Coffee heat rising

In which I embrace my inner White Trash

Daddy passed for white. Mommy with her Huguenot ancestry and her DAR grandmother was as European as they come. So I reckon I can pass, too.

Last night my long-neglected White Trash roots sprouted a sucker: tinfoil window covering.

Beautiful! An exquisite decorator touch. Eat your heart out, Martha! And Sarah, y’all come on over for coffee now, hear?

How do you like it? Ain’t it purty?

Yep. Tinfoil and Scotch tape: Early Hillwilliam. Sooo…. What’s going on here?

What’s going on is I’m getting might’ tired of waking up at 4:30 in the morning after five hours (at best!) of sleep. Especially when I keep reading those studies that claim old bats who sleep less than seven hours each night are at elevated risk of heart attack. These four-hour nights have been going on way, way too long. They leave me sick with exhaustion, and even if I get a decent night’s sleep it takes two nights of rest to start to feel normal. Two full nights’ sleep in a row is a rarity scarce as hen’s teeth.

Meditating on this state of affairs, it occurred to me that the problem has to do with the light that seeps in through the curtains every morning. For years, I’ve awakened at dawn. The first pearly predawn light works just like an alarm clock. The curtains on the bedroom Arcadia door, at the outset pretty skimpy, are made of beige coarsely woven fabric. Even though they’re lined, they don’t block much light, and since they barely cover the window, plenty of light pours in around the edges.

What if I could block early-morning light from getting into the bedroom? Maybe I could build curtains of outdoor fabric and hang them on the outside of the doors, adding a light- and heat-blocking layer on the exterior side of the perennially overheated glass. Combined with darker drapes on the inside, that might do the trick.

Actually, the curtain-rod hangers in there accommodate two rods, so I could in theory hang two pairs of curtains on the interior. The proposed exterior drapes would then create not one, not two, but three layers of fabric. Hm.

Well, before I go to the trouble and expense of making three sets of drapery and drilling holes in the exterior masonry to hang tacky-looking curtain rods, I figure I’d better find out whether this theory works. Hence, a little experiment.

Research question: Would a dawn-sensitive subject sleep a full seven hours if no light could penetrate the sleeping chamber?

Research methodology: Plaster the windows with tinfoil and then try to sleep through the night.

Preliminary results: Well, the subject did sleep seven hours last night. Nodded off around quarter to eleven and woke up at quarter to six.

Discussion: This, of course, doesn’t prove a thing. Now and again, I do sleep seven hours, and last night in spite of an hour-long afternoon siesta, I was dead tired. But there’s nothing (other than aesthetic queasiness) to keep me from leaving the tinfoil décor up for a few more nights.

So, the plan now is to wait and see. If, over the next week or so, I find I can sleep all night long in a room plunged into inky darkness, then by all means I’ll put up fuller, darker drapes on the inside. And maybe even build some exterior drapes, though it escapes me how these would be secured in the gale-force winds of monsoon season.

In between times, pass the moonshine. And why don’t y’all join me and Sarah here at the manse for some grits and coffee?

Image: Hillbilly Hot Dogs, State Route 2, West Virginia. Youngamerican. GNU Free Documentation License.

What do you reckon they’re doing with them hanging plants? My daddy would never in a million years have put up with them things, pullin’ the eaves down. Not unless they’re plastic, so’s you don’t have to water ’em.

9 thoughts on “In which I embrace my inner White Trash”

  1. Get yourself some insulated, light blocking shades or blinds. They will keep out the light and also, particularly if you get the kind that fits inside of the window frame (which, from the picture, looks possible), cut down on your summer cooling bill. They won’t have the esthetic charm of the tin foil, but they will work.
    This would run you about $100.,8761

  2. Another thing that might be helpful in the light/heat blocking department that might not make your inner hick rejoice – tinted window film. It won’t block light as absolutely as tin foil, but it should help reduce the need for outdoor curtains (shutters would be more practical).It should bring down the light levels to where curtains can be of use, and the fact that you’re blocking some passive solar gain should help marginally with your power bill. From what I remember of this window film, it is removable for winter months, at which point your inner hick should point out the insulating value of saran wrap around the windows!

  3. As a confirmed lurker hiding in the wings, I’ve been reading your blog for months. I just have to tell you how much I enjoy it. Smart, funny, obsessive. What could be better?

  4. When I was a teenager, I had tinfoil over my window. Right now, since my windows meet the ceiling, I have stapled curtains up to block the sun, street lamp, headlights.

    Since you don’t actually need the protection, you could buy a clamshell hurricane shutter for your window (these are not as good as accordion shutters but again, you don’t need to worry about hurricanes).

  5. Room darkening shades are wonderful. When my sons were little and my husband traveled alot and I the solo parent really felt exhausted, those shades gave the boys the impression that it was actually later than it was and bedtime came a little earlier on some summer nights.

  6. Thanks for the hillbilly picture. Now, that’s what I call yard art! Didn’t see none of that in Yarnell.

  7. I bought some cheap room darkening, lined curtains at KMart. They work well and were only about $15 per panel. They also help keep the heat in during the winter (not that you have to worry about that in your area of the country!)

  8. @ Kelly…ohhhh I like the window film idea. My daddy would’ve loved the stuff. Second only the the varnish that he liked to coat everything with.

    @ Karen: I’ve actually thought of shutters. They’re quite popular around here. Kind of expensive, though.

    The light-blocking shades or curtains seem like the most practical idea. That’s assuming this darkening scheme works. The first night it seemed to. But last night I was awake in the dark at quarter to five. If what’s waking me up is the inner alarm clock, there’s no point in turning my bedroom into a cave. 🙂

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