So, I know I haven’t posted anything terribly new and creative yet, so I decided to write a little about what a typical day looks like for me. It’s not all that exciting, but for those who are curious.
“Good morning! Good morning!”
I blindly reach for my phone on the nightstand. I don’t even need to see the snooze button to swipe it and end the song from Singing in the Rain. I know it’s only a few minutes before my next alarm goes off, but I want that time. God knows I need it. There was some article saying that women needed more rest than men to avoid heart attacks. I can’t remember how accurate that was, but was a good excuse.
Jared’s arm tightens around me and I felt his nose nuzzle against the nape of my neck. I squirmed because his breath tickled my skin, but he only worked harder to pester me. Cracking open my one eye that wasn’t not buried in the pillow, I saw it was just about at daybreak. The bluish gray light filtered through our bedroom windows. The dark brown curtains were too sheer to be of much use.
Then, I heard the tinkling of dog tags. I closed my eye and held very still, hoping that neither of the girls noticed that I was awake. Sure enough, Evie started making her gruff, half-growl, half-bark noises to get my attention.
I let out a long breath and gave up the fight. One tug of the blanket exposed my bare shoulder and I quickly yanked it back up to my chin. Too cold. Much too cold.
Bagpipes blared from my phone speakers and I once more hit the snooze. Just a few more minutes. I need it for my heart, you know.
Jared’s hand tapped on my thigh. “You need to get up.”
I grumbled. Too early for words, for cold, for bagpipes, dogs, and husbands.
More dog tags jingled, and Evie let out a full bark, followed by her paws patting against the door of her kennel.
“No!” I groaned.
Now it was Jared’s turn to pull the covers off of me. I whined and wrestled them back into my possession so I could wrap myself up like a cocoon. Anymore stress this early in the morning and I’ll have a headache before I can get to work.
“Wake up! Wake up! WAKE UP!”
The munchkin voice on my next alarm didn’t help. I grabbed for my phone and brought it under the covers with me, the black cord sticking out as I turned off the alarm. Two more, I think.
Jared craned over, his face just inches from where mine would be if the blanket didn’t conceal me. I hissed like a cornered cat and snuggled deeper into my little shelter.
“Time to get up.”
“I know,” I mumbled.
Now I could feel his nose pressing against the other side of the blankets. I uncovered quickly to kiss his lips with the though that would make him go away. It didn’t. I do it again, and I can feel his smile. Still, he didn’t move. One more time, but I licked his nose instead.
That earned me a better reaction. He made some silly noses and rubbed his face into the space where my ribs were. I wiggled and tossed again to push him away as we both giggle.
Evie barked again and Jared slid off the bed to let them both out. One black blur and one white blur darted out of our bedroom and through the doggy door in the living room. They’d be back in a few minutes wanting their breakfast.
I listened to Jared get ready for work. Pulling on his work pants with his car keys still attached, making that familiar jingling noise just like the dog tags. I tracked him through the house as he fixed his coffee, packed his lunchbox, and everything else he would need for the day. By now, the dogs have returned.
Both Evie and Sharla rushed to my side of the bed and propped their front paws on the edge of the mattress. Their cold noses searched for my under the blankets while their claws batted at the sheets. I slipped out one hand to pet them, which would pacify them for a little bit.
Beneath the covers, my phone lit up and now came Captain Jack Sparrow screaming. I quickly shut it off and braving the blinding glare of the scream, I checked the time. Seven o’clock. I could snooze for another thirty minutes unbothered. No more alarms, Jared would be out the door soon, and hopefully he would feed the dogs.
My husband returned to the bedroom and leaned over my still cocooned body. “Time to get up.”
“I know,” I mumbled again. This time, I poked my head out of the blankets to look up at him. Handsome as always, and smiling down at me like I’m his world. I smiled back, sleepy and still unwilling to budge.
Of course, that didn’t keep him from pestering me. He grabbed for my feet to pull them free of the blankets, tried to wriggle his cold hands to touch my bare skin, in vain attempted to wrench the covers from me. He should have known by now that I was too stubborn.
“Where are you working today?” I asked.
“Baker.” He then proceeded to tell me all they had to do on the jobsite, but a lot of it goes over my head. That was at least half an hour away, so I knew he wouldn’t be home for dinner. That was fine, though.
“Okay. Be safe.”
