what I did at 4 AMFamily rumor has it that in 1972 my precocious 17-year-old cousin was filling out her college applications, and to the question, “what do you see yourself doing in 10 years?”  she bravely answered: “still filling out these college applications.”

At 3:00 AM the other night, I was lying awake in bed, my insomnia fueled by the hundreds of unsolicited messages cluttering my inbox. All I could think of was that my answer to the question about what I see myself doing in 10 years might be: “still unsubscribing to spam.”

Earlier in the day, a friend had sent me an article titled,“10 Things Organized People Do Every Day.” I read it in bed just before closing my eyes and spraying my pillow with a new Ayurvedic-essential-oil-aromatic-sleep-therapy-spray. (The spray did nothing for my sleep, but Mike told me the smell is so revolting that it might make a great contraceptive spray.) I had organization, and one of the tips- cleaning out your inbox every day- on my brain.

When I found myself still awake at 3:47AM, I tiptoed downstairs (like an elephant might) to take charge of my inbox.  I unsubscribed from emails concerning pet insurance, tech solar solutions, Japanese dating services, hotels in Nice, and a hockey camp that my daughter attended ten years ago.  One spam, for a miracle pill for weight loss endorsed by Dr. Oz, stopped me in my tracks as I quickly read the subject line: DR. OZ ENDORSES FORSKOLIN. Huh?  Was I the only one who got that email who was thinking circumcision?

By 4:30 AM, there were three more junk emails in my inbox and I hadn’t made much of a dent.  I poured another cup of coffee, ate half a banana, and headed for the kitchen cabinets.

By 5:00AM, I had dumped every plastic container from the cabinet where they lived, matched each container with a top, tossed the rest, and put what was left neatly back.  I marveled for a good 5 minutes at my gorgeous arrangement, and suspected it will stay that way for a good 5 minutes more.

At 5:05 AM, I tackled a cabinet way high up, above the double ovens. I found a set of dishes that we had purchased in Italy in 1992. I recalled my husband lugging these dishes in 90 degree weather after an evening of eating and drinking heavily. Since we have used these dishes about 6 times in 22 years, I decided to move around all of my dishes so we would use them. It was a tad noisy.

From 5:45-6:30 AM, I organized the baking area, the tray area, the utensil area, bashing around and banishing items either to the basement never-never land or the trash.

At 6:30 AM, Mike came down, bleary eyed.  He had heard every bang and clang for the last hour and a half, but really, how angry can a neat guy be when he sees that his sloppy wife has taken on so many awesome organizing projects?  He took one look at me knee deep in pots and pans, shook his head and said, “I don’t know whether to kill you or kiss you.”

At 6:45 AM, I went back to my email. I forwarded the organizing article to my youngest daughter who, unfortunately, has inherited my tendency to messiness.  Melissa had just moved into a new studio apartment in the LSE (Lower East Side for all of you who are not cool) and I know how much she likes my advice. Luckily, she didn’t clutter up my inbox with a reply.

So that was my productive night of insomnia. Have you embraced insomnia lately?

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