Mr Sandman is Asleep on the Job




Most of my sisters in perimenopause and menopause understand that insomnia is part of the whole experience. Between the mood changes and hot flashes, sleep can be elusive. I’ve been dealing with insomnia for well over a decade now. Netflix still only mailed DVDs the last time I slept through the night.


Throw in a global pandemic and my insomnia is in hyper-overdrive. I decided that as long as I’m not sleeping, I may as well document the thoughts flitting between my ears when the rest of me so desperately wants to sleep. I have to do something to pass the time.


Life isn’t easy when you can’t sleep. But who knows, maybe it is an opportunity to tune in and listen and learn something new about ourselves. Or in my case, just have your weirdness validated. Either way? Win!

This isn’t an inclusive list, you’d get bored and stop reading if I wrote them all down, but I feel these represent my state of mind on those nights when the sandman is shirking his duties:


  1. If I had a time machine, would I use it responsibly? Or no. Probably not. I’d just use it to fuck with people.

  2. Really? That’s what you would do with a time machine? You think perhaps you could use it to warn people about COVID-19? Or maybe just to encourage people to start washing their hands? A lot?

  3. Why do I always leave one banana to rot? Wouldn’t it be nicer to leave two, so they wouldn’t be alone?

  4. I wonder how many pairs of saddle oxfords I have owned in my life? If I had to guess, I’m going to say at least a dozen pairs. Maybe I need a pair. Do I really want to leave this earth without ever having owned at least one more pair of saddle oxfords?

  5. Oh, and using a time machine to warn people. Who would listen to me? People already think I’m weird. I could warn them until I was blue in the face and no one would listen. I’d be one of the crazy people on the street corner shouting about doom and gloom. Best to keep with the plan of using the time machine for fucking with people.

  6. Are we going to be okay?

  7. If one were going to “rock a casbah” how would that work?

  8. Why don’t I make more stews? We’re isolating. When would be a better time to make stews? Living on crackers and peanut butter isn’t sustainable.

  9. Should I stay or should I stew? And then go rock the casbah.

  10. How come my husband can sleep so soundly? Doesn’t he have important questions to answer when he should be sleeping?

  11. I don’t understand how anyone who obsesses about whether every window and door is locked can sleep so soundly. It’s not fair, really.

  12. I wonder how many people are up looking at stew recipes at 3:00 AM?

  13. No. No, don’t look at white clothing. I know a nice white summer top would be lovely, but we know how this ends. It ends the way it always does. I wear it once and spill something on it that won’t come out. It will be a one time use shirt. Is this what I want to spend my money on when paychecks are precious right now?

  14. Besides, I have to see if I can get all the ingredients for stew delivered. Ingredients aren’t free, you know.

  15. Seriously, do I not remember the fate of every white piece of clothing I have ever worn?

  16. Am I going to be okay?

  17. Why the fuck are my teeth shifting? Isn’t it enough that I can’t sleep at night? Why are my lower teeth shifting? Is it imperative that when we go into cronehood that we also have snaggle teeth? Why? How is that fair?

  18. I bet my husband isn’t worried about his teeth. Nope. He’s still there. Just sleeping.

  19. How many minutes of my life have I spent trying to tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue? And why would I? I mean, it would have been worth it if I actually learned the tongue cherry tying skill. I would have been a hit at parties. Back when parties were still a thing.

  20. Why don’t I follow through on anything? Like tying cherry stems into a knot with my tongue? Or paying bills on time?

  21. Why do I own any clothing that is orange or yellow when I know it makes me look like a ghoul? Were they on sale? Did I hate myself that day?

  22. I really need to clean out my closet. It’s not like there isn’t time now.

  23. Perhaps I never gave Mondays a fair shake.

  24. What does that even mean? A fair shake? I mean, I know what it means, but why does fairly shaking something mean to give something a chance?

  25. Am I going to look that up or keep going back to that cute little white sundress that I should definitely not buy? Or buy it and just immediately throw ink and mayonnaise on it.

  26. Will social distancing just always be a thing now? I mean, I kind of like the idea because I have a huge personal space. It just makes sense.

  27. But what if I need a hug?

  28. Oh no, no. Don’t start crying, then the headache will come and I’ll never get back to sleep.

  29. I wonder if the TV will wake up my husband.

  30. Maybe I should see what the Tiger documentary is all about. Maybe it will put me to sleep.

  31. Okay, note to self. Don’t watch weird ass documentaries when you already can’t sleep.

  32. I wonder how many years has it been since I ironed something?

  33. Not including any job interviews.

  34. Holy shit, it’s probably been as long as I’ve had insomnia. Maybe they are related. Maybe I should get up and iron something.

  35. Why haven’t I learned to knit yet? Isn’t that something I should be able to do by now? I should be able to knit and make responsible grown up decisions. I am so far behind the curve. Damn.

  36. I wonder if there are any pudding cups in the fridge? I mean, there might be one, way in the back. This wouldn’t be a problem if I had cleaned the fridge today. Like I’ve been planning to every day since I started working from home.

  37. Okay, I’ll just play 42 more word games on my phone and then I am definitely going to get back to sleep.

  38. Seriously, am I going to be okay?


So, there you go. Questions and thoughts I field when I am battling insomnia. Although, to be fair, most of those questions could arise at any time. Hopefully, you will either feel a little better about the bullshit that runs through your mind when you can’t sleep or you were at least entertained. Even if you were shaking your head a little.


Stay safe. Wash your hands. We will get through this and perhaps sleep a little better one night soon. Or maybe not. That is really up to insomnia, isn’t it?


I am going to be okay. So are you.



Michelle Poston Combs writes humorous and serious observations on life, menopause, anxiety, and marriage on her site, Rubber Shoes In Hell.

She lives in Ohio with her husband and youngest son. She stands at the precipice of empty nest syndrome which she finds both terrifying and exhilarating.


Michelle programs computers to pay the bills. She counters this soul sucking endeavor by contributing to Jen Mann’s anthology I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Better Homes and Garden, Grand, Vibrant Nation, Erma Bombeck's Writers Workshop, New Jersey Family Magazine, and Listen To Your Mother.

© 2020 by Perry