Snoring – Silence is Golden

It has been said that we marry our fathers and indeed I suspect in my case that just might be the case. 

Still on the topic of the loft boxes —  a silver lining to all the mess from the loft clearance is that I am finding a lot of fodder for my posts. Which is just as well as there is nothing much else going on in my life.

 I realised that my mother and I shared an almost identical experience. We were both married to men who snored and not just the occasional little snorts but full scale, larger than life itself snoring. And if any of you share this particular experience you will find this post amusing.

The other thing I noticed when I came across an article my mother wrote about the experience 36 years ago, which ironically was when Tod and I got married, was that we share a very similar writing style. And one particular shared experience which I only incidentally found out about this morning when I read the article,  was the pre-holiday anxieties re coping with the snoring. Like my mother I had reluctantly retreated at home to the spare room in a desperate attempt to get some sleep but second rooms in hotels were expensive.

In Lake Como after 4 nights of sleeping tablets and four morning of acute grogginess I too moved  to the bathroom or perhaps it would be better described as the shower space. With my feel jammed against pillows to muffle the sound coming from under the crack in the door and a duvet for a mattress I attempted to sleep albeit not very successfully. Poor Tod, I know he felt bad about this but there are only so many times you can keep turning them over and asking them to stop snoring.

Of course, now I would give anything to hear him snoring again. I know be careful what you wish for.

I think you are probably now becoming quite well acquainted with my family, particularly my mother. She was indeed a colourful character and a delight to spend time with. So I have reprinted her account of snoring which I have been giggling over all morning.

I hope you enjoy it too. 

Snoring by Pauline Felstein

mum sleep

“To sleep perchance to dream – that is the question.”  A mixture of quotations no doubt but very pertinent as far as I am concerned.  The dreaming I could do without, but sleep is most important, in fact the pursuit of it has become the dominant factor in my life.My husband snores. A simple and ordinary fact, thousands of people snore. Then why am I making such a fuss?

My husband is a snorer par excellence – and although it is often admirable to do, or to be anything part excellence, the would-be sleeping partner of such an expert has great difficulty in appreciating this particular achievement. Perhaps my husband has snored lustily throughout our married life, but in earlier years I was so dog-tired and worn out that I slept through it. Or maybe he had become progressively nosier as the years went by. Whatever it is, the fact remains that about two years ago I gave up the struggle of trying to sleep with an engine and sorrowfully parted to the spare room.

This move did not come about without much soul searching and remorse on my part, although, looking back, I remember no great lamentations from my husband.There were two reasons for this. I had been told by a friend to turn my husband over when he started snoring. Consequently, the whole night he was being shoved and turned around, which gave me no appreciable benefit and only succeeded in ruining his night’s sleep.  The result was nights of adjurations on my part for him to stop snoring and recriminations from him for being kept on the move.

The other reason was that he liked to have the radio going all night. This might have been a welcome diversion had our choices of programmes not differed so greatly.  My frustration was further exacerbated when the odd time  I managed to drop off to sleep I would suddenly be woken by a blast of noise from the infernal machine.

Come the holidays, I tried to push the dark thoughts of sleepless nights to the back of my mind, and in the feverish preparation of packing, which always preceded our departure, I almost succeeded.  Looking back on holiday time, there were many peculiar situations, one of which was the ‘furniture removing operation’.

The bedroom was an oblong shape and fairly long. During the first night of long sleeplessness I came up with the bright idea of moving the beds to the opposite sides of the room. Not exactly ingenious but at least a few yards were gained to dissipate the noise slightly.  My husband complained bitterly about all the extra work when we were supposed to be on holiday, which was hardly conducive to a peaceful holiday atmosphere. Especially as the situation had to be remedied in the mornings and the beds returned to their original positions before the maids arrived on the scene.

The situation seemed to be getting out of hand when a strange thing happened. My husband has the happy knack of divorcing himself from anything that appears to be insoluble – especially if it is not of particular interest to himself.  He had been impervious to the little hell through which I had been going and had maintained an almost silent implacability throughout. However, the bed- moving syndrome had the straw-on-the-back-of-the-camel effect, his brain finally registered that something was amiss.

One morning I went into the hotel lounge to find him in earnest conversation with another couple, the subject was snoring.  The man to whom he was talking turned to me and said “your husband has been telling us about your problem, worry no more. I know a definite cure.” He then proceeded – and I must emphasise this — completely unsmilingly and seriously, to tell me that all I had to do was to cross my husband’s two big toes when he started to snore.  I must admit that, eager as I was to grasp at any straw, it did cross my mind that there seemed little relevance between toes and snoring.  I ignored the sceptical look on my husband’s face and digested all that the man said, and duly awaited nightfall.

The alacrity with which I propelled him towards the bedroom that night might well have been misinterpreted by the onlooker, to say nothing of my husband, but my thoughts were purely mundane, and on his retiring, awaited the rhythmic breathing which always announced the overture for the nightly show.  No audience could have shuffled more impatiently, I could hardly wait to put the plan into action.  By now all doubts had disappeared, I firmly believed that my troubles were about to end, and that nocturnal connubial bliss would now be resumed.

It was a short overture, soon volumes of sound reverberated around the room indicating the time for me to sprint into action. I approached the bottom of his bed with confidence only to be confronted by his feet, obligingly turned upwards, but firmly and inexorably encased in socks.  I had completely forgotten my husband’s diabolical habit of retaining his socks in bed. Undaunted, however, I did carry on. Somewhat deflated and with rather less confidence and a sinking feeling in my stomach that all was not going to be well.  An understatement indeed – I won’t go into details, because most of it is unprintable. Suffice to say that I was never able to try ‘the cure’ because, careful though I was in trying to remove his socks without waking him, it was an impossibility. My husband opened his eyes and his reaction to my manoeuvres and being woken up was heard distinctly by most of the guests in the hotel – I retreated speedily to my bed.

On reflection I realise that it  had in essence worked. The snoring had stopped because he had woken up. But somehow that particular effect had never occurred to me otherwise I don’t think I would have bothered. A couple of times during that holiday, when things got too bad, I took myself off to the  bathroom and, padding myself with bedclothes and pillows it was not too bad, although the bath could have been longer.

When vacation time came the following year, I was fully prepared. I had given sober and dedicated thought to the problem before the onset of packing had its usual debilitating effect on my nerves.  I made myself a Heath Robinson effort. It consisted of a pair of thick shoulder pads sewn into a scarf which went over the top of my head and tied under the chin. Large wads of cotton wool nestled inside each of the pads for maximum effect and for good measure ear plugs were inserted as they had little chance of escaping.

Pleased with my ingenuity and armed with what I believed to be the ultimate in noise-defenders, the holiday nights ahead held no traumas. Carried away with my own enthusiasm I had not reckoned with the  extreme discomfort when attempting to sleep under such circumstances. The first night added  a new dimension  to my nightly misery even a modicum of sleep was out of the questions and I sadly abandoned my invention and resigned myself to the lesser of two evils – the snoring.

I did think up a final possible solution on that holiday but didn’t  even go through the motions of trying it. For it didn’t take much imagination to realise the results might be even more catastrophic than the previous ones. We were vacationing by the Red Sea and I was doing some snorkelling. When I was kitted up and going into the sea, it passed through my mind, why not wear the apparatus in bed and bury myself deep under the covers.  All sound would surely be deadened. But the swift mental picture I suddenly had on my husband’s face, should he put on the light and see the rubber pipe sticking out of the sheets instead of my head was too much even for me….

“Let’s be careful out there”