Friday, October 25, 2013


I think my life is controlled by alarms. Alarm clocks, and little tunes that play at preset times from my phone. Especially in the mornings. Ah, yes, mornings.

On a typical school day, my radio turns itself on at 5:30. In the morning. It's tuned to NHPR, but I don't listen long enough to hear what the news is, because I turn the radio off so as not to disturb Karen's sleep. At least not at that hour. William's own radio turns itself on five minutes earlier. I don't know why; it was William's decision.

William mostly gets himself ready for school, just requiring a reminder here and there, most often the feeding of his cat. When he has gotten dressed and had breakfast and taken care of a few other things on his list, he usually curls up in Karen's favorite chair and reads. This is where the first alarm on my phone comes in, because William would sit there reading until sometime in the afternoon if there wan't some kind of time signal. Like the rest of us, he gets lost in a good book.

That phone alarm sounds at 6:15, and William and I go out into the dark and, as of this week, cold to wait for the bus. It usually arrives within ten minutes, giving us a little time to talk, usually about nothing in particular. I say good-bye, turn around and go back into the house, and have a minute or two to breathe before Danny's alarm goes of at 6:30.

Danny needs a little more guidance than William to get moving in the morning. I won't say that I have to drag him out of bed, mostly because his bunk bed is too high for me to reach him, so I have to get by with poking and prodding. Not every morning. Sometimes he gets up really early and gets in William's way. Of the two versions of Danny in the Morning, I prefer the sleepyhead.

The phone alarm for Danny's bus goes off at 7:25. Sometimes the bus comes within ten minutes, sometimes it takes half an hour. Usually it's a little warmer when I wait with Danny, because the sun is up. But not always.

I also help Karen get ready for work, not because she needs my help, but because when it comes to my wife, I like to be helpful. Sometimes Karen has to leave before Danny goes to the bus. Sometimes she leaves about an hour after. If I'm lucky, she has a late shift and leaves a couple of hours after the boys (although that's not lucky for the boys because she'll be home after they go to bed). If we're all really lucky, Karen will have the day off.

Usually that's it for alarms, but sometimes there are appointments that are important and out of the ordinary, and time will slide right by me if I don't have some kind of reminder. Danny's after-school program, or a Den meeting, or some kind of theater meeting.

So, while I really hate to hear alarms going off sometimes, I'm grateful that I have them around to keep me on track.

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