Like most people, I get into routines fairly easily.
I generally do things in more or less the same order each morning while getting ready for work. I follow a similar routine each evening before bed. In between, I have certain tasks I do on certain days at the office.
It all just seems to work better that way.
The problem is, routines are easily disrupted when circumstances change.
That has never been so clear to me as this week, when my wife started a new job. She has to be at work each morning at 8 a.m., which is pretty conventional but a far cry from her previous start time, which was significantly later.
I, on the other hand, generally go to work around 9:30 each morning and work until about 7:30 or 8 at night.
My wife now sets her alarm for 5:30 a.m. every morning — a full two hours before I usually get up. This in itself would not be a problem, since I’m pretty good about going back to sleep most of the time.
But our new cat has decided that any human movement coming from our bedroom means we’re available to play with her — and she starts meowing loudly at the first sound of stirring on our part.
Apparently, this cat has not yet made the connection between darkness and sleep.
Monday night, after spending much of the day sacked out in the guest bedroom, she proceeded to sound her kitty version of reveille at 2:30 a.m., 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. I managed to discourage her effectively the first time, but after the 4 a.m. cat-alarm, I got up to use the bathroom and just about killed myself by stepping on two cat toys she had deposited in our bedroom doorway.
A few minutes later, I had just started to drift off to sleep again when the cat started up with her meow-athon for a third time. By the time I shushed her into submission, it was less than 40 minutes until my wife’s alarm was set to go off.
All in all, it wasn’t a great night’s sleep.
So now, I need to adjust my routine a bit. I had been going to bed around midnight. My wife and I usually read for a little while, then turn out the lights around 12:30. I figure if I scoot that schedule back about an hour, it should work for both of us.
Of course, there are two problems with that idea. First, when I work until 8:30 p.m., the last thing I want to do is climb into bed just 2½ hours later. I’d like to enjoy the evening just a little bit before preparing to do it all over again. But the bigger problem may be our little chiming fur ball, who needs to get a clue about this whole “nighttime” concept, or neither my wife nor I will be getting much sleep, no matter when we hit the hay.
When we first adopted our cat just after Christmas, we stuck her in the guest bathroom at night with her food, water, litter pan and a towel to sleep on. She seemed fine with this arrangement and barely made a peep — until she became more sure of herself.
After a few weeks, we decided to give her the run of the house. She was good at first, even sleeping on our bed for most of the night. But then she developed this need to play with us at all hours of the night.
Apparently, our cat needs to develop a new routine of her own — one that involves sleeping when we sleep, or at the very least leaving us alone while we do.
I think I can adjust my routine to my wife’s alarm. But that second, furry one’s another matter altogether.
Contact Dave Miller at email@example.com or (254) 501-7543