Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Morning routine, mid-November

Here's what the first 2 hours of my day look like, up here on the mountain.

6:30 - wake up to alarm clocks beeping and whining.  It's later than I'd like, so my body is sneaking in more sleep to make up for never getting enough.  One alarm clock is my phone, running on battery power, because the house electrical power could have failed overnight, which happens often enough up here.

Quick visual check outside through the bedroom window: rain is falling onto sopping earth, meaning it's been raining overnight.

Some woodpiles have lost covers: damn.  Visual check inside: wife, cats, dog, son, more cats are sleeping.

Did I mention that I wake up in a good mood, bereft of critical thinking for at least one hour?

6:30 - 6:40 - getting the fire going is the first thing to do.  I trundle down stairs, then down again to the dark basement where our main stove lives.  I spin open the two air vents, pull open the chimney vent, open the door, and poke around last night's ashes until they glow.  I toss in some kindling (big slab of dry bark) and a fresh piece of wood from the nearby rack.  Poke, blow, prod, add a bit of paper, repeat, until the black metal box shows warmth.  The basement air around me will gradually warm, then rise into the rest of the sleeping house.

6:40 - 6:45 - the holy ritual of coffeemaking.  My sleepy fingers fumble with coffee bean jar and grinder, then add water, start up the black plastic godlet.  Reassurance of blurp-blurp noises.  Praise be, Mr. Coffee.

6:45 - 7:00 - first pass of morning news.  I don't watch tv news (whew), nor listen to radio; instead I tromp down to my basement office and check to make sure the internet is on.  Check.  Then work through RSS feeds, plus Google News, and any news stories sent to my emails.  Politics, economics, international relations; no .edu nor tech stuff yet.  My morning good mood gets gnawed upon.  Time for coffee.

7:00 - 7:40 - get the rest of family roused and schoolbound.  I clomp upstairs to pry children from sleep (Gwynneth, older, is harder to do, and protests epically), feed wife her coffee in bed, then start Owain's breakfast.  That's fried eggs, which are fine for his gluten-free requirements.  The women refuse breakfast, so after Owain eats his, I prep mine, while washing dishes.  Ceredwyn and I get Owain's lunch together (ham sandwich, apple)

The basement fire has warmed the house, and the morning dark has faded.  Kids and wife get dressed, stagger around in morning light, find belongings, then head out to car.  It's about 4 miles to the school.  Owain attends there; Gwynneth catches the high school bus in the parking lot, which takes her down the mountain.

7:40 - 8:00 - breakfast and newsreading.  That means heading back down to my office with plate and cup, setting them next to my laptop.  A quantum array of kittens prowls around, making insidious noises of interest.  Sausage, RSS, cheese, RSS, more coffee, eggs.  Stomp across basement to check on fire.  I'll do that last part throughout the day: winter's strong habit.

8:00 - 8:30 - head outside to fix wood piles.  Last night's winds were huge, as evidenced by twigs down everywhere.  Wet, too, as the ground is soaked.  Little snow remains.  I re-cover stacks with their tarps and/or plywood and/or tin sheets.  One pile has toppled, so I restack it, damp wood in my damp gloves.  My little, old mp3 player talks in my ear: recent podcasts from Start the Week (BBC) and Starship Sofa (sf).

The rain draws down, and sunlight starts seeping into the forest.

8:30 - back into the office, for coffee, laptop, and my morning work routine.

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