Are you still recovering from daylight-saving time?
Our family has clock-management issues.
I blame General Electric. When GE introduced the snooze button in 1956, it was a good idea with unintended consequences. GE's slogan might be "We bring good things to life." But when it comes to the snooze button, GE put good things back to sleep.
Hitting the snooze button is like smoking a cigarette: It's addictive, and it will cost you 10 minutes of your life. Unfortunately, the Kennedys are chain snoozers.
There are three people living in our house, and each of us has two alarm clocks, one primary and one backup. When all our morning alarms start chiming and whistling, it sounds like a riverboat calliope.
"That's your alarm," I'll tell my wife, which I cannot possibly know because both of our phone alarms sound exactly alike.
Our younger son is capable of sleeping through all of his alarms — indefinitely. The sleep of a 15-year-old boy is deeper than anesthesia for triple- bypass surgery.
When I was a little older than he is now, a big, old church burned to the ground 100 feet from my apartment, and I never heard a single siren. I remember walking out the front door the next morning, seeing smoking embers and thinking, "Dang, look at that!"
As I get older, the switch between daylight-saving time and standard time becomes more and more of a bother. I support the move now being considered in many states to stay on daylight-saving time year-round.
My internal clock does not like change. To bed by 9:30 p.m. and up by 6 a.m. — that's my pattern. Any deviation — like the abrupt shifts caused by springing forward and falling backward — puts me on edge.
The fact that it's now getting dark before supper rattles my system. Last week, by the time Pat Sajak and Vanna White wrapped up "Wheel of Fortune," I was starting to feel sleepy. By Final Jeopardy, I was sawing wood.
But last Sunday, the time change presented the challenge of a lifetime.
Not only did the time change at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, but my wife, younger son and I had planned to go to Birmingham, Alabama, later that day to watch the firstborn son play college lacrosse. This meant "falling back" to standard time on the same day we would be changing time zones twice: from Eastern time to Central time and then back to Eastern.
All kinds of questions crowded my brain. What time would I set the alarm for Sunday morning? Which clocks were self-adjusting, and which ones were manual? What time would we leave Chattanooga to get to Birmingham on Sunday by 3:30 p.m. Central time?
All this felt like some sort of algebra problem. I could feel the circuits in my brain begin to melt. Twelve noon, minus one hour, plus one hour, plus lunch at Cracker Barrel equals what?
Oh, the dickens!
The questions wouldn't stop.
Would our dog be OK unattended for eight hours if he drank 6 ounces of water at 11 a.m.? Would our younger son have time to do homework if we left Birmingham at 5 p.m. Central time? Would I be driving in the dark if we left Birmingham at 5 p.m. going northeast at 70 mph for 150 minutes?
It makes you want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.
And unplug the alarm clock.
Email Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.