Stepping into the kitchen this morning, I'm shocked to see I forgot to set up the coffeepot last night. It's an integral part of my 'heading to bed' ritual. It goes hand-in-hand with brushing my teeth. I do it so all I have to do upon rising is push a button.
Scratching the side of my left knee, I pick up the carafe and step/stumble over the dog as I turn to the sink. I swear he wasn't there a second ago. His normally limpid eyes are filled with reproach. In his mind, I should be feeding him the moment I get up. Having to fix the coffee is a change in routine that is messing with both of us.
I get the pot going and quickly feed the pets.
I scratch the back of my neck.
I decide there should be enough time to start a load of laundry before the pot finishes brewing. I stuff dirty clothes inside, turn the machine on, and add liquid detergent.
I stand there, squinting down into the tub as it fills with soapy water. Was that something glinting among the clothes? It disappears as the machine begins to agitate.
I dismiss it as a figment of an under-caffinated mind.
I scratch my hip as the phone rings.
"Hi," I answer. Politely, I might add.
"You haven't had your coffee," My mother says accusingly and then hangs up on me. It's amazing how she can tell, with only one word, if coffee has socialized me for the day or not.
She refuses to talk to me before I have a caffeine hit. I love (sarcasm here) how she makes it sound like I'm some addict that can't function without a morning cup of joe. Until my eyes have been opened with a coffee bean and water stimulate, she claims, I'm unable to carry on a sensible conversation. She also won't ride in a car with me until I've got at least 2 cups of caffeine flowing through my veins.
I scratch my thigh.
After pouring a steaming cup, I doctor it with a drop of milk and head to the shower. Naked, I find several new, red patches of broken out and bumpy skin. You see, the little slice of Eden I live on is bountiful in poison ivy, shumac, and oak. I find six new six chigger bites in a place I'd rather they not be.
I scratch at them. I sneeze as Queen Anne's Lace is currently blooming and I'm allergic.
Once clean, I look in the mirror and try telling myself I look rather fetching painted pink with Calamine lotion. I compound this lie by adding I'm much more Pink Panther and less Pepto Bismal Monster.
The lotion does not stop the itching.
The tone for the morning has been set. So much so that, later, when putting fresh sheets on the bed, I stub my baby toe on the leg of the bed frame. And it hurts. My luck it's broken. I can see the tissue swelling and know I'll be limping for a few days.
I believe I hear the distant echo of bed frame designers everywhere laughing sadistically.
I'm scratching and sipping coffee as my morning ends with the outbreak of WWIII.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain that these canine and feline hostilities are rooted in the fact I live out in the boonies and bought a new car last March.
Stay with me here.
Who knew that somewhere, somehow, someone decided it would be a good idea to use a soy based coating on new engine wires.
That's right. Just like in the Princess Bride, a R.O.U.S. (rodent of unusual size) took it upon itself to have a wire snack. Its gnawing caused over three hundred dollars worth of damage.
Everyone said I needed a cat. I don't do things halfway.
So, last week, I took in two kittens.
Here is Kif, the dog, seeing Calico Andie for the first time. As the internet suggested, I let the dog and kittens get to know each other through closed doors. When the dog is inside, the kittens stay in the guest bathroom. They sniff at one another through the space at the bottom of the door.
As you can see, one swipe of Kif's Gene Simmons-esque tongue could drown a tiny kitty.
It is not.
This morning, before I've ingested my normal pot or two of coffee, I discover the kittens have Houdini-it out of the bathroom.
Canine and feline sleeping peacefully.
So cute. So precious.
I start singing the Beatles, "All together now."
Either my singing or grabbing the camera wakes them up. And, all h...heck breaks loose. At first, Kif frantically wags his tail. He thinks it's playtime and he's been desperately wanting them to play with him.
However, the kittens snub him. Marley rather rudely puts her hind leg over her neck and starts grooming. I tell her that, at the very least, she could have turned her back before washing those bits and pieces.
Kif's feelings are hurt. He responds by barking and attempts to jump up on the tea cart.
Backs arching, the kittens hiss and spit with adorable ferocity. Which, understandably, Kif doesn't take seriously. I didn't either until Andie makes this weird growling sound that causes the hair on the back of my neck to prickle.
Andie and Marley reward them for picking them up out of canine reach by puncturing my skin with forty tiny but razor sharp claws.
I yelp. This inspires Kif to repeatedly jump against my side. I'm almost knocked over by the ramming force of fifty, sturdy pounds.
I'm done trying to referee. I'm tired of scratching.
Poor Kif is put outside. I tell him that, when the kittens are old enough to look after themselves, they will take their turn at being banished outside for misbehaving.
Right now, the kitties are too little to be outside where hawks, owls, and turkey vultures patrol the skies looking for tasty little morsels. Yet, Kif is a pampered pooch and it's too hot to leave him out during the heat of the day. It's not like he doesn't have shade trees, a pond, and a spring fed creek to keep him cool. No, he stubbornly stays on the deck. He stares longingly inside and, somehow, manages to make me worry he'll get heatstroke.
I scratch as I reconsider living in the country.
I reconsider being a 'pet' person.
I think I need a more robust coffee bean.
Oh, and when transferring wet laundry to the dryer, I found my reading glasses. I guess they slipped off my nose when I was loading the washer earlier and that's what I'd seen glinting among the clothes.
All this and I haven't even been up for three hours.
author of paranormal romance
Keep up with what I'm working on at
Separate title novella written for Kindle worlds.