My Dog Stinks and Other Reasons You Can’t Come Over
The app on my phone says I have 7 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes, and 4 seconds left before I go back to work for the new school year. I definitely have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, my favorite (ok, only) son is a freshman and will be with me every day all day at the same high school where I work now, and I never get tired of him being nearby. However, on the other hand, I’ve had a rather horrible summer [what with the dog deaths and dog bites that caused me straight-up heartache over the last two months].
Nevertheless, as I do every year during the months when I don’t have to report to work each day, I develop some really bad personal habits. By the time August rolls around, I begin to actively worry about the discomfort that 5:30 a.m. is going to bring me, so much so that now I’m not even sleeping well at all; the stress of my backwards and excessive sleeping habits weighing heavily on me. I mean, my circadian rhythms are on vacation, too. Don’t believe me? Here was my day yesterday:
I rolled over for the very first time at about 10:30 a.m. and that’s only because my yellow lab Scout was about to pee his dog-pants. I lumbered zombie-like to the kitchen and made a full pot of coffee just for myself and waited while Scout did his business. Then, fresh cup in hand, Scout and I returned to bed (the covers were still warm) and watched fifteen minutes of TV. I made sure Hamas and the Israelis were still fighting and waited in terror for ebola to come to America. Once those things were verified, I retrieved my second cup of coffee and then returned once again to bed.
I talked to my dear friend Jena on the phone for an entire two hours and thirty-three minutes. We laughed, caught up on our families, (I retrieved and then downed my *third* cup of coffee), cried a little about our sweet kids growing up too fast, told funny stories, and gossiped with each other uninterrupted until well after lunchtime. She has clearly established the same bad teacher habits as I have.
Scout needed food, as did I, so I reluctantly clambered out of the covers and properly made my bed like I do every day (remember Ben Stiller’s pillow scene in Along Came Polly? That’s me). I devotedly fed him a gluttonous bowl of dog food and then he and I shared a sweet juicy peach together as I checked my Facebook and Twitter and tinkered on this website.
I played Smokey Robinson on Pandora while I peeled and squished another dozen peaches for my mom to put on top of ice cream, just because I love her. I folded a load of clothes from the dryer, but, if I’m honest, that was the only housework I could manage all day long. I answered my first text message of the day from a girlfriend asking if I’d like to go to an antique store and walk around. It definitely sounded appealing, and my lazy inner person knew it was good, but after finally showering at 2:00 in the afternoon, I decided instead to climb into a clean pair of pajamas and resume more nothingness. I considered inviting my friend over to my house to hang out with some binge-tv but when I looked at Scout, who needs a bath, and eyed my Jenga temple of dirty dishes in the sink, I decided I didn’t want to make myself, my dog, or my kitchen presentable for company. Instead I took a nap as reruns of Sex and the City on E! soothed me back to sleep like a lullaby.
I opened one eye at about 4:00 p.m., perhaps even 5:00 because I do not pay attention to time in my solitary confinement. I threw one of my delicious prepackaged salads into the biggest glass bowl I own and ate the whole thing by myself, followed by a few Oreo cookies. I returned more text messages and checked my Facebook, et al, again. I unfolded my favorite freshly washed and dried afghan, smelling of clean linen, and watched two episodes of Dexter, silently wishing Ben was home to watch it with me. (If I waited on him to finish the series, I would die of old age because he is never, ever home.)
By 9:30 p.m. the most well-rested person in the world decided to crawl into bed for the night. I watched thirty more minutes of the news and made sure the Israelis and Hamas were still fighting and that yes, in fact, ebola was finally in America, and I read my latest iBook for about ten minutes until I fell off to sleep. Scout did, too. And so to quote Ice Cube, I gotta say it was a good day.
How in the world I got lucky enough to enjoy this kind of schedule is beyond me. I was made for it, and it’s partly why I only have one child. I distinctly remember when Ben was an infant and I was constantly thinking I’d never make it back alive to the days when I could get ten solid hours of sleep each night. When most people dream of their futures, especially their retirement years, they speak of boats and cabins and exotic travel. Not me. I already feel retired, at least during June and July. It’s the life for me. The only thing I want during my twilight years that I don’t have now is a view of the gulf as I lie around in my permanent PJs. Days filled with snacking and writing, reading and napping. Scout and I and Ben from time to time when he swoops into town, we have crafted a very, very easy life. At forty-three, I am already set in my ways and I watch my friends with small children do what I cannot do any longer. Their lives make me tired. Hell, going to Winn Dixie makes me tired…who am I kidding? I did it once but no more; just give me my sanctuary, for those days of coming and going nonstop are far behind me. I am especially aware of this right now, since I only have 7 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 55 seconds of summer left.