A day in the life of Paula

Ever wonder what other people’s days are like? Ever wonder if your day is a typical one or not? Well here’s an outline of the average weekday for one of your favorite columnists, if you would like a little bit of comparison. Extra points for reading all the way to the end!

5:30 a.m.: The cat wakes me up with the sound of his nails on the underside of my bed. I get up and take him to the downstairs bathroom, shut the door and go back to bed. Don’t worry, he really doesn’t mind and actually looks forward to this little game.

6 a.m.: My first alarm goes off. I turn it off, and fall back to sleep.

6:30 a.m.: My second alarm goes off. I turn it off and fall back to sleep.

7 a.m.: I wake up because of a) the crazy chirping bird/squirrel outside my window, b) the sound of city workers tearing up the side street near my home, c) the dog’s soft wet whiskers nudging my hand, which is hanging off the side of the bed. That’s my very favorite.

I either get up and let the dog out at this point, or – you guessed it – fall back to sleep. No, I am not a morning person and don’t plan on ever becoming one. Sometimes I fall back to sleep just so the dog keeps trying to wake me up. It’s just so darn cute.

7:30 a.m.: I stumble to the bathroom to start my morning routine. Not being very good at doing things in a consistent way, it’s different every morning.

Generally it’s shower, pop in contacts, put on just enough makeup so I don’t scare small children upon leaving the house, futz with my hair only until it does something that’s acceptable, and somewhere in there I brush and floss. Yes, my life is an exciting one. You can’t wait to read on, I know.

8:30 a.m.: I try to find something that’s clean to wear, that matches alright and fits the weather report for the day. Getting bored and impatient with the process, I hurriedly try to find a necklace or scarf that helps make me look like I had a plan for how I wanted to look, and then head downstairs.

The cat is thrilled to finally be getting some breakfast. He desperately tries to trip me the entire way down to the basement where his food dish is. I remind him that if he succeeds there will be no more breakfasts, just a bad smell that gets worse until someone finds me, but he is ridiculously loving and enthusiastic, and doesn’t care a wit.

Outside, the dog is peacefully sleeping in the back patio area in the sun, still looking really darn cute. I throw her breakfast in the bowl and grab a snack to eat at work. Before I leave, I let her in and give her a special morning treat to help pass the time until I get back to let her out at lunchtime.

8:45 a.m.: How to get to work. Car, bike, or on foot? It depends on what, if any, errands there are to run today combined with the expected weather. No matter which one I choose, my commute is only about 10 minutes at the longest.

9 a.m.: I get to work, and if I am the first one there, I turn on the lights, unlock the door and make coffee. At my desk, I wake up the computer, check emails and Facebook for any pertinent messages, then check my “in” basket for stuff to do. Yes, my day is an exciting one, alright.

Once in awhile out of the blue I will get a text with a happy or encouraging message from my sweetie, which is always nice. The thing I like about this is that it’s like getting a little unexpected gift – and who doesn’t like gifts?

Once in awhile it will be a crisis for one of my children or a friend, and that’s alright too, because it makes me feel needed. And we all like to know we are needed.

Noon: I start getting hungry and try not to think about the snack area in the back of The Gazette, where our office manager likes to stock all sorts of chips, candy, cookies and chocolate. I try to remember the apple I brought to distract me from eating those treats in the back that are yelling my name, but it’s hard to think over all that clatter. Many times I give in. Hey, I’m walking the dog later, right? I’ll just take two walks, or walk longer on the first one. Really I will.

Of course, often my co-workers will bring something yummy in and who can resist homemade goodness? Certainly not me, and I would never be so rude to insult a co-worker by not trying one of their delicious baked lovelies. No, I do what I can, and it’s my duty as a supportive co-worker to eat at least one. Or two. Or five.

1 p.m.: Time to run home quick and tend to the critters. They are happy as heck to see me, and the wonderful happy dance ensues. Well, the dog, anyway. The cat just observes the dancing.

2 p.m.: The workday continues much the same as before, and around 5 p.m., I’m heading out the door.

5:30 p.m.: I grab a bite after the evening happy dance is complete, and if the weather is good, we go for a long easy walk or hit the dog park. I have come to really love the dog park, not only as a super fun place for the pup but also a great meditative moment in my evening.

The wind, the sky, the happy sniffing and pouncing of the dog through the tall grass does a great job on dissolving the stresses of the day. I can sit on a bench and clear my mind while the dog stops by to check in with me every so often.

7 p.m.: Outside stuff. Watering, weed killing, sweeping and just hanging out on the porch. You’d be surprised how entertaining the people of this city can be, and they probably have no idea. More entertaining than having 100-plus channels on your high-def cable television, that’s for sure.

Sometimes friends will come over and watch along with me. Yes, it really is that entertaining. Eventually darkness falls and the outside activity quiets down, and the dog and I head inside.

9:30 p.m.: After a brief pickup of the house, I flop down in front of the television to watch a few episodes of Dr. Who. A friend who has
the whole series loaned them to me in hopes I would become a fan – and now I am looking for a reason to build my own Tardis, the time machine the Doctor travels in. It’s a nice escape from the day’s troubles and a little bit of fun and fantasy.

The dog is lying on my feet, all fuzzy and warm, like a lovely pair of slippers. The cat is nuzzled close and lying across my hip, purring contentedly. Life is good.

10:30 p.m.: … or so, depending on how many episodes I decide to watch, I head off to bed. I might read for a bit, write a little in my journal, or organize my to-do list for tomorrow, but before long I am dropping off, so I’ll push everything aside, hit the light and pull up the covers.

And yes, I sleep with many things on my bed – hey, I live alone, and there’s no one to complain about it, and if you live alone as well, you know what a wonderful thing that is.

I fall asleep with gratitude, saying good night and thanks to the universe for providing me with all the good in my life, and for providing the awareness that allows me to deeply appreciate all that goodness.

Originally published August 9, 2013.

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