Thursday, August 5, 2010

3:27 a.m.

3 a.m.

I listen. The house is quiet.
Nothing moves. 
The only light comes from the overhead bulb, above the kitchen sink.
I left it on when I went to bed. 

I listen for dogs breathing. I should be able to count 4 distinct breath styles.
I know if I move, all dogs will, too. And it will take the rest of the dark morning for everyone to settle down for a last hour of sleep.

Instead, I just stick my foot down to the end of the bed.
Toby.
Toby always sleeps at the foot of the bed. Even tucked way down there, he takes up a lot of room.
He sleeps flat on his back, his four paws reaching up towards the ceiling. Sometimes his asthmatic breathing can be heard. But now, at 3 a.m., he sleeps quietly.

Shado. He usually sleeps on the bed, too.
Anywhere he wants.
Sometimes during the night he will bully his way up to the pillows and sleep across the headboard. 
But not now. 
I move my foot to the other side of the bed.
No Shado...
I listen again - listen to the silence that seems complete but isn't. In the silence I hear a symphony of dogs.
I roll over, from my left side to my right side.
Aha, Shado was sleeping behind me.

Okay. Two down, two dogs to go.
Sophie never sleeps on the bed. She often is on her doggy bed in the living room or on the tile floor in the kitchen. I'm betting this hot night, she is on the tile. 
I am appease in thinking I know where she is.

Gus? Hmmm. He is harder to peg down. Being the biggest dog in the household, you'd think he would be the easiest to spot, but it never goes that way.

Often he sleeps on the dog bed in the bedroom. I peer into the darkness to see if I can see his shape there. But that part of the room is too dark. 
3:07 a.m.
So I still myself again. Count breaths. Since I had acknowledge Toby's and Shado's, and I imagine Sophie's sleep, I could stay still and listen for the fourth one. This would take a lot of concentration. I look at the clock before settling into the listening task.  It is 3:07 a.m.

I stretch out on my back, my head slightly elevated on the bed's pillow. And I listen. Again, I count of breaths. Toby, check. Shado, check. Gus?
Gus? 
Come on, Gus. Where are you? Should I be able to hear you? 
No wavelengths bring me Gus' breathing. 

I appease myself, thinking he is sleeping in the bathroom tile. 
Of course he is! He sleeps much of the summer day, and probably most of the night. 
Sure, I know he is in the guest bathroom, on the tile. He even pushes the bathroom rug aside to expose more tile for his big body.
He sleeps there.

3:13 a.m.
Now what? 
The neighbor leaves for work at 5:25 a.m. I usually hear his truck - a diesel pick up - when he starts it. Some mornings he leaves it idle for 4-5 minutes, other mornings he immediately backs out his drive way and heads down the street. I wonder which he will do today... idle or leave immediately?

3:15 a.m.
I plan out the coming day. The back yard needs mowed. The front yard was mowed yesterday, so the job is half done. I put that on my list. An excessive heat warning is posted for the day, so mowing better be first on the list.
The house needs vacuumed of dog fur again. I skipped doing so yesterday. The tile floors need mopped again. I put that on my list.
Time for treadmill?  Of course, if I make the time, that is.
Leave home about 10:10 for the west valley. It should take 45-50 minutes to get to Fran's house. I re-envision the google map with directions to her house. Piece of cake.
And then another 25 minutes out to our destination in the next town. That route is a bit more foggy in my mind. I map it out two, three times. Ok - it will work out fine. 
Then back home by 6 p.m.
But stop by the grocery store first. Milk, bananas, salmon, chicken breasts. Wait, no salmon until the weekend. We won't eat it until Sunday, so I'll get it fresh then.

3:25 a.m.
Now what... put Morning Edition on the radio and listen until dawn? Maybe not. I just remain still and count dogs.

3:27 a.m.
For once, goblins and locked up memories don't suggest I come visit. For once, I am at peace at 3:28.
Wide awake, but at peace.


15 comments:

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

You should have called! I haven't been sleeping good since alf is gone. i wake up and it takes me a few minutes to realize I only have to locate one dog.

I hope you and Fran have some fun planned for today!

Brenda's Arizona said...

Oooh, I should have called, YES!
Our conversation would have been hysterical to any sane person..
"Have you heard from Alf?"
"Should we get our guys and girls together?"
"I'll bring the Starbucks over in a couple hours... The 'kids' can play"
I love it, Cyndi!

Sandra said...

