Goodnight Moon, Hello Puppy

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

To understand how crazy last Friday morning was for me, first you have to get a general sense for how mornings are supposed to run in our household.

Somewhere between 5-7:30am my wife gets up.  I am blissfully unconscious for this part, so I really have no idea about the fluctuations in her wake up schedule.  At the sound of my wife's alarm, our two pitbulls, Grover and Falcor, reactively begin there morning stretches as they half-heartedly rise from their doggie beds. 

It's winter, so the dogs are weighing the fact that Mom is going to make them go outside into the cold to go to the bathroom with the reward of getting a pre-breakfast snack before going back to bed.  The knowledge of future food is one of the most powerful motivators in our household, though on those subfreezing mornings, even the sound of a bag of treats shaking from downstairs can't budge Grover out from under his cozy blanket. 

Dogs go out, dogs get a snack, and then dogs are put back in their bed(s) so Momma can get ready for school.  They immediately jump up on the human bed and snuggle with me. If all goes to plan, when my alarm goes off, I know all is right in the world if I feel the warm-water bottle sensation of fuzzy companions wedged against some part of my body.  Sometimes the pups get real creative and lie directly against either side of me, and when I go to shut off my alarm, I find myself pinned in like a mummy under the coffin lid of compressed sheets. 

"Dad, just toss a blanket over us and we'll call it a night."
I am beckoned out of bed by the dogs. My alarm signals to them that breakfast is imminent, and that fact really pumps them into full gear.  Falcor, the baby, will begin to crawl up my stomach, kneading his paws up my chest to prevent me from pressing the snooze button a second time.  If I do press it a again, he daintily rearranges himself so as to sit his ass down right on top of my head.  He will not be ignored. I get up, feed the dogs, and then go through my morning routine while the dogs once again climb the stairs to go back to our bedroom for the third time.  Now it's just the two dogs sleeping in the human bed.  You get the feeling that maybe we are huge huge suckers as pet owners. Guilty as charged.  

I take the dogs out one last time before puppy proofing the downstairs (closing all the doors and putting away anything that could resemble a snack, like peanut butter or leather boots). Easy peasy it is not.  But, despite all the moving parts, my wife and I do have this choreography down to a sort of half-asleep ballet where everyone gets their morning needs met with as little actually human contact pre-coffee as possible.  For what it's worth, weekends are a totally different story. 

Before I went to bed Thursday evening, Grover was giving me major attitude. After taking both dogs out for pre-bedtime bathroom break (admittedly, a great number of our daily events revolve around our dogs' bowels), I tucked them in, went back to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and then crawled into bed myself.  But Grover wasn't sleeping.  Grover was sitting up straight, just next to my side of the bed.  Not making any noise, just staring.  Knowing that in the end his gaze would overpower my ability to ignore him.

Who me?
"Ok, Grove," I said out loud, "Let's do this." 

We exited the bedroom together, my wife and puppy left behind, cuddled beneath layers of warmth. 

"Go poopie you little fucker," I said as I wrapped my robe around my exposed body, already resigned to the fact that this dog won't shit unless I went out into the night air with him.  Some vicious pit-bull, huh?

I slipped my bartending Crocs on to complete my Ebenezer Scrooge-like ensemble as my very alive Jacob Marley led me into the frigid outside.  Grover trotted out into the yard. Sniff. Sprints to the back of the yard. Sniffs. Sprints to a new area, and finally dropped off the kids.  He then ran at full bore back to the house and through the doggie-door. Leaving me alone, in my robe, outside on the porch at 2am. It would take me a little longer than usual to fall asleep.  

To my chagrin, this also turned out to be one of those hideous mornings when my need to go to the bathroom woke me up well before my alarm.  Before opening my eyes, I pushed my perception out to my extremities to sense for any warm spots that might give me an indication of what time it is.  With no dogs on the bed, I kicked my leg backward towards my wife's side of the bed.  My toes hit the pocket of warm air that surrounds her body and I sigh at the growing reality that it is like, 5am, and nobody has even begun to rustle.  This is not going to be a typical morning. 

I got up. The previous night I had to move Grover's bed directly next to where I sleep because something during our late night poop trip had spooked him.  He is a huge baby.  I narrowly avoided starting my day by stepping on my non-human soulmates head. My memory doesn't start rebooting til it gets coffee, so really, not stepping on my dog was foot placement crap shoot.  My eyes were only 25% open, both because I was not fully awake and because I put goop in them before I go to bed to keep them from drying out.  Until I wash my face in the morning, I am more blind than not.  

As I turned to go into the bathroom, an intruder popped out of the doorway I was trying to enter. 

"Holy shit!" If I had already drunk my coffee this would have been a full on shriek.  Pre-caffiene it was a determined statement of fear. My eye popped open to 75%, only the goo keeping them from full bug out. 

"Hey love," came the soothing voice of my wife, who seconds ago I was sure was in bed next to me. "I didn't mean to wake you when I got out of bed." 

We were both now standing in the bathroom, it was full dark outside, which was additionally confusing for me.  

"Wait. You're getting up for work?" 

Erin loves me like this.  I'm all snuggly and confused and in need of parental guidance.  I'm not sure if she understood what I was confused about, but she definitely knew I had gone astray.  She spoke softly and clearly and without sarcasm, though I could still hear the amusement behind her eyes, even in my fuzzy state. 

"I'm getting up for work, the boys are on their beds, and you can go right back to bed now." 

Sounded like a plan.  I peed and follow my wife's instructions to the letter, though the whole scenario happened so fast and was so jarring that as I tried to refind that feeling of calm serenity to send me back to dream time, I was already misremembering the events that recently transpired.  Is my wife coming back to bed? Why aren't the dogs up? Did I just defend us from an intruder? 

A dreamscape of similar questions rolled around my semi-conscious state for the next hour and a half.   When my alarm sounded, it felt like I had just spoken to Erin moments ago, though she had long since left for school. I made my way downstairs, fed the dogs that were glued to my ankles, and went to the bathroom to wash my face.  

We'll, ahhhh, we'll stay here.
Once the water warms up, it only takes a few splashes to get my vision back online.  This morning, after taking that first investigative look in the mirror, I glanced down to see three red splotches on the sink. Blood.  I looked in the mirror again -- no blood. I ran my fingers along my scalp and back to check for any leakage -- none.  Was everything OK with Erin?  I knew I stumbled across her earlier, but I couldn't remember her expression or anything she'd said.  It wasn't like her to leave blood lying around, more than anything she's just too fastidious to let that kind of mess stand.  In fairness to me, blood is on my "must clean" list too.  

I grabbed a piece of toilet paper and began spot checking my body for possible injuries.  Finding nothing, I blew my nose before discarding the paper in the trash. As the bloody rag fell toward the garbage, I realized the origin of all this mysterious red food coloring.  A good ol' nose bleed to keep me on my toes.  This was all too much for me to take considering I hadn't even lifted a mug to my lips.  Double checking to be sure I wasn't still leaking fluids, I poured the real black gold into a cup decorated with a cute dog cartoon on the side.  I sat in the downstairs love seat with my computer on my lap, trying in desperation to get back into my morning routine. As steam rose from the coffee beside me, I lifted the evaporating refreshment to my lips.  I swigged a large gulp of black coffee, the liquid cascading down the waterfall of my throat, the cushions on the love-seat becoming an oasis on which to formally begin my day, morning be damned. 

No comments:

Post a Comment