We say our goodbyes. Or, lack there of. We agreed when we first started dating that we would never say “bye” or “goodbye” when leaving one another. It’s always “See you later” or “See you soon”. Goodbye felt permanent. Final. I hated the word, so we stopped using it. That was twelve years ago.
I listened for the front door locking and let out a long sigh as drowsiness consumed me again. I had managed to get ready for work in less than an hour before, but I only intended to sleep for another fifteen or so minutes. The dogs laid by the bed, somewhat patient. Evie, the puppy of the pack, still occasionally reached up to bat at my arm and remind me that they had not been fed.
When I looked at my phone next, it was seven-fifty. I pursed my lips in irritation with myself. Every single time. I tell myself just a few minutes, and it turns into nearly an hour.
I checked my dozens of notifications. Facebook, email, book sales for audio and ebook, and swiped at the rest that I didn’t care about. Updates, weather, twitter. Then, I opened my Amazon Music player and continued my playlist from the day before. I’d been listening to my nerdiest songs since last Thursday or Friday. Balfa Brothers, The High Kings, Gaelic Storm, Civil War ballads, Frank Sinatra, Disney songs, and Broadway tunes. Le Danse de Mardi Gras belted out and my foot kept time with the Cajun melody under the covers.
I slid out of bed, mentally cursing the cold and the unfairness of having to work. The dogs began their usual tussling around the bedroom, their claws snagging on the carpet as they chased and pounced on one another. Play growls joined the song from my phone, all backed by that jingling of the dog tags.
I put my makeup on – the longest part of my morning ritual – and then turned to the mirror. The dark brown, wavy tresses were a tangled mess. Fly aways caught the light of the window behind me, one side grossly uneven with the rest. I picked up my straightener, and after about five minutes, like magic, my hair was three inches longer and straighter. I combed my fingers through the faded blue undertones beneath the brown. No longer the fungus green, it had aged into a subtle pale gray shade that I wasn’t so disgusted with anymore. I did the blue for my birthday at the end of November, a little over two months ago. Before that it was blonde, and I wondered if the blonde would come back after a while. Goodness knows I needed to touch it up. There was at least four or five inches of new growth that anyone could see if I put my hair up.
Deodorant, perfume, clothes, and shoes. But as I slipped on my socks, the playlist stopped. Looking to the screen, the application had closed. I frowned and realized that I had come to the end of my five hundred some-odd long playlist. Last night I had decided I’d listen to my Love and Hate playlist next. Another long series of rock, country, pop, and all assortment of other genres. I felt like I could handle the songs this week.
The dogs still clamored around my feet, dashing in and around my path as I made my way to the kitchen to feed them. I teased them and scratched at their rumps to distract them or make them trip. While they eat, I fix my coffee, all to the sometimes bubbly and sometimes depressing songs about love, longing, betrayal, and heartache. All of it will be fuel for my books. All evoke feels I did and didn’t want to feel.
Sharla and Evie finished their bowls and, as always, Sharla picked up the spoon I leave in her bowl and took it into the living room to lick it clean. I shake my head at her as I pour the tiniest amount of creamer into my coffee, followed by two spoonfuls of sugar.
I check the clock and know I’m going to be late. It took me fifteen minutes at the most to get to work, if I caught all the red lights.
This morning was no exception. Carrying on my concert in the car, I sang and sipped on my coffee as I made my commute. I didn’t care if people looked over and saw me belting out to an Evanescence song or dancing in my seat to Ricky Martin.
Now at work, I tried to slip past the front counter where I knew my manager and the rest of our salespeople would be in the midst of a meeting. I was good at my job, and far too important to get in trouble for being a few minutes late, but it was nonetheless embarrassing. Plus, I didn’t want to be called out for it. Even in jest.
“Good morning, sunshine!” Tracy chimes.
“Mornin’ gorgeous!” Jeff exclaims.
“Hey there!” Chris calls.
Morning people. All of them. And my coffee wasn’t even half gone. “Mornin’!” I call out as I make a speedy retreat for my office toward the very back of the store. Dropping my purse in the corner, I take out my ginger ale can to put in the fridge in the breakroom. Gathering all the tickets, customer service invoices, and logs from the day before, I hunker down to get to work.
