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Today was a jumble. It started out by me texting our contractor “belly coffee story.”  Just as I was emerging from the fog of sleep, I discovered that my cell phone did not charge during the night. I fumbled for the charger and beeeepppp. Our contractor needed information. A couple of bleary texts later I sent my embarrassing belly coffee story text.

Anyone who has a dog knows what bellies (aka belly rubs) are. Humans exist to provide them to dogs. Every morning should start with a good belly rub. To fuel those bellies humans are allowed to have coffee. And, if they have written a blog the night before, they are expected to read aloud that blog after a good belly and a half a cup of coffee. That is the proper order of things. #1 bellies, #2 coffee and #3 anything else that happens. By Sophie’s rule, #3 is accorded the honor of reading aloud the blog written the night before.

This Christmas Eve my spouse and I will have been married 13,514 days. Along about day 26 we discovered that it was a bad idea for us both to get up at the same time. While we enjoy people and can sometimes get over-extroverted, inside both of us are introverts in the truest sense of the word as C.G. Jung describes them. Sofia University has a nice except about introversion and extroversion taken from Frager & Fadiman’s 2005 Prentice Hall textbook Personality and Personal Growth. It describes introversion as being inwardly focused on the inner world of thoughts and feelings and extroversion as being actively involved in the world of people and things. Both of us need time to focus inwardly before we take on or close out the day. I think of it like this. When you need to solve a problem, do you figure it out and then talk to others about it or do you talk to others to figure it out? Of course, any balanced human needs to do both, but I think we have predilections for one or the other. Both of us have the predilection for working things out, inside.

Consequently, both of us trying our best “carpe deim” (seize the day, from the poet Horace’s 23 BC Odes) at the same time was not so good. On day 27, a truce was declared and a compact signed in love. You get up first and go to bed first, I get up second and go to bed second. Each of us has our own hour at the beginning of (my spouse) or the end of (me) the day.

Enter bellies. We had a dog briefly the first year we were married but neither of us had a clue about dogs when Sophie came to live with us. Bellies? What were those? They were required each morning? Where did it specify that in the Dog Union contract? Did we sign that contract? Apparently we did, but before we had enough coffee.

The belly thing was nicely managed in our house that burned since the office and the bedroom were side-by-side. When I awoke I would tell Sophie to “call” and two little “bark, barks,” easily heard by my spouse produced the requisite third and fourth hands for proper belly (two of mine and two of my spouses). Being the bright dog that she is, Sophie learned there is a link between morning bellies and coffee so “bark, bark,” meant “Come belly me but you better bring mom her coffee or she won’t give me good belly.” In the condo where we are living now the sleeping bedroom and the bedroom-cum-office are a floor apart and at opposite ends of the unit. They were brilliantly designed to provide privacy for each bedroom. “Bark, bark” just hits the stair wall and falls down on the carpet unheard.

The consequence of this architecture was Sophie not getting her properly timed “just when I wake up” belly and me stumbling downstairs, cold, in search of coffee. One day I saw a couple of kids in the same room texting each other. “Hm….if they can text each other in the same room, would a text get Sophie her belly and me my coffee without having to emerge from the warmth of the down comforter?” By George, it does! As surely as Sophie has trained us to the proper morning belly rub, I have trained my spouse-coffee-maker to the buzz of the morning text, “belly coffee story.”  After I send it Sophie and I listen intently for the soft shuffle of slipper-clad feet moving across the floor, the quite clank of the coffee pot on the mug and the creak of the stair that announces morning’s #1 and #2 requisites soon to be followed by #3.

Thankfully my contractor has a dog and understands belly rubs. He knows I am a horrible texter so politely ignored the cryptic “belly coffee story” text amid our other morning texts. I redirected the “belly coffee story” text to my spouse’s cell phone.

Today was, in fact, a jumble. It was even a distressing jumble. But here at the end of the day during my compacted quiet hour I look inside and know that any day that starts with bellies, coffee and a story shared is a good day.

dog on sleeping pad looking over her shoulder with a pathetic and demainding stare

And were is my belly rub? It is the #1 order of the day, you know.