I am awakened by a muffled sound from my alarm. It's the pre-alarm sound that always startles me so that I am ready with my ninja-like reflexes to hit the snooze button when the alarm proper goes off.
It is not full day light yet, as it should be at 7 a.m. I know I set the alarm for 7 when I went to bed last night. I was looking forward to that extra hour or two of Saturday sleep. It should not be this dim, even if it is overcast.
I wait impatiently for the alarm to begin softly playing hits of the 70s and 80s so that I can hit snooze.
The mattress sags by my calf. I sense hesitation.
The mattress sags by my hip. I tense.
Twelve pounds of pressure are transferred through a two-inch round-ish paw, exerting a multiplied force of at least 100 pounds on my belly.
I reach blindly for the snooze button – finding a cold, wet nose. I recoil. Blech.
All four paws step across my abdomen in sequence – 100 pounds each – boom, boom, boom, BOOM. The last includes an extra push, extra force, then a thud on the floor as the snooze is set.
I slip back into my dream. Billy Joel is playing the piano. He looks deep in my eyes and sings:
His voice sounds like a cross between a congested baby duck and a mangled squeeky toy. A mangled, squeeky duck toy? What?
I squinch my eyes shut and flail over the edge of the bed for the alarm. Something warm and fuzzy slides between my grasping fingers.
There is a gentle nudge on the side of my mattress next to my head. Soft puffs of air. I'm being sniffed for signs of life.
“Sleepy time,” I hiss-whisper.
“Shhhh.” I try not to wake my husband. He snores on, a back-up alarm.
A plastic bag rustles near the foot of the bed. I knew better than to leave that there. I throw a wadded up Kleenex, but it falls short.
The sound of claws shredding carpet.
I toss back the covers. The shredding stops.
The tiny dancer leads me around the foot of the bed, fakes right then darts left across my toes and leads me to the bathroom.
He sits expectantly on the sink, blinking, puffing out his chest, preening, posing.
I reach around and over him to wash my hands. He bumps my arm. Bumps my other arm. Sniffs the water I slopped on the edge of the sink while being bumped. I sigh.
I open the door.
THUD. Cat-like grace, my fanny.
He ankle-tackles me in his haste to regain the lead. He waits for me in the hallway, then races ahead, changing lanes without signaling, cutting me off. I stumble, stop mid-step and swear softly.
He sits in the kitchen doorway, blinking. Oblivious.
His food dish is . . . completely . . . full. Horrors! There has been no one to stand guard and watch him eat for at least eight hours!
Big, green eyes, staring.
I pet him in one long, full swipe. Firm pressure is applied evenly from his ears over his shoulders down his back across his hips and along the tail. To. The. Very. Tip. Whichisheldfor precisely, three, seconds. Then twitched away.
The head is raised expectantly, the process begins again, muscles ripple one by one to the tail, two, three.
I am dismissed. The alarm has been reset.