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I sensed something had moved on the couch. It was uncomfortable, causing me to wake up. I opened my eyes and saw a three-quarter round blue oval with the letters "DVD" floating aimlessly about the air on the far side of the room. I thought I was hallucinating.
It turns out the movement on the couch was our thirty-five-pound dog, who was now attempting to sit on my head. I quickly realized I had fallen asleep on the sofa watching M*A*S*H. My wife must have opened the bedroom door upstairs for June; either she needs to go out, or Melissa sent the dog to retrieve me to come to bed.
I checked the clock on my cell phone; I couldn't go back to bed. It was time to get up, but why was it so dark outside?
In the kitchen, June was ready to eat. "You're going to have to wait a moment while I put my breakfast in the microwave." First, I put oatmeal in the bowl, then added cinnamon, raisins, and water. Next, I chopped up some fresh peaches that were leftover in the refrigerator, stirring them into the mix.
As I placed the bowl in the microwave oven, I noticed a flashing yellow light on the side of the neighbor's house. According to the microwave clock, the recycling truck was an hour early! Argh! I don’t like that feeling of failure when missing the recycling truck.
I ran to the back door, fumbling with the knob to open the spring-loaded lock. I grabbed the full recycling bin from the enclosed porch and then kicked the door with my foot behind me to make sure it latched.
There was no time to run outside and around the house; I’d cut through inside. I was careful to avoid spilling anything as I ran through the kitchen and dining room with the open top receptacle. "Get out of my way, cats; I have to get through!"
I balanced the red plastic container against my hip with one hand while I grabbed the door handle with my other. Opening the French door, our cats Salem and Eve bolted between my legs and around my feet, tripping me up as they escaped into the living room. I started to stumble and hit the recycling bin against the other half of the still latched French door. The door banged and rattled; the tin cans and glass bottles clanked together like a giant rattle. A few of them spilled onto the floor. I was surprised we didn't wake the whole neighborhood, let alone everyone in the house. "Come on, June," I said, gathering the falling cans, "they won't wait!"
My tennis shoes sat next to the front door, but there was no time. The truck had already passed our house. It was now in front of the neighbor's house to the west. I had to catch him; the bin wouldn't hold another week's worth of recyclables. "I should have just taken it out last night when I was thinking about it."
Somehow, I thought I would magically change my ways overnight and I'd get up early enough to run the trash out before heading to work. I have that same intention every week.
The man was very nice. He saw me running down the sidewalk and signaled for the driver to hold up. He crossed the grass boulevard to meet me. I handed him the bin and waited as he sorted the materials, tossing them into his truck.
The cold concrete was rapidly chilling my feet through my socks. The crisp twenty-degree morning air felt refreshing as I stood there in my flannel pajama pants and thin v-neck t-shirt, but I knew I couldn't stay out very long dressed like that.
A crow in the trees across the street began to caw. I felt he was laughing at the sight of me standing there in the cold. The man handed the bin back to me. I thanked him for waiting and wished him a good day.
While we walked up the front steps, the crow continued to chatter. "Come on, June Bug, let's go get breakfast," I said, opening the porch door.
Inside the porch, I reached for the knob on the front door…dang! Salem and Eve stood on the other side of the glass door, snickering from the living room at the man and the dog that locked themselves out of the house. I was trying to be quiet, "Salem, buddy. Can you open the door?"
"Sorry," he said, holding up his paw, "no opposable thumbs."
It's an awful feeling when you're outside a locked door, with your keys on the other side - especially when it's cold outside and you're wearing pajamas without shoes. I imagined the mail carrier would eventually find my frozen body later in the day.
Fortunately, I had checked the time earlier, so my cell phone was in my pajama pants pocket. I could avoid ringing the doorbell. My daughter Annie was not happy to see me but did come down to let me in.
Annie went back upstairs. June and I went to the kitchen. I enjoyed my oatmeal with peaches and toast made with a slice of homemade bread. June was looking forward to her morning bowl of Iam's mini chunks dog food.
As we ate together in the kitchen, I noticed a flashing yellow light on the side of the neighbor's house to the west. I glanced at the clock on the range. "Wow, the garbage truck is running early, too." I set down my bowl of oatmeal and headed to the back door to get the trash can.
I picked my phone up from the counter to double-check the time. It was an hour fast. "What the heck?" Suddenly it clicked with me, "It's daylight savings time. No wonder everyone is early." I set the phone back down.
My tennis shoes were next to the front door, but there was no time to grab them. "Let's go, June," I said while I fumbled with the knob to open the spring-loaded lock on the back door. I pulled the door shut behind me so the cats wouldn't get out. "I should have taken the trash out last night when I was thinking about it, "I grumbled.
June ran ahead and barked at the trash truck as if to say, "Hold on, Dad's on his way." Each time I stepped on a small stone in my stocking feet, I let out a little curse. "Oochie, ouchie, ouch…." The hollow plastic wheels made a boxy noise as they rolled briskly down the sidewalk.
The engine whirred, then the air brakes hissed and squeaked as the big truck pulled up, stopping in front of our house. I was just rolling around the corner with the can. The man walked over the grass to meet me. My feet were getting cold standing on the concrete while he emptied the can. Then, he finally put the trash can back by the curb, "Have a nice day," he said.
My socks got wet in the frost, crossing the grass to retrieve the can. I pulled it to the back door; June followed. Inside the enclosed porch, I reached for the doorknob. "No way." I saw my phone on the kitchen counter through the glass – on the other side of the locked door.
June and I walked around to the front door. With hope, I reached for the handle – no such luck. Instead, through the glass, I saw Salem and Eve looking at me, snickering, "Sorry, no opposable thumbs," Salem said.
Across the street, the crow chattered in the park. "Caw, caw, caw," he said. "You did it again, didn't you?" Then he flew away laughing to tell his friends. "Caw, caw, caw."
Dawn was just breaking as I rang the doorbell. It's a loud bell with three long brass pipes that resonate a nice tone across the wooden floors and through the house. I heard two feet hit the floor upstairs, "Really, Dad?"
Annie rambled down the steps, unlocked the door, then stomped back up the stairs to her bedroom. She didn't say anything.
The cell phones automatically adjust for the time change; I have to set the other clocks manually. I ran through it aloud, "Fall back. Spring forward. Dude, you're running late for work." I'd have to set the clocks later.
I took a quick shower, got dressed, and ran down the steps. June tried going out the front door with me and trampling over my tennis shoes, kicked one forward into the door jam, which stopped the door from closing.
I pushed the shoe back into the living room with my foot. Then I reached in my pocket for my car keys while explaining, "Bugs, I have to go to work. You need to stay here and guard the house." As I spoke, I felt around my empty pocket. "Good catch, June Bug."
I went back to get my keys off the dining room table, then gave my dog a brisk rub on the head. "Thanks, June. I don't know if Annie would have been so understanding a third time."
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