The Morning Routine….and one’s assemblage for the day.

I am a creature of habit, as my wife will confirm.  As you know by now I like my morning coffee at the kitchen table with my paper every day, 6AM on weekdays, 7AM on weekends.  I sit in the same seat at the table with the paper arranged in the same order of news sections day after day after day.  Coffee is on my right, same coffee mug every morning (Boston Celtics logo emblazoned mug…cherished).  It’s my time, don’t bug me.

It takes me about an hour to go through the morning paper, about one-and-a-half cups of
coffee.  I’m in my PJ’s…a loose term for my very old Tommy Bahamas sweatshirt and some kind of leggings I got at Costco.  My wife is upstairs getting herself ready for her workday.  Just as I am getting to the comics with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and friends my wife comes
down the stairs and into the kitchen, all dressed, looking pretty and ready for the day.  She races off with a kiss goodbye and a wish to “have a good day” from me, ready to do battle with the freeway traffic and her trek to work.  I feel guilty sitting in my PJ’s as she races out the door, still sipping my coffee knowing my job awaits me upstairs in the second floor corporate suite, but that guilt only last a moment, a nano-second flash through my being, as I know I have a morning routine that beckons me, that demands me to perform.  The castle is now mine alone, my day must begin.

I finish the comics and stand to stretch; arching my back sideways, to the left, hands
clenched high above my head.  A groan, a loud groan that is part age, part stiffness and part immaturity at 58 years old, bellows forth and fills the house with noise.  Not to classy but it always feels good.  I step out onto the back patio for a few remaining sips of coffee, enjoying the morning air as I look around.  I think of the day when I will be retired….no, I dwell on the day….no, I think a lot about the day…oh hell, I am obsessed about the day that I am retired (coming to the realization it will probably never happen with our joyful economy and its effects on “the nest egg”….splat…) knowing that if it ever occurs I will not be bored as there will be enough chores and repairs between the yard and the house to keep me busy the remainder of my living days.

I head inside to clean up the kitchen and the cups and glasses in the sink.  While we always do the dishes after dinner the night before there are always a few remnant glasses from our evening’s cocktails as well as the morning juice and coffee.  While at the kitchen sink I look out the window and past the plants, herbs and ceramic rooster dressed in a chefs outfit holding a bottle of wine with the quotation “When in doubt add more wine” and look at the Christmas ornaments swaying in the light morning breeze on the potted Ficus tree.  Yup, Christmas ornaments hanging 12 months a year.  I hung them there a few years ago for the holidays and my wife and I decided we liked the color and movement in the breeze, so left them up.  They are fading in color, look pretty weathered and will soon need to be replaced, but they do for now.  I find myself realizing they are symbolic of me and my enthusiasm for my job of 27 years… the enthusiasm is fading, I’m looking pretty weathered and will soon be replaced, but hoping my Clients still think I will do for now.  I finish cleaning the dishes and the coffee pot, wipe down the counters, wipe out and dry the sink (can’t have water marks) and make sure everything is positioned correctly.  Spiffy clean, a place for everything and everything in its place.  Looking good, moving on.

With a replenished cup of coffee in hand and an occasional scratch to my important areas I stiffly climb back up the stairs to the second floor.  At the top of the stairs two bedrooms are to the right, one the guest bedroom (rarely used, no one visits us…doesn’t anyone like us????) and the other one the corporate suite, headquarters to my Fortune
500 Wanna-be business which is hanging on for dear life during the fabulous economic times.  To the left at the end of the hallway is the master bedroom and home to all that is wonderful and magic…my opinion…my wife tends to think different on this one.  Being far too sophisticated and proper a man I have not fallen to the level of spending my work days in “robe and pajamas” working out of the home office, so I turn left and head to the master chambers to prepare myself for another incredibly exciting day…at the other end of the hallway…in my little office….over-looking the kids playing in the cul-de-sac below.  Never mind, a story for another day.

The bed is disheveled from a night of my 6’-1” frame tossing, turning, groaning, snoring and generally disturbing my wife’s sleep.  I re-center the sheets, pull them up nice and tight to remove the visual wrinkles, tuck them in military style (looks good so far) and then pull up the comforter being sure the pattern is balanced with no under-edge of sheet showing.  I walk around the three sides of the bed to be sure everything is even…wouldn’t you??  I place the nine pillows…yes nine, very trendy and stylish, but mostly useless…on
the bed in the proper order, fluffing each one so it sits full and well-shaped, and then step back for a final observation.  The last wrinkle is smoothed out of the comforter, a little adjustment here and there to the pillows, and the job done.   Very nicely done Michael.

I step into the bathroom to begin the direct assault on myself.  Wait, is that a fingerprint my wife left on the sink counter after she wiped it down for me?  I wipe the tiny print off being sure the rest of the counter top is shiny clean and begin my shaving routine…shaving cream on the right, razor placed at an angle in front and just to the right, hand towel rolled like a log at the edge of the sink and counter to catch my drips, coffee centered on the coaster to my further right.

The shave proceeds quickly, not being one of those overly masculine sort of guys with
heavy whiskers, hair on the back and growing out of the ears.  I drain and rinse the sink, being sure that all my little shaved whiskers go down the drain along with the soapy water, and then wipe the white linoleum sink and stainless steel faucets so they will be shiny and spotless when I return to the sink counter after my shower.

The shower is uneventful, I won’t disturb you with the visuals…I’m 58, enough said…and I
towel down.  However, since we live in a house previously remodeled inside by a gay interior designer…a cool cat who did a great job…the shower is all limestone tile and glass…and the shower water leaves spots on everything if not lovingly wiped down each time it’s used.  So of course, after I dry off, a separate towel is used to wipe down the walls and stainless steel fixtures and the squeegee removes the water from all the glass panels and door.  I swear, the next house we buy is going to have a basic plastic molded shower/tub with an old fashion shower curtain hanging across it….maybe little mermaids and seahorses (cool).  No tedious wipe down after a refreshing shower.  In and out, slam bam thankyou Mam.  With the shower wiped down and spotless, soap dish drained of standing water and the soap centered on dish, I step out into the cooler bathroom air having built up a reasonable sweat with the chore.  Seems to defeat the purpose of taking the shower.

Back at the sink counter and mirror I finish my grooming and end the preparation splashing a handful of after-shave cologne on my face.  With eyes wide open in exaggeration and shock, I look in the mirror scream out from the subtle sting of cologne on freshly shaved skin, just like Macaulay Culkin’s did in the movie “Home Alone.”  The cologne doesn’t really sting but I can’t resist the urge each morning…it gives me a chuckle as I look at myself in the mirror.  He made a hell of a lot more money off of that scream than I ever will.  I have the look down pretty good though.

A final wipe down of the counter to remove any remaining fingerprints and water splats, a swipe of the mirror to do the same, and peruse the countertop items to be certain they are in the proper place and orientation (Kleenex box, liquid soap dispenser, perfume bottle [hers, not mine] flower pot and decorative cosmetic box) completes the cleanup.   I step back a bit, give a final glance and am satisfied all is in order.  I fold and hang my towel on the towel rack, label to the backside (of course) and am done.  The day awaits me.

I walk down the hallway ‘au natural’ spotlessly clean and dipped in cologne.  The corporate suite is on the left, the guest bedroom and my clothing closet is on the right.  I am faced with the first real choice of the day…should I work naked today or get dressed.  I turn to the…

G’Day friends, see you next Friday morning.

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