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Forced to Choose Between Weird Sleep Solutions.

iStock 501484306     My lungs felt like they were going to burst as I clawed my way toward the light above. The urge to breath was overwhelming, but until I broke the surface I knew it would be certain death.  Why wasn't the light getting any closer?  Just as I resigned myself to this watery death, mercifully, I woke up. I was gasping and drenched in sweat as I was released from this nightmare for the second time in a month.  Looking around with gratitude at being alive, my wife Rebecca sleeping soundly beside me, I noticed that the clerestory windows above our bed set the depth of my drowning.   I started connecting the dots to my dry throat in the morning, snorking awake in meditation as my soft palate collapsed, the daily grogginess.  I had heard from friends about the solutions they had found, from tape on the nose to dental devices to CPAC machines they lugged on trips to hum beside them on the hotel night stand.  Having thoroughly worked myself into a waking nightmare, I was determined to delay this future, but how?   How can a hard pallete be the answer to a soft one? I remember my first snork, lying in corpse pose at the end of a yoga class years ago.  This was a class I was teaching so I wasn’t even dropping into deep meditation, when suddenly a loud snork  jolted me out of the zone.  It was me.  My soft palate had collapsed, stopping my slow breath.  “Welcome to middle age” I thought.  Around the same time I had noticed I could fully relax while face down on a massage table, no snork.  What if I could train myself to sleep on my stomach?  Babies do it, toddlers do it.     My first few efforts were not successful. I merely started the night’s sleep on my stomach. Thank goodness I was exhausted enough to actually fall asleep before my arms followed suit.  If I wasn’t woken up by numb hands and arms,  I would wake up on my side or back.  My...
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History of the Slouch

Chair3 409x1024 Our latest Infographic.  Layout: Sarah Redohl Storylab.com
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Is the Customer always right?

As a piano tuner, I occasionally have to pronounce a customer's piano dead, ready for the landfill.  This happened last month, when I was asked to come tune an otherwise fine looking spinet piano.  Spinet's are the bane of the piano technician.  At under four feet tall, the length of their strings are too short, and soundboards too small to create the sound you expect from a piano.  With the keys too short and the action shrunk and crammed in too small a space, normal repairs are equivalent to removing a car's engine to change the spark plugs.  Thank goodness they haven't been produced for decades.  As the last surviving ones reach the end of their lives, they can pass through a number of hands causing all sorts of disappointment and expense.  The customer always feels duped, because these pianos look all right, their keys may all be in place, the case may have been cared for and is a good piece of furniture.  Folks sooner or later find out how little theirs is worth compared to the cost of moving or rebuilding it.  Then they place it back on Craig's List for free for someone else to take off their hands.  The next unsuspecting owner thinks they've got a deal, until the piano tuner comes and informs them of the cost to make it functional.  The cycle repeats. The poor spinet can't please anyone.  Its quality as a musical instrument is so poor that it doesn't flatter anyone who tries to play it, it doesn't satisfy the piano tuner since it rarely sounds appreciably better once tuned.  Because of the way it's designed,  normally affordable repairs are triple what they would be on any other piano.   Why,  you wonder, would such a pile of compromises ever be produced? We the customers brought this on ourselves in collusion with piano makers.  This sad state of affairs began in the 1950's when the piano industry was too accommodating to what customers said they wanted.  Piano owners had complained for decades about the size and weight of pianos.  We customers complained about...
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