Attack of the Robot Roaches


I shaved a few years off of Paul’s life last night.

First, let me say that it wasn’t my fault. You see, I have this problem. There’s a communication breakdown between my brain and my body, wherein the little part of my brain whose business it is to crank out dreams sometimes forgets to alert my body that the sensory input is not real and that its (the body’s) services will not be needed for the night.

To put it more simply: I sleepwalk. And sleeptalk. And sleepfight evil aliens from the planet Krakkavid with a flamethrower I built out of household cleaning products.

My college roommates used to think it was hilarious. How they loved to regale me in the mornings with tales of my midnight lapses into pirate-speak and treks into the dorm room closet in search of the lobster people. Even Paul, who has to share a bed with the spaztastic night wanderer, finds it amusing when I spring upright in bed and insist that the puppy (the nonexistent one that we can’t have because of apartment regulations) has to get down off the bed, and I mean NOW.

He wasn’t laughing last night, however. I really scared him this time. The weird thing is that I remember most of it. I recall waking up to find that there was a swarm of giant half-robot half-cockroach creatures (no doubt spawned by some nefarious mad scientist) invading the apartment. I could hear them clickety-clackering around in the living room, and skittering up the sheets from the floor. When one of them leaped onto my chest, I smothered it quickly in the bedclothes and bolted from the bed like an avenging angel, determined to clear a path through the apartment and somehow get the kids to safety.

Well, I made it as far as the hallway, where I flicked on the light and peered around the corner into the kitchen, listening intently for the tap-tap of robotic insect feet. That was when I heard Paul’s voice.

“Katrina.” Firm. Loud.

I turned on the bedroom light. “What?” I asked impatiently.

“What are you doing? Are you awake?”

“Of course I’m awake,” I snapped, irritated. Paul told me later that the really scary thing was that I looked awake. And totally, utterly insane.

“What are you doing?” he repeated.

“I had to kill a…thing, in the bed, over there!” I spluttered, that sense of urgent danger making it hard for me to think. “We have to get the kids, babe. Because…there was a thing…a bunch of things…and…we have to…uh…” My voice trailed off. As usual, the rational act of explaining my delusion woke up the part of my brain that had, heretofore, been asleep at the switch. Reality reasserted itself slowly, laughing its butt off.

“I was dreaming, wasn’t I?”

“Yes.” He still looked worried. “Are you okay now?”

I promised that I was, and after a moment’s poking of the duvet “just to make sure”, I lay back down.

A few moments passed.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”


We slept.

I think Paul’s fear is that I’ll actually make it to the kids’ room one of these days. So far, my episodes have been brief ones. It usually only takes a few moments after I burst out of bed for me to awaken enough to realize that, in fact, the apartment isn’t flooding, nor is my pillowcase filled with spiders*. Soon, I’m tucked back into bed, sleeping soundly. The occurrence rarely repeats itself within the same night. I’ve heard of some people who prepare and eat food in their sleep, and a few unfortunate somnambulists who wander out their front doors or drive themselves around in the car only to wake up miles away from home with no memory of the trip. This is nothing like that. Still, I imagine it’s disconcerting to the outside observer.

I apologized to Paul this morning for scaring him so badly. “You remember that?” he asked, surprised. Many times, most times, I don’t remember. I’ve even accused him of making this stuff up. “Yes, I remember. And believe it or not, I was making perfect sense before you woke me up,” I teased.

He shuddered a little at the memory. “Your eyes were bloodshot, you know. You looked…” Words failed him.

Eventually, we’ll look back on this night and laugh.

But until then, I have to sleep in the laundry room.

*Spiders, more than any other dream object, get me moving. It’s a recurring theme. I can’t tell you how many times I have awakened Paul with the thrashing and squealing that accompany killing imaginary spiders. I’ve dreamed of them covering the duvet like a pulsating second blanket; I’ve dreamed of them dropping down from the ceiling on a thousand gossamer webs; I’ve dreamed of a giant, scabby, hair-covered one creeping around under the sheets. Ick. I loathe spiders.

