My wife started a new job this week.
She seems to like the work, and I know she’ll be very good at it.
Trouble is, this job has an 8 a.m. start time, and that is messing with my sleep schedule — not to mention hers, of course.
In her last job, my wife had to be at work by 9:30, which is a reasonable time, if you ask me.
I usually go to work between 9:30 and 10 a.m., working until around 8 p.m., so our schedules were somewhat compatible.
We would each get up around 7:30, get ready for work, have breakfast and head to our respective offices a few minutes apart.
In recent months, my wife has been between jobs, so I usually got up, took my shower and she’d join me for breakfast before I headed to work — a pretty leisurely routine.
This week has been a whole other story. She’s been getting up in the predawn hours — 5:45 a.m., to be exact, and turning on the lights in our bathroom to get it warmed up. I try to go back to sleep until it’s time for me to get up, but it’s been more like a series of short naps.
By 7:30, I’m getting up and she’s preparing to head out the door.
I realize that this is what most working couples go through on a regular basis. Office hours of 8 to 5 are pretty much the norm in the working world. But that schedule is tough to adjust to when you haven’t been doing it for a while.
When I first moved to Killeen to work at the Herald, the newspaper was an afternoon publication, and we had to go to press by 11:30 a.m. That meant starting work at 7 a.m. to get everything done on time.
I’d always been somewhat of a night owl, usually staying up past midnight, even on weekdays.
As a result, getting up at 6 a.m. to get ready for work was pretty tough.
I never was much of a coffee drinker, so I’d just plow through the morning on orange juice and adrenaline — until we hit deadline.
Then, as everyone scattered for lunch, my sleep deprivation would kick in and I’d be ready to crash. As the afternoons dragged by, I got sleepier and sleepier.
I’m surprised I could function at all some days.
I’d go home at 5 p.m., watch “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” and promptly fall asleep on the couch. When I woke up a couple of hours later, I felt rested, and the last thing I wanted to do was hit the sack by 10:30 p.m., so I would stay up late.
On weekends, I’d sleep until 11 a.m., in an effort to make up for my lost sleep during the week. Of course, that broke my early-morning routine, so I’d have to start all over each Monday.
It was a vicious cycle.
Needless to say, when the newspaper switched to a morning publication three years later, I was ready for the shift in my schedule, which became 3 p.m. to midnight.
The new hours were bad for my social life — such as it was — but at least I could sleep in each day.
Over the years, my work schedule shifted forward, but midmornings were pretty much the norm for my start time.
Still, getting up somewhat early is one thing, but getting up before the birds is quite another.
So now, each weekday, my wife’s alarm is going off in the predawn darkness and I’m casting a tired eye toward my bedside clock — which is showing some serious single-digits.
I’m sure we’ll both adjust to the new routine, eventually.
That means no more staying up until midnight watching TV or reading. And no more late-night dinners on weeknights.
Ah, well. It’s tough being an adult sometimes.
Is it Saturday yet?
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at email@example.com or 254-501-7543.