Maggie slept on my bed at night for most of her adult life until fairly recently. Usually over the course of the night she’d find her way to the floor and sometimes fine her way bac to the bed sometime in the early hours of the morning. A few times I’ve had to lift her up since her days of making the jump on her own seem to be over. In the last couple of months, she’s opted to stay put at floor level. I suspect getting herself back down for a late-night patrol was getting to be as hard on her joints as jumping up to the bed was.
I’ve offered up steps and ramps, but even when lured with treats she doesn’t seem to have an interest. I’m not going to force the issue, so I suppose this is just the new normal night time arrangement.
As much as I don’t miss the nightly barrage of dog breath and farting, there’s definitely part of me that misses the convoluted positions I’d need to get myself into so she could sprawl. I miss the regular head butts requesting a few more ear scratches before sleep came on.
Everyone trips over themselves to post cute puppy pictures and talk about the challenges housebreaking and training. Not many talk about the unique and often more trying experiences of making home comfortable for an aging dog. I guess those posts don’t translate as well to social media. They certainly don’t garner as many awws and likes. I have to think if more people did have those discussions, it would help an awful lot of people be better prepared for some of the harder moments of pet ownership.
I’m an early riser. I like to blame the yearly days of my career when crawling out of bed at four in the morning was the only way to (usually) beat the worst of the day’s traffic heading into DC. That old 6:30 AM – 3:00 PM is still my favorite, though I haven’t worked it in years because various bosses have seemed to want people in their cubes as late into the afternoon as possible. From my seat, it’s always been the earlier in the day you can get out of the office, the better the day overall.
As much as I want to blame a job I haven’t had for almost 15 years for doing this to me, I really do like the mornings. It’s a few hours of enjoying the world before other people wake up and ruin the experience.
Maggie, an ever loyal and supportive chocolate lab, is usually game for being awake and moving. She’s never far from my side, gamely following along whether it’s cooking breakfast, sitting with a steaming cup of coffee on the porch on a cool fall morning, or working through email long before the sun’s up. Jorah, though, couldn’t be more of a contrast – a case study in “not a morning person.” He’ll grudgingly get up at 4:30 for the promise of breakfast, but lately he’s added a new trick to his repertoire.
After breakfast has been served and he’s patrolled the house while I’m showering, Jorah sneaks back to bed. Any of the five dog beds aren’t good enough, of course. He finds is way to my bed before burrowing into the covers and catching another hour or 90 minutes of sleep before really coming out to start his day.
We’ll see if this is a short-lived fluke or if it’s going to become part of his established routine. The only thing that’s certain is that the youngest member of the household appears to not share a love of mornings with the rest of us. Thank God he’s still fully supportive of our geriatric bedtime, so it’s not quite like having my own teenager.
I haven’t been sleeping worth a damn for the last week or so. It’s not a problem falling asleep. That happens fast enough, occasionally before I even have time to reach over and flick off the lamp. It’s more a problem of staying asleep once I get there. I’m naming the direct cause(s) as a free-roaming cat, a dog that fights for every inch of bed space and another whose snores seem to be able to shake the very ground, a trip to the bathroom occasionally, and my poor sleep addled brain trying to tune it all out. It hasn’t been a winning combination for a couple of nights now.
It’s starting to bleed through into things like a marvelously reduced attention span, incredibly hostile mood (yeah, more so than usual), grumbling at dogs who are doing dog stuff, and even, I suspect, the complete shit that passes for blog posts that I’ve been planting here. Sorry about that. I don’t know that coming clean about it makes those bad posts any better, but it’s at least honest.
There are things I could do that would probably improve my quality of sleep – banish the animals and the electronics from the bedroom, cut way back on liquid consumption after dinner, and generally try to decrease aggravation from 8PM onward. None of those things feel particularly likely to happen, though, so maybe we should all just get use to expecting me to be more surly and less coherent from here on out.
I’ve had a queen mattress for about as long as I can remember. Last night I found myself flopping down, too far past bed time for reasonable thought, onto a king sized affair. A normal person might have made a mental note of the comfort or it’s adaquacy for a threesome. Me? Yeah, my thought as sleep descended was “Wow, if I had a bigger bed I could get more dogs.”
Yep. This is precisely the kind of inner monologue I live with every single day.
If you thought movin’ on up was going to in any way interfere with regular installments of WAJTW you clearly don’t know me at all. In my head there’s always something worth bitching about. Like these:
1. Going bump in the night. Two nights in a row I was brought out of a dead sleep by something going bump in the night. It’s a fine little rush, but doesn’t make for a restful time. The third time it happened it wasn’t so much a bump as it was a persistent scratching… and that’s when reality sank in. My headboard and George’s tank align almost perfectly and are separated by two thicknesses of drywall and about three inches of air. Every time he did a little excavating or nudged the side of the tank I was hearing my tortoise loud and clear from half a foot away. That made it a lot less unnerving at 3AM, but didn’t do much at all to eliminate it’s the week’s most annoying “discover” here at Casa de Jeff v2.
2. High efficiency. I inherited a high efficiency front load washing machine. It’s an impressive piece of equipment, no doubt. However, with the old top load $300 Sears outlet model, when I set it to a normal wash cycle it would finish like clockwork in about 40 minutes. This new, improved, high efficiency model on the other hand just takes as much time as it decides it wants to take no matter what it’s set on. Could be 30 minutes. Could be 2 hours. Just depends. While my clothes, I’m sure, are cleaner than ever it sure would be nice to have a little predictability in how long getting them to that state might take.
3. Stupid dreams. So far this week I’ve had dreams about home networking, dreams about washing machines, and dreams about work. Whatever happened to dreams about Sports Illustrated cover models, I have no idea. All I know is going to bed is way less fun when it involves home improvement projects rather than scantily clad supermodels.
In a few short minutes we’ll bid a fond (and in many cases drunken) farewell to 2014 – a year mostly remarkable for the sheer volume of outright foolishness that we managed to cram into it as a species. It’s easy to assume that the whole bloody thing is going to hell in a handbag. Maybe it is. As batshit crazy as the universe seems bent on being, I still wouldn’t rather be anywhere other than right here, right now. Well, technically I suppose I’d rather be in bed, but that seems like a minor technical point. In fact I’m the only creature currently stirring in this particular house. Maggie and Winston had the good sense to go on to bed, knowing that 2015 will be here on time regardless of whether they were awake to greet it or not. In fact, following their lead seems like a better idea with each passing minute.
So before I plop down on the couch and doze off well before midnight, I’d like to wish everyone the very best in 2015. See ya bright and early tomorrow.
Maggie and Winston are two of the great joys of my life. With a few exceptions they’ve been around longer than most of the people I know and frankly I’d rather spend time hanging out with them than most two legged critters. For all the medical bills, late night trips to emergency vets, special foods, and number of times I’ve nearly killed myself stepping barefoot on a toy or pile of sick in the middle of the night, I can’t imagine a time when there won’t be dogs in my home.
With as much affection and regard as I hold for these noble animals, it’s helpful to be reminded from time to time that while dogs can give us the impression of being surprisingly smart and adaptive, they can also be incredibly stupid creatures. Take for instance, my Maggie – the sweetest, most gently disposed Labrador God ever put on this green earth. Since she was a puppy she’s had an innate ability to almost predict my thoughts – which way I’m going to turn, what room I’m headed to, or when dinner is about to be served. This morning, though, I woke up to find she has chewed through my comforter at some point in the night and somehow managed to get her head stuck in the resulting hole. I wish I had the wherewithal at 5AM to snap a picture because it was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever actually seen in person… a 50 pound lab wearing what amounted to a queen sized barber’s cape with a tell-tale look of guilt on her fuzzy little face.
This can only mean at some point in the early hours of the morning, the thought that this was a good idea when through her baseball sized brain. Apparently she’s not as good at independent decision-making as I’d been giving her credit for being. Instead, it just makes me wonder what else she’s up to while I’m catching a few hours of shuteye. Then again, it’s probably one of those things I’m better off not knowing.
This is going to seem like a really minor detail, but for the last 7 years, my schedule as been 6:30-3:00. Start early, end early get back to the house with plenty of day left. Now we all know that I’m a creature of habit, but even I was surprised at how pushing things back just an hour would throw off my day. That’s not really a complaint per se, just an observation. Getting to the house after 5:00 is just downright strange at the moment. Once it settles in as part of the new normal, all will be well. After all, it is sort of nice not to necessarily want to go to bed at 9:00 most nights. With this new schedule, I push it back as far as 10:00 or even 10:30 if I’m feeling froggy. That’s right, we’re living on the edge here at the top of the Bay. Don’t ever let it be said that I’m not willing to broaden my horizons.
I don’t mind being tired when I have a good reason. Things haven’t been unusually busy at the office, the house has pretty well come together, there isn’t anything just sitting out there screaming to be done right now, today. Everything is utterly and completely “normal” and I wonder sometimes if that isn’t when I get tired. It’s like I need something causing a degree of chaos to keep a stable level of adrenalin in the system. When things aren’t running a thousand miles an hour, all I want to do is crawl into bed and take a nap. Actually, that sounds like a fantastic idea. If anyone needs me, I’ll be sleeping like a stone.