You think you are safe. secure. In your warm an cozy bed for the night. When you left to go to bed, the dogs were snoring — a good sign. I slide quickly into sleep and don’t wake up until my shoulder falls out of the socket.
I go to the bathroom, find the lidocaine pain patches, remember (this time) to tie my hair back so I don’t glue my hair to my shoulder — which isn’t good for either my hair or my shoulder.
I brush my teeth on the theory that the brush is here, my teeth are here, so why not? I’m 9-months overdue for my six-month checkup, so brushing is a good idea any time of the day or night.
Back at the bed, I rearrange the pillows, raise the bed a bit up top, lower it on the bottom, realize I have to sleep on my back and crawl in so I have my right arm lying on the pillow. Some readjustments are required to get the angle right. I’m just hoping the lidocaine patch kicks in.
Sleep baby sleep …
I drift off to sleep when suddenly … IT’S DUKE, BONNIE, AND GIBBS. They have pushed in the door All three of them have broken into the bedroom and Duke (the only one with long legs) has leapt onto the bed and is joyously bounding around, licking Garry’s face.
He’s so happy to see us. It’s a reunion! I mean, we’ve been gone for hours and light is peaking over the horizon.
“Get up, get up, the day has begun.” Translation: “BARK, BARK, BARK … BARK, BARK, BARK … ”
Don’t think Bonnie and Gibbs aren’t being helpful. They can’t jump on the bed, but they can bark and Bonnie enjoys barking. It’s her hobby. Her metier, so to speak.
Garry garbles “WHAT THE F##$!” which only gets the Duke even more excited.
“Well,” I comment, “This is a new one.” Until this moment, I was sure the doors would hold. Garry grumbles, using language that would make a sailor blush but which doesn’t bother the dogs at all. He shoos the dogs out of the bedroom and takes them to the kitchen where he does the thing that helps. He feeds them.
Diet? You’re kidding, right?
He stumbles back to bed just as I have finally found a position on the pillow that doesn’t hurt nearly as much and probably the lidocaine patch is beginning to do its job. Garry is instantly back in dreamland, his soft snoring witness to it. He can’t hear a thing because all his hearing machinery is stashed for the night.
I can hear. He has silence. I have barking dogs.
“Bark, bark, bark.” That’s Bonnie. I know who it is because they have different voices.
Bonnie has the deepest bark. She’s a solid bass. Small, with considerable power. Gibbs is more of a deep tenor or maybe a light baritone. But The Duke is a high soprano. When he barks, glasses break. Your brain begins a rhythmic vibrato inside your skull.
She stops barking. I listen for a while. When I don’t hear her, I figure (hope, really) that she has decided it’s nap time. I drift back to sleep.
“BARK, BARK, BARK.”
Gibbs and the Duke
That’s got to be Gibbs. He isn’t the deepest barker, but he is definitely the loudest. He also has a little howl he adds at the end of his barking. It’s sort of his verbal signature.
The Duke, inspired by this, adds a few trilling barks of his own.
Then they are quiet. Again. I don’t trust them, but I am so tired. I fall asleep.
BARK BARK BARK BARK HOWL BARK BARK BARK and the sound of paws and the loud clicking of doggy toenails on the fake wood floor in the hall.
I wake. I listen. I wonder if there’s any point in taking something to help me sleep. Because even if I take something, I can still hear the dogs. I throw an evil glance at Garry who can’t hear anything. He is happy in his silent place.
Finally, I get up, give them another biscuit and explain, in my most dulcet tones, that if they begin to bark again, I will get up and kill them. They grin with joy and dance around me in a circle. Okay, one more treat.
They are so glad I’m up.
I wonder if there’s any point in trying to sleep. My back hurts. My arm is throbbing — and I’m exhausted. I used to be able to stay up late and sleep quickly, but I’m too old for long days with short nights.
I need to get a full night’s sleep.
I go back to bed and drift restlessly for some hours. Eventually, they recommence their barking. Now it’s full daylight. We are SUPPOSED TO BE AWAKE. It’s our job. I wake Garry because he doesn’t get to sleep in while I suffer.
We got up, this time for the day.
After they get their next treat (how many? I have lost count and they don’t count), they sigh with pleasure and go soundly to sleep on the sofa.
Their work is done.