I’ve never been much of a morning person. In my teens, the aches and pains of a growing body stumbling through puberty gave me endless sleepless nights. In my early twenties, the insane week nights out on the town or popping around a friends for an impromptu house party afforded me daily hangovers and ill feeling. A decade later and I have switched the glass bottle of Absolut for a plastic one filled with formula milk for my infant daughter. At an age when my body demands its solid eight hours, my sleep is disjointed and incessantly interrupted due to the growing pains of the little life I had a small part in creating.
Like most responsible adults I set my alarm for the appropriate time I need to stagger out of bed for the next day and without fail come that time along comes DMX shouting “X Gonna Give It To Ya” in my fragile ears. Hitting snooze for nine extra, precious minutes, I roll away from the object of disruption and for a moment fool myself into believing I will actually sleep for even a second of that time. Then my adorable daughter pipes up from her crib and my wife rustles the covers up as she gets out of bed to tend to her, inadvertently inviting cold, harsh air under the duvet and onto my naked skin. Then I am awake, and the snooze time is lost until the next day.
A friend of mine, Tim, is married with three kids, two dogs and a rat. At 44 he seemingly has it all sussed out. Like a mystic genius who has organised his home and family to perfection, everything running like clockwork. In awe at how much of an adult my friend was, I told him about my exhaustion and morning struggles when he told me about his own.
You think my house just runs itself? No mate. I get up at 6am every morning. I throw on a dressing gown, head downstairs and flick the kettle on. While I wait for it to boil up I put food down for the dogs and roll a fag. Every morning, and I mean every fucking morning, Betsy (his beloved but aging Alsatian) has taken a massive shite in the corner of the kitchen. It sits there humming something rotten, still steaming it was so fresh. I used to try and catch her out, get up fifteen minutes earlier, but every morning without fail there it fucking was waiting for me. A smoldering pile of warm, solid dog crap stinking the house out. Now I don’t blame the old girl, she’s getting on and it’s uncomfortable for her to hold it in. She never does it anywhere else and on the tiled floor of the kitchen, at least it’s easier to clean up. So there I am, each day, fag rolled, kettle boiling starring my dogs daily dump. I can’t handle to smell straight away, it makes me sick, so I pop outside, suck on my first coffin nail of the morning and collect myself before going back in and picking it up into a doggie bag. Betsy’s been doing this for months, and I was tiring of it, so I built an enclosure attached to the kitchen door leading to the garden and fitted a doggie door so she could go out whenever she wanted. And she did, every morning without fail. Problem is, now when I roll my smoke and open the door I am accompanied by the vile fucking stench of her freshly squeezed out shit. I don’t get the chance to collect myself anymore, it’s there waiting for me in the place I treasured as a safe haven to smoke and calibrate the old noggin. By fixing the problem, I actually made my mornings much worse. You see, all mornings are shit my son, but your day is determined by how you deal with it.