Daylight Effing Savings Time

4 years ago

4:41 am Sunday morning


“Ahaaaaa. Doooooo. Kaaaaaah. Kaaaaah.” Sings a happy little voice in my dream.


Open eyes. Squint at clock projected on the ceiling, a sinister sentry in the predawn hours glaring down at me in red numbers. Close eyes. Maybe I didn’t hear anything.


“Mama….mama…mama…maaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaa.” sings the voice again only this time not in a dream.


Open eyes again. Squint at projection numbers again. Roll over the edge of the bed to check the DVR clock. 4:42 am. For real? Look up at clock on wall run by honest to goodness batteries. 5:42 am. Realization sets in. Last night was Daylight Savings time, the fall back side. Daylight Effing Savings Time.




Cue the thump, thump, thump of my five-year-old across her Pergo floor, her tread as light and airy as a troop of elephants in army boots.


No. No. No. Not yet. Please? Maybe if I lay still enough, I can pretend to be asleep. Then hubby will get up and deal with them.


Squeeeeeaak goes my bedroom door on its hinges as the hall light spills in a rectangle on the floor to my right followed by a much quieter tread on the carpet to the edge of my bed.  Little hands and eyes just visible over the edge of the bed. A hushed whisper of “Mom?”


I don’t answer. I’m still feigning sleep and hoping for a rescue from the left side of the bed.


“Mom?...Gavin’s awake…Mom?”


I give up. I look at the red numbers flashing above my bed. 4:43 am. Heavy sigh. Aggravated shifting of my covers as I begin to swing my legs over the side of the bed.  Just before my toe hits the carpet illuminated by aforementioned hall light I hear:


“Okay. Okay. I’m up. I got this” from my hero, finally awake and probably because of the heavy sigh and aggravated shifting of covers just now. He knows morning isn’t my best time.


“Really? I can do it…” I half-heartedly offer,  snuggling back down in my still warm covers, relieved that I don’t have to parent in these ungodly predawn hours. But I gave up on going back to sleep at 5:01 am.


But as all moms of small children know, kids don’t get daylight savings time. Just because a gout-ridden, French-loving, revolution-inciting founding father knew a few people in government back when leeches were a viable medical option, we get to struggle through a week of misery while our little lovable cuddly children get their biological clocks adjusted to the mechanical ones.


Oh, sure. We have good reasons for daylight savings time. Not the least of which is that we don’t want kids to wait for the school bus in the dark.  Of course, I haven’t seen a school bus in Orange County since I moved here. But thank goodness no one is waiting for it in the dark.


Arizona, or the Maverick state, doesn’t worry about the kids waiting for the bus. Their wheels go round and round no matter where the sun and horizon are related in the morning. And somehow they survive.


But as I shuffle down the stairs this week at hours that make 5am look like a day I’m sleeping in, I wonder if Daylight (Effing) Savings Time isn’t an idea whose time has ended. I mean … we have electric lights. Maybe old Ben hadn’t discovered electricity when he suggested this little exercise every spring and fall.  But now, we have lights covered. We can get though the dark morning without stubbing a toe and needing to get a leech on it by candlelight.


Plus it was just a couple of years ago (2007) that Congress decided to extend the period of time we are on D(E)ST by a couple of weeks. It was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was an attempt to combat growing energy problems and is subject to a repeal following the results of its effects revealed by an energy efficiency study.  I hope when they do the study the include all the energy we moms spend making extra coffee in the morning and posting on social media how frustrated we are by the crimp this is putting in our carefully nurtured and manically maintained schedules.


But this capricious shift of start and end dates does beg the question, if we can arbitrarily shift its duration to see if it improves our energy problems, can’t we also axe it to see if it improves my energy problems?


Okay, so I just read Wikipedia and I stand corrected. Ben Franklin just suggested daylight savings time. Apparently he got the idea from his French friends who would adjust their schedules to take advantage of the early morning sunlight. No doubt scowling at it and blowing their cigarette smoke in its “general direction” (imagine a badly-executed French accent here.) He didn’t actually make it happen.


The real culprits responsible for getting the ball rolling on good ole DST are a couple of dudes (naturally) who wanted to collect bugs after work hours down in New Zealand, or finish a round of golf on a prematurely dark midsummer’s London night. Their names were: George Vernon Hudson and William Willet, respectively. Each of them had these ideas independently. Both of them produced marketing materials to get everyone else on board. They weren’t successful, but they planted the seeds so that some more dudes, obviously not directly responsible for child rearing, could put it into effect during World War I.


I bet you can imagine what I will be thinking of all of these guys tomorrow when I am trudging down my stairs to the coffee machine at an hour that in my life is only reserved for making flights at LAX or putting down the patio umbrella during an especially intense Santa Ana Wind Event. Seriously, unless there is stomach flu or dairy cows involved, there is no reason to be up at this hour.


At least this is the fall back side of Daylight Effing Savings Time. Spring adds insult to injury by making your kids sleep too long and forcing you to achieve super-heroic efficiency in the morning in order to make it to the fictional bus in the glorious sunlight. In the fall, I have at least a whole extra hour to drink coffee, check Facebook, placate hungry children with cereal and fruit, and change poopy pants. Gavin’s, not mine.


In a week or so, we will adjust back to a normal rising hour. Which, truth be told, is still insulting to me. And my venomous thoughts of revenge will fade for four months or so. Until I have to spring forward. Then I will be grouchy for another week.


I’m too tired to end this with anything witty. Besides, I will be getting up in 6 hours, so I’d better get this posted and off to bed. Stupid Daylight Effing Savings Time.


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