Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creatures of Habit

Some folks have a regular routine that they follow every day -- breakfast at the same time, lunch at the same time, dinner at the same time, washing on Monday, ironing (ironing? on Tuesday), dusting on Wednesday, etc.

I have never been that kind of a person, and more's the pity for it.  But I do have a nighttime routine, one perhaps I wish I did not have.

The night starts out with the dog sandwich.  I settle myself on the couch like the patty in a hamburger.  Lizzie, who lies on the table behind the couch is the top part of the bun.  Sheila, after she walks, first west, and then east in front of my prone figure so I can skritch first her backside and then her head and chest, lies down on the floor alongside the couch and is the bottom part of the bun.  Polly, who immediately crawls under my blanket and curls herself into a ball on about my waist, is the "pickle."

We all fall asleep like this.  At some point, Lizzie moves to a chair, Sheila may or may not crawl under a table, and Polly may or may not move to either a chair or the table that Lizzie has left.

At some point midway through the night I wake up.  I'm wide awake.  I sit up and Polly moves to the spot I vacated and I cover her with the blanket.  I sit on the side of the couch and try to determine if I'm wide awake-awake, or if I'm just sorta wide awake.  If I decide I'm sorta wide awake and could really fall back asleep, I move my pillow to the opposite end of the couch and lie down there stealing a little corner of the blanket from Polly.

However, if I'm wide awake-awake (or if I have to visit the bathroom), I then move to the recliner in the family room, passing en route through the kitchen so I can see what time it is (hoping for 4 a.m., fearing for 2 a.m.), where I cover up with a quilt and try to go back to sleep.  After awhile I hear the pitter patter of little feet and there is Polly.  She's weird, this little dog.  If I'm asleep (or feigning sleep) she leaps right up onto the chair.  If she knows I'm awake, she sits there and whines and whines until I encourage her to jump up and then she makes half a dozen 'practice' jumps before she actually gets onto the chair, as if she's not sure she can really make it that high.

Once in the chair, she digs her way under the quilt and squirms and squirms and squirms until she finds the place she wants to sleep and the comfortable position she wants to sleep in.  Sometimes this involves walking across my stomach and settling on the right side instead of the left.

If I am not asleep, I am aware that within half an hour, Lizzie has come in from the living room and settled herself in the other recliner (If I am asleep, I don't notice this until morning). Sheila may or may not arrive wanting to go outside.  I open the door for her and then she, too, settles in the family room, on the Chihuahua-sized bed there (I really must buy a bigger dog bed for that spot!).   We are, after all, a "pack" and the pack sleeps together.

As for me, it's a toss-up whether I go back to sleep or not.  Sometimes I have the TV off but if an hour has passed and I'm not asleep, I may turn on the Hallmark Channel, with reruns of Golden Girls, Frasier and Cheers.  When I Love Lucy comes on, I know it's 5 a.m. and I change the channel.  For some reason I just can't stand that show.  I know it's the most popular show in television history, but I'm not into either slapstick or put down humor and Lucy's voice is so irritating it's like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.  So after 5 a.m., it's the local news up until The Today Show.

Sometimes, like last night when I went to sleep early, I may watch something that was recorded during the night instead of the Hallmark line-up.  Or I may choose something that I know is boring in the hope it will put me to sleep (any Jane Austen movie is sure to do that)

If I'm lucky, at some point during all this TV, I will fall asleep.  But on nights like tonight, when I've tried to sleep for 3 hours, I end up writing blog entries at 5 a.m., disappointing Sheila who was sure that when I stood up, I was headed back to the couch (poor Sheila is so attentive and gets so frustrated with my nocturnal habits!)

When morning comes, the dogs are incredibly polite.  They don't move until I do.  With my iPad at my elbow, I can check e-mail, Facebook, and That's My Answer all without them realizing I'm awake.  I can (and have) gotten away with that for as late as 9 a.m., if Walt doesn't come downstairs.
But the second my hand hits the lever that lowers the leg rest of the recliner, Polly starts her "she's awake! she's awake!" bark, Sheila and Lizzie come running for morning loving and when I stand up I practically get knocked over by joyous dogs leaping on me, knowing that breakfast is about to be served.

Once dog breakfast has been served, all semblance of routine and order around here end and it's all random, except for Walt and me settling in to watch Jeopardy every night.

I guess this is what it is to be old and set in your ways, whether human or canine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. Dogs are so cool!