Why did I do that? When I finally gave into exhaustion and went to bed last night I mistakenly set the alarm. What was I thinking on a Friday night? In my drowsy state of mind did I think it was Sunday night? What a cruel surprise to have the alarm sound at 4:45 A.M. It might as well have been screaming “hit the deck sailor” - to the sound of bugles. If I lived completely alone it would have been a simple matter – turn it off and go back to sleep. Alas, my dogs responded with immediate glee. The alarm means “BREAKFAST!” and they were instantly circling the bedroom door impatiently waiting for me to come to enough life to find slippers, glasses and cell phone (I’m on call 24/7, so the gadget is another constant companion). The canine companions vanish into the early morning darkness when I open the back door to the yard. I know I have minutes to feed my ancient cat buddy (20+ years of age). He is part Siamese so even now his cry is piercing and demanding “Feed me now – Feed me first!” I oblige him out of respect for his age and to make him shut up. I know I have only minutes to accomplish said feeding because the Red Bone Coon Hound will begin to bay at the closed back door. His old age (11 years) demand for nourishment is powerful and loud. I don’t want the neighbors to leave hate notes for me because I forgot what the day was. I’m quite sure the hound’s bay can be heard for miles in the early quiet of the morning. Dogs fed and kenneled. No playing after food – I don’t want to deal with bloat. I tip toe into the office. Why tiptoe? Salsa, the Jenday parrot, lives in the office. He needs 10 hours of sleep and he didn’t go to sleep until I did. A cranky Jenday puts a Red Bone Coon Hound to shame in the noise department. I’ve heard that the shrill, complaining cry has made grown men weep! I read email and blogs and catch up with the world - all the time wondering what am I doing up. There is a bit of poetry to catch up with and a To Do list that includes going back into the office late today. At 7 A.M. I free the dogs and send them to the back yard. They make a bee line for the fence to let the neighbor’s dogs know just what is what about territory. The cat has gone back to bed and I uncovered the parrot who is engaged with imitating the sound of the dishwasher. I think he is showing off to the wild birds perched outside office window. I will move the desert dust off furniture and kitchen tile, vacuum the floors and make the bed. I slip into the rhythm of the day. My plan for the remainder of the day - off to the gym – far earlier than I had originally planned. Perhaps the silver lining is that later today I can take a long nap and not feel a shred of guilt about that small indulgence.