16 responses »

  1. I’m really happy I read that footnote about the creepy, invading spiders right before snuggling beneath my own duvet for a night of slumber.

    Totally not going to dream of spiders now.

    I’m glad I could innervate your dream life! Nothing like a good shot of adrenalin in the middle of the night to keep you sharp, right?

  2. Katrina, you and Dave have much in common! Although, in the past few years his sleep walking and sleep talking episodes have diminished…so there’s hope! Maybe when you reach your late 30s it will all just be a laughable memory! Dave has scared me, too, so I know how real his delusions seem to him! I’m sorry yours often consist of spiders and I’m glad that the robotic roaches don’t exist:) I’ve finally remembered to subscribe to your blog on google reader so I’ll try to keep up better now! Blessings!

    Oh, good! I’m glad to hear I might have more tranquil nights ahead! Maybe there should be an online support group for the poor, shell-shocked spouses of spastic sleepers. I bet it’s a lot more common than we know… πŸ™‚

  3. My brother used to sleep walk/talk and would appear to be awake though wild-eyed. Then if you led him to the bathroom to pee, afterwards he’d doze back off without further drama.

    I’m just sayin…


    That’s funny! When nature calls, I guess you have to answer, sleeping or not. I’m only afraid that in my delirious state I might not be able to find the bathroom!

  4. LOL!!!

    I don’t sleep walk, but if someone mentions a certain furry, big, disgusting rodent that carries rabies and lives in subway tunnels, I dream of them for at least a week. The big kind, like on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So I can (sort of) feel your pain. ha!
    It sounds as though you’ve got quite a man there, seriously. πŸ™‚

    Then I will take care, in future blog posts, not to mention slime-crusted sewer rats, especially those creepy black ones that sneaked into the baby’s room in “Lady and the Tramp”–they’ve always freaked me out.

  5. My mother used to sleepwalk, but her fear was snakes. She would sometimes wake us up to check our arms for snake bites. Eventually we would just half-heartedly raise our arms up, show her we were okay, and go back to sleep. She assured us it was all extremely real to her. You’ve got a good man in Paul!

    That’s so funny about checking for snakebites! I love the mental picture of you guys not even waking up–just sticking your arms out for the gazillionth time. It’s amazing how deep those little nagging fears can bury into our subconscious, isn’t it?

  6. THANK YOU!!! I sleep walk and talk as well, and my husband thinks it’s totally bonkers. Seriously, I could have written everything you just said myself (with the notable exception of lobster people).

    This is totally awesome, I’ve never met another adult sleepwalker before!

    Yay! I’m not alone! Now that I’m married, it’s just another funny little quirk that Paul is tickled by, but I remember being pretty embarrassed about it when I would find out I did it in front of friends at camp or my Girl Scout troop.

  7. My Jacob sometimes sleep walks, but all he does is go to his brothers bedroom and take the duvet LOL…… it must be triggered by maybe him getting cold in the night lol…

    And my Sam, one can hold a wonderful conversation with him when he sleep talks LOL….

    I love you weirdos lol

    Fanks for your kind comments and loving thoughts……. this has been bought to you whilst on a high cos of the drugs lol…… I cant type or read the computer when on the low side of the drugs….


    Marmie, I’m thinking about you and praying for your swift recovery! Don’t be afraid to leave comments while on painkillers–they’re bound to be at least as coherent and sensible as my blog entries!

  8. I have never heard of sleepwalking like that before! I bet if I was like that I’d dream about spiders attacking as well. Yuck!
    I’m glad your hubby is there to keep you safe from lobster people and other creepy things. πŸ˜‰

    Yes, he is a saint. And he hasn’t moved to the couch yet, which I think shows a lot of courage.

  9. My sister used to walk in her sleep as a child. Out the back door, around the house and part way down the block once before my mother saw her and called her back home (my mother always said you NEVER wake a sleepwalker). My sister then stuck to just sleep talking for many years and my mom used to wake me up to go sit in my sister’s room and listen to her. We’d quiz her in the morning and say, “who is Shane?” Now, she only does it under extreme stress, the last time being several years ago when she somehow moved things off of shelves too high for her to reach in the middle of the night. I’m glad Jacob doesn’t sleepwalk (and that I don’t share a room with my sister anymore) as it’d scare me to death to have something like that happen in the middle of the night!!

