Every morning starts here at Elmo's, unless it starts on the third-floor of my neighborhood yoga studio then I come here second, flushed from a vigorous practice. No judgment from the Elmo's crowd. Not for my bed head and sleepy eyes or, alternately, my sweaty, exhausted look.
It takes me four minutes and seven seconds to walk here. I timed myself today. The short walk is one of my favorite parts of the day. Uma used to come with me every morning and we'd say hi to all the other early-rising neighbor dogs. The neighborhood is so quiet first thing. Depending on the season, it's either pitch black or just starting to blush with light when I head out.
Today, the trees in the park lit up in fiery red hues and electric orange. The line of ginkgo trees across the street looked to be nearing peak neon yellow.
For months after Uma's death, the walk to the coffee shop was awkward, her absence so keenly felt. I fumbled with what to do with my hands without her leash. I felt self-conscious when I saw her friends. I was surprised by just how long this sense of not-quite-rightness persisted. Maybe it still does to a degree. Our house is wanting of another dog.
I sat in the corner of the couch in the front room and drank my coffee while the rest of the house slept. No school today or tomorrow. Teacher conferences instead. I started at Tobias' preschool where his teacher told me of some trick he was doing on the playground.
"What are you doing?" she asked. "Imitating a frog?"
"No, I'm working on my crow pose," he told her.
It seems the kids are as consumed by yoga as I am these days.
Monday is the day I shop for food. It's a mixed bag now that the kids are back to school. On the plus side, I don't have to police four children as I fill the cart. The drawback: I have to carry seven tons of groceries into the house by myself.
I treat myself to 13 malted milk balls on Mondays. Any less than 13 and my belly wants more. Any more than 13 and my head starts to ache.
Conferences at the elementary school were next. Esme's teacher said she's equipped to be whatever she wants when she's older. Desmond's teacher told us he explained a math problem in a way she'd never heard but plans to use with her students from now on. Josephine's teacher marveled at her writing. We told her about the poem, "The love dove," Josephine wrote for us last night:
"The love dove is high up in the tree's spreading love to all the bee's. The love dove is happy to help a mate find a date. Kent was a gent and he found the best date."
I dropped Kent at the Metro, made lunch, then took the kids to Home Depot to buy tile for a new bathroom in the basement. With the exception of about eight months in Raleigh, Kent and I have always lived with one bathroom, so it feels like an absolute luxury to have a second one constructed. Never mind that the basement is short and Kent can't actually stand in most of it. It will have a bathroom. A SECOND TOILET!
So, I won't complain about the kids behavior and the fact that I had to forcefully sit one child at one end of the Home Depot aisle and plop another at the other end to keep them from fighting while I tried to pick tile. I won't (even though I did, just there).
Oh look, the coffee shop again. This day needs more caffeine.
I finally ate my malted milk balls and listened to the kids climb the silver maple in the back yard. Josephine wandered in at one point to ask where Esme and Tobias went. I looked out the window and saw Esme climbing the fence, shouting to Tobias whom she directed into the neighbor's yard. I didn't know what they were up to except no good.
Meanwhile, at the front of the house... Desmond once told me that books saved his life. I think they continue to, every single day.
I lost my patience at 6 p.m. and finished with the day at 7:09 when Kent walked in the door. I'm in bed on a heating pad now. Living large!
*This post was inspired by a blogging pal and should be the first of seven meant to show you what a week looks like for me.