Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hasta La Próxima Vez

Sleeping has been less than ideal at our house for months. Shadow likes to begin pacing at 5:15 a.m. almost every morning. She’s more reliable than an alarm clock. Clickety-clickety-click to the bedroom door and back to the bed; stand and look at Dean. Clickety-clickety-click to the bedroom door and back to the bed; stand and look at Dean. Back and forth. Back and forth. 
Don't let those big, sad eyes fool you. 
Get the picture? You’d think I would just gently nudge Dean awake as soon as I hear the first clickety because I know it isn’t going to stop until he gets up and shuts her out of the bedroom, or takes her outside, or feeds her, or all three. But I’m just so dang considerate. I don’t want to be the one to wake the poor guy up. I suffer through it hoping Dean will wake up on his own and deal with her. Or, miracle of miracles, she’ll stop. Some mornings she thinks it’s funny to tease me. Clickety-clickety-click to the door and back to the bed; stare at Dean, and then there’s a big dog-sigh and she lies down in her bed. Like an idiot, I believe her pacing has ended but just as I’ve started to doze off again – clickety-clickety-click to the door and back to the bed; stand at look at Dean.

I don’t want to get up at 5:15 in the morning. I don’t even really want to get up at 5:45 a.m. which is when my toenail-less, inorganic, not-annoying alarm clock starts beeping. If I wanted to get up at 5:15 a.m., I would have set my alarm for 5:15 a.m. Worse than that, Shadow has never learned how to keep track of her days, even if there aren’t holidays to confuse her. It doesn’t matter to Shadow – or Dean for that matter – if it’s Saturday or Wednesday; they are up at the same time. But I can tell you – it matters to me. Weekends are for sleeping in; even if it makes me seem like a lazy slug because by the time I crawl out of bed Dean’s taken Shadow for a walk, read the paper, done the crossword, heard most of NPR’s morning show and has all the breakfast ingredients laid out and ready.

I am convinced Shadow’s nighttime pacing is her own brand of passive/aggressiveness and she’s punishing me. She lies on her pillow and pretends like she’s sleeping but I know, in between those fake snores she’s listening to Dean and I talk and plotting her revenge against me. I know she hears me mention, very nicely I might add, that I don’t feel it is in her best interest to receive anything other than those dried chunks of Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meat, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid) and other nutrition items like “clinically proven antioxidants for a healthy immune system”. I’m pretty sure those yips are not from dreaming, but involuntary reactions to her fear Dean will actually listen to me and that the nightly treats and head-petting during dinner is coming to an end. Like that would ever happen. 

Now enter a new sleep challenge – Sophie.

 The first few days of timidity have vanished. It wasn’t long until she was quite at home stalking and jumping at any and all middle-of-the-night menacing blanket movements. She’s a smart girl, though. When she realized those nighttime activities were getting her shut out of the bedroom she altered her bedtime modus operandi. Now she begins by walking on the bed around my head. After a bit of walking on my head she sticks her nose right next to mine, sniffs, sometimes licks my face and then lifts a paw and rubs it on my face. My bleary brain’s first thought is “how nice and soft her paws are” … until a little claw comes out which wakes me up enough to remember where those paws have been. There is a bit more cheek-rubbing from her and paw removal from me until she gives up, curls up next to me and goes to sleep – until she wakes up and decides she needs to chase that twitching thing at the end of her kitty butt.

I tell you all this because I want to impress upon you how much I relish sleeping in when I am not required to drag my sorry body out of bed for work after a disrupted night of toenail clicking and kitty love . I want you to be suitably impressed when I tell you that when we were in the Amazon, while I was on vacation and I could have slept in, I got up and went on an early-morning bird watching tour while Dean slept in.

Yes. Me. The person who lives to sleep in on the weekend. It was 5:15 a.m. and I was the one who got up – not Dean. Me. I was not the slug this time. Uh uh. Nope. I got up, quietly got dressed while Dean snored under his mosquito net, and crawled into a canoe, before breakfast, before coffee, and even before the weaver birds woke up.

Consequently I was wide awake and filled with energy when we headed out for the forest walk after breakfast.

Unfortunately being energetic didn’t seem to improve my balance. I’d just taken a photo of the chocolate marshmallow fluff we were walking through

when I discovered that it not only looked soft and fluffy, it felt nice and fluffy.

After dinner we went piranha fishing and caiman watching. Here’s how you fish for piranha. Take a small hunk of meat, push it onto a dull, rusty hook which is hanging on a string from a stick. Take the end of the stick, stir up the water

and wait for the fish to bite. As soon as you think you see the hook being pulled down, pull back on that stick so hard that the hook goes flying back and nearly takes out the eye of the person in the canoe next to you. If you get a fish on the end of your hook, squeal with excitement.

We all squealed. Well, everybody but the woman from Germany. And Dean. But his eyeball precision was beyond compare.

There was no chance for Dean to redeem himself in the fishing department because the next morning, after we watched the monkeys eat fruit outside the dining area,


our Amazon adventure came to an end.

During the 3 ½ days we were there the water level in the lake and river had dropped so much that Jonathan and Christie were able to take part in the not-seen-in-the-brochure, but specially added just for them, push the canoe for the old folks” experience.

We had one last night with the newlyweds once we were back in Quito and the next morning we split up

among our respective airlines and made the trip home. Little did I know my adventure had not quite come to an end. We had barely made it through the Quito airport security and arrived in the gate area when my name was called.  Along with a few others, I was led down a hall, through a door, and down some stairs. I had no idea why I was one of the group, where we were going or why we were going there and I had a fleeting fear I might never been seen again, but I followed, just like a lemming. I was glad to discover the walk led outside to an added security check, not a cliff – or a jail. I was mentally running down what I’d packed while I stood in front of the table holding my suitcase. Was it the smell of my stinky, slimy swamp-mud covered pants that drew their attention to my suitcase? It went better for me than the lady from Japan who stood next to me and spoke just enough Spanish to repeatedly tell the security guys, “no tengo llaves. Mi esposo tiene llaves.” Which translates to, “you idiots. I don’t have the key to my suitcase. My husband handles those details. If you wanted the key to the suitcase you should have invited him to your little security party.” Other than a “lost” bag in Houston, the rest of the trip was, as they say, nothing to write home about.

Now it’s time to begin planning our next trip. Who’s up for the Avenue of the Volcanoes?




Abby said...

Maybe Shadow was visiting your dreams in the Amazon and proding you to wake up in time for the bird watching tour...clickity clickity clock...

Art Elser said...

Don't know about the Amazon jungle, Cathy, but when I spent one night in a parachute cloth hammock slung between two trees in the Philippine jungle, I don't think I slept a wink. All I could imagine was one of those gazillion foot long pythons climbing into bed with me--makes Sophie's cute nighttime antics mild.

And I'd of traded all those unfamiliar night time jungle sounds for the clickety-clickety-click of Shadow walking back and forth to the door. One doesn't sleep in the jungle. One shakes and tries not to sleep.

How do you fix paranha? Looks like they're al bones. And teeth of course.