to think of something else that he could sell. Then he had an idea. The next morning he didn’t need to setup the table, or make a sign. He cupped his hands to his mouth and started shouting “EARTH FOR SALE, EARTH FOR SALE.”

A few neighbors stopped by and he told them his favorite things about the Earth. Like how much he loved the playground at his school, and how great cookies are, and how much fun it is to ride his bike really fast. Everyone listened to him, a few people told him how cute he was, and his parents wished him good luck selling the Earth. Nobody bought the Earth from him though.

It was getting late and Dan’s Mom had already reminded him twice that it was time to come inside. Dan was walking toward his front door when two short strange looking greenish skinned people approached him. Both of them were wearing baseball caps and sunglasses.

“How much are you selling the Earth for?” one of them asked. 

“Forty money” Dan replied. 

“Do you mean dollars?” 

“Um, yes, that’s what I mean. Forty dollars.” Dan said.

“Are you sure you can sell the Earth to me for forty dollars?” he asked.

“Yeah, I think so.” Dan said.

“Well that’s good enough for me” the strange looking person said and handed Dan a stack of pink triangles with the picture of an octopus on them. Dan looked at the stack and asked “what kind of money is this?” The strange looking person replied “it’s foreign, but don’t worry you’ll be able to trade it in tomorrow.”

Dan said goodnight to the two strangers and they walked off down the street, tentacles dragging behind them. He could hardly wait to tell his parents about what had happened but before he could they said it was time for bed.

When Dan got down to breakfast his family was too busy watching TV to listen to him tell his story about the night before. When he tried to get everyone’s attention they said “Shhhh! can’t you see that aliens have landed on Earth!” 

Dan looked at the TV and saw space ships as large as his school flying over the city looking for places to land. There were spaceships landing on football fields, baseball diamonds, and in parking lots. The door to one of the spaceships opened and two short aliens walked over to a group of TV reporters. The alien said “People of Earth, thank you very much for selling us your planet, it is very nice and we are very happy you sold it to us for such a bargain. Our only question is when are you all leaving because we’d like to move in now.”

“WOW, those people I sold the Earth to yesterday were aliens! That is so cool!” Dan said excitedly. 

“Don’t be silly Dan, this doesn’t have anything to do with the game you were playing yesterday.” 

Then the doorbell rang. Dan’s brother answered the door and shouted, “MOM, DAD, THE MAYOR IS AT OUR DOOR, AND THE ARMY, AND TWO ALIENS! SHOULD I LET THEM IN?”

Dan walked to the front door with his Mom and Dad and said hello to the mayor, the army, and the two aliens. The Mayor spoke up, “Young man, these aliens are claiming that YOU sold them the Earth, is that true?”

“Yeah, they gave me this much money for it.” Dan said as he handed the mayor the stack of pink triangles with the picture of the octopus on them. 

The mayor looked at the money, and then at the aliens, and then said, “I’m very sorry about this but the Earth isn’t Dan’s to sell. The Earth, um, belongs to over seven billion people, I think what Dan meant to say is, that, uh, if you want it, it will cost forty dollars per person. Yes, that’s what he meant to say.”

The aliens looked at each other and then one of them said, “See now that makes more sense. I knew that forty dollars was too good to be true. Now, seven billion times forty dollars each is…” “More than we can afford for a summer home dear” replied the other alien. The aliens took back their forty dollars, and went back to their ships. 

After the mayor, and the army, and the aliens left, Dan’s parents told him he should probably go to his room.

“Why do I have to go to my room?” Dan asked. 

“Honey, you sold the Earth to aliens. I think that warrants a timeout.” His Mom replied. 

“Mom, when I tried to sell your makeup you yelled at me. When I tried to sell Dad’s tools, he yelled at me. When you guys saw me trying to sell the Earth you wished me good luck.” 

His parents looked at each other, and after a moment his Mom said, “You’re right Dan, we did say that didn’t we? Okay, can you promise us that you won’t try to sell the Earth again?” 

“Okay Mom, I promise I won’t try to sell the Earth again. Oh, and Mom, you don’t have to worry about me asking for that toy spaceship anymore, because now I know what I really want.”

“What’s that?” his Mom asked.

“I want one of THOSE!” Dan shouted, pointing at the alien spaceships taking off. 

“Maybe for your birthday.” Dan’s Mom said as they all walked back into the house.

 The End.

I have to get my $40 worth

I am probably a little late to the party here. I had a Trumblr and I have a Medium account but I wanted one place to put, well, everything. Seems like my timing was good too since I read today that Medium is adding a $5 subscription tier that, at the moment offers, nothing. I was also quite concerned about what belongs to Medium once I post it on their site. I never read the terms of service for Medium but I’m sure there is some legal wizardry in there that says they own my blood, and should they ever want it to bathe in, I have to give it to them, all of it. Tumblr is, well, Tumblr… a friend of mine said it’s a good place to post naked pictures of myself should I choose to, I do not choose to, well, not there anyway.

My issue with accomplishing anything in life is financial motivation. A lack of it means I don’t try things. My first job as a work study student was editing video for professors to use in class, thing was, I had never edited video before. I taught myself how to do it in a weekend. I wanted money. I wasn’t good it at it, but my efforts were serviceable. On the flip side I’ve always wanted to learn to do 3D design but sadly I’ve never had a reason to motivate myself to do it. I looked at a a lot of websites on the subject and 20 years later I still don’t know how to create anything in Maya, or Blender, or Lightwave.

I want writing to be different. I’ve always wanted to write so now I’m going to do it. The reason is that I have to justify to my wife why I just spent $40 paying for a WordPress account. Voila! Financial motivation!