It was close to five (in the morning) and I had to pee. This, the first decision of the day, sounds like such a minor thing. To pee or not to pee; that is the question. But the ramifications of getting out of bed to pee are significant enough that I lay in bed wondering if I could wait another hour.
I could not. I slid out of bed and crept stealthily to the bathroom. The floor creaked as I crept. I sighed.
I did my business, gently eased back into bed, and pulled the wool comforter over me. Just as I started to relax into the bed's warmth, I heard a dog collar. Then a scratch at the door. And then a barely audible whine.
I waited to see if Ray just wanted entry to the room so that he could crawl into bed with us or if he needed to go out. Lately, since I've been ignoring his whining, he's been going downstairs and howling to get me up. I heard the dog collar jingle down the stairs and then an arrrroooooo.
I sighed again and started to flip the bedclothes back when Gregg said "I'll get it. It's almost time to get up anyways."
I thanked my lovely husband. He got up, unhooked the door and exited the room.
"You can leave the door unhooked," I said as he left.
Hugo, who had been sleeping at my feet, walked the length of the bed, plucked at the comforter with his claws, slid under the cover, and curled himself against my side, right under my armpit; his excessive body mass making my arm extend from my shoulder just like a chicken wing. He purred and licked my hand, kneading my bicep with claws that were one-day away from a trimming.
At this point, the other ramification of getting up early started howling for her hoosh.* Moonie was up.
I heard the back door open and then the door to the microwave. Gregg had let the dog in and was preparing the old woman's breakfast of canned food and pancreatic enzyme. (He microwaves the food for six seconds, just enough to take the chill off.) Moonie continued her maniacal howling as Gregg carried the food up to her bedroom.
All of a sudden, Ray appeared on the bed. Hugo stopped purring and waited, ready to bolt if need be. Ray turned about a dozen circles, then settled himself on the side opposite the cat, at least half of his seventy pound weight resting uncomfortably on my body. He heaved a heavy sigh, groaned, then sighed again. Hugo resumed purring.
Ray struggled to get comfortable, squirming every few minutes, then finally stretched fully out across the bed and rested his cast-iron head on my stomach.
For some reason, sleep eluded me. I unfolded my chicken wing, removed iron-head from my belly, and left the sleeping hound in possession of the bed. Followed by my trusty cat, I headed downstairs to breakfast.
* (If you want to know what hoosh is, read about Shackleton's exploration of the Antartic, preferably when you are really, really hot. It will cool you down remarkably.)