Morning in our household is not a quiet thing, although it used to be. Since Merlin arrived on the scene we can be assured a correct wake up time of no later than 6:30 am. Since I don’t do mornings, make that Jim can be assured a correct wake up time of no later than 6:30 am.
It starts with a stretch. A long basset stretch as only Merlin can do. Followed by a loud shake. Then there is the slow jaunt to Jim’s side followed by a scratch along the bed frame – not just one, but several. If Jim does not respond, and I happen to be around, then Merlin goes to my side to repeat the same action. He usually wins with Jim. I am stubborn in matters involving my getting up early.
So what happens after Jim gets up? He takes Merlin to the family room where his other furry housemates live. They each bark – Sophie, our Corgi, the most vocal – before Jim feeds them a cookie. Jim gives Merlin a chew bone which quiets the boy after which Jim retreats to take a shower.
It takes about two minutes before Merlin has had it. He goes out the dog door and stands outside our bedroom window and begins to bark. Incessantly. It is a call to Jim that he doesn’t care if Jim is taking a shower; he wants total attention paid on him. Jim cannot hear this reveille — although I can — until he turns off the shower. After that, hearing the constant call of his basset Merlin (note I say his basset), Jim curses the dog and dresses quickly in response. Of course, I am still in bed pretending that I don’t hear a thing. I pray hoping Jim and God will forgive me for this pretense.
Eventually the house quiets as Jim enters the family room to greet our crew of demanding dogs. Merlin has his chew bone and our older dogs hang out as Jim surfs the net and drinks his coffee. I try to sleep amid the quiet, one eye open.
My solitude doesn’t last long. Jim heads to the swap meet and, after his departure, the dogs begin to howl, led by Merlin. They say this behavior is the effort of the pack to call back the alpha dog, the alpha dog being Jim. I am doomed. I get up. I pull on jeans and a t-shirt. I wash my face and brush my teeth and try to bring sanity to my hair. I enter the family room and look upon a landscape that involves every dog, including Merlin, sprawled across the floor, sleeping. Thanks a lot, I say, slamming the door shut. Merlin lifts his head slightly in response and then goes back to sleep. It figures.