I am not a dawn person unless sitting on a boat deck with tea and the sunrise – oh, and a Hobnob.
Today however I had early appointments and so grudgingly opened my eyes, acknowledging both spouse and Marley, the cat, with a harrumph followed by an inane pleasantry about having a good day as my husband left.
Watching water boil is as we all know a pointless exercise and so it seemed an appropriate use of my time to collect the paper. Barely presentable I ambled out to the car park, picked up the Houston Chronicle and strolled back in, grateful not to have encountered any neighbours in the hallway.
And then that moment of blinding clarity. A door that refused to yield despite ever-increasingly violent shakes of the handle. Panic hit in waves, the morning’s schedule dissolving as I thought of my handy i-phone safely inside. And then I remembered the terrace door had been opened to enable Marley a chance to do his morning callisthenics in the dawn cool. Relief also comes in waves. Tempered waves.
Eyeing the terrace, about three feet off the ground above which is a hard mesh baluster also of about three feet high, I felt despair. Most days I forget I have rods of titanium and steel screws holding me together and today, at least early this morning, was one of them. Maggie Thatcher may not have been a lady for turning, but I am not one for bending. My back is rigid. To increase the complexity of getting my leg over, was the decorative appeal achieved with window boxes interspersed with six-foot ornate metal uprights in which sit dainty tea lights.
Marley had by this time joined me in the car park, weaving in and around my leaden legs, then demonstrated the ease with which it was possible to leap onto the terrace and squeeze under the mesh. I advised him I was unable to do this, and as he looked at me pensively as if to say, “well that is the trouble with humans, no flexibility,” I realised I was going to have to just do it.
Fortunately for the neighbourhood the weather has cooled a trifle and I was wearing a dressing gown and not my normal morning attire of a sarong. Grunting inelegantly I hauled myself up, wedging my toes under the mesh as I contemplated my next move. You may not be aware but asparagus fern has rather a lot of tiny little prickles, all of which were embedding themselves into the fleshy part of my inner thigh as I attempted to hoik my leg over the railings. It took a number of attempts, each provoking language not becoming of middle-aged woman purporting to be a writer and whose vocabulary therefore should be extensive.
Teetering astride the top rail and gathering myself for the final effort I heard the elevator ping the imminent arrival of an audience. Panic and pride breed desperation and flinging my other leg over I landed in an ignominious heap on top of the paper, Marley and a wrought iron bench. Breezily wishing our neighbour good morning I hobbled indoors.
The day improved until at noon I collected Marley from the vet. Opening the car door I somehow managed to unlatch his cage thereby tipping its disgruntled occupant onto the surgery forecourt. Finding sanctuary under a car before dashing into an adjacent dress shop where three of us proceeded to play catch the mewling moggie, I had visions of explaining to my spouse the vet’s bill, greatly increased due to either stress or squashing.
Marley and I are home now. We’re listening to Taj Mahal sing the blues. His rendition of I’ve had a Real Bad Day is apt, particularly for my newly neutered cat. We’re thinking of opening the wine early.