    Oh, no! I bet that freaked your mom out plenty! So far I’ve never made it outside, but I won’t say it can’t happen. Maybe I should start hiding my car keys from myself at night…

  10. Michael’s a sleep mumbler. He very rarely says anything that I can understand, and never answers questions when I wake up enough to think to ask them. He was a ‘walker’ when he was younger, but thank God he outgrew that prior to marriage. Our only challenge now is when wakes me up by screaming or jumping up because of the dreaded giant spider that ocassionally graces us with her presence (and yes, I mean the one that can only be found in dream-land). Thankfully that only happens about once every 6 months, but inevitably, he scares the be-geezus out of me, so much so that it usually takes me hours to fall back to sleep! These episodes always involve him ripping the covers off of me/himself and yelling, usually jumping from the bed and flipping the light on. And, very rarely does he ever remember that it happened! Drives me nuts πŸ™‚

    You know, the more comments I read, the more I think there really should be a spousal support group for people married to somnambulists. You could share war stories, swap techniques for waking the sleepwalker, and take turns comparing the bruises you get from your spouses fending off imaginary spider attacks.

  11. Wow! I have been told I did walk in my sleep one time at camp. I guess I will settle with my snoring and I am just glad my husband can sleep through it.

    Ahh, snoring is the other side of the coin. Paul’s the one who does that. If it wakes me up, I usually elbow him in the ribs and tell him to roll over on his side. That stops it long enough for me to get back to sleep. I suppose you could say we take turns waking each other up all night!

  12. My brother used to talk in his sleep and we “had fun” talking to him while asleep. I never met someone who actually “sleep walk” but reading these comments – I guess many do.

    There is a cute Hawaiian Children’s book about cockroaches – would you like a link to it? πŸ™‚

    Now was this disclosed before you and Paul got married? πŸ™‚ –

    Well, sweet dreams Katrina – I wish you “fairy tale” night time dreams instead of roaches and spiders…

    Sure! I’d love to read a book about cockroaches (as long as it doesn’t come with any actual cockroaches!) And yes, I believe I told Paul about my nocturnal activities before we tied the knot, although he thought it was cute, then. (That’s because I only told him the funny stories.)

  13. I talk and flail, but only once did I actually get out of bed and walk around in my sleep. I was 10 or so and apparently, I had to go to the bathroom… so I got up and went to the living room… and pulled down my pants… and was about to sit down on one of our fancy living room chairs when my mom yelled, “COURTNEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?” And, annoyed, I responded, “Mom, I’m in the bathroom, can’t it wait?”

    Luciklly she woke me up just in time and all furniture was spared.

    Luckilly, there haven’t been any bugs in my dreams. Ick.

    Eeek! That’s hilarious! I have never had that happen, although a few times when we woke Caleb up to go potty late at night, we’ve had some close calls because his eyes were closed. Watch where you point that thing, kid!

  14. My husband is a sleep walker.

    And sleep talker

    And sleep get up and make a sandwich in the middle of the nighter.

    I mostly let him wander. We have no kids and the dog has learned to stay out of the way.

    I am, however, an extremely light sleeper because I draw the line at letting him wander about outside.

    If I hear the door to the garage open, or the locks on the front door being unlocked, I am up like a shot and get him back to bed.

    Very early in our marriage I was a deeper sleeper and he managed to get outside without my knowing.

    He was standing in the cul-de-sac screaming about his car being broken into (which it had been that weekend)

    Thank goodness we live by the airport and all the houses in our neighborhood are very, very soundproof, because I’m sure if anyone had heard there would have been cops involved.

    And how do you explain to a cop… “oh, yeah, I know he was standing outside in his boxers and a t-shirt screaming… but, honest, he was asleep!”

  15. I’m a sleeptalker. I used to sleepwalk as a child but when I got to my teen years, not anymore.

    At least the roaches and spiders know enough by now to stay away from your place.

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