Sunday, July 20, 2008

Routines

It's Sunday morning around here. The larvae are still sleeping. The Dawg and I have gone through most of our morning routines which prompted me to think some about that.

These days, routines take on more importance to me. I suppose that they provide the structure that I wrap my time around. In the old days, when I worked, routines were forced upon me. Now my life is much more free form, so I get to choose my own little practices (well, sometimes I get to choose).

In writing of these things, the first problem is where to begin. Does a day begin the first second after midnight or when you get up. This is an important distinction for me because there are a couple of routines that I must deal with that occur in those dark and silent hours when most are asleep and dreaming.

I wake up at least twice between midnight and six in the morning. On at least one of those occasions, I get up and peel off the soaking T-shirt that clings to my sweaty body and lay it over the edge of the bathtub before sitting down and giving my bladder a well deserved emptying. I sit because its dark and I don't have to aim and its easier than standing when in a partial wake mode. As I sit there I feel my body cool as the sweat slowly evaporates. Then it is up and into the closet for a dry T-shirt and then back to bed - trying to avoid the wet, sweaty patches.

When I can finally persuade myself to rise for the day there is a similar trip to the bathroom where another shirt is left on the alter of night-sweats and a fresh one donned along with a pair of raggity sweat shorts before exiting the bedroom and performing another morning routine - shutting off the lights that illuminate the stairs going down to the lower level.

Then it's into the kitchen, open the patio doors, hang up the hummingbird feeder that was brought in the night before to keep it from being emptied by raccoons, then fill the tea kettle with water and put it on the burner to heat before heading to the laundry room to greet the old Dawg.

Dawg and I have our morning routine down pat. I open the door, she slowly rises, stretches, shakes herself a bit to send the last shards of sleep flying, comes over for an ear scratch, and then starts prancing excitedly for me to open the door and let her out into the day. As I go through this routine every morning, I have my own internal litany that I go through. I silently thank the universe that I have the opportunity to spend one more day with this smelly, grizzled, gassious creature that seems to be my personal, hairy, itchy guardian angel.

Then it is out the door to explore the morning as we make the walk down the drive. Me to retrieve the morning paper. Her to chase whatever form of wildlife might be visible, smell all of the interesting things that only dawgs can smell, and to at some point do her morning pee (and sometimes poop, but usually that comes later).

Having gotten the paper, I slowly walk back to the house swatting at the deer flies that buzz bomb my head at this time of year. The dawg runs around on her own routines, meeting me at the back door knowing that breakfast awaits just on the other side. She and I then go through that routine which never varies. I put two scoops of dried dawg food into her bowl, run a little water over it and set it down. I then pick up her water bowl and dump it out and then refill it. She always stops eating and backs away a little as I set the water bowl down next to the food bowl. There is some kind of dawgy etiquette going on there, but I don't know what it is.

While she eats, I grab the paper and continue with my routine of coffee making. The paper goes down on the kitchen table as I walk over to the corner of the counter where the little appliance garage is. I extract the coffee grinder and the plastic tub of beans. I measure out six scoops of beans (down from eight - trying to find the sweet spot of coffee production - enough but not too much) into the grinder, plug it in and turn it on.

While it noisily goes about its business, I gather up yesterdays coffee and filter from the Melita on the counter, throw it away in the kitchen garbage (should I compost it?), and prepare a new filter for the Melita cone.

By then, the grinder is done and the ground beans go into the new filter and the cone goes on top of the glass carafe. The water is boiling by now and it is slowly poured over the coffee in a sequence of about four pours. While each pour is draining through the grounds, I prepare the thermos and find a mug for myself. When the last of the boiling water has been poured and drained, the mug is filled and the remainder poured into the thermos.

Then with mug in hand, I grab the paper and walk out onto the screen porch to one of the rockers, coffee on the side table, feet up on the cushioned stool and I begin to read.

That first mug of coffee usually sees me through the first section of the paper. The second mug gets me up off my duff and if it is a week day, down to the computer in my office to download the financial's from the day before and to make sure any bills that are due are covered. If it is a Sunday or Monday, there is no financial data to download, so I may check emails or like today, compose a post. Then it is back upstairs for a little more paper reading before preparing my breakfast in my routine fashion (of course).

If you have stuck around this far, I can only assume that you either have no life of your own and are living vicariously through me, or you hope in vain that I will actually write something clever and justify the amazing amount of time you have spent reading this entry, or you are genuinely curious about what I eat for breakfast every day. Well, here you go.

I cut a slice of homemade bread a little less than an inch thick. I place it in the toaster and while it is toasting I pour a large glass of orange juice, collect my morning ration of pills from the little dispenser on the counter and carry the pills and juice out to the table on the screen porch. Then it is back inside for a small plate which is laid in wait on the counter next to the toaster in preparation for the exiting moment the toaster pops its treasure up.

Before that happens though, there are more routine steps to go through. There is the wooden tweezers to get from the utensil jar on the counter (for grabbing the hot toast from the toaster), the teaspoon to get from the silverware drawer and the olive oil to retrieve from the liquids cupboard just above the toaster. When all is laid out in its proper place, the toaster pops, the tweezers tweeze, the olive oil is poured into the teaspoon with a little slop over, and the teaspoon distributes the oil over the piece of toast. Then a quick clean up (oil into the cupboard, spoon into the dishwasher) before carrying the toast out to the table where it is consumed with relesh while reading the remains of the paper with the routine wrapped up by the downing of the pills assisted by the orange juice.

There you have my morning routine. It varies little with the seasons. When it is inclement or too cold to be on the screen porch, the kitchen table serves as an alternative location. Sometimes I am out of orange juice and have to drink plain water, but all in all, that is how I start my day.

At some point, usually as I am ready to take my first sip of coffee, Dawg comes up to me and nudges my arm with her nose signaling a need to go out. Our summer routine on this has me letting her out the laundry room door and then returning to my seat on the porch. When she is ready to come back in, she comes around to the back of the house and up on the deck outside the door to the porch where she will wait for me to let her in. In the winter, I simply wait at the laundry room door as her excursions are shorter and I am not going to be sitting out on the screen porch in my skivvies to let her in.

All of these things will change of course in the relatively near future as we relocate to our new home up north. Dawg and I will have to redefine our procedures for her toiletry needs. Our new yard will be much smaller and more public. There are actually dawg katchers up there who will snatch up dawgs not on a leash. So the days of letting her out the door and not worrying will be over.

We will figure things out though. New routines will be established that we can all count on and measure our time by. If you hang in there, I will let you know what they are.

4 Comments:

Blogger lime said...

maybe i have no life, maybe my own routines are in such disarray this summer that looking at yours provides some sort of soothing rhythm.

3:07 PM, July 20, 2008  
Blogger Kristie said...

I keep reading because you paint such routine details so beautifully, and always with a twinkle in your eye. I've always enjoyed your writing. This piece is no exception. I'll have to tell the Mr. about olive oil on toast; he usually just does plain butter, but I think he'd dig that.

3:34 PM, July 20, 2008  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Reading my fav blogs ARE part of my morning and evening routine! Plus sometimes I have no life lol.... Olive oil on toast? Thats a new one for breakfast. I may have to try that. Don't you just adore the way our pets keep us honest? If not for them I would maybe stay in bed past 5:30 am~~

9:07 AM, July 23, 2008  
Blogger Moosekahl said...

I would relish in routine right now. Routine might be nice.

Stop over, I had to do a little awarding this evening.

9:34 PM, July 24, 2008  

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