Why yes, I can crawl out of bed without moving the cats that weigh down the covers on either side of me. First, I lean on my left elbow and slide as far across my pillow as I can get without banging my head against the bookshelf that is the headboard.
So sue me. I like having books at the ready. I like feeling as though I can flip on my reading lamp and reach up for a book, or two or three. Who knows what I’ll feel like reading in the wee hours? Sometimes I fall asleep with a book under my pillow.
But in the morning gymnastics, the bookshelf can be a hazard. If I manage to keep from whacking my ear as I flounder, I rotate forward in a nearly fetal position until my butt is borne out of the covers. Then, I try to keep from falling off my bed while I lift one knee past a cat who glares at me for disturbing his morning sleep hygiene. It’s actually an all-day routine because Seth, the old one, sleeps about twenty-one hours a day. For two more hours, he sits on a lap to get petted. For his twenty-fourth hour, he complains that the water bowl isn’t full enough, the kibble bowl has no kibbles in the center and he might starve to death soon, there needs to be kitten kibbles here and fresh wet food there, and don’t sing or whistle. Don’t you dare sing.
I used to think I was pretty good at singing.
Seth also tells me I can’t sit in that chair because he just decided to sit there just milliseconds before I sat down. He is faster than I am. He has possession of this particular chair. He also glares at me to tell me the dog needs more food even when the dog is asleep on the couch. Seth does his angry-cry to complain any time Blitz adds a turd to the litter box and I don’t immediately clean it.
Seth’s last hour of wakefulness? It is one long-ass hour.
So when I try not to disturb Seth’s nap, I am well motivated not to wake him as I try to wriggle out of my cocoon.
If I manage to get that one knee out, I lie on my side in fetal position, head hanging off the bed, one knee up in the air as if I’m getting a really good PAP smear, and I try to half-sit and roll backward without banging my head on the bookshelf again. I have managed to get up some mornings with bruises on the back and also side of my head. The best thing to do is rest my neck on the bookshelf edge and roll gently to my other side while holding one leg perfectly straight and the other one up to my chin in a tight birthing crunch. Then, I repeat the process on the other side of loosening my knee from its bondage under the covers.
By now, I realize that any sane person would have routed those cats the moment the alarm went off.
I am not sane, nor am I alpha. I should have made a resolution to become more alpha in my own house, but whenever I tried to do that, especially with the teen, and menopause, it was not pretty.
But now, I can finally pull my last leg out and I have emerged from my chrysalis, metamorphed into a beautiful butterfly.
Just kidding. I’m still the lumpy, nearly hairless, overweight love bug that I always was.
But I’m not done yet.
At that point, I have to stretch my head off the other side of the bed, where it grinds into the poorly textured wall, lift my legs clear of the piles of cat, and aim my toes toward the side of the bed where I can slide out.
Oh, to go back to the days when Mike would fall asleep on my hair and all I had to do was wake him to get out of bed. Cats are much more fussy. Seth, awake now, looks at me placidly. Blitz, looks back and forth between me and Seth, perhaps wondering if he should move. Seth stares at him momentarily as if to say, “Stay put. I want to watch the end.”
I consider crawling on my hands and knees along the wall to the bottom of the bed where I might be able to get out more easily. I’ll bruise on the useless footboard. Why couldn’t they have made a shelf of it for more books?
Instead, I scootch toward the exif at the top of the bed, where I would ordinarily sit as I take a peaceful moment to wake up. I gather a PJ wedgie sliding feet first until the balance of my weight rights me, my one good abs crunch for the day. My toes reach for the cold floor after all my exertion.
I am up…
… and standing, with my right foot in a squishy spot. One of the cats has puked.
Welcome to my morning.
Thank you for listening, jules