A knife-wielding boogeyman.

Being held up at gunpoint.

Your teeth tumbling out of your mouth while you’re talking.

Sure, those seem like pretty bad dreams. This is what haunts me: It’s a dude holding a red pen and marking up a day planner, X-ing out appointments and then scribbling multiple events into the very same square. At the same time.

Nooooooooooooo!

Now that’s a nightmare.

Few things in life are as horrifying as scheduling stuff for your kids. Think about how tricky it is just to slip in a doctor’s appointment for yourself on a workday. Now imagine doing that for three. Plus orthodontist appointments. And, just because the difficulty level isn’t high enough: Figure in school from 8 a.m. until 3:20 p.m. for one, from 8 a.m. until 3:10 p.m. for the other two, except on Wednesdays when they get out at 2 p.m. and, oh, on Mondays and Tuesdays when they start at 9 a.m., except on those Mondays when there’s Math Club at 8 a.m., and then we’ve got flag-football practice on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays until 5 p.m., and volleyball practice until 5:30 p.m. each weekday — EXCEPT when there are games.

Wait, it seems like I’m forgetting something. What am I forgetting? Oh my gosh! Basketball practice from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, except when Thursday practice gets bumped to noon Sundays.

Got it? You with me? Who needs a drink? I know I do. And yes, that does make scheduling even harder, because then the lines in the day planner look even smaller and blurrier.

The intricacies and mind-booglingness of multi-family-member scheduling are just amazing. How is it not an Olympic sport? Oh yeah, because no one wants to watch that. It’s the rhythmic gymnastics of life.

It’s even more fun when you have to schedule annual visits months in advance. I needed to get No. 3 to the allergy doctor in October, and the day the receptionist offered was, lo and behold, the very same day and time I had scheduled a six-month-dental-cleaning for No. 1. That office, thoughtfully, has a rule that no more than two people from the same family can be scheduled on the same day. Mental note: Look for a new dentist.

“Well,” the lady at the allergist’s office said, “the doctor is here Mondays all day and Fridays from 7:55 a.m. until 8:15 a.m.”

And that is how the October appointment ended up scheduled over winter break. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, No. 3. Hope you like your gift: a bunch of needle pricks! In your back!

The second blow to my calendar came just as I was silently high-fiving myself for artfully slipping in No. 1’s orthodontist appointment after 2 p.m. on early release Wednesday and before 3:30 p.m. volleyball practice. Yeeeesss!

Then, the boom.

“Mom, they scheduled volleyball pictures at 2:45 p.m. tomorrow — I can’t make the 2 p.m. appointment.”

Nooooooooooo!

So I dial the orthodontist. A brand-new policy change means the specific, lengthy procedure can be rescheduled on any day — but only at 10 a.m.

“Or 11 a.m.,” the receptionist offered helpfully.

Well, now that’s convenient.

Not that I expect special treatment, but I’m pretty sure that at this point, I’ve paid for the orthodontist’s kids’ college educations. Or a speedboat.

It took a few hours of intensive back-and-forth negotiating, but, I’m happy to report that I finally rescheduled that appointment. So with that, my friends, I drop the mic. Along with my sanity.

Contact Kristen Cook at kcook@tucson.com or 573-4194. On Twitter: @kcookski. Cook is very thankful that the mornings are cooler, since she had to drive with the minivan windows down the other day because of a horrible mystery stench, which turned out to be a not-quite-finished Muscle Milk that had been aging in a cup holder for a week. Surprisingly, the flavor was chocolate, not dirty-diaper, sweaty-sock-rotting cantaloupe.