Up this morning at four-thirty again, a time which has become very, very familiar over the past month. This morning, it was Zuzu, barking frantically in her crate. My husband and I were sound asleep and our bedroom door was very slightly ajar, but Aisling sleeps with her bedroom door open (it gets cold in her room, she says) and she came to wake us up, grumpy and tousled.
"THAT PUPPY won't stop barking and I can't sleep," she groused, standing in our doorway with a fuzzy blanket, a relic of her baby days, trailing over her shoulder.
I floundered up from sleep. "Puppy? Puppy not sleeping and barking? Whose puppy?"
"Ours," said my husband with a groan. "She's really at it and she's never done that before. She must have to pee or poop really bad." He threw back the covers, allowing an icy blast to creep in and grab me by the feet. "I'll take them all outside and then let them come up here."
One thing we've learned is that the dogs are very happy to come upstairs after their early morning sojourn and sleep on our bed, lolling in heavy slumber for hours on end, as long as a human is there with them. This knowledge has allowed my husband to sleep in later than he anticipated several different times in the three weeks since we rescued Zuzu, so my rule about no dogs on the bed, ever? Well, it is a thing of the past and I always put my pillows on the armchair in the corner so that none of the three of them can get them dirty. Gross.
He was gone for forty-five minutes on that walk and after the first twenty, I began to worry. Had he and the dogs frozen solid to a fire hydrant due to all ill-aimed stream of dog pee? Did they get run over by a milk truck, the sound of which is one of my favorite early-morning sounds? Did the three dogs see a maurauding squirrel up for an early nut and sweep my husband off his feet, dragging him at the end of their leashes across town like a cowboy in the Wild West being dragged across the prairie by his horse with his boot stuck in the stirrup?
By the time he got back, freezing and irritable ("On WARM mornings, they all pee and poop FIRST THING, but on the mornings when it is TWO DEGREES? They have to sniff each blade of grass in a five-block radius to see which one is going to win the honor of being anointed WITH THEIR URINE," he said bitterly), I was wide awake. I generously lent him all my pillows and my two microwave heating bags and then decided to just go ahead and take my shower.
Religious ed class, I noted wearily, was due to start in four hours. No harm in getting ready a bit early.
Once downstairs, I found that I wasn't in the mood for coffee. Coffee, in my mind, is a fun drink. It's so good and rich and sweet -- at least it is the way I drink it -- and it is enjoyable in a "let's get a cheese danish and have a cup of coffee!" kind of way.
This morning, tea was definitely indicated. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles once noted, when Xander noticed him drinking a cup of coffee, that "tea is comforting, and I don't wish to be comforted." Well, I wished to be comforted, so I went to the cabinet and looked at my many choices:
Orange/Spice...Earl Grey....English Breakfast.....Irish Breakfast....green tea....green tea with peach...Darjeeling....Chinese Oolong.....regular ol' tea....the interior of the cabinet smells like tea when I open the door. It smells....comforting.
I brewed the tea, leaning my face over the pot so that the gentle fragrance of Orange/Spice could touch my face. Once in the mug, it warmed my hands that had turned cold in the chilly house. I drank it. I felt better.
In the bleak midwinter, when sleep is far away and car sales are the worst they've been in two years, and sad things happen that make our souls wince in pain, tea is a tangible comfort.
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