I love this post, it is my favorite you have ever done that I have read. I can totaly relate. the only difference is mine is 2 dogs and a hubby.
hubby sleeps like a rock, he lays his head on the pillow and GONE. i lay there and twist, turn, change sides. carefully! don't wake the dogs, if i move to much they think I am getting up.
Wake up at 3 AM, don't move except i can go potty and ease back in bed, but must lay very still. any movement means to Jake, PLAY TIME. Baby is like Shado, sleeps her life away. i have tried easing out of bed, down the hall, Jake comes with me, wants out, baby hears the sliding glass door open, she comes to go out. come back in and Jake races down the hall and dives on sleeping hubby (by the way he is deaf at night because of removed hearing aid) now we are all up. I tried closing the door to the bedroom. Jake goes to the door and claws at it, Baby BARKS, can someone open the door so we can get number 4 person UP?
I love this post. I did not realize you have 4 dogs, now i have to go see if i can find them. i know what Shado looks like

altadenahiker said...

Oh, you had me worried at first. I thought something had happened to one of the dogs.

But you have so captured insomnia. What is it about 3 a.m.?

Brenda's Arizona said...

AH, isn't that the truth, tho - at 3 a.m. when you can't account for one dog, you know something BAD has happened...

Sandra - we have kindred dogs, don't we!

Sam said...

Listening to the sounds of the breathing of four different dogs sounds like it'd be so peaceful. Can't really imagine what it'd be like!

Pat Tillett said...

I follow a lot of blogs and read a lot of posts. This was one of the best ones I've read in a long time. I could feel myself calming. I could feel my breathing slowing. I could almost hear dogs breathing...

A really nice bit of writing!

BANJO52 said...

Yeah, this really paints a picture. 5:00, or in a pinch even 4:00 can be OK, but I HATE 3:00. Guess I should start collecting dogs.

You have found a good doggie-soporific, but for what it's worth, I find talking books a good pill-without-chemistry. Just make sure the book isn't too interesting.

The Retired One said...

I love the counting of all the sleepless moments and hearing what was going on in your head...refreshing..because we have all been there!!!

Sandra said...

hope you had a good night. mine was NOT good. woke up half dozen times with bones hurting, hands hurting, shoulder, hip whatever I was laying on. Add to the mix Jake is sick, he sounds like we sound when we can't get air through our nose, stuffed up? he coughed and hacked and at 3:25 he had a really bad attack at the end of the bed. bob takes his hearing aid out so he does not here it. I sprang (ha ha) out of bed and flipped on the overhead light. THAT woke up hubby. What the ?? he says. Jake is sick. so we have been up since then.
I would not leave Jake home so Bob went to the gym without me (he thinks I am crazy for staying home with sick dog). I decided to clean the living room as in REALLY clean, like the pictues on the wall , the spokes on the rocker etc. I turned the TV on and was working away, Jake would cough, then stare at me like do something. Twice he came over and put his head on my leg and pressed it there and just stood there, so I quite cleaning (YIPEE) and sat on the sofa, he climbed in my lap and put his head on my shoulder like a child. I sat there with tears in my eyes. I watched TV until Bob came home with a 47 pound dog on my lap. bob came home, we ate breakfast and Jake ate fine, played his 7 am ball game and is asleep on the sofa. so who knows? I sure don't.

anyway the Living room is sparkling, I did finish it, and now am headed to do the same thing to the master bedroom. my intentions were to stay home and do everything, now I am stopping with the bedroom. tomorrow is another day and my middle name is Scarlet "I will think about it tomorrow"
I found all your pups picutres and now i have this picture in my head of you and those 3 dogs you talked about in the bed. I was thinking small bed partners. they are all 4 beautiful babies adn so is cousin vinnie

Ginny said...

I see you are a light sleeper! Sandra's friend, Ginny

Ginny said...

I love your "Making Gus Smile" post! To make a dog smile is a wonderful thing, indeed! I notice you have one thing in common with me, we both live to take pictures of the sky and mushrooms. I have so many sunset pictures now, that they are in several folders depending on where we were! And I'm always on the alert fo the mushrooms, and plan several posts on them. I love your writing style and your photos. Some of it reminds me of my own blog.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Pat, thank you! What a compliment, especially knowing your writing/story telling skills!

Sandra, isn't it something how we ache when our animals suffer. If you get a chance, read Altadena Hiker's post on her horse... talk about aching.

Banjomyn - talking books, eh? Wouldn't wake your spouse like turning the bed light to read would - sounds like a good idea.

Thanks, all, for your comments and kindness.

Kathy said...

I, too, love your post. We hear them just like we heard our kids when they were little. My two little Cavalier King Charles spaniels went over the Rainbow Bridge three years ago within four months of each other and due to some personal issues I have not acquired any more dogs but hopefully that will change soon. In the meantime my granddog Sammy has been staying over the past week. He is a big boxer male, all gray in the face, and can really hog the majority of the queen-size bed. He's a jewel, even if he does let go of some rasty gas periodically through the night.

All this flak about not sleeping through the night is bad for your health: Sounds like we'd all be dead by now if that were true!

Paula said...

I was meant to read this, I woke about 3:27ish. I only have to locate two cats and a dog, but I know where they are.