In our own backyard... Sound the alarm - it's time to get up!
I looked around the table at my fellow co-workers during the Monday morning staff meeting this week, and I could tell that two weeks of holidays, short production times and a full moon had taken their toll. Mouths gapped in ill-disguised yawns, s...
I looked around the table at my fellow co-workers during the Monday morning staff meeting this week, and I could tell that two weeks of holidays, short production times and a full moon had taken their toll. Mouths gapped in ill-disguised yawns, shoulders drooped and eyes alternately drifted open and closed.
As a matter of fact, I didn't feel so great myself.
It had been a busy month, with lots going on and very little sleep - and I'd gotten a new alarm clock to boot. While that may not seem like anything of particular significance, it certainly was to me - the consummate worrier not willing to trust anything to fate, especially when it comes to getting up on time in the morning.
That was the problem with my old alarm, an ancient clock radio that was poorly designed so all of the controls were exactly alike. When the thing went off each morning, I'd blindly shut one of them off - and inevitably it turned out to be the wrong one. The mellow strains of some country music song would suddenly switch into frantic beeping, or I'd slam my fist down on the wrong knob and the alarm just kept on sounding, or I'd mistakenly hit the snooze button and the whole darn thing would start up again in nine minutes. And on top of that, the digital readout was so faint it was difficult to read except from right up close.
And the worst of it was that the two of us - the clock and I - had suffered a loss of trust. The contraption had three separate alarm settings (why someone would need to be awakened at three different times is well beyond my imagining). Inevitably, every so often in my predawn fumbling to shut the darn thing off, I'd hit the wrong knob and accidentally switch from the Alarm 1 setting to the Alarm 2 setting. The end result was that the alarm would then go off the next night at midnight.
Following a couple such middle-of-the-night shenanigans, I never quite trusted when - and if - the alarm was going to go off. It was time for it to go.
And so, I was extremely pleased to receive a new alarm clock for Christmas. It was a new day and time, and I could hardly wait to get rid of the old one. Ken plugged the new alarm in and set it on the end table on my side of the bed. Since it was the weekend, I didn't set the alarm, but the four-inch-high numerals on the face of the clock were certainly easy to read. In fact, they cast a red glow like the rising sun over my entire side of the room after I turned out the lights. The next morning, I studied the clock and realized there was an adjustment that made the digital readout on the clock face a bit dimmer for night use.
On Sunday night, I carefully set the time on the alarm, cross-checked to make sure the current time was set at P.M. and not A.M., and then switched on the alarm setting. Peacefully, I sank back into my pillow, hoping I'd adjusted all the settings correctly, activated the correct button and would be awakened promptly on the dot of 5:50 a.m. the next morning.
And sure enough, I was - but to a siren-like "wheep, wheep, wheep" that blasted into my ear and caused the sleeping cat next to me to leap straight up in the air, launching out over the side of the bed and hitting the ground at a dead run. I slammed my hand down on the very-well-defined "Alarm Off" button (at least that was an improvement!), and sank back down onto the bed to steady my heart rate.
Much later, as I once again studied the alarm clock, I realized there were two volume settings - one "extra-loud for heavy sleepers" and one "normal" one. The following night, I reset the alarm, changed the volume switch to normal, and hoped for the best, dreading the reoccurance of so abrupt an awakening.
And I have to admit, it's worked like a charm ever since. Every morning, just like clockwork, I've awakened at precisely 5:45 a.m. - five minutes before the alarm is slated to go off!
Pine Journal Publisher/ reporter Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org .