Images © 2014 Katie McCandless
Lately, I’ve been waking up early in the morning, a little more than an hour before Trenton’s alarm goes off. I’m not a morning person, so I transition from sleeping to full-human slowly, like an astronaut regaining her Earth legs.
My morning routine goes mostly like this: The alarm on my phone starts playing some peaceful spa music and I tap the screen to snooze. I use a Sleep Cycle app to wake me up at the optimal time in my REM cycle, and to track my sleep statistics. The alarm begins again in about 3 or 4 minutes and this time I turn it off in earnest. I lie in bed for another 5-10 minutes, wiggling my toes, trying to remind myself that I have toes, and reading twitter.
My general rule of thumb is that when I’ve found a video that I care enough about to play with sound, it’s time to get out of bed. I head straight to the bathroom to pee. Peeing is the last thing I do before going to bed, and the absolute first thing I do when I wake up. I don’t sleep well—like, ever—and having to pee is Sleep’s natural enemy, so I try to get out in front of it.
My cat Ollie wakes up like me, slowly and bleary-eyed. He’s needy and usually demands his humans be no more than 6 inches away at all times, but it takes him a few minutes to come around after a deep sleep, staring into the middle-distance through squinted eyes, he’s all like “mmm? whtimesit?” Milo, on the other hand, wakes up like Trenton. Full-tilt and ready to rock immediately upon wakening. “Welp! There’s the alarm! Siri, what’s on my calendar for today?”
So when I shuffle from the bedroom to the bathroom, Milo is always there to greet me. Milo loves to hang out with me while I pee. He jumps on the sink next to the toilet and rubs his head on my head while I try not to think too hard about propriety or hygiene. This morning, Milo jumped up on the sink and then bit me hard on my shoulder.
"Morning, shithead." He’s not a bad guy, Milo. I think he just got overly excited, forgot for a second that I wasn’t his giant hairless cat friend, and wanted to get my attention.
Next, I walk through the dark house to the opposite end of the living room, and turn on a single lamp. I throw a blanket around my shoulders like a cape and fire up my laptop. I grind beans, make coffee. Lately, I’ve been making grits.
Three times this week I got a wild hair and did some yoga while the coffee was brewing, Milo weaving through my arms and legs in down dog.
Ollie usually trots upstairs around the time the beans are grinding and then settles into my lap when I pull coffee, grits, laptop, and blanket over to the couch to write, edit photos, or practice Dutch.
The peace of the morning is shattered when my beloved walks in, seemingly accompanied by the percussion section of an invisible marching band. He’s so damn chipper in the morning, it takes me a full hour to mentally prepare for it. We’ve been getting along so much better when I wake up at 5:30.
The sky was filled with dark, juicy clouds threatening to split apart into storms at any moment, but the top was still down on the Miata when Lucy arrived to pick me up.
This morning, like most mornings, Lucy was blasting Judy Garland through the Miata’s exhausted stereo.
"CLANG CLANG CLANG went the trolley!" she belted, by way of greeting as I climbed in.
"DING DING DING went the bell!" she continued to sing, pulling out of the driveway.
All I could do was smile. There was no sense in competing with Judy or the wind buffeting as Lucy accelerated to a tidy 70 mph on the highway.
Besides, she was having a moment, and far be it from me to interrupt her Judy-time to point out that if we got caught in the inevitable rain, we’d have to pull onto the shoulder to wrestle the ragtop up, or that maybe it might be a good idea to put a little space between us and the dump truck in front, which was sporadically ejecting chunks and bits of whatever it was hauling onto the road and soon, I feared, into the car.
But Lucy’s blind optimism is as contagious as it is baffling, so instead, I let it all go and began to sing along.
The day was bright, the air was sweet…