I had planned on writing a stinging essay regarding one of the topical news items of the day, but evidently life had very different plans. You see, my typical day is heavily involved with certain rituals that, if interrupted, threaten to derail my fragile state of balance. This is how it goes: I wake, drag our dog Birdie out of my side of the bed (yes, I usually have to sleep sideways at the foot of the bed) and take her out for her morning constitution. I learned long ago that if I waited to take her out until I had done MY morning constitution, she would not only relieved herself on and around the front door, she somehow would always manage to roll the cat Jack around in it against his will. So I always take Birdie out first and do the pee pee dance while she hunts for just the right spot to leave her leavings, but not before sniffing out the nocturnal wandering of all the other creatures in the neighborhood. Usually by the time Birdie is done, my bladder is about the size of Connecticut.
So then I get dragged back into the house, except before I am allowed to visit the toilet both Birdie and Jack expect their good morning treats. How this ritual got started is kind of fuzzy; I think it had something to do with the threat of using my coffee in a way for which it was not intended. After presenting them with the daily fatted calf I am free to tend to myself. God help me if I don’t close the door all the way. If I’m doing the standing thing, Birdie thinks I’ve turned into a water fountain and… well, it’s not pretty. Jack’s been known to take photos, too, but I have no idea how he manages to get them on Facebook. Thank goodness he doesn’t tag me. Hold on, I’m not done. If I’m doing (double entendre, fyi) a sit down job in the bathroom, the cat and dog play paper rock scissors to see who sits in my lap. A claw-bearing animal next to my legacy is not conducive to the relaxation needed to doo what I have to do. Thank goodness for inner happy places.
After surviving that necessary part of the morning – having everyone’s pipes cleaned out – I move into the coffee slash Facebook phase of my morning. It is as it sounds, dear reader. Funny, but some of my best self-depreciating, ironic, pithy humor happens while I’m working on getting both eyes open. When I was a kid, my mom told me that coffee helps open your eyes in the morning. I tried it, but it burned the hell out of my eyes. I’ve since learned that coffee works better internally. Thank goodness for Wikipedia. So, every morning I sip java and scroll through the inner recesses of my Facebook friends. I’m really surprised I’m not schizophrenic. This subject itself requires about forty seven more articles, but for the purpose of today’s rant, let’s just say I usually lose one to two hours of my life every morning browsing Facebook. Just like those alien abductees, to be exact.
I eventually rescue myself from Facebook’s addictive claws (just one more cute kitten video and I’ll be done) it’s time to wear the house animals out. My goal is to exhaust them to the point of near-comas so that I can crank out a couple of thousand words without having cat butt in my face and dog drool in my lap. So I go around the house gathering up every tennis ball I can find, no matter how ratty or deformed, and take my customary spot on the living room floor while Birdie runs in circles around me yapping in a tone that would make deaf people cringe. And then it begins. I throw a ball as hard as I can across the living room, through the dining room and into the kitchen, and Birdie gleefully chases after it. It is SOO fun watching her try to catch a tennis ball on a tile floor. Just like in the cartoons, seriously, with legs flailing about in fifteen different directions at once, her tail cartwheeling madly like a broken fan blade, sliding around like an ice skater on crack while trying to avoid slamming into cabinetry or butcher block table legs, her canine teeth snapping randomly in the air hoping the tennis ball lands near her snout. Don’t look at me that way. Birdie loves it! Sooner or later she snags the tennis ball and trounces back to me just in time for me to throw another one. This continues until 1) Birdie collapses in tongue-dragging bliss, 2) the tennis balls become so slobbed up I can’t hold on to them anymore, or 3) I run screaming out of the house while discarding my clothing and climb the nearest tree. It’s always a toss-up as to which one will manifest first.
Once Birdie’s had her tennis ball fix, she lays sprawled on the floor, her panting sounding very much like one of those old steam engines trying to make it up a hill. I moved on to my Mister Kitty Jack. Compared to Birdie, he’s a piece of cake (light on the frosting, please). A little cat nip, a couple of lizards from the back yard and he’ll leave me alone for the rest of the morning. The only drawback is when he actually catches one of the lizards and plops it on my keyboard while I’m working. I’ve had lizards take over typing my articles before, and some of them aren’t half bad. They do tend to get a little too political for my taste, though.
NOW I can sit down and concentrate on writing. Unless the warden wants me to go to the grocery store. Or if the yard needs mowing. Or if the honey-do list is found (God knows I’ve tried hiding it). Or if Facebook starts calling my mind with its evil seduction. Or if the news channel is showing a high speed chase or murder trial. Or if the sun is out. Or if the sun isn’t out.
At this rate I may never be able to write again. And who put a drool-saturated tennis ball into my hard drive?