Friday, May 02, 2008

Routine


I reach over and turn the alarm clock off at 2 minutes before 5AM. I usually do. Shaking off a night's sleep is made easier as Callie stirs, approaches and kisses my face. I rub her ears as a silent good morning. I throw the covers back and get out of bed. Covers back in place, I cross the bedroom to my dresser and snatch up the clothes I laid out the night before. Five steps later I am in the master bathroom, lights on, with the door closed behind me. I turn on the shower radio, and after relieving myself, I put my clothes in a pile on top of the toilet and add my towel to the pile. While the water warms up, I take my vitamin pill and rinse my mouth out with mouthwash. Silently, but to the strains of Bon Jovi, I enter the shower and slide the curtain shut behind me as hot water washes over me.
Seven minutes later the shower curtain slides open. I reach out, grab the towel and dry myself off. Having done so, I put the wet towel up and over the shower rod so it can dry. I turn around and begin to fill the sink with hot water while I use the hand towel to wipe away the fog on the mirror. As the sink fills I open the door to allow Doyle in. Doyle is our cat. He's been waiting for me since he heard the shower stop. He walks in and jumps up on the vanity. I remove the shaving cream can from the linen closet, put a golf ball-sized amount of foam in my hand and put the can back. I lather my face while Doyle watches.
I'm still getting used to Doyle's place in my morning rituals. This honor used to belong to India. Since her passing, Doyle has slowly but surely been integrating himself into India's routines. I love having Doyle there with me. But sometimes it makes me melancholy.
As I shave I listen to the same commercials that cycle each morning at this time on MIX 98.5. Two minutes later and I am wiping shaving cream remnants from my face and neck. Doyle watches in mute fascination as the water in the sink goes down the drain.
His head turns quickly as I open the drawer with my deodorant in it. I close it quickly so his lightning-fast claws can't grab anything shiny or interesting from it. I do the same when I put the deodorant back.
Now, as I get dressed, Doyle reaches out with his front claws to try and grab some part - any part - of my clothes that moves by him. If its a button down shirt then sleeves are the threat. If its a pullover then the collar is fair game. Most times he misses. Sometimes he doesn't and I have to untangle a claw or two from the threads. He thinks this is fun. Me? Not so much.
Once dressed, I'm back in the linen closet getting some hair gel. I run it through my hair and quickly decide whether to brush, comb, or just style it with my hand. Brush. A quick look in the mirror. Done. I turn off the radio, grab my underclothes off the floor and open the door. Doyle exits before me and runs into Callie, who has been sleeping in the hall for the last five minutes or so. They regard each other while I put on the hall light, I go back into the bedroom and put my clothes into the hamper. I look at the clock. It's 5:18AM.
Shoes on first, which is followed by my drawer of essentials. Keys in front left pocket. Kleenex and cellphone in the right. Wallet in my back right pocket, watch on my left wrist. A single dab of cologne cinches the deal. Hall light off, Callie follows me downstairs. Doyle has already beat us there.
At the bottom of the stairs I look out the windows at the front door. The sun is just beginning to rise in the east and the sky behind Billy's house is alive with color. I smile inwardly. Down the main hall into the kitchen and I turn on the main set of lights. Doyle is waiting to taunt Callie before I get their food ready. I move around them and walk over to the far counter to the right of the sink. I plug in the coffee maker and hit the "ON" switch. The smell of morning goodness begins to fill the kitchen as I go into the lower cabinets and get a can of cat food. Today's choice - salmon. On the other side of the counter (on the left side of the sink) I prepare Doyle's food (read: use pull tab and dump it into the dish) while he waits anxiously for it up on the "L" shaped part of the counter, to the right of the coffee maker. As he starts eating I reach over Doyle's head and remove the box of Murphy's Oatmeal, the box of brown sugar, a cereal bowl and the measuring cup. Back between the sink and the stove I measure and mix the oatmeal and sugar into the bowl. Then I grab Malcolm's food bowl.
Malcolm has already, quietly, come downstairs and waited near the kitchen table. Callie is laying down nearby. her energy level is wildly inconsistent. One minute Callie is chasing Doyle around the kitchen; the next she is resting while I prepare food. For Malcolm there is no resting. If food is being touched by human hands then he is there, wide-awake and ready for action. Drop something! Look at me! I'm right here! Drop something!
I fill Malcolm's bowl and place it on the small counter to the left of the fridge. Over the fridge is the cabinet that holds the pet pills, among other things. I place one pill (he has a thyroid condition) in Malcolm's bowl and walk it back over to his food stand. As I leave him to his breakfast Callie jumps up and playfully touches my right hand with her nose. Its her turn to eat and she knows it. Same routine, different pill ("puppy Prozac"), and I place her food in her food stand. She slides down to the floor and waits for me to give her the okay to eat. I do and she does.
While the pets eat I move my bowl over to the counter next to the fridge. I measure out the milk that goes into the bowl and place the measuring cup into the sink. Next I remove a juice glass from the cabinet and put 1/4 OJ and 3/4 cranberry juice into the glass. I stir the oatmeal with the spoon and then place both the spoon and the glass on the kitchen table near this week's TIME magazine. The breakfast bowl now goes into the microwave. The dogs are done eating.
I retrieve their leashes from hooks at the cellar stairs and get their attention. Malcolm is watching Doyle intently, hoping that the cat doesn't finish his meal. If he doesn't, then Malcolm gets the lion's share of the scraps and Callie can lick the bowl. I put their leashes on but before we go outside I program "2:30" on the microwave and hit start. We three head out the back door as the microwave irradiates my breakfast.
We walk down the backstairs, across the driveway and into the back yard through the iron gate. Callie gets right to business while Malcolm is a throw of the dice. If Malcolm hasn't done anything by the time Callie is done then too bad for him and in we go. I know that Katie will take him out after she gets up.
Back inside the house Malcolm looks eagerly at Doyle's space on the counter. With Doyle gone Malcolm is waiting to see what food, if any, has been left behind. He's in luck. There's a small bit left. I shake most of it into his bowl. He eats that while Callie gets to lick the cat's bowl.
While they snack I add ":30" to the microwave to finish my food prep. I use kitchen cleaner on the counters and completely wipe down all the areas that we have used thus far. The chime of the microwave tells me my own breakfast is finally done. I clean and rinse Doyle's food bowl and put it back until tomorrow. My own food bowl in hand, I cross the floor and sit down in my seat at the table.
I flip open TIME to where I left off reading yesterday. I absentmindedly stir my cereal together as I do so. I take a bite, I read a paragraph, I take a bite, I turn a page. And so on. Suddenly my bowl is empty. I drain the glass of juice in one long draught. I set TIME aside for tomorrow morning.
I stand up and see that Doyle is watching me from the side table, like always. The dogs have retreated back upstairs. Callie has gone to the guest room bed and Malcolm onto his soft bed at the foot of my own. I clean out the cereal bowl and place everything in the dishwasher. The coffee smells good but I'm not in the mood yet. I pull down a coffee mug and leave it out for Katie. I turn off the kitchen light as I head back upstairs.
At the top of our stairs I turn right, open the office door and restart the computer. Then morning light is coming right into the east-facing window in this room. Its a cozy spot. As the computer is warming up I head back into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Once done, I walk into the bedroom to get my glasses from off the bedside table. Back in the office, I sit down, glasses in place, and log in. Doyle has joined me. He's sitting on the sea chest looking out the window. It's 5:50AM.
E-mail gets checked first, then my usual litany of geek-sites. Ain't It Cool News, Wizards of the Coast, Star Trek sites, Whedonesque and finally Boston.com. When I've run the checklist I go to YAHOO! and play "Dynomite" until 6:25AM. At this time I switch user names to Katie's preferred address and close up the office.
I walk into the bedroom and give Katie a kiss on her forehead. She stirs. We talk for a few moments, usually about what the dogs did and what the weather will be. Soon afterwards I head downstairs, put my jacket on and throw my courier bag over my left shoulder. A quick shout goodbye up the stairs, a drowsy response back and I am out the door.
Face-first into the early morning sun.

4 Comments:

Blogger FoxInDetox said...

That was too easy...

7:53 AM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Letera said...

Love the sun coming up on the building. This is your view from your house. Nice. And the water. I miss the water badly.
You have a house full. Wow what a routine and your a neat freak it sounds like. Your a good dad to your animals and daughter. Nice

9:29 AM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

Letera, actually that picture is taken from the water in Boston Harbor, facing the city. I live 5 miles inland from here as the crow flies.

9:46 AM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Bridget said...

Hmmm...I knew you were a creature of habit, but I somehow missed that it had gone to this extent. Do you ever put your keys in your front right pocket? Just for the fun of it? My favorite line is the last one. I can see that one in my head as you come out onto your front porch.

8:33 PM, May 02, 2008  

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