It’s been my routine for years, so it does not really faze me to have to go to “work” after 7 pm and not get home until about 4 am. Greg, our Security Person, says almost every week when I am packing up, “I don’t know how you do it.” I just generally reply that it’s routine and you just ‘get er done.’
Not that my Karaoke is anything mundane, it’s just that I have been doing this for so many years that the heavy work is routinely part of the package. The drive home is the most difficult. Tired eyes, aching feet and a body that is screaming for some rest make it a long 16-minute trip. With the radio blasting, the AC on full, ice forming on my fingertips and a bottle of water to sip on ... I’m on the way.
This morning I am dodging scampering bunnies, a plethora of road kill, and the occasional green-eyed moving beastie that disappears into the tall grass in the ditches. I suspect that might be raccoon, so after once hitting one of those chunkers, I make sure I slow down and allow it time to get out of the way.
Upon reaching home, I hear the high-pitched squeaking of Mr. Jake. He’s my granddog and he is staying with me this weekend so his family can visit their relatives in town. Jake’s alarm has Toby and Winnie right behind him, and I open the door to a flurry of feet and tails and hops and circles. I assume that is their way of telling me either they missed me immensely or they really need to get outside. Suspicion says it was a little of both. My feet are not in agreement, but my brain says leash 'em up and get 'em outside, which I did and they did…
So what is it with dogs? I get them all lined up on the bed and instruct them that the next order of business is to sleep. I plop my bones into the feathers, and before I even have a sheet pulled up, I have 2 of them standing on me with their faces in mine wanting attention. Winnie is rooting up her comforter and has half her igloo-shaped lump made, but she has to come out to see what is going on. Not to be outdone, she joins the force and wants me to pet her. I gently lift her away as her slight poundage is no concern for me to move when I’m flat on my back.
Toby and his doggy breath are the next to go. He’s a bit more of a handful to move. Besides the extra couple pounds, he is very rigid and immediately stiffens, so he seems much heavier than he really is. He knows the routine and starts to nose up his side of the blanket and crawls under. Now how do I get Mr. Jake, my butterball, who has totally taken up residence, off my chest? He kind of rolls side to side when you pick him up, sort of like a Weeble. He’s a bit of a chunk, but a loveable chunk. I get him moved and before I can get myself situated, he is right back. I finally get him settled down and Winnie decides she wants to be closer to me so now she is pawing at my part of the blanket.
So here I am, flat on my back, one dog on the right side of my legs and the other on the left side. There is not an inch to move but all is well .. and I pass out. I awake at 6 am. Darn internal clocks.
Another 2 hours of sleep and I am awake again. This time Mr. Jake squeaks to let me know it’s time to go outside. So I get out of bed and grab my slippers, run a brush through my humidified mop of hair while the 3 of them do their routine butt sniffing to make sure they are all the same. These are moments when I'm glad that I am not a dog.
I leash Winnie and let all of them out the back door. I quickly pour a cold glass of chocolate milk and head for out back and my chair. The sun is warm and welcoming. With jobs already done, Toby is happily munching on some soft green grass that is sprouting along the base of the house. Jake is nosing around in the grass for whatever it is that he noses around for.
Winnie is in her mighty hunter mode. The morning is still. The birds are all singing their tunes, and a squirrel is in the tree in the neighbor’s back yard and can be heard moving around from branch to branch. Winnie decides to add her "I’m brave and you better know it" bark. Jake spies the neighbor’s cat from his latest perch on my lap. He adds his fiercest "I see you TAT" growl to the mixture. Not to be left out, Toby sides up to Winnie and sticks a few well-placed woofs in for good measure.
It's quite a cacophony of sounds. I do what I routinely do. I laugh at them and for the first time today, my heart smiles too, and I'm glad that I'm here to be witness to the glory of the morning. That is always the neatest part of the day, when my whole being is awakened to the goodness that abounds all around me, and routinely I thank God for all that I have been blessed with.
About twenty minutes outside is enough for my freckled skin. I put my chair back in its place against the house and call for the tiny trio to come inside. Mr. Jake is first, then Toby. “Winnie? Come on in Winnie. It’s time for your breakfast. Winnie? Winnie? Aw for gosh sakes Winnie come on in! I’m not going to stand here with the door open and cool the outside.” Then the movement is ever so subtle, one step at a time, nose in the air, tail curled over her back and she reminds me of a queen approaching her throne. A stop at the top of the deck to survey her kingdom once more, in case she needs to warn off any more trespassers ... and then one foot at a time her highness steps into the house, drops her front end down and stretches every so regally and shakes out her inside out ears. I unleash her and she victoriously trots into the living room to await her breakfast banquet. She can be such a drama queen.
Mr. Jake begins his yo-yo bouncing the minute I get in front of the cabinet. He's always overjoyed when it’s breakfast time or anytime to eat. I divide treats into 3’s and each dog has their assigned place. Jake inhales the 2 small treats. Toby gnaws away at his, and Winnie slips each one under the couch so that Jake can't try to steal hers. They are really getting acclimated to each other’s behaviors. Jake can't swallow the big treat. So he has to chew it. But that is the purpose of these things, to chew and scrape their teeth clean.
Have I mentioned coffee yet? While the dogs busy themselves with the oral hygiene routine, this is the time for me to get coffee. It's perfect timing and I greet my Keurig with a K-Cup and mug. It reciprocates with a fresh brewed cup of deliciousness.
As I sit here at my computer wrapping up my story, Toby is stretched out behind a chair, Jake is shaking the begeezers out of “Kitty,” Toby’s favorite toy, now Jake’s favorite too, and Winnie has taken her royal fluffiness back to bed and is all cozy in the middle of her comforter.
What’s wrong with this picture? I should be sleeping. Oh well, I guess it’s just part of the routine.
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