Well, hello there, 3:30 a.m. I wish I could say it’s nice to see you again, but I can’t. I wish I could banish you to my unconscious while I have dreams about flying above the trees and kissing Heath Ledger, but, you know, I can’t.

I remember not-so-many years ago, early morning hours, such as yourself, generally meant pizza and beer runs and the occasional sneaking into some other apartment complex’s pool. I greeted you over-enthusiastically and glassy-eyed, the way one might greet an old co-worker they run into at a bar just before last call. Under normal circumstances, such a meeting would involve a hello and maybe a few other pleasantries, not bear hugs and details about my life.

But now … oh, things have changed. When last we met just a few days ago, it was in the Emergency Room for my father. You see, he’d already been released from the hospital for a minor surgery, but you couldn’t let us just have him back that easily. Around 11 p.m., we called 911 and sent him on back, and around this time on Thursday, I was standing next to his hospital bed watching Nancy Grace and talking to his doctor about scalloping but silently being scared out of my mind praying over and over again that he would just be ok. Fun times, 3:30 a.m.

Now that he’s home and recovering, what’s the deal? Are you feeling lonely? Because you’ve brought me back, this time with a sick dog. Yuki isn’t well, and you’d better believe me when I tell you to leave her the hell alone.

We’d put her on new meds for her anxiety (her fear of thunderstorms worsened into something else entirely when construction and, therefore, giant, rumbling trucks were occurring right outside our door — and there’s still an empty lot next to us, so it’s not over), and after three weeks, they kicked in. They kicked in, and kicked her ass — she was unsteady on her feet, running into walls (and spending hours just staring at walls), panting … just a huge mess.

After a visit to the vet, we decided to wean her off the meds, which we’ve done. And now, seriously, what the hell? She’s having the exact same problem, and I can’t fix it. It’s like a child with night terrors — she seems to have almost no understanding of where she is or the fact that I’m trying to help.

Jared stayed up half the night with her, and I took the early morning shift. What’s that you say? She’s just a dog? Come here and say that to my face. She’s my friend who’s been by my side for seven years, never asking for anything more than to be fed and cared for. She’s my family, and 3:30? BACK. OFF.

And now, as I threaten you, 3:30, I realize an hour has passed. I’m not finding 4:30 any more enjoyable, to be sure, it seems a little less … obscene. People actually get up at 4:30 a.m. I’ve gotten up before at 4:30 for various things — it’s almost like actual morning. You, on the other hand, 3:30, you are a bitch, and I don’t plan to see you again for a long time.