For the most part, it was the same tasks every day with some variance. Listening to music made it more bearable and entertaining when I was alone. My coworkers kept it lively the rest of the time. Pages came into my office every hour asking for advice on procedures and issues. I answered some phone calls when everyone else was busy, and helped out when they asked. I felt important, useful, and though it wasn’t my ideal career, I was good at it. At the end of the day, if I could clear my desk and avoid a meltdown due to an irate customer or frustrating coworker, then it was an excellent day. And even when it wasn’t, I was never tempted to quit. I loved this place and the people too much to ever leave.
The rest of the time, my door was shut and my usual tabs open on my computer. Facebook and email. While notifications poured in, distracting me from some things, I constantly checked my Yahoo and Gmail for something… anything. Then I have to remind myself that there won’t be anything but junk mail. I’m not currently working with anyone for a project, and all other due dates for book things are way out for months.
Lunch might have been the hardest decision of my day. Do I go for something I can eat with my hands and watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or do I get something I can eat with a fork so I can write and not get the keyboard dirty? And most importantly, do I ask if anyone else wants anything. Somedays, I hit the jackpot and I can get food wherever I want. Other times, I’ve got six credit cards with sticky notes in my back pocket while I go to get lunch for the whole store. I’ve become a master at balancing drinks and takeout bags, getting them in and out of my car, and opening doors even when my hands are full.
The rest of the days is sprinkled with moments of scrambling chaos and complete boredom. Surfing social media, checking those emails again, maybe writing a little bit if I can get my head in the right space. I’d rather be doing something than have my mind idle. It’ll wander to dark and dangerous places if I don’t give it something to focus on.
The end of my workday comes around and I can go home. I walked through the door, and the dogs are on me in an instant. They jumped and pawed, begging for pets and love that I willingly give. This is why we adopted them. They needed the love just as much as I needed their company to keep me sane and to fight off the loneliness being in that house by myself.
The minute they’ve gone back to wrestling with each other, I scurry to change into more comfortable clothes. With my music still playing from my phone, I slid across the floor and danced because I knew no one was watching.
Those few hours between the time I got home to the time Jared is home, are so crucial to my own sanity. Not that I didn’t want him home, because at the end of the day, I do, but I’ve learned to be comfortable in this time set apart just for me. I can do what I want, not have to worry about conversation or obligations – too much – and I can get things done without someone interrupting me every few minutes to tell me something new. I needed that time for me and me alone.
I’d write, work on book promotions, organize my office if I need to, listen to audiobooks, clean, and cook as required. That night, I needed to make dinner. Without Jared home, it’d be so much easier to navigate my kitchen. He was always in the way.
When the time came to start dinner, I turned off the Love and Hate playlist, purposefully losing my progress for another day. Then I put my Dance playlist on random. Latin, pop, and reggaeton. For once, I was in a good enough mood to actually want to dance. It had been a good day, free of meltdowns, panic attacks, or frustrating situations. On top of that, I was able to get caught up on my book tasks. Teasers for my upcoming release are made, the book trailer is finished, The Legacy Series is on its way to becoming available everywhere, and The Decimus Trilogy was passing the audio quality checks. There were a few things that could have made the day better, but in a few months, they wouldn’t matter.
So I danced to the rhythmic beats and sang along with the Spanish lyrics that I didn’t know. I’ve always loved to dance, and my choice of workout would always be Zumba if given the choice. There was no shame in swinging my hips or singing into the stirring spoon because, like before, I knew that no one was watching. And why not dance when I’m happy? If you’ve ever witnessed me dance or act as goofy as I do when I’m alone, you’re special. I don’t do it for everyone.
Jared came home, drawing the attention of the dogs, but I didn’t stop my dance party for anything. We talked a little and, as predicted, he got in my way in the kitchen. Instead of pushing him aside, I grabbed his hand and started a half-hearted salsa routine. We met through ballroom dancing, and though the Latin dances weren’t his specialty, they were mine.
We laughed and danced, kissing and teasing as I finished up the last of dinner preparations. I knew it’d be moments like these that I’d remember well into my old age when I couldn’t dance with him anymore.
We sat down for dinner and watched an episode of Doctor Who – the one with David Tennant – before parting ways to do our own thing until bedtime. More writing, more book things, and more checking for emails that weren’t likely to come.
Almost masochistically, we stayed up much too late. Maybe that’s why I always have so much trouble waking up in the mornings. But when sleep came, it was fantastic, and I wondered why I leave the bed in the first place. Sleeping erased the slate, cleaned the board, voided every mistake from the previous day so I can make more in the next. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get those emails I’ve been waiting for.