Ever since I haven't had to get up early and go to a job I hate, mornings have become my favorite part of the day. I have settled into a summer routine I really like, and I will enjoy it while I can, as I know it is only temporary.
I feed the dogs first thing, of course, and that is not as easy as it sounds, believe me. Oh, Rufus is easy enough. I pour a half cup of dry dog food into his bowl, and he's munching away before I even start to prepare Lucie's breakfast. Lucie requires a different type of dry dog food, but only a quarter cup. To that I add a quarter cup of canned Hill's Prescription Diet k/d©. I break this up into small pieces, add water to it, microwave it for 15 seconds, then stir. It is now ready to be given to Lucie, and she is ready to eat it. At least she seems to really like this concoction, and generally eats it all. Rufus has long since finished his breakfast and been given a treat by this time, and he watches and waits for Lucie to finish eating.
You might think at that point I would be finished with the dogs' petit dejeuner, but you would be wrong. Next Lucie receives a half squirt of salmon oil on a teaspoon. She has been refusing this lately, but when she does eat it, she pushes about half of the stinky, sticky oil off the spoon and onto my outstretched palm. Yum. On odd-numbered days (the 1st, the 3rd, etc.) Lucie gets a Glycoflex tablet and 1/4 of a baby aspirin. (Rufus gets a little treat, as well, so he doesn't feel left out.) The last week of every month, Lucie takes antibiotics twice a day, which I administer with a bit of peanut butter - Rufus gets to lick the spoon. And, finally, yesterday being the first of the month, was really a triple-word-score day as the dogs also had to have their flea and tick medication. I know you're probably thinking I am exhausted by that time and ready to go back to bed, but, actually, my coffee, which I somehow managed to start is ready, and it is finally my turn to eat breakfast.
Although my morning cup of coffee is crucial (I get blinding headaches without it) I am generally not much of a breakfast eater. This is not because I don't like breakfast, really, but because I am too lazy (and befuddled) to make anything elaborate first thing in the morning. I will usually have some type of granola bar, but lately I have re-discovered an old favorite - cheese and peanut butter crackers. I used to always have a pack of these for my "deskfast" in the mornings when I worked at the university, but I had left them behind with everything else. I had some at Julie's a month or so ago, and I am hooked on them, for the time being, anyway.
I read the Baltimore Sun as I eat my breakfast. Although it is not the Plain Dealer, which I have read all my life, I think it is important to read a local newspaper, and I like it fine for what it is. And the important thing is that after I finish reading the paper, I can work the daily Sudoku. It was a happy day when I first started getting the Sun and realized they carry a Sudoku every day but Sunday on the comics page. I try not to let the tone of my day be set by how well I do on this early morning mental exercise. You see, the thing is that early in the week - Monday, Tuesday, even Wednesday - the puzzles are easy and I can almost always solve them unless I am not paying attention and put an "8" in the same box with an "8", for example. By Friday, however, it is not so easy, and I have learned to walk away from the breakfast table without crumpling and throwing the offensive puzzle across the room. Not a good way to start the day - you see what I mean?
After a quick check of the interwebs, I don my gardening togs and head outside. Most mornings I have to water everything we have planted this year as we get almost no rain here. The worst part is watering the south (or Iris's side, as we like to call it) of the house, so I do that first. It has gotten sun all day long the day before, of course, and it is dry, dry, dry. I have to haul five, full, heavy watering cans of water from the spigot at the front of the house before I am satisfied that everything will survive for another day. Then it is on to the north side of the house, where I fill the bowl in our Japanese garden with water, and water the miniature shrubs when they need it. I water the two struggling containers (even though I am mad at them) and on to my favorites, the climbing roses. The plants were so tiny when we got them in the mail, and I am so surprised and pleased by their progress. Maybe next year they will even bloom... I hope they are like the roses we had climbing next to the back door of our house on Denison. Those roses were so beautiful and so fragrant that the little back porch just filled with that smell when they were blooming. Then, yes, I water all the things in the back yard, pausing frequently to ascertain where Rufus is, and sending him in the house when he inevitably starts munching on the mulch.
Today, though, I didn't have to water all the things because we had a wonderful, soaking thunderstorm last night that did it for me. So I was able to wander around the back yard with my yellow bucket and my gardening tools, picking and pruning, at will. I also have to stop and yell at the dogs to get out of the tomatoes, a recent development. They are looking for grape tomatoes that have fallen off the vines, and I know that they eat them. You don't want to know how I know that. Lucie doesn't hear me when I yell, of course, so I have to walk over to her and scoot her away, which always startles her and makes me feel bad. Pretty soon I get tired of yelling at them and send them in the house, which I think they appreciate.
The time always comes when I am drenched in sweat (sorry, but gardening is not pretty) and ready to go in, as well. I bring in whatever I have picked for the day and set it in the kitchen sink for a good wash. Then I go off for a good wash myself. I don't think I have gotten as dirty in many years as I get here on a regular basis. But, you know, I like it. It feels good and honest to me. And I know that although this hot, humid, growing season will last longer here than it does in Ohio, it will not last forever, and I intend to enjoy every